Friday, November 30, 2012


CLEARANCE Hinged Round Toad on Tobacco Leaf BoxIt may not be Tuesday, but is still a super spot to look for bargains. Check out these finds:


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We’re continuing our look at the fall of man. How’d it all start? Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17, NASB).

How do we know that God had strictly forbidden this? Look at Genesis 2:15-17: “The Lord God placed the man (Adam) in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, ‘You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden – except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die’” (NLT).

Now here comes an approach you may have never heard, but pun intended, I think it’s some good food for thought. Where was Eve when Adam received God’s warning? God had yet to create her. It isn’t until Genesis 2:22 that we read: “Then the Lord God made a woman… and He brought her to the man.”

So Adam received the warning about steering clear of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” But did he share this information with his wife? I have no doubt whatsoever that he did. Since she was a newcomer to the Garden, I imagine Adam spent time every day introducing Eve to all the wonders the Garden had to offer.

But did God ever speak the warning directly to Eve? The Bible doesn’t tell us. We do know, though, that God Himself came down and walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve – see Genesis 3:8. I’d call that pretty intimate fellowship, wouldn’t you?

Yet Eve “took some of the fruit and ate it” (Genesis 3:6b) after the serpent talked her into it. Why? Had I been Eve, my excuse would have been: secondhand information. “God told Adam, but He didn’t say a word about this to me.” And if I as Eve got hit with, “Yeah, but didn’t Adam tell you?” I’d still be ready with a comeback: “Yes, he told me many times. But still, if it was all that important, wouldn’t God have told me Himself?”

We can all come up with great excuses for doing wrong, which is the sugar-coated way of saying committing sin; and oftentimes the “secondhand info” line is a handy one. I frequently talk to a person about something the Bible says and get the response, “I didn’t know it said that!”

Folks, the Bible isn’t secondhand information – it’s the Living Word speaking directly to those for whom He came and died. Not knowing what the Bible says is inexcusable for most people reading this – we have no idea what it’s like not to have access to the written Word of God.

Is what I’ve written here the truth? Is what your preacher said last Sunday the truth? Is what your Bible study teacher telling you the truth? What about that radio or TV evangelist? Don’t base your beliefs on secondhand information. As Romans 1:20 puts it, every person will one day stand before the Lord God Almighty “without excuse” (ESV). Read and know the Word of God for yourself.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


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“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21, NASB).

When and why did God make “garments of skin for Adam and” Eve? After they had eaten the forbidden fruit: “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (God speaking, Genesis 2:17).

So let’s see: Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God had warned them that, if they did, “you will surely die.” But they didn’t die, did they? They were still standing right there in the Garden. Hang onto that thought and we’ll get back to it.

What did happen immediately? “They knew that they were naked” (Genesis 3:7b). So what did they do? “They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings” (Genesis 3:7c). What do we see in these two portions of Genesis 3:7? That: (A) Adam and Eve’s innocence died the moment they disobeyed God; and (B) what they came up with to cover themselves was inadequate.

When a person disobeys the teachings of God, he or she sins. We can call it messing up, making a mistake or doing your own thing, but whatever you call it, it’s still plain ol’ sin. And First John 4:8 and 16 remind us that “God is love.” Sin is the very opposite of love. Why? Because to sin is to disobey, to turn away from, to HATE the very goodness of God and His teachings.

The Lord explains in Ezekiel 14:7 that “When [a person] separates himself from Me (NIV), he “fall[s] into sin” (NLT). You can’t ignore God’s warnings without suffering the consequences.

Adam and Eve didn’t drop dead when they ate the forbidden fruit, but their innocence immediately was lost. Not only that, but their eternal lives were lost.

And there was only One Way to fix that problem. There’s a lot more meat in this passage, so hang with me and we’ll cover some more of this tomorrow. Meanwhile, let me ask you: do you know without a shadow of a doubt where you’ll spend eternity? Have you asked anyone else that question?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


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“As God’s manager,… be… hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:7-9, HCSB).

Yesterday we looked at how we are to “[hold] to the faithful message as taught.” We are to know the Word so we can share the Word, and the frightening truth is that most Christians don’t know the Scriptures.

So let’s bring it down to each one of us: if you have the only Bible in the world and it is suddenly taken away from you, how much of God’s Word is “treasured… in [your] heart” (Psalm 119:11)? How much would you be able to recall to sustain yourself, encourage others and lead new people to Jesus?

Paul goes on to tell Titus that there are two major reasons for “holding to the faithful message as taught.” One is “so that [we] will be able… to encourage with sound teaching?” How “sound” is your teaching? How often do you teach? Whether negatively or positively, every aspect of our lives teaches other people what Christ really means to us, what kind of a difference He has made in our lives.

“But,” you say, “I don’t know that much of the Bible, so I’m not comfortable talking about Scripture.” Honey-lamb, get in the Word so that you CAN be comfortable! Meanwhile, ask the Holy Spirit to give you that desire to study and learn more of His Message. And ask Him for boldness to live in such a way that people will want to know what makes you different.

Yes, you need to know as much about the Word of God as you can possibly learn. But that kind of learning will never be ended until we reach heaven and completely understand what we have been given, “the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16). The greatest pastors, the greatest Christians walking this planet, continually study and learn and grow in His likeness. We are to do likewise.

A part of that growth is through sharing what He’s taught us. Don’t be ashamed to witness about what Christ has done for you, and don’t be hesitant to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll sure find out and get back to you.” Satan thoroughly enjoys prodding a believer to feel incapable and incompetent to share the Good News. Don’t give him that victory in your life – share from the heart and freely admit that you’re a long way from having all the answers. Just be ready to tell them you know the One Answer that matters most of all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


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As God’s manager,… be… hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:7-9, HCSB).

“Self-controlled.” How can we be “self-controlled” and yet completely submit ourselves to God’s control? Even when we are centered in Christ, we are still very much conscious of our human nature. We CHOOSE our response in every situation by choosing whether or not we respond in a manner as would Jesus.

When you’re driving in traffic and someone cuts in front of you, you decide whether to let it go or to react as foolishly as the driver whom you just allowed to upset you. And did you catch that word “allowed?” Part of making those mature Christ-like choices is deciding what we will allow to bend us out of shape.

Several years ago I underwent jaw surgery. It wasn’t fun, but it had to be done. Sure, I could regale you with tales of what an ordeal it was, but you know what? I look around me and see that, in the big picture, ALL my problems are so very small. I have two friends on hospice care as I write this and so many others I could name who are going through all sorts of serious difficulties right now. Compared to a jillion other people, I am teetotally blessed.

Being “self-controlled” means we can speak positively and refuse to dwell on negative topics or aspects even when, if we get honest, our human nature prefers to home in on unpleasantness. There are more than enough party poopers around without us adding to the numbers. We aren’t the People of the News nor the People of the Bad News – we’re the People of the Good News, and we need to sound like it!

We are also to “[hold] to the faithful message as taught.” Paul delivered to Titus the Gospel Truth. We are to do likewise. We are to know the Word so we can share the Word. Problem is, if most Christians’ knowledge of the Scriptures was their only ammunition, they’d be hard-pressed to ward off an assault by a kid shooting BBs!

Is the Word really our ammunition? Could it be that our lack of Scripture knowledge is the reason we find ourselves getting clobbered in so many skirmishes against the enemy? Read the temptations of Christ (see Luke 4:1-13) and you’ll see that Jesus used the same weapon in every battle: the Word.

Yes, Christ has already won the war, but we, IN THE POWER OF CHRIST, still have to fight daily battles. Know the Word and suit up for battle (see Ephesians 6:10-18).

Monday, November 26, 2012


28-oz can pumpkin (not pie filling – just plain ol’ pumpkin)
16-oz can chicken broth
16 oz. Half ‘n’ Half (heavy cream)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients and heat (not boil) on the stove top or in a crock pot.


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“Seventy years are given to us!
Some even live to eighty.
But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;
soon they disappear, and we fly away.
Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom”
(Psalm 90:10, 12, NLT).

Moses, with the weight of the entire people of Israel on his shoulders, penned the words of Psalm 90. The people had more fear of the enemy than confidence in the Lord, and the Lord was furious. Moses pleaded with the Lord and He relented of destroying the people. But they paid a great price for their lack of faith. The Lord pronounced His sentence:

“…as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen My glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested Me by refusing to listen to My voice. They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated Me with contempt will ever see it” (Numbers 14:21-23).

Only Caleb and Joshua, the two explorers who had believed God would give them the victory over anything that stood in the way of their taking possession of the Promised Land, would ever see their faith become reality.

Caleb and Joshua spoke in faith that they would possess the Promised Land, and they did. The rest of the people cried out, “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” (Numbers 14:2). Seems to me both groups got what they were expecting.

Words are powerful. Are you speaking negatives or positives?

Sunday, November 25, 2012


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Although Naaman suffered from some form of contagious skin disease considered to be leprosy, he was still allowed to hold the position of commander of the Aramean army. A captive young Israelite girl who served as maid to Naaman’s wife told her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy” (II Kings 5:4, NLT).

Naaman’s wife saw genuine faith in the young Israelite girl and told Naaman what she had said. This prompted Namaan to go to Elisha, along with an entourage of soldiers and horses:

“But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: ‘Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.’ But Naaman became angry and stalked away” (II Kings 5:10-11a).

Naaman was used to the royal treatment and Elisha didn’t even come out of his house to meet him. Naaman fumed, “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel?” (from II Kings 5:11-12).

Angry with both Elisha’s lack of respect for his position of authority and for his absurd-sounding instructions, Naaman left in anger. But the men who had accompanied him asked him, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s” (from II Kings 5:13-14).

God’s way is the only way. Naaman could have dipped himself in every puddle of water between Elisha’s house and his own and still not have been healed. Why? Because that’s not the way God said to do it. There is but one way to be healed of sin. It isn’t complicated, but it is specific: the Way is Jesus.

“Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel” (Naaman’s words from II Kings 5:15).

Saturday, November 24, 2012


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“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations!” (Obadiah, verse 15, NLT).

How do you end up with a godless nation? Fill a country with godless people. Over and over God warned His people to obey Him or suffer the consequences; and over and over they turned away from Him and chased after false gods and materialism. And every time they did, God punished them.

Nothing has changed about God. He still expects obedience and He still disciplines His children when they disobey Him. Each one of us was assigned the fulfillment of the Great Commission the moment we gave Jesus Christ His rightful place of Lordship over our lives. I am and you are to “go and make disciples” and we are to teach “them to obey everything” God’s Word says (from Matthew 28:19-20, NIV).

Based on your own performance, how are we doing? How many people have you shared the love of Jesus with today? In all the time since you became a believer, how many people can thank you for telling them how to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

A recent study concluded that about 20 percent of America’s 118 million people are in church on Sunday. One out of five, although the vast majority of U.S. citizens consider themselves Christians.

Somehow we’ve softened Christianity into something we can take or leave, dependent on what day of the week it is or how we feel. We somehow think that a little bit of religion is “good enough.” According to God, it ain’t.

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”
(Jesus speaking, Revelation 3:15-16, NLT).

Friday, November 23, 2012


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Black Friday – the day when bargain hunters hit the stores in droves, looking for the items to fill their Christmas wish lists. While I’m definitely into bargains, I’m not into getting a deal at someone else’s expense. Clearly that’s not everybody’s mindset. A few Black Friday incidents:

A Los Angeles woman pepper-sprayed at least 20 people in order to get in line ahead of them for a store opening. In a store in upstate New York, a man was arrested after getting into a fist fight with two women. And who can forget the report of the store employee who was trampled to death by the crowd who shoved down the doors of the store five minutes before opening time? All in the name of saving a dollar.

I recently heard someone make a comment about those who “can’t afford Christmas.” I commend and support the organizations that help the needy year-round and during the holidays, but I also believe we need to be careful about developing the mindset that Christmas is about “stuff.” Christmas is first and foremost about celebrating the birth of the Savior. Christmas is “Christ-mass” – the celebration (“mass”) of Christ.

Secondly, it’s about others. Jesus came to earth as a helpless infant not for His own benefit, but to meet the needs of others, the greatest of which was salvation. He willingly came for the purpose of dying in our stead.

I hope you’ll make this Christmas a totally Christ-centered celebration. Spend your time and money doing for those who can’t afford to have a turkey dinner or put gifts under the tree. I’m betting that most of the people you’re buying gifts for can afford to buy those things for themselves. Why not enjoy food, games and fellowship with friends and family and forego the gift-giving except for the little ones? Put that money to better use being a blessing to those truly in need.

And remember: there was a far more important Black Friday over 2,000 years ago: the day Jesus Christ went to the cross to pay our sin-debt.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


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In preparation for the time when the Israelites entered the Promised Land, God gave them the Ten Commandments as we read in Exodus 20:

1. Do not worship other gods.

2. Do not worship idols.
3. Do not misuse God’s name.
4. Keep the Sabbath holy.
5. Honor your father and mother.
6. Do not murder.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not lie.
10. Do not covet.

Of course, this wasn’t all God had to say to them at the time; the rest of Exodus 20 through Exodus 23:19 contains further instructions from the Lord which are known as the “Book of the Covenant.” We read in Exodus 24:7: “Then he (Moses) took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people” (NIV).

But here’s what I want us to look at concerning all this: at what point were the Commandments given? AFTER the Lord had saved the Israelites from their Egyptian captors. The sign of the firstborn had already been given. Neither receiving the law nor obeying the law brought salvation to the people of Israel any more than it can do that for us today. They needed a Savior. We need a Savior.

In the New Testament, Peter says of the redeemed: “…you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession” (I Peter 2:9b, NLT). Peter was quoting from the very words the Lord had spoken in Exodus 19:6 to Moses concerning Israel – BEFORE He had given them the Commandments.

So are the Commandments even relevant today? Well, let’s see. How did Jesus put it? “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17, ESV).

Jesus, as fully God yet fully man, was and is the only Person to have ever perfectly kept the Commandments (“the Law”). In doing so, He showed us the importance of not only obeying the Law, but of going beyond the written letter of the law and maintaining purity of intent. In other words, we’re to be clean inside and out. How? By focusing on the things of God.

May this Thanksgiving be much more than food and fellowship for you. May it be a time of reflection on the goodness, provision, grace and mercy of the Savior.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


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“The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.’ So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on” (Exodus 17:5a, 6, NLT).

The Israelites, having been freed from slavery in Egypt, were on their way to the Promised Land. However, they quickly learned that this was no easy journey. Trekking through a desert that is today as inhospitable as it was back then, they were entirely dependent upon the Lord for all their provisions. In Exodus 16 and Numbers 11, we see that God literally sent them bread from heaven: “The manna came down on the camp with the dew during the night” (Numbers 11:9). (Incidentally, the word “manna” means “What is it?”)

But the people were also in a dry land and became so thirsty that they feared for their own lives and livestock. So what did the Lord do? Gave them water and showed them what He was willing to do for His people.

Look back at our opening passage. God told Moses to “strike the rock,” but where was God when Moses struck it? “On the rock.” Don’t miss that.

Now look at what David wrote in 2 Samuel 22:47b: “Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!” (NIV). David clearly identifies his “Savior” as “the Rock.”

Moving over to the New Testament, we see Jesus, the “Savior,” “the Rock,” hanging on the cross: “One of the soldiers struck Him on His side with his spear, and at once blood and water issued forth” (John 19:34, Aramaic Bible in Plain English).

And if you still haven’t made all the connections, the apostle Paul clearly does that for us. He says that the Israelites wandering in the desert “…were drinking from The Rock of The Spirit, which was with them, but that Rock was The Messiah” (I Corinthians 10:4b).

From beginning to end, the Bible shows us Jesus. Our Suffering Servant Savior “was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NIV).

Jesus is, has always been and always will be. He, the Rock of our Salvation, was struck to provide Living Water for all who will believe in Him. The Bread from Heaven came down to provide for His people.

Folks, getting to our Promised Land, heaven, is no easy journey, but we have a Savior who goes with us and before us. Trust Him as your All-Sufficient God.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Did you know you can watch video of my TV segments from ANYWHERE? Just go to & search for the word BARGAINOMICS. I'm on the Fox-6 News at Noon every Tuesday between 12:30 & 1pm Central Standard Time. And I'm on Good Day Alabama around 8am the 1st Thursday of every month.

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Yesterday I stated that when God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, the pursuing Egyptian army was drowned in the sea just after the people of Israel walked across the bottom of the sea on dry land as the Lord held the waters back and allowed them to safely cross over. Today I want us to focus on those last two words: cross over.

Where had the Israelites been? In Egypt. In slavery. In a land filled with the worship of false gods.

Where did God want to take them? To the Promised Land. “A land flowing with milk and honey” (Deuteronomy 26:9, NIV). To freedom.

Getting out of Egypt was impossible for the Israelites, but as the angel told Mary in Luke 1:37, “Nothing is impossible with God.” What the Israelites couldn’t do on their own, God did for them completely on His own.

Like the Israelites, every person born into this world was at one time in a place of slavery. In bondage to sin. Without hope and impossibly lost. But those who heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, repented of their sins and received Him as Lord and Savior crossed over from slavery to freedom just as surely as did those Israelites of old.

In Mark 4:35 Jesus tells His disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side…” (NLT). Folks, this is the same message Jesus speaks to every person on this planet. He desires for us to cross over from slavery to freedom. From spiritual death to spiritual life.

Was it easy for the Israelites to step into that divided sea, seeing those huge walls of water on either side of them? No, it took courage. It took leadership. Someone to step out in faith and lead the others.

How about you? If you’ve crossed over from death to life, it should be your burning passion to show others how to receive this same great freedom. You should be leading others to Jesus.

After all, you are leading others. There isn’t one solitary professing believer – legitimate or otherwise – that isn’t being watched and imitated. What does your life tell others about Jesus? Be certain your words and actions are Christ-honoring and directing others in “the paths of the Lord” (Psalm 25:10, NASB).

Monday, November 19, 2012


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“Who among the gods is like You, O Lord? Who is like You – majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11, NIV).

When God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, the pursuing Egyptian army was drowned in the sea just after the people of Israel walked across the bottom of the sea on dry land as the Lord held the waters back and allowed them to safely cross over. Moses and all of Israel sang a song of thankfulness to God for His deliverance of His people. The passage above is from that song.

Note the beginning of the passage: “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord?” Every people had their own deities – gods and goddesses for specific areas of their lives. Only Israel worshiped a single deity, the One True God. Egypt believed its war god went before them and that terror personified went before their god to put fear into the hearts of their enemies even before their god arrived on the scene, let alone their army.

Conquering a people meant conquering their gods. Egypt, like most ancient peoples, believed that as their army fought against an opposing army, their gods fought against the opposing army’s gods. So when the One True God whipped the Egyptians single-handed, it was irrefutable proof that Israel’s God was so powerful that He didn’t even need a single Israelite follower to lift a finger – let alone a sword – to defeat the enemy.

Winning armies always composed victory songs to glorify their gods and to taunt their opposition, so any other people hearing the Israelites’ song – which no doubt the people sang many times – would immediately understand that their God was being proclaimed as Victor. Just as importantly, they would realize that this God was so powerful that He accomplished the win with no help whatsoever from His people.

Remember our verse from Exodus yesterday? “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14). Letting God fight our battles is the very best way to deal with most of our problems. Confrontation may occasionally be necessary, but most of the time, leaving the problem in God’s hands is the very best solution. Try it. You, like the Israelites, may very well “stand still” in wonder as you see His mighty hand bring about your victory.

“…majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders.”

Sunday, November 18, 2012

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“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13a, 14, NIV).

Who spoke those words and under what circumstances? Moses was addressing the people of Israel who had just been delivered out of Egypt by the mighty hand of God. Now they found themselves trapped between the sea and Pharaoh’s approaching army. But having seen the plagues God sent on the Egyptians for refusing to release them from slavery, they were cool as cucumbers, right? Wrong.

They’d just told Moses: “What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?” (Exodus 14:11b). Doesn’t sound like overly confident people, does it? Not in themselves; not in their leaders Moses and Aaron; and certainly not in Jehovah.

What plaque had finally brought about the Israelites’ release? The death of the first-born. Every first-born child and animal died when the death angel passed through Egypt. But what of the Israelite households? They were protected against this plague, having been told to put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts so that the death angel would “pass over” the houses covered by the blood – see Exodus 12. Thus the celebration of “Passover.”

Covered by the blood. The death of the first-born. Throughout the Bible we see God painting the picture of Jesus. It took the death of Egypt’s first-born for Pharaoh to release the Israelites. It took the blood of a lamb to save the Israelites from the death angel’s reaping. And though they’d seen these miracles, the people of Israel huddled in terror as the Egyptian army marched toward them.

Sometimes we, too, find ourselves in situations so terrifying that we forget the many other times we’ve seen God work wonders on our behalves. We feel helpless. It’s not that we don’t know where to turn, as we sometimes say; it’s that we forget where to turn – which is to Jesus.

You may find yourself in the midst of a battle right now. Pray. Pray fervently. Seek the Lord’s guidance. And when you’ve done all you can, stand still. And “stand firm.” Don’t let the devil hoodwink you into thinking you’ve got to face this all on your own. “The Lord will fight for you.”

Saturday, November 17, 2012


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“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son” (Hosea 11:1, NIV).

“Out of Egypt?” But wasn’t Jesus a Jew? Wasn’t He born in Bethlehem? Wasn’t He a Nazarene? Yes to all of these.

According to the passage we’ve already looked at in Micah: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).

How does all this mesh? Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Let’s look at Luke 2:1-7a: “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.”

Mary and Joseph were from Nazareth: “God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:26-27).

How’d Jesus come “out of Egypt?” In Matthew 2:1 we read: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him’” (Matthew 2:1-2).

The idea of royal strangers coming from another land to worship a baby king terrified Herod! After the “wise men” failed to return and report to him the whereabouts of the infant king, Herod consulted with his astrologers to determine the time when the Christ Child was born and then “gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under” (Matthew 2:16).

But God sent an angel to warn Joseph: “‘Get up,’ [the angel] said, ‘Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you’” (Matthew 2:13).

So Joseph took Mary and little Jesus and fled to Egypt. “After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt” (Matthew 2:19) and told him it was safe to take the family back to Israel. Apparently Joseph’s first plan was to go back to Judea, the region in which Bethlehem was situated. “But when [Joseph] heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there” (Matthew 2:22). So instead, Joseph took his family to “the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth” (Matthew 2:22b-23).

No other child could have fulfilled even these few prophecies. Jesus IS the Son of God! Celebrate Him. Share Him. Thank Him.

Friday, November 16, 2012

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Thursday, November 15, 2012


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“His origin is from antiquity, from eternity” (Micah 5:2b, HCSB).

Jesus is and was God. John said, “In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4).

As believers, it is critical that we realize that Jesus didn’t have His beginning as the tiny baby placed by the Holy Spirit within Mary. He was and is the Living “Word,” and “He was with God from the beginning.”

“Beginning” of what? Time as we know it, the world as we know it. And even once we’ve grasped this, we need to understand that this is NOT the point at which Jesus’ life started – this was the moment in which CREATION was started. Remember what Jesus told the Jews? “I assure you: before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).

Catch the tense Jesus used: “I am.” Jesus, being God, has never NOT existed – He always was, always is and always will be. And yet you can’t separate any of these phrases or tenses and really make an accurate statement about Him – all of them apply simultaneously.

As we move toward a new year, I hope you’ll think long and hard about what it means for Jesus to be “the light of men.” John 1:5 goes on to say that “that light shines in the darkness.”

For each and every one of us, there was a time when our lives were in “darkness.” Only the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, could place His Internal Light, the Holy Spirit, into us and transform us into His likeness. And having done that, then what?

Well, let’s see. If we were transformed into His likeness, what does that make us? The “light [that] shines in the darkness!” I’m a firm believer that the spiritual and the practical don’t necessarily contradict – in fact, that they can go hand-in-hand. So, looking from a practical viewpoint, let’s say that we’re all spiritual flashlights.

Now, having visualized ourselves as spiritual flashlights, what makes us work? What makes us “light?” Number One, we each need a bulb – the actual “light” that makes a flashlight what it is. Jesus, of course, is that “Light.”

Number Two, we need batteries. That, my friends, is the indwelling Holy Spirit. And being indwelling, that means He needs a receptacle in which to be placed; and that, beloved, is US.

So, having received our “Light,” we have become willing receptacles for our batteries, which is the indwelling Holy Spirit; in other words, we’ve become equipped. To do what? “Light… the darkness.”

How much good is a flashlight if it doesn’t shine? None whatsoever. Deep thought here, folks: do you have to take the batteries out of a flashlight in order for it to no longer be functional? No, you can be a totally ineffective flashlight simply by neglecting to keep them charged.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t fizzle out, leak out, or walk out – He remains, but His power is evidenced, is available, in our lives only as we continually “recharge” through regular prayer, Bible study and fellowship with other believers.

Where is the “darkness?” Anywhere Jesus isn’t shining. Your life, my brother or sister in Christ, is an assignment, a calling, to be Jesus wherever you are. And that makes you “light.” Charge up, then charge out, and shine for His glory.

“Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


In Genesis 49, we read the account of Jacob calling his sons before him to give them his blessing. (Remember: Jacob was renamed “Israel” by the Lord – see Genesis 35:10 – and was the father of the people who became the twelve tribes of Israel.) When he comes to his son Judah, he speaks these words: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his” (Genesis 49:10).

In Matthew 1:3-6, we read the lineage from Judah to David: “Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar; Perez the father of Hezron; Hezron the father of Ram; Ram the father of Amminadab; Amminadab the father of Nahshon; Nahshon the father of Salmon; Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab; Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth; Obed the father of Jesse; and Jesse the father of King David.”

Then we read in Luke 2 about Caesar Augustus ordering a census that required each person to report to their lineage’s hometown. Verse 4 says that “Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.”

So we see that Joseph was of the lineage of David. But what about Mary? If you look in Luke 3, you see another genealogy of Jesus – the lineage of Mary, also a descendant of David. In verse 23, Luke says, “Joseph, the son of Heli.” Most Biblical scholars agree that Heli is actually Mary's father, Joseph’s father-in-law.

Jesus’ physical/human lineage came through Mary, as seen in Luke. But even though the Holy Spirit placed Jesus into the womb of the Virgin Mary, Joseph was considered to be Jesus’ father since he was the husband of Mary; which is why His legal lineage is traced through Joseph, as seen in Matthew. In Mary and Joseph’s time, it was quite common for cousins to marry, so it would certainly not be out of the ordinary for Joseph and Mary to have been related. As you see from comparing the two genealogies, Joseph’s lineage intertwined with Mary’s.

In coming to earth as a baby and being born of Mary, Jesus Christ fulfilled the words of Jacob/Israel spoken to Judah: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet.” And He also fulfilled His promise to continue the rule of the house of David forever:

“Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:7).

My prayer is that you truly know and celebrate Christ this Christmas. “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).


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This verse inspired yesterday’s study, and continues to be our focus for today: “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah” (Micah 5:2a, HCSB).

“You are small.” God isn’t impressed with size. Yes, a healthy church is a growing church, but it’s not about the numbers – it’s about the people. The Biblical goal of every physical church body is to teach, train, encourage and strengthen BELIEVERS, who are the spiritual body of Christ. It is then the BELIEVERS’ jobs to go out beyond the confines of the physical church and witness and win the lost and bring them into the fold.

Maybe you think of yourself as “small,” insignificant in God’s big picture. Child of God, nothing could be further from the truth! May I share with you a passage of New Testament Scripture that addresses this very issue? First Corinthians 1:24-29: “…to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom,
because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. Brothers, consider your calling: not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen the world’s foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world’s weak things to shame the strong. God has chosen the world’s insignificant and despised things – the things viewed as nothing – so he might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, so that no one can boast in his presence.”

I hope you’ll read this passage through several times and really let it sink into your heart. “God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” Of course, Paul is being facetious in even suggesting that God has “weakness” – He doesn’t. Which is the whole point. We who are equipped by God through faith in His Son and the subsequent indwelling of the Holy Spirit are strong as long as we are depending on Him and not ourselves.

And what about those of us who don’t exactly consider themselves to have the I.Q. of a genius? Look how Paul says you’re equipped: “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom.” Another tongue-in-cheek statement. There is no “foolishness” in God! You are equipped beyond your wildest imagination – all you need to do is pull out that equipage and use it!

Know why I’m so sure of this fact? The Bible says so! And this is a good spot to add the adjoining verse, First Corinthians 1:30, one of my favorites: “But from Him [that is, God the Father] you are in Christ Jesus, who for us became wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”

Talk about being fully equipped – just look at what you received when you received Jesus: “Wisdom.” And not just any ol’ smarts, but “wisdom from God,” along with “righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”

Precious one, the moment you were redeemed, your equipage began; and it continues throughout your lifetime as you pray, read your Bible, study His Word, regularly attend a Bible-believing church and live your life as the hands and feet of Jesus along your pathway.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Christian cross, opened Bible, candelabra and fish symbolWelcome! добро пожаловать! 오신 것을 환영합니다! Selamat datang! 歡迎!! Välkommen! Willkommen! Accueil! Welkom! Ласкаво просимо! I am honored to have people from so many countries visiting this blog and reading the Bible passages each day. Blessings to all you!


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Today let’s read a verse from the book of the prophet named Micah: “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; one will come from you to be ruler over Israel for me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity” (Micah 5:2, HCSB).

What a great passage! How awesome to read its fulfillment throughout the New Testament! Let’s take a look at two connected passages:

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him’” (Matthew 2:1-2).

“And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him snugly in cloth and laid him in a feeding trough – because there was no room for them at the inn” (Luke 2:4-7).

It was no accident that Caesar Augustus ordered a census that would cause Joseph and Mary to travel from their hometown to Bethlehem. It was no accident that it was at that time that Mary gave birth to the Child the Holy Spirit had placed within her. God had promised that the “ruler over Israel” would come from this humble little village, and Christ’s earthly life began right there in a stable.

And it was certainly no coincidence that God placed a special Light in the sky to guide the “wise men from the east” to come and worship Jesus. Bear in mind, too, that these men didn’t jump into their cars or catch a plane to get to Bethlehem. They traveled so far and for so long that Scripture records that “When they were come into the house, they saw the young child” (Matthew 2:11). Most scholars agree that Jesus was already a toddler and that his parents had taken up residence in a house in Bethlehem before returning to Nazareth.


Are you grasping the significance of the timeframe here? The “wise men” sought Jesus diligently, and yet their efforts weren’t rewarded overnight – it took time and persistence, faithfulness to their goal. Likewise, we as believers may set out on many a plan that we truly believe to be a direction God is leading us in. But, unlike the “wise men,” when we don’t quickly “arrive” or achieve what we thought we were going to, we become discouraged and stop our efforts.

Beloved, God doesn’t quit on you, so don’t you quit on Him! Sure, reevaluate your direction; reexamine your goals and be sure they’re in alignment with God’s calling on your life – He most certainly has a calling and direction for each and every one of us. But once you’re assured you’re not heading off in the wrong direction, get back at it and hang tough for the long run.

Which brings up another point. GOD CALLS NO ONE TO DO NOTHING. You are not called to sit and wait on your calling. You are called to get with the program and do whatever you can for the glory of God until such time as you feel a stronger or more compelling leading into a different or clearer direction.

Monday, November 12, 2012


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