Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Psalm 22 contains at least eleven prophecies concerning the Messiah. We aren’t going to look at all of them, but we are going to get into several. Let’s start today with Verses 7-8: “Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: ‘He relies on the Lord; let him rescue him; let the Lord deliver him, since he takes pleasure in him” (HCSB).

It’s not very hard to recognize this one, is it? In Luke 23:11 we read: “Then Herod, with his soldiers, treated Him with contempt, mocked Him, dressed Him in a brilliant robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.”

Of course, we know that that was only a tiny portion of the humiliation and suffering Christ endured in our place. Luke 23 continues the account: “The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is God’s Messiah, the chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked Him. They came offering Him sour wine and said, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!’ An inscription was above Him: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’ Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!” (Verses 35-39).

When we compare Psalm 22 with Luke 23, we again see clear proof that nothing takes the Lord by surprise. He knew what He was going to suffer before He ever came to be born of a virgin. He knew how He would be humiliated, and yet what do we find Him doing in this very same passage? Forgiving. As the one thief hurled “insults at Him,” the other turned to Him for salvation: “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” (Verse 42).

And what was Jesus’ reply? “ I assure you: today you will be with Me in paradise.”

“I assure you.” These are words translated in the KJV as “verily,” but we need to understand that the actual wording was a phrase only Jesus used about His promises. He wanted this forgiven criminal to know, and He wants us to know, that His words can be trusted. Literally, it’s “Amen, I say to you.”

Know the song “Blessed Assurance?” This is what it’s all about – the total trustworthiness of the words of the Savior. What has He promised you? Whatever it is, believe it as though it’s already come to pass, because your Messiah is able to do it!

And what about forgiveness? Look at Jesus’ situation as He talked to the thief on the cross. He was bruised, beaten, and totally naked. Unlike the modest and respectful paintings we see of the crucifixion, there was nothing to cover the Savior’s body – He was totally exposed and totally humiliated. And in agony.

Yet His thoughts were not on Himself. Insults hurling all around Him, pain shooting through every portion of His body, His focus was on others.

When we’re in pain, when we’re hurt or humiliated, where is our focus? If you’re like most of us, it’s not on others; and it certainly isn’t on Jesus. It’s on “poor, poor, pitiful ME.”


Hmmmm. Sure are a lot of lessons we can take from this passage. How about forgiveness? Could you stand a little improvement in that area? If you want to be like Jesus, if I want to be like Jesus, we’ve got to keep our minds off our own troubles and focus on ministering to others.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

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“But God will redeem my life from the power of Sheol, for He will take me” (Psalm 49:15, HCSB).

Jesus’ birth, death and role as Redeemer was continually proclaimed throughout the Old Testament. He would come and die, becoming Living Grace, the Bridge between fallen man and their Holy Creator.

In First Corinthians 15:54b-55, we read this familiar passage: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

Not only does this passage hint of Psalm 49:15, we also see Paul’s reference to at least two other Old Testament passages – Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14:

“He will destroy death forever. 
The Lord God will wipe the tears from every face and remove His people’s disgrace from the whole earth, for the Lord has spoken. On that day it will be said, ‘Look, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:8-9).

“I will ransom them from the power of Sheol. I will redeem them from death. Death, where are your barbs? Sheol, where is your sting?” (Hosea 13:14).

If you’ve heard me tell this before, bear with me, but I think it’s well worth repeating. It was fall and late afternoon, and I was about 10 years old when I went with my daddy to my Great Aunt Jocie’s house so that he could put a new sink in her bathroom. As Aunt Jocie and I wandered in and out of the bedroom, peeking through the doorway into the small space where Daddy was working, I remember surveying my aunt’s humble surroundings.

The bedroom was sparsely furnished, with the unfinished heart pine floors barely peeking out around the edges of a linoleum rug patterned in big pink roses and swirls of different shades of blue. A small braided oval rug in a dingy rainbow of colors made a warm spot for Aunt Jocie’s feet whenever she climbed out of bed and an ancient coat of pale green paint covered the beadboard walls and ceiling. Overhead, in the center of the room, a single light bulb dangled from its wiring, and faded homespun curtains were pushed to each side of the window.

The rest of the furnishings were a chifferobe, her bed, a rocking chair, a nightstand and a lamp. The old iron “bedstead” was brown painted metal and the bed cover was a well-worn handmade quilt. The rocker was slat-backed, cane-bottomed, and armless – as simple and unadorned as my aunt who stood no taller than myself. It stood opposite the bed from the nightstand and was angled just enough to allow its occupant benefit from either the lamp or the natural light from the room’s solitary window.

Beneath the lamp on the small square bedside table was a time- and use-worn leather-bound Bible and I remember watching closely as Aunt Jocie’s fingers caressed the cover before she lifted it. Pulling it to her breast, she hugged it fiercely as she stood and gazed at the gathering starlight, the loose hairs from her braided silver bun scattered about her face like a gossamer halo.

“You know,” she said, “sometimes I can’t sleep at night, so I get up and come to this window. I look up into the stars and I get so excited, thinking, ‘Lord, will this be the night that you come to take me home?’”

It wasn’t too many years after that when Aunt Jocie went to heaven and I can only imagine how many hairpins flew from that bun as she ran down the streets of gold to Jesus! She had kept her heart and mind aware of where her real home was. How I pray for that same kind of passion for our real home to grow greater inside me! How I pray for this same kind of passion to grow within you!

Monday, October 29, 2012


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In Deuteronomy we read this powerful declaration: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. This is what you requested from the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not continue to hear the voice of the Lord our God or see this great fire any longer, so that we will not die!’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. I will hold accountable whoever does not listen to My words that he speaks in My name” (Deuteronomy 18:15-19, HCSB).

The people of Israel could not stand in the presence of the Holy God – it was far too terrifying. They had seen Moses come down from the fire- and smoke-covered mountain, his face glowing from having been in God’s presence. They’d also seen Moses’ anger when he found them worshiping an idol they’d created during his absence.

Moses knew their bent toward disobedience – which is plain ol’ sin in any form – and even more importantly, God Himself knew their sinful natures. The people wanted Him to watch over them, but they knew they couldn’t bear to stand before Him – they needed Someone like Moses to act as their go-between.

Which is why God had already prepared to come in human form. The Triune God sent Himself as His Only Begotten Son to be born of woman and live and walk among men, and to die as the once-for-all Living Sacrifice as payment for man’s sin-debt. From Genesis to Revelation, the Book keeps pointing to the Savior!

Speaking of the New Testament, let’s move over there. If you recall the passage from Acts 3 that we looked at a couple of days ago, we saw Peter and John on their way to the temple. They stopped at the gates where a man who was born crippled had been laid to beg from passersby. When he called out to them for money, he instead received healing. The rest of the people were amazed to see this, so they flocked around Peter and John and the man who’d received the healing.

Peter used this opportunity to preach to them the Gospel: “Moses said: ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to him in everything he will say to you. And it will be that everyone who will not listen to that prophet will be completely cut off from the people.’ In addition, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, have also announced these days” (Acts 3:22-24).

Peter announced, “The Savior, the Deliverer, you prayed for has come! Jesus!” Matter of fact, Peter went on to say these very words: “God raised up his servant and sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways” (Acts 3:26).

Man never was, isn’t and never will be capable of being sinless on his own. He needs a Savior. And even having met and accepted that Savior, we still tend to disobey, to sin. But the amazing grace of God continues to cover our sins as we confess them, and the Holy Spirit continues to indwell each and every believer to convict them not to sin. No natural man doesn’t have a desire to sin, but thanks to the tremendous mercy of our Heavenly Father, we have an Advocate who sticks with us and keeps us guiding away from what can hurt us and toward the One who loves us.

If we’re to be like Jesus, guess what? We’re to be doing the very same thing: guiding people away from what can hurt them and pointing them toward the Savior. Is that what your life is doing? Ask the Lord to give you divine appointments to share the Good News with others.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


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In Chapter 49 of Genesis the elderly Jacob lies dying, and he calls his sons to him and prophecies over them. Here we find this beautiful passage of Scripture: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, or the staff from between his feet, until he whose right it is comes and the obedience of the peoples belongs to him” (Genesis 49:10, HCSB).

“The scepter,” the staff or symbol of kingship was with Jacob’s son Judah. And who was Jacob? In Genesis 32:28 God changes Jacob’s name to ISRAEL, so the tribes of Israel are the families growing out of the sons of Jacob, or Israel. Judah was one of these sons, and the one through whom the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ, would be manifested.

Moving over to the New Testament, we see it begins with Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus: “Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers, Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Aram, Aram fathered Aminadab, Aminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered King David. David fathered Solomon by Uriah’s wife [Bathsheeba], Solomon fathered Rehoboam, Rehoboam fathered Abijah, Abijah fathered Asa, Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat fathered Joram, Joram fathered Uzziah, Uzziah fathered Jotham, Jotham fathered Ahaz, Ahaz fathered Hezekiah, Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, Manasseh fathered Amon, Amon fathered Josiah, and Josiah fathered Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. Then after the exile to Babylon Jechoniah fathered Salathiel, Salathiel fathered Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, Abiud fathered Eliakim, Eliakim fathered Azor, Azor fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Achim, Achim fathered Eliud, Eliud fathered Eleazar, Eleazar fathered Matthan, Matthan fathered Jacob, and Jacob fathered Joseph, the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus who is called the Messiah” (Matthew 1:2-16).

All that waiting, and at last Jacob/Israel most assuredly saw the fulfillment of his God-given prophecy concerning his son Judah.

Child of God, your wait may be long, but hold on. God is faithful, and He will fulfill every promise that He’s given you.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


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“The Lord said to Abram: ‘…I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through’” (Genesis 12:1a, 3, HCSB).

Remember, God later changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s to Sarah. But even before this, God had made Abraham a promise: “…all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

We see this again in Genesis 18:18, after God has changed their names and after they have been told that the elderly Sarah would give birth to a son: “Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.”

Don’t miss that – “…through him.” Through Christ Jesus our Lord. The God of the Impossible made an elderly childless couple a great part of the lineage of the Lion of Judah. God can do great things with ANYONE who is fully surrendered to His leadership. I pray that you are that submitted.

And now for the New Testament fulfillment. Luke records Peter addressing the crowd in the temple complex: “You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your forefathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth will be blessed.’ God raised up His Servant and sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways (Acts 3:25-26).

What had happened here? If you look back to the beginning of Acts 3, you see Peter and John on their way to the temple. At one of the gates a man born crippled has been laid to beg from passersby. He calls out to them for money, but Peter, instead of meeting his APPARENT need, meets his TRUE need: “…Peter said, I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have, I give to you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (Acts 3:6).

Was the crippled man’s true need to walk? No. The man needed to know Jesus. But the Lord also wanted the man to see that He could meet his physical need for healing.

We need to be careful and prayerful to look beyond people’s apparent or conceived needs and look for the true need within them. When a person doesn’t know Jesus, all the self-help programs in the world won’t fix the problem, nor will all the other helping hands or programs.

Am I saying not to meet people’s physical needs? No, I’m saying to be intelligent about how you choose to help anyone. A person who is able but won’t work doesn’t need help paying his bills so he can keep on not working – he needs encouragement and maybe some very tough love to help him get out and earn his own living.

Every situation is unique and requires prayerful consideration. Yes, we are to minister in the name of Jesus to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of others; but we are to do it in a way that honors the Lord and seeks to draw those people to Him.

Friday, October 26, 2012


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We’re at Genesis 3:15: “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike His heel” (Genesis 3:15, HCSB).

This verse lets us know that Genesis is going to show us the pathways of the two seeds. Remember, everything in the Bible is leading up to Jesus. Early on, we see the division as Cain chooses the way of rebellion and murders his own brother Abel. Seth, the child born to Adam and Eve after the murder of Abel, is the forefather of Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Jacob – the lineage of the Seed of Jesus Christ.

There are always two clear choices: the way of the world, which is following the pathway of Satan; or the way of the Lord, which is following the pathway of the Savior. In Galatians 4:4-5 Paul explains Jesus’ fulfillment of His role as Messiah:

“But when the completion of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

Look back at Genesis 3:15: “The woman” and “her Seed.” In God’s perfect timing He sent His Son to be “born of a woman.” He chose to be “born under the law.” Why?

For a sacrifice to be acceptable it had to be perfect; and it had to be the right kind of sacrifice. Sure, the blood of sheep, bulls and goats were accepted as temporary fixes for man’s sin, but what was needed was a permanent solution. Only a perfect man could once-and-for-all pay the sin-debt of mankind, and there wasn’t one – until Jesus. He, out of His great love for all of us, left the glory of heaven and was born of Mary to be the sacrificial Lamb of God.

So we see in Galatians the fulfillment of God’s words spoken hundreds of years before in Genesis 3:15.

Since we’re been looking at seeds, I hope you’re thinking about yours. What sort of seed are you sowing? A harvest is coming your way; may it be a great one for His glory!

“Now the one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness, as you are enriched in every way for all generosity” (II Corinthians 9:10-11a).

Thursday, October 25, 2012


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With Christmas only weeks away, let’s take a look at some of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. We’re going to look not only at where the passage is found, but when it was written, and when it was fulfilled: The dates of the prophecies range from 1450BC to 430BC; the fulfillments date from 45 to 95AD. We begin at the beginning, in the book of Genesis.

“I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike His heel” (Genesis 3:15, HCSB).

What’s happening when these words are spoken, and who’s doing the speaking? At the prompting of the serpent – that is, Satan – Eve ate the forbidden fruit of the tree of life and gave it to her husband Adam, who also ate it. They then realized they were naked and were embarrassed at their uncovered bodies, so they hid themselves.

Why? Because, according to Genesis 3:8, they “…heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden…” Can you imagine! The first two humans had such intimacy with the Lord that He literally came down and walked with them in the garden that He had created for them to live in!

And they traded that kind of fellowship for a bite of fruit. How foolish! And yet how often are we guilty of the very same sin? We’d rather read the newspaper than the Bible; we’d rather watch a sit-com than a sermon; we’d rather be done FOR than to do for others. And yet we know we’re to be like Jesus.

God Himself is speaking, talking to the serpent as He speaks the words of Genesis 3:15. He was saying that mankind and Satan would be continually at war with each other, but He was saying something far more specific:

“Your seed.” The “seed” of Satan – is rebellion, sin, which came into the world when Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation of the serpent. Satan is the author of all rebellious behavior.

“Her Seed.” The Messiah would be born of woman, fully man and yet fully God. He would be attacked by Satan – “you will strike His heel,” (a wounding blow) but He would have the victory: “He will strike your head” (a death blow).

Eve was deceived and Adam along with her. Yet fallen humanity is redeemed by a Savior who is born of a human, a woman. How’s that for grace and mercy?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


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Amos concludes with the promise of the Lord to His people when they have repented and turned to Him:

“In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be… The days are coming… when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. I will bring back my exiled people Israel… They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them” (Amos 9:11, 12-15).

God restores the fallen. God heals the broken. He never forsakes those He loves; and the Bible makes it clear that He loves “the world” (John 3:16) and accepts all who repent and “call on the Name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13).

When the Lord Jesus Christ reigns over the earth, His people will experience the three things spoken of in today’s passage: prosperity; fertility; and security.

(1) Prosperity. “New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. They will plants vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.” There will be abundance and it won’t belong to a select few, but to the entire family of God.

(2) Fertility. “The reaper will be overtaken by the plowman… The planter by the one treading grapes.” Talk about your bumper crop! Read this carefully. There will be no more waiting! Never again will there be an unfulfilled need.

(3) Security. “I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them.” God’s people will live with Him forever!

Praise God! Doesn’t it thrill you to think of what Jesus has ready for you? Don’t you want your friends and family to share in it?

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him” (First Corinthians 2:9).

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture is from the New International Version (NIV).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

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We’re continuing our look at the Lord’s indictment against Israel:

“Surely the eyes of the Sovereign Lord are on the sinful kingdom. I will destroy it from the face of the earth – yet I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob”
(Amos 9:8).

“The eyes of the Sovereign Lord”
see everything and everyone. No sin is hidden from Him, no matter how many people are fooled by the front a person puts on. Israel may have done a fine job of looking “religious,” but God knew that their hearts were far from Him. And even though He did and does show enormous patience, He eventually is left with no choice but to render discipline on the wayward person or nation.

But weren’t there some “good” people in Israel? Certainly; including the prophet Amos. But sin is never contained. It spreads like gangrene and it contaminates all who come in contact with it. The alcoholic or drug addict parent causes untold grief for their spouses, children and other family members and friends. The money-holic who keeps his or her family buried in debt does likewise. And sin is sin. God is no more pleased with the irresponsible money manager than He is with the alcoholic or drug addict.

Yet He also reminds us of His mercy. Even though the nation of Israel was sinful, He promised not to “destroy it” completely. And He goes on to make a very important additional statement:

“All the sinners among My people will die by the sword” (Amos 9:10a).

That may not sound too cheery, but look at this verse carefully. While the whole country may suffer greatly for their corporate/collective sin, the emphasis here is on individual accountability: “All the sinners.”

God is patient and loving and merciful, but He will only allow so much disobedience from a person or a nation who claims to belong to Him. The United States is in a heap of trouble, folks. Why? The individual believers are doing little or nothing to reach others with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Mormonism and Islam/Muslimism are our fastest growing religions simply because the followers of those faiths are actively inviting others to know more about what they believe in.

How about you? Yesterday is past; let’s talk about today. Who is coming to faith in Jesus Christ because of your witness? How many people will you share the Good News with this week? What does your life this very day tell others about Jesus? I pray that your walk and talk draw others to Him.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture is from the New International Version (NIV).

Monday, October 22, 2012


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The Lord isn’t through with what He has to say to His people Israel. Amid even more rightful accusations, He tells them that He hears what they are saying, namely:

“When will the new moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath ended that we may market wheat?” (Amos 8:5a).

The Israelites watched the clock, so to speak, waiting for the religious holidays and Sabbaths to be over so they could get back to business. Yes, they went through the motions of worshiping Almighty God; but He who sees all hearts knew that they were worshiping the almighty dollar.

We who don’t own businesses may enjoy a Sunday off, but what do we do so often? Use our “day of rest” (see Exodus 20:8-11) to catch up on all the work and shopping we weren’t able to do all week.

When I was a kid, my little town “rolled up the sidewalk” at 5pm. Businesses closed at noon on Wednesdays and weren’t open at all on Sundays. Why? People wanted to be home with their families in the evenings. People wanted to be in church on Wednesday nights and on Sundays.

Even more astounding, most restaurants followed the same schedule. People had their evening meals at home and Sunday dinners meant gatherings of friends and families in homes. And people actually managed to put gas in their cars and have the necessary food and other items taken care of before Sunday rolled around.

How’d all that change? Greed. People saw more opportunities to make money. People saw ways to get out of cooking. Stores started staying open a little later. Service stations opened on Sundays. Restaurants began offering Sunday lunches. And as the old saying goes, one thing led to another.

I’m as conditioned to these changes as the next person, but can you imagine how much less hectic our lives would be if Sundays were treated as Sabbaths? If churches didn’t schedule every meeting for Sunday afternoons and evenings. If Christians weren’t out shopping on Sundays. If believers gathered as friends and family and enjoyed meals and fellowship in home settings.

Like hamsters on wheels, we’re running because we’re on the wheels. We don’t know how to get off. We don’t know how or why we ever got on in the first place. And yet we still feel the need to keep pace with all the other hamsters.

Folks, it’s time to slow down. Get rid of some of the busyness in your life. And when you do, you’ll find time for Jesus. And you’ll also find that He’s exactly what you’ve been missing most of all.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture is from the New International Version (NIV).

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Time to introduce you to, Vacation Rentals By Owner. Why pay the extra fees tacked on by rental agencies when you can rent directly from the owner? VRBO includes houses, cabins & condos all over the world! Right now low season in many U.S. locations is coming up, which means fewer tourists & lower prices - the perfect time for a getaway! With that in mind, here are just a couple of examples:

Gulf Shores/Orange Beach/Fort Morgan, Alabama offers gorgeous white sand beaches & November thru February prices that are sure to please your wallet. And the weather is generally sunny with short-sleeves 'n' shorts temperatures in the daytime and jacket temps at night.
Gulf Shores Plantation out on Fort Morgan Road includes sun suites, efficiencies that sleep up to 4 people & go for as low as $300 a week this time of year.
The Resort at Governor's Crossing in Sevierville, TN has its own indoor & outdoor waterpark! And this 1BR unit sleeps up to 6 people & rents as low as $310 a week or $45 a night (weekdays) Jan.-Feb. Low season in this area? November, January & February.

Some owners include all fees in their pricing; others add lodging tax & cleaning fees.  Most provide all this info directly in the listing. If you have questions, you can contact each listing's owner via a convenient email form on the listing page.


Yesterday we looked this rightful accusation the Lord makes against Israel:

“I despise the pride and false glory of Israel, and hate their beautiful homes” (Amos 6:8, Living Bible paraphrase).

I brought us to the present by pointing out how many of us live in “beautiful homes” with huge monthly payments that we manage to meet, even though we return little or no money to the Lord through our churches or other Christian organizations.

It boils down to this, folks: you can’t be STUFFED-obsessed and be CHRIST-possessed. If you’ve given Jesus Christ Lordship over every area of your life, there’s no place left for obsessing on materialism, because where Jesus reigns, He’s enough.

Am I saying that a true believer isn’t going to want nice things? Of course not. But a true believer who is totally committed to the Lord Jesus Christ isn’t going to have nice things while refusing to give to the work of the Lord. And a truly sold-out believer isn’t going to ignore the needs of others while he stacks up stuff for himself.

As we move closer to Christmas, I hope you’ll spend some serious time in the Word of God and in reordering your priorities. Spend less on stuff this Christmas. Refuse to spend for things you can’t pay cash for. Instead of giving to those who already have more than enough, agree among your friends and family to put that money to better use by providing for those less fortunate.

If you don’t think your little bit of money can make a difference, let me ask you to take a quick quiz:

Not even considering all those unnecessary (and often unwanted) gifts we buy each Christmas, how much money do Americans spend just on CANDY during the holiday season? Is it more money than the annual budget of:

(1) The American Cancer Society;
(2) The American Heart Association;
(3) Habitat for Humanity; or
(4) All three combined.

If you chose Number 4, you answered correctly. Can you think of better ways and places to give your time and money this Christmas season?

“Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and… your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (Second Corinthians 9:10-11).

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture is from the New International Version (NIV).

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Jansport Air Cure Backpack - Pink Prep Hippy Skip - Online OnlyDid you know you could shop Belk online? Their clearance section is loaded with great buys in every department, like this $90 JANSPORT BACKPACK for $26.99. 

$30 FETCO PERFECT PASTIMES FLORAL MOTIF FRAME for $8.99; holds a 7"x5" photo. 

$60 SILK/POLY 24" ZINNIA WREATH for $17.99. 

$40 ZEBRA STRIPE LAP DESK for $11.99 in purple or pink. 

$80 COOKS TOOLS 12-PC GLASS BAKE 'N' STORAGE SET for $29.99; 6 different sizes of glass containers + tight-sealing lids.


What else does the Lord have to say against Israel?

“I despise the pride and false glory of Israel, and hate their beautiful homes” (Amos 6:8, Living Bible paraphrase).

Was the Lord angry at the Israelites for having nice houses? No. He was angry that the “haves” could enjoy such wealth without giving a thought to those around them who were needy. He hated the “pride and false glory” of the Israelites.

The Israelites were proud of the fact that they were God’s chosen people. They thought themselves above others and, in spite of countless disciplines, continually set themselves smugly upon a pedestal, thus enthroning themselves in their “pride and false glory” and dethroning the very One who chose them and set them apart.

How often I hear a Christian talk about how foolish the Israelites of the Bible were to treat the Lord as they did. And yet look at us Christians. We go to church if the wind’s blowing in the right direction or if it’s not blowing at all. We crawl to work with our noses dripping and our eyes watering; but if little Susie even has a sniffle Sunday morning, the entire family has to stay home and help her recover.

We can quote more of what The View or Judge Judy has to say than we can Scripture. We slap those fish emblems onto the rear of our cars and then break the speed limit; run traffic lights; cut people off in traffic; and in general, show people that Jesus Christ hasn’t done much of anything to make us different from the unbelievers.

We live in “beautiful homes” that are mortgaged and re-mortgaged up to our eyeballs. We manage to scrape up that big payment each month, but return little or no money to the Lord through our churches or even through organizations who help those less fortunate.

Folks, until WE aren’t the center of our attention, CHRIST can’t be who He’s supposed to be in our lives. And until people see Him as the center of our lives, they aren’t going to see Him at all – they’re going to see messed-up people with wrong priorities who give unbelievers a totally wrong impression of what the Christian life is all about.

You’ve heard this expression before, but bring it down to you and you alone: YOU’RE the only Jesus some may ever see. What does your life tell others about Him?

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture is from the New International Version (NIV).

Friday, October 19, 2012


White cross on top of a Holy BibleWelcome! добро пожаловать! 오신 것을 환영합니다! Selamat datang! 歡迎!! Välkommen! Willkommen! Accueil! Welkom! I am honored to have people from so many countries visiting this blog and reading the Bible passages each day. Blessings to all you!


If you're not familiar with, it's time you got acquainted! In addition to airfare, cruises, Broadway show tickets & all sorts of odds 'n' ends, SkyAuction sells tons of unused timeshare weeks. No, you're not buying a timeshare & you won't be tortured through any sort of sales pitch or tour when you take advantage of any of these deals. You're simply paying for a 7-night vacation at a great resort & getting a fabulous bargain in the process.

There's no hidden charges with these auctions & Buy-It-Now offers. Every detail is clearly defined in each listing. Many of the auctions are for specific dates or a specific range of dates while others are for certificates that can be used at any available location during a wide range of dates. A lot of the auctions open & close at $1 for the entire week! The catch? Plainly stated you'll see taxes, etc. tacked on - usually $199-$299. And there's always a $20 processing fee added. So, if you win at $1, you'll pay a total of somewhere between $220 & $320 for a full week's vacation! Now that's what I call a bargain!

These auctions end today:

7 NIGHTS in a 1BR CONDO at PEPPERTREE BY THE SEA in MYRTLE BEACH, SC for dates Nov., 2012-Feb., 2013. (If you choose Christmas week, there's a $250 additional charge.)

7 NIGHTS in a STUDIO CONDO at PALACE VIEW BY SPINNAKER in BRANSON, MO for dates now thru April, 2013. Upgrade to a 1BR for $100 extra or a 2BR for $200 extra. If you choose the week of Dec. 1 or Dec. 29, there's an added charge of $150.


We’re still in the book of Amos and the Lord is speaking through His prophet Amos to the people of Israel. He’s told them:

“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring Me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring Me choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps!” (Amos 5:21-23).

And why did the Lord reject Israel’s worship? One word is a big part of the answer:

“Woe to you who are complacent in Zion…” (Amos 6:1a).

What does the word “complacent” mean? Pleased with yourself; self-satisfied. The Israelites went through the motions of worship, but in their hearts they were smugly content in and of themselves. In other words, they foolishly thought that their half-hearted worship placated (appeased, pacified) the Lord and that was all they really needed to do.

And so He continues His charges against them: “You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and calves. Your strum away on your harps like David and improvise on your musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions…” (Amos 6:4-6a).

To put it into today’s terminology, the Israelites lived like they had it “made in the shade.” No worries, mon. They had a lot of nice stuff and they loved it. Was having the stuff the problem? No. Being “complacent” was their problem. Amos 6:6 ends with this:

“…caring nothing at all that your brothers need your help” (Living Bible paraphrase).

The well-to-dos looked around at those in need and yawned. Those who had more than enough looked at those who were doing without and said, “It ain’t my problem.”

But it was their problem. And people in need today are our problem. As members of the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ, we aren’t to ignore the needy – we’re to help them.

As we sit down to our meals of abundance, let’s remember those less fortunate and thank the Lord for putting the food on our tables. But even before we do that, let’s do something radical and Christ-like: invite a lonely person to share our meal. Take a meal to someone who’d appreciate a good hot dinner. Do something to show that we have the time and the compassion to touch a life less fortunate than our own.

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me. Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me” (Jesus speaking, Matthew 25:40, 45).

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture is from the New International Version (NIV).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

BARGAINS OF THE DAY! boasts a big selection of daily specials with impressive markdowns like this $99.99 18" FRESHWATER PEARL NECKLACE for $12.99.

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The Lord had a problem with how His people were doing “church” in Amos’ time. Let’s see if we see any correlation with today’s churches:

“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring Me offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring Me choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps!” (Amos 5:21-23).

We can go through all the “right” motions and fail to please God. How’s that? Look at Jesus’ words to the religious know-it-alls of His day: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence” (Matthew 23:25).

In other words, as the Lord said to Samuel, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). He saw the hearts of His people in the Old Testament; He saw the hearts of the people in the New Testament; and He sees the hearts of the people who claim His Name today.

And sadly, we’re sometimes no different than those other folks. We’re “full of greed and self-indulgence.” We do “church as usual.” We may tithe; teach; sing; or play music – we may even do all four! But God knows our hearts – and so often what He sees within us breaks His.

God’s people should be the last people on earth to be dishonest. God’s people should be the last people on earth to lack compassion, since they’re indwelt by Compassion Incarnate. God’s people should know that going to church is going to the FILLING station and that the work is OUT IN THE FIELDS.

We can’t mistreat others and rightly represent Jesus. And there’s more to mistreating than we sometimes think about. Neglect is a form of mistreatment. I personally know pastors who stand in the pulpit and preach the love of Jesus while refusing to forgive and reconcile with people who have offended them. I personally know of believers who wouldn’t dare miss a church service, but they allow their elderly parents to sit home alone day after day without so much as a phone call. God forgive us!

And He wants to. He wants us to repent. And He wants us to be like Him – He even tells us how: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24).

We’ve received far more than “justice” from our Heavenly Father – He’s extended His grace and mercy. Do likewise; treat others fairly. We’ve been given “the righteousness of God” (Second Corinthians 5:21) through our Lord Jesus Christ. Walk in Him. Walk like Him.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture is from the New International Version (NIV).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


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We’ve seen God’s words of judgment against the six nations surrounding His people Israel: Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon and Moab. And we’ve seen His judgment upon disobedient Judah (southern kingdom). Now He speaks to Israel (northern kingdom):

“…I will not turn back My wrath. They sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed” (Amos 2:6-7a).

The people of Israel had become self-centered, self-absorbed, self-pleasing. They sold as slaves anyone who owed them money and couldn’t pay; and they sold slaves even when doing so meant separating families. The “haves” had no regard for the “have nots.” Sound familiar?

But the Lord was just getting started. He continues through the next chapters:

“As a shepherd saves from the lion’s mouth only two leg bones or a piece of an ear, so will the Israelites be saved…” (Amos 3:12a).

“I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to Me” (Amos 4:6).

“‘You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the Lord. ‘Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God…’” (Amos 4:11b-12).

In spite of warning after warning, God’s people refused to repent. He names a number of disasters that failed to get their attention, repeating after each one, “Yet you have not returned to Me.”

Did the Lord give up on His people? No. Instead, He tells them, “seek Me and live” (Amos 5:4a). And again He pleads with them, “Seek the Lord and live” (Amos 5:6a). And “Seek good, not evil, that you may live” (Amos 5:14).

Our merciful God hates sin, but loves the sinner. No good parent refuses to discipline His child; and the Best Parent of All is certainly no exception. He wants His people to obey Him. He wants His people to live as He has called them to live. He wants His people to position themselves for His blessings, not His discipline.

It’s back to that choice thing. Right this very moment your life is either positioned for blessing or discipline. Which is it?

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture is from the New International Version (NIV).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Christmas is just a little over two months away, so I hope you're already well into finishing your Christmas shopping & that you're paying cash as you. has a sale section full of good markdowns, like this $19.50 SHERIFF WOODY TOY STORY PLUSH for $8.

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I want to add one more comment about the end of our Amos passage: “…I will send fire upon Judah…” (Amos 2:4b-5a).

Fire is used as a symbol of God’s presence and as a figurative or literal representation of His power. Let’s look at a few passages:

Numbers 11:1-2: “Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when He heard them His anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down.”

First Kings 18:36-38: “At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: ‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and have done all these things at Your command. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You are turning their hearts back again.’ Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord – He is God! The Lord – He is God!’”

Exodus 13:21: “By day the Lord went ahead of them [the Israelites] in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”

Revelation 1:14: “His head and [His] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes [were] as a flame of fire.”

Hebrews 12:29 (quoting Deuteronomy 4:24): “For our God is a consuming fire.

Matthew 13:40: “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.”

Fire represents the presence of the Lord and it represents the judgment of the Lord. But it also represents the purifying of the Lord. Isaiah 6:5-7: “‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’ Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’”

If you have accepted His free pardon of sin, Jesus Christ has already redeemed you and set you free. He experienced the fiery trial and suffering of crucifixion and death so that you wouldn’t have to know the eternal suffering of “…the second death…” (see Revelation 20:14). If He never did another thing for you, hasn’t He done enough already?

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture is from the New International Version (NIV).

Monday, October 15, 2012


Set of 4 Carved Woodland Sports Animal OrnamentsThe outlet section of is packed with great buys like this $18 SET OF 4 ANIMAL ORNAMENTS for $4.50. Other bargains:


$129-$149 MARIMEKKO GINKGO & BILOBA DUVET COVER - $39.95-$49.95 in full/queen or king. $39.95 matching standard sham - $4.95.




Another look at these verses from Amos: “…I will not turn back My wrath. Because they have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept His decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed, I will send fire upon Judah…” (Amos 2:4b-5a).

We’ve seen why the Lord is angry with His people. They (1) “…rejected the law of the Lord.” (2) They didn’t keep “…His decrees.” (3) They allowed themselves to be “…led astray by false gods.” (4) And they followed the “…the gods their ancestors followed.”

What “gods” have our ancestors followed? The same ones many of us are following today. For the vast majority, the god of America is not Jesus Christ – it’s stuff. Materialism. We want a better job so that we can make more money. We need a better job to pay for the stuff we’ve already acquired. And when we get a better job or an increase in pay at our current one, we want to use it to acquire more stuff so we can owe more money. We’re so used to the rhythm of indebtedness that it never occurs to us to stop the cycle.

After the Depression, when people began to get back on their feet, everyone wanted “to give my kids better than I had growing up.” It was a great sentiment at the time. Today, for most of us, it means shoveling nonstop money into insatiable appetites. We’ve conditioned our kids – and ourselves – to believe that we not only should have what we want, but that we deserve what we want. Truth is, we’re getting what we deserve when we overextend ourselves and find ourselves chained to the debt monster. Money is a tool, not a god; and it’s a monstrous master when it has you in its power.

But note the end of our verses for today: “I will send fire upon Judah.” Six judgments had already been issued by God to the surrounding nations: Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon and Moab – see Amos 1:3-2:3. Now the Lord is dealing with His own people. And because they sinned just like the people around them, they’ll be judged just like the nations around them.

First Corinthians 3:11-15 tells us: “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: God don’t play. (Bad English; good theology.) Unless we get serious about our walk with the Lord, we’re headed for a fiery judgment.

Get real or get left. That’s what it boils down to.

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture is from the New International Version (NIV).

Sunday, October 14, 2012


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