THE ULTIMATE DECISION

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"Tell Me Your Favorite Bible Verse and Why" July 8, 2011

Today you get to be the writer.

1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”

I have heard some great stories from many of you of God’s love, hope and redemption. If you would like you have two places to choose or you can post on both. You can post on our daily blog at

http://www.heavenfirst.com/dailydevotionalblog.php

or via our Facebook page at The Ultimate Decision or Motor Racing Outreach.

Testify to a time when God showed up for you and what verse comes to mind. Have a great weekend.

Take care

Brad

:"Getting To Know God" Part II June 28, 2011

Yesterday we talked about trying not to be a “Doubting Thomas.” That is where we want to see God work BEFORE we believe. Anytime you go for a job interview the person hiring wants to see your resume. Before they hire you they want to go over all your credentials and your consistency of excellence. Somehow in this life a lot of us ask God for his resume each day in order for us to follow Him or to believe. God I will trust you when_______________.  We need to fall on our knees and ask God for forgiveness if this is our mindset. God has always been and always will be. God created you and I and we have no position to question God.

As I say that I have questioned God a lot. Why is Chase Autistic? Why is he Anemic? Why can’t he be like normal kids? My questions are tainted to a perfect God who has made Chase perfect IN His EYES. You see God looks at the heart and not the outward appearance of man. Amen!! The prophet Samuel was speaking of this when he chose David to be King over Saul. Chase has done more to people around him through compassion and love in pure motives than if he was normal whatever normal is. God does not make mistakes. So when we try to get to know the God that created us, God did not make any mistakes when he formed you in the womb, NONE. So first of all we need to stop coming to God whining of our circumstances that we are dealt. Those very circumstances are what are keeping us close to God and helping us grow in our faith. We need to stop asking “Why God” and start asking "How can I serve you”.

So how can we serve a God we do not see or may feel far from? We need to first of all be right with God. We can do that by being saved by faith in Jesus Christ. We can then be reconciled with God but that is just the beginning. We then need to know who God is so we can understand how to live. I was reading a story about King David this morning and the Spirit of God moved me to tears in just one sentence. In this life we can hear great speakers or pastors preaching and telling funny stories. But in the end it is ONLY the word of God that saves and cuts to the very core of our inner being.

In 2nd Samuel David took a census and sinned against God. Taking a census meant that David did not trust God for his victory; instead he wanted to know how many fighting men he had. God had sent a plague for David’s disobedience. At the end of the plague David offered a sacrifice to the Lord. Before he could offer a sacrifice he needed to buy a threshing floor to offer the sacrifices. The owner of the threshing floor offered it to David for free. This is what David said.

2 Samuel 24:24 “But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.

Have you ever gotten warm all over when you were about to shed tears. This happened to me instantly after reading the words “offerings that cost me nothing”. I believe in my heart that far too many times I have offered God something out of my abundance than out of my nothing. Jesus died on the cross to save you and I. He sacrificed His life. As you are reading this today ask yourself what you have sacrificed for the Lord?  Sacrifice may be your time, money or_____________. That is between you and God. It is probably the thing you treasure more than God. A lot of times in our lives we treasure created things more than God. That is where the trouble starts and that is why we have a hard time “Knowing God”. We would rather have fun with a created thing rather than our creator.

If you really want to know God then this prayer may help you. “Lord I have sinned and failed many times. I have chased after things that are far from you. But God I trust in you but still have a hard time understanding how much you love me. Lord help my hearts desire to love you more than ANY THING else in this world. Help me not to serve you out of duty but out of love for what you have done for me. Jesus I cannot do this on my own and I desperately need you to show me the way. Amen!”

If this is the desire of your heart then God will start to show up in the most unusual of circumstances. That little voice you hear stop pushing it away and start to act on what God’s Spirit is trying to tell you. “Knowing God “is not a one time prayer but a lifelong process of daily choices. Move towards God and He will move mountains to get to you.

Have a great day with hope in the Lord.

Brad

"Getting To Know God" Part I June 29, 2011

It should be our number one goal in life to get to know God. We will be spending eternity with Him for the believer. Plus in this life we can have joy when we are in constant fellowship with Jesus. So how does that happen? 

John 1:47,48 “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

So in order for us to get to know God know this: HE ALREADY KNOWS YOU. Jesus knows everything about you as He created you. Also realize that we aren’t doing God any favors for getting to know God. This frees us up from a legalistic approach to knowing Him. That is an approach where we get up excited to read God’s word. But then the excitement somehow turns to duty and then to rote studying. Getting to know God should be like getting to know your spouse. But as well all know that takes time and commitment or the relationship does not go anywhere. But too many times we let the worries of the present world cloud our judgment. Somehow we think work, a hobby or acquiring stuff is more important than getting to know our creator. How does the crated stuff in our lives become more important to us than Jesus?

Lack of faith is the number one trouble we have. Don’t bristle over this as many of us struggle with an intangible God when we have tangible stuff to touch to try to make us feel good.

John 20:25 “So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."

A lot of us want to see God work first before we have faith just as Thomas did. But this is what Jesus says about faith and what is seen and unseen.

John 20:28,29 “Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

IF you can be still God will show up. God desires our attention as He created us. In my own life I have seen God do many miracles. Those miracles came at a time when I was at my lowest. God knew!!!!! It is when we start living like we serve a risen Savior that we can start to have joy. Jesus is alive, He is not dead. He is also alive in you if you are a believer. To make sure you are a believer please click on this link.

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

When we are saved, Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to Endwell inside of us. That is why the Bible starts to make sense when we read it. That is because the author lives inside of us. We will stay on this subject of “Knowing God” for this week as there is nothing more important in this world and in this entire universe. First of all slow down and ASK, Yes ask Jesus for help in getting to know Him and He will come through. I can’t tell you how but that is the mystery and majesty of the One we serve. Ask and get ready for a miracle. Then tell me. I love to hear about miracles!!!

Have a great day and live with a joyful expectancy for life.

Brad

"Stop Before It Is Too Late" June 27, 2011

Have you ever received a beautiful brochure of a vacation spot and it never felt that way when you go there? Years ago I went on a business trip to the Bahamas and the hotel and surrounding area looked beautiful. The first evening in the hotel as I was drifting off to sleep I heard this pesky mosquito near my ear. I swatted him but they must have let out a battle cry as more came to the rescue. After getting bit numerous times I tucked all my sheets in and slept under the covers all night. I woke up and it looked like my face had measles I had so many bites. Then housekeeping came and fumigated my room. So much for paradise!

As we have been talking about the life of King David, David also tried to take some time off. God gave David victory wherever he went and whatever he did. David WAS ALWAYS fighting alongside his men. So it is very strange that he stopped.

2 Samuel 11:1 “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.”

Falling into sin usually doesn’t happen by a frontal assault. Usually things build up over a period of time and before you know it, you are trapped. This was David’s first mistake. He stayed home instead of fighting with his men. Now I know there are times that we need to rest but an idle mind can wreck havoc with someone who is always eager to get things done.

The fall of David began with Bathsheba. Now the Lord had blessed David through Solomon but what is about to come did change the whole dynamics of David and his family. So the first mistake was not going to battle with his men.

2 Samuel 11:2 “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful”

Now David already was married and had many other women. If his eyes caught a woman bathing he should have acted like Joseph and fled. BUT HE DID NOT.

2 Samuel 11:3 “and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?””

Once we lust in our eyes it is difficult to stop the passion. All David had to do was go back inside but now he took it another step. He asked someone to find out who this woman was.

2 Samuel 11:4,5 “Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

Not only did David find out who this woman was but David now seduced this woman even though he knew it was the wife of one of his battle commanders. Then she becomes pregnant. David devised schemes to try to have Uriah sleep with his own wife but everything David does not work. Uriah is faithful to his fighting men and does not relax as he knows his men are fighting in battle. David could have learned a lot from Uriah. Now David devises a scheme to commit murder.

2 Samuel 11:14,15 “In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

The rest of the story is that God speaks to Nathan the prophet and tells David of his sin and that this child who is going to be born to Bathsheba will die because of David’s sin. Here is the frightening part.

All David had to do was to walk away when he first saw Bathsheba. There were over five times that David could have rectified the situation but he kept getting in deeper and deeper. Right now some of you may be in step 1-5. God desires that you flee RIGHT NOW but will you? Passion can cloud over many good and honorable decisions. In our heart we can justify anything for our pleasure. It all comes down that we think “I deserve___________” I love the verse from the story of Joseph when he was doing everything right and honorable and Poitphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph. This is what Joseph thought in his mind.

Genesis 39:9 “No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?"

Joseph wasn’t thinking that he deserved some pleasure for being sold by his brothers into slavery. Joseph wasn’t thinking that he hadn’t been with a woman for a while and he deserved this. Joseph knew that he served a loving God and that his love was more for God than anything in the world. That is why his first thought was that he would be sinning against God, the one whom he loved.

Today you can change the path of destruction that you may be going down. DON’T let Satan tell you a lie. It is NEVER TOO LATE to repent, ask forgiveness and flee. God will reward you for coming clean. If you need prayer please call or e mal me and we will keep it confidential but PLEASE come clean. Please don’t build a barrier between you and the Lord. God loves you and does not want harm to come to your doorstep. Make the right decision; don’t put it off another day.

Take care

Brad

"Trusting God" Part II June 24, 2011

Please try to forward this e mail to 5 people today that need to be encouraged! 

We left off yesterday that we were going to discuss the first part of David’s reign as King. King Saul had been killed and now David was battling to secure his right to the throne which God had ordained. Before David went to battle he inquired of the Lord. There are two sets of verses that I want to go over. The two verses are David’s questions to God and then there are two different answers from God.

2 Samuel 5 18,19 “Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The LORD answered him, “Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.”

2 Samuel 5 22-25 “Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” So David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.”

This is what we can take away from David’s faith in God.

1. Do you ask God before you make a decision?
2. If you do ask God a question do you expect God will answer the same way again? If so does that stop you from asking again?

How many times in this life do we move so fast that we miss and mess up?  David could have asked God the second time and not waiting for the response because he felt that God would give him favor. But if David did not wait upon the Lord then he would have gone straight up against the Philistines and probably been defeated.

So how long do we wait for an answer to our prayers? As long as it takes to get an answer.Let’s say you have a big meeting coming up or a crisis in your marriage. How long do you wait to get an answer from God till you make a decision? God treats each person differently but in a loving way. God is not vindictive. If we are not used to praying to the Lord often we will have a difficult time when a crisis comes up. God won’t have a difficult time but we will.

DO YOU HAVE A REATIONSHIP WITH JESUS?  If you are unsure then this is the most important decision of your life. I would ask you today to send this e mail to as many people as you know that you love. Because you and they can know for sure if you are going to heaven after reading this link.

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

If you are saved you have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you that will help you make decisions and guide your life BUT you need to ask. Have you ever gotten on your knees to pray for a very important decision with your mind already made up on what you are going to do? Do feel bad you are not alone. God is the opposite of humanity. Humanity says that you are only as good as your last deal. God says that you can be renewed each day. God will forgive and forget the past when you come to Him with a repentant heart. That’s the God I want to get to know. He desires to wipe the slate clean and give us a fresh start. Today the questing is “Will you follow and listen to Him” or will you put God to the side and still do your own little deal in your own little kingdom?

The choice is yours. You will always have pain and anxiety when you do NOT WAIT upon the Lord.  The devil can masquerade as the voice of Jesus when you have not been listening to Jesus. How do you know who is talking to you? That is why we need to be constantly asking God for protection against the evil one and really trying to listen to what God is trying to reveal to us. Isn’t that amazing that God in all His creation is trying to reveal His plan to us? Today slow down enough to put God first and your burdens will start to be light. Your anxieties will lessen and your joy will start to come back. God is God and we are not. If you don’t know how to talk to God a good way is just to say “Help me Lord get to know you”.

Have a great day as God made it and get to know the one who holds the stars in the skies and the ONLY One who truly knows YOU.

Brad

"Trusting God" Part I June 23, 2011

Too much information can be a bad thing. A couple days ago I had an MRI for my shoulder. The initial damage came a number of years ago when I was training for an Ironman. A car pulled out in front of me and that was all I remember. I remember having road rash over most of my body but especially my left shoulder. At that time they only took an MRI of my head since I had been knocked unconscious.

Years later since I cannot lift my arm over my head there must be a problem so my doctor scheduled an MRI with contrast dye. The contrast dye is supposed to show any tears in the tendons and ligaments that would not show up in a normal MRI. For those of you who don’t know me too well I am a hypochondriac. I spent 4 years of college in Pre Med. I know enough to be dangerous. But what is really dangerous is the internet. The night before the test I looked up the test called an Arthogram. Well the dye they out into you can cause some serious side effects. If I get indigestion I think I am having a heart attack, a migraine can be a brain tumor, and a pain in my knee could be a blood clot, Oh the humanity!!!! Well the side effects to this dye are shutting down of the kidneys called Nephorgenic Systemic Fibrosis.

Nephorgenic Systemic Fibrosis is a progressive disorder which is associated with the development of excessive scar tissue and thick, hardened and tight areas of skin which often cover the joints, resulting in severe limitations on movement. In many cases it renders the victim unable to walk or fully move the joints of their arms, hands, legs and/or feet, and they become dependent on a wheelchair within weeks of the onset. There is no known cure or effective treatment for Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis, and in some cases it can lead to death.

Ok so what is worse the constant pain in the shoulder or dying form the dye? Oh, oh the word dye is in dying?? Can you see where my mind is going? So I decide to get the dye as we all have to die of something. They put an x ray machine over you so the doctor can see where to insert a LONG needle into your shoulder and then they inject the dye into the shoulder joint. Then they take you over to the MRI tube and you listen to beating and banging for 25 minutes. Now when the doctor calls you the next day that usually isn't good. Apparently I have 4 tears of different muscles so let the games begin. I will definitely be putting out a prayer request for this one. But what this test taught me was that too much information can be a bad thing.

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;”

In this life the Internet has allowed us to be our own doctors, therapists and psychos. Am I trusting everything I read or am I trusting in the Lord? If a professional doctor tells me I need a test do I believe in me because “I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express Last Night”?

Faith in Jesus is far superior to any knowledge we can acquire. So where are you today on this spectrum of trust and lack of trust in Jesus? A lot of us know about the person Jesus but do we have Him in our lives? Not only that but do we ALLOW Jesus to direct our lives. Do we go to the internet first or do we go to God? I am going to write a story on David tomorrow and how he inquired of God for a battle. This will be part 2 of Trust.

Today will have many trials and anxieties. God already knows the outcome. We have to get to the point in our lives where we trust God more than man and intellectual content. God IS intellectual content, God is ALL. Today let us all take a deep breath and know that God is still on the throne. NOTHING can come between you and God, NOTHING. Pray today that you would rest in God and do the best that you can do. Then let everything else go. God has it covered. Trust Me?

Have a great day and try not worry, yeah right!!!! OK I am working on it.

Brad

"Are You Really Content" June 22, 2011

Content -  To be satisfied

Many of us spend all or waking hours trying to find contentment. We desire to be satisfied. Satisfaction can come in many forms. Satisfaction can come from helping others to achieve their dreams. Or satisfaction can come from helping our own self build US up. Satisfaction can also come from being the best that you can be at a particular trade.

There are some of you that will never be content unless…….. I will get to the answer later. When I was a high school and collegiate runner it is was not good enough to break a record in running. If I did not break that record again and again then I felt like a failure. No coach or person put pressure on me. I put more pressure on myself than anyone. Ever been there? I was setting myself up for a fall. If I finished well ahead of the field and was not wasted at the end then I did not do my best. If I left something in the tank then I defeated myself. One race went particular well but I ran so hard I threw up at the end of the race. Then every practice, every race I needed to run till I threw up. I wish I had a psychologist as a coach but no one saw me self destructing. All anyone could see was performance. All I could see was my performance. My whole life was running and my joy was dictated upon how I ran each week.

Many of you are gauged not only by what you have done but also how good you are today. You may have put together a great deal that helped the company. The problem is you have raised the bar. Now you have to keep equaling or surpassing that level of intensity and perfection. In the back of your mind you may already know that you are in a no win situation and wonder how you will get by.

Let me tell you today that you are not alone. The bible teaches us a lot about contentment but the bible also teaches us to do the best with the talents that we have. Do you know your talent and are you using it? If so here is how to be content in your circumstances. I will bring up two scripture verses.

Hebrews 13 5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Philippians 4:12 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

The apostle Paul wrote Philippians but Paul could have also written Hebrews. So let me give you a number of things to interject into your own life from the life of Paul. Paul used to be the number one person who persecuted Christians till His life was transformed by Jesus. Then Paul suffered many trials for the name of Jesus.

1. Money is not bad, it is the love of money that is evil. If you are consumed with making money then you will never have money enough. The love of money is the ROOT of all kinds of evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) – A root goes in many different directions that are not seen. So with all the worries that the love of money brings.
2. God will never leave us but man will. No matter how hard or good you do your job you will eventually be replaced. But God will never replace you. Who is your hope in?
3. Pray for trials – Trials are life’s way of making things simple. Trials cut out the clutter and reveal to you what is really important. When you are standing at the bedside of a loved one nothing else matters. But rely on God to get you through or the trial will not lead you to contentment.
4. Do the best you can but do the best you can FOR the glory of the Lord and not your own glory. Quit trying to build your own little kingdom here on earth, even if you are a billionaire. Compared to God your kingdom is like a pauper compared to a King.
5. KNOW that God is in control and that he loves you. Many of us are not content because we are trying to find loved based upon our performance. Performance in the world will never be enough.

Pray today that the Lord would start to show you how much He loves you. Your life will not turn from performance to love till you can feel the Lord’s love, grace and mercy. All you have to do is ask with a repentant heart and Jesus will fill you with His spirit. He will give you abundant life. He will help you not to worry but to have hope. You will wake up and be joyful instead of having despair. I know you want that in your life. Stop letting the devil get a foothold in your life by chasing after things for contentment. Chase after God and the desires of your heart will be filled to overflowing.

Have an awesome day thinking about the Lord and helping others.

Brad

"Is This The Right Way" June 21, 2011

Julie and I took the boys to the park last night to play basketball. While we were sitting there a young woman with a baby came up and we asked her to sit down with us. Her older son joined in shooting baskets with Bryce and Chase. Now I have been in some odd conversations in my life but this had to be near the top. This woman proceeded to tell us that she just had “Tubal Ligation” (to not have children anymore) and then stood up pulled up her shirt and her pants to expose her scar!! Oh that is just the beginning of the story.

She said that they put air in her abdomen so that the doctors can easily see all the organs. At the end of the procedure she asked the doctor how the excess air got out of her system. The doctor told her by belching. OK I am just the messenger here. They gave her some paperwork to take home and to follow the directions. The directions said to

 1. Not do much activity for 14 days.
 2. Swab the scar with soap and water
 3. Daily raise your left arm repeated times.

Apparently the bloating was not going away and she wondered why raising her left arm and not her right arm would enable her to belch. After 5 days of the treatment the incision started to open up and she had to go to urgent care to get sewn back up. Hence the showing of the scar. Now listen to this one!

She told us that they had given her the paperwork for the woman who was before her that had shoulder surgery. The woman who had shoulder surgery got the paperwork for a tubal ligation. So the woman with shoulder surgery laid on her back for 14 days and only took sponge baths and our friend (she had to be a friend she showed us her scar) was trying to belch by doing shoulder exercises. Now I have heard some good ones but last night God knew Julie and I needed to laugh. To tell you the truth we laughed so hard I got a headache.

The bible is very clear on the direction on how to get to heaven. VERY CLEAR!!

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus cannot lie. He IS truth. There are many religions and factions of the same religion. But the truth is NO ONE and the bible says that NO ONE will come to God unless it is through Jesus. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, sin entered the world. Beforehand there was no sin in Adam and Eve but they disobeyed. Since sin is in the world and there is no sin in heaven God loved us enough to make a way. God’s way was to send His son, Jesus to pay the ultimate price. Our death would not do. God needed a perfect sacrifice. One that is pure without blemish and without sin.

That is the gospel, the good news. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13) Don’t take the wrong directions or listen to people who distort the truth. Jesus is the only way. I continue to thank you for forwarding this devotional onto others. We have had numerous people sign up in the past few weeks since you have been asking others to sign up. The link is below. We don’t know how long we have on this earth but let us in the Lord's power make the most of every opportunity. I thank all of you who have been praying for us and for lifting us up.

Please also pass this link onto people who may not be sure if they are saved or need assurance of their salvation.

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

I thank that Lord that many of you have made the most important decision of your life and the life to come. Let us know how we can pray for you. YOUR burden is to be shared with others so we can lift you up in the Lord’s power, grace and His mercy. He is more than able.

Oh by the way I have an MRI this morning as I am going to need shoulder surgery. Please pray that the procedure goes well and that I get the correct paperwork when I leave?

Have a great day and don’t allow the evil one to steal your joy.

Brad

"You Could Be The Next Joseph" June 20, 2011

I love the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. Joseph’s brothers did not like him and sold him into slavery at the age of 17. Joseph went to Egypt and was sold to Potiphar who was a high ranking official in Egypt. In many instances in the life of Joseph the bible says

Genesis 39:2 “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of the Egyptian master.
Genesis 39:5 “….. the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.”
Genesis 39:23 “The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.”

Joseph did everything Potiphar asked and Potiphar’s household was blessed. Then Potiphar’s wife came onto Joseph and he fled. But Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph and Joseph was thrown into prison. But in prison “The Lord was with Joseph” and the warden put Joseph in charge. Joseph interpreted the dream for Pharaohs officials but the officials forget him till the appointed time. I say the appointed time because the Chief Cupbearer did not have much influence. But when Pharaoh had the dream now the Chief Cupbearer remembers Joseph. Not only that but now Joseph came into contact with Pharaoh the head of Egypt. Joseph interpreted correctly Pharaohs dream and then he was put second in command only under Pharaoh. Joseph was 30 years old when he was elevated to this position. This trial of Joseph lasted 13 years.

Some of you today are in dead end jobs. You may also be in a good job with bad people. Or you may just be plain miserable in your settings. Know this, if you are working hard, treating people right for the sake of the Lord the Lord will notice. As Joseph was put down to be brought back up you may go through the same thing. You may be fired for not being in the “IN” crowd. You may be let go for other reasons. But if you are in a dead end job God may need to move you. Don’t be discouraged when God is on the move in your life. Don’t be discouraged when things look bleak and that things aren’t happening the way you planned. I doubt very much that when Joseph’s brothers threw him in the pit that he was thinking “Great I am going to become second in command to Pharaoh”. No he was thinking “Why Me” and when will I get out of this situation. If Joseph got out of prison early he would not have been able to interpret the dream for Pharaoh.

No matter where you are in your life right now “God KNOWS your situation.” Pray that you would be able to work to the best of your ability no matter what is thrown your way, no matter who try’s to thwart your efforts. Why? Because no one can overcome God. Do everything in your life as unto the Lord and you will never have to look back. Things may not seem right, going your way or getting the acknowledgment you deserve. But know this, God knows and that’s all that should matter. If you have a story similar to Joseph please e mail me. God is still in the miracle business and you may be the next Joseph. NEVER give up hope.

Have a great day

Brad

"Do You Feel Far From God" June 17, 2011

If you were honest there are a lot of times that we feel far from God. So why is that? In China and other Communist or Muslim countries the “Persecuted Church” thrives. So why doesn’t the church thrive in the United States like it does in China? Let me clarify the Christian Church in China. The above ground church which is government run has a couple million members. But the “Underground” church that meets in secret has tens of millions of members.

Persecution - a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate a people because of their religion, race, or beliefs: American Dictionary

Acts 5:17-20 “Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”

If the Apostles had not been put in jail then they would not have seen the power of God at work.  The persecuted church and persecuted people thrive with the gospel because

THEY HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO GO.

In this country we have many places to go for comfort. Our churches are not stopped from worshipping, we have food on every corner and if we don’t like one group of people we just move. In our own mind we don’t need God. We only call on God when we are in big trouble.

The prophet Joel in the Old Testament foretold about the coming of Jesus. But he also told us how to be close to God.

Joel 2:12,13 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

If your life is on cruise control and you do not feel the presence of God you may want to pray for trials. It is better to NEED God and rely upon Him than to have a false sense of security that we are in control. If we think we have any control of our lives that is arrogance towards God. In the Old Testament and some people today in mourning they would rip their clothes and throw ashes on their head. There have been times I have been so anguished that I could have ripped by shirt in despair. But the above verse talks that we can get into a habit of this and it then has no meaning. We can be “Religious” on the outside and our heart is far from God. Have you ever been so sad or distraught that you wailed? “Weeping and Mourning” get the attention of God. Weeping and Morning are an outward appearance of an inward condition called brokenness. We can’t fake brokenness to God. But if we truly come to God “Broken” with no where else to go then you WILL feel the presence of God. God loves the brokenhearted and those who truly seek after Him.

Today you have many choices in life and that is part of our problem, we have too many choices. Today try to have a garage sale of your heart. Throw off all that clutter that is making God cloudy or non existent in your life. Get back to the simpler times and God will be there. Actually He always was. We just need to slow down, get rid of stuff and make God number one. The choice is yours. How will you choose? If you are having trouble, ask God for help. If you need prayer please call or e mail me. Get back to God today and your life will thrive.

Take care

Brad

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"Tell Me Your Favorite Bible Verse and Why" July 8, 2011

Today you get to be the writer.

1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”

I have heard some great stories from many of you of God’s love, hope and redemption. If you would like you have two places to choose or you can post on both. You can post on our daily blog at

http://www.heavenfirst.com/dailydevotionalblog.php

or via our Facebook page at The Ultimate Decision or Motor Racing Outreach.

Testify to a time when God showed up for you and what verse comes to mind. Have a great weekend.

Take care

Brad

:"Getting To Know God" Part II June 28, 2011

Yesterday we talked about trying not to be a “Doubting Thomas.” That is where we want to see God work BEFORE we believe. Anytime you go for a job interview the person hiring wants to see your resume. Before they hire you they want to go over all your credentials and your consistency of excellence. Somehow in this life a lot of us ask God for his resume each day in order for us to follow Him or to believe. God I will trust you when_______________.  We need to fall on our knees and ask God for forgiveness if this is our mindset. God has always been and always will be. God created you and I and we have no position to question God.

As I say that I have questioned God a lot. Why is Chase Autistic? Why is he Anemic? Why can’t he be like normal kids? My questions are tainted to a perfect God who has made Chase perfect IN His EYES. You see God looks at the heart and not the outward appearance of man. Amen!! The prophet Samuel was speaking of this when he chose David to be King over Saul. Chase has done more to people around him through compassion and love in pure motives than if he was normal whatever normal is. God does not make mistakes. So when we try to get to know the God that created us, God did not make any mistakes when he formed you in the womb, NONE. So first of all we need to stop coming to God whining of our circumstances that we are dealt. Those very circumstances are what are keeping us close to God and helping us grow in our faith. We need to stop asking “Why God” and start asking "How can I serve you”.

So how can we serve a God we do not see or may feel far from? We need to first of all be right with God. We can do that by being saved by faith in Jesus Christ. We can then be reconciled with God but that is just the beginning. We then need to know who God is so we can understand how to live. I was reading a story about King David this morning and the Spirit of God moved me to tears in just one sentence. In this life we can hear great speakers or pastors preaching and telling funny stories. But in the end it is ONLY the word of God that saves and cuts to the very core of our inner being.

In 2nd Samuel David took a census and sinned against God. Taking a census meant that David did not trust God for his victory; instead he wanted to know how many fighting men he had. God had sent a plague for David’s disobedience. At the end of the plague David offered a sacrifice to the Lord. Before he could offer a sacrifice he needed to buy a threshing floor to offer the sacrifices. The owner of the threshing floor offered it to David for free. This is what David said.

2 Samuel 24:24 “But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.

Have you ever gotten warm all over when you were about to shed tears. This happened to me instantly after reading the words “offerings that cost me nothing”. I believe in my heart that far too many times I have offered God something out of my abundance than out of my nothing. Jesus died on the cross to save you and I. He sacrificed His life. As you are reading this today ask yourself what you have sacrificed for the Lord?  Sacrifice may be your time, money or_____________. That is between you and God. It is probably the thing you treasure more than God. A lot of times in our lives we treasure created things more than God. That is where the trouble starts and that is why we have a hard time “Knowing God”. We would rather have fun with a created thing rather than our creator.

If you really want to know God then this prayer may help you. “Lord I have sinned and failed many times. I have chased after things that are far from you. But God I trust in you but still have a hard time understanding how much you love me. Lord help my hearts desire to love you more than ANY THING else in this world. Help me not to serve you out of duty but out of love for what you have done for me. Jesus I cannot do this on my own and I desperately need you to show me the way. Amen!”

If this is the desire of your heart then God will start to show up in the most unusual of circumstances. That little voice you hear stop pushing it away and start to act on what God’s Spirit is trying to tell you. “Knowing God “is not a one time prayer but a lifelong process of daily choices. Move towards God and He will move mountains to get to you.

Have a great day with hope in the Lord.

Brad

"Getting To Know God" Part I June 29, 2011

It should be our number one goal in life to get to know God. We will be spending eternity with Him for the believer. Plus in this life we can have joy when we are in constant fellowship with Jesus. So how does that happen? 

John 1:47,48 “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

So in order for us to get to know God know this: HE ALREADY KNOWS YOU. Jesus knows everything about you as He created you. Also realize that we aren’t doing God any favors for getting to know God. This frees us up from a legalistic approach to knowing Him. That is an approach where we get up excited to read God’s word. But then the excitement somehow turns to duty and then to rote studying. Getting to know God should be like getting to know your spouse. But as well all know that takes time and commitment or the relationship does not go anywhere. But too many times we let the worries of the present world cloud our judgment. Somehow we think work, a hobby or acquiring stuff is more important than getting to know our creator. How does the crated stuff in our lives become more important to us than Jesus?

Lack of faith is the number one trouble we have. Don’t bristle over this as many of us struggle with an intangible God when we have tangible stuff to touch to try to make us feel good.

John 20:25 “So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."

A lot of us want to see God work first before we have faith just as Thomas did. But this is what Jesus says about faith and what is seen and unseen.

John 20:28,29 “Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

IF you can be still God will show up. God desires our attention as He created us. In my own life I have seen God do many miracles. Those miracles came at a time when I was at my lowest. God knew!!!!! It is when we start living like we serve a risen Savior that we can start to have joy. Jesus is alive, He is not dead. He is also alive in you if you are a believer. To make sure you are a believer please click on this link.

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

When we are saved, Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to Endwell inside of us. That is why the Bible starts to make sense when we read it. That is because the author lives inside of us. We will stay on this subject of “Knowing God” for this week as there is nothing more important in this world and in this entire universe. First of all slow down and ASK, Yes ask Jesus for help in getting to know Him and He will come through. I can’t tell you how but that is the mystery and majesty of the One we serve. Ask and get ready for a miracle. Then tell me. I love to hear about miracles!!!

Have a great day and live with a joyful expectancy for life.

Brad

"Stop Before It Is Too Late" June 27, 2011

Have you ever received a beautiful brochure of a vacation spot and it never felt that way when you go there? Years ago I went on a business trip to the Bahamas and the hotel and surrounding area looked beautiful. The first evening in the hotel as I was drifting off to sleep I heard this pesky mosquito near my ear. I swatted him but they must have let out a battle cry as more came to the rescue. After getting bit numerous times I tucked all my sheets in and slept under the covers all night. I woke up and it looked like my face had measles I had so many bites. Then housekeeping came and fumigated my room. So much for paradise!

As we have been talking about the life of King David, David also tried to take some time off. God gave David victory wherever he went and whatever he did. David WAS ALWAYS fighting alongside his men. So it is very strange that he stopped.

2 Samuel 11:1 “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.”

Falling into sin usually doesn’t happen by a frontal assault. Usually things build up over a period of time and before you know it, you are trapped. This was David’s first mistake. He stayed home instead of fighting with his men. Now I know there are times that we need to rest but an idle mind can wreck havoc with someone who is always eager to get things done.

The fall of David began with Bathsheba. Now the Lord had blessed David through Solomon but what is about to come did change the whole dynamics of David and his family. So the first mistake was not going to battle with his men.

2 Samuel 11:2 “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful”

Now David already was married and had many other women. If his eyes caught a woman bathing he should have acted like Joseph and fled. BUT HE DID NOT.

2 Samuel 11:3 “and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?””

Once we lust in our eyes it is difficult to stop the passion. All David had to do was go back inside but now he took it another step. He asked someone to find out who this woman was.

2 Samuel 11:4,5 “Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

Not only did David find out who this woman was but David now seduced this woman even though he knew it was the wife of one of his battle commanders. Then she becomes pregnant. David devised schemes to try to have Uriah sleep with his own wife but everything David does not work. Uriah is faithful to his fighting men and does not relax as he knows his men are fighting in battle. David could have learned a lot from Uriah. Now David devises a scheme to commit murder.

2 Samuel 11:14,15 “In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

The rest of the story is that God speaks to Nathan the prophet and tells David of his sin and that this child who is going to be born to Bathsheba will die because of David’s sin. Here is the frightening part.

All David had to do was to walk away when he first saw Bathsheba. There were over five times that David could have rectified the situation but he kept getting in deeper and deeper. Right now some of you may be in step 1-5. God desires that you flee RIGHT NOW but will you? Passion can cloud over many good and honorable decisions. In our heart we can justify anything for our pleasure. It all comes down that we think “I deserve___________” I love the verse from the story of Joseph when he was doing everything right and honorable and Poitphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph. This is what Joseph thought in his mind.

Genesis 39:9 “No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?"

Joseph wasn’t thinking that he deserved some pleasure for being sold by his brothers into slavery. Joseph wasn’t thinking that he hadn’t been with a woman for a while and he deserved this. Joseph knew that he served a loving God and that his love was more for God than anything in the world. That is why his first thought was that he would be sinning against God, the one whom he loved.

Today you can change the path of destruction that you may be going down. DON’T let Satan tell you a lie. It is NEVER TOO LATE to repent, ask forgiveness and flee. God will reward you for coming clean. If you need prayer please call or e mal me and we will keep it confidential but PLEASE come clean. Please don’t build a barrier between you and the Lord. God loves you and does not want harm to come to your doorstep. Make the right decision; don’t put it off another day.

Take care

Brad

"Trusting God" Part II June 24, 2011

Please try to forward this e mail to 5 people today that need to be encouraged! 

We left off yesterday that we were going to discuss the first part of David’s reign as King. King Saul had been killed and now David was battling to secure his right to the throne which God had ordained. Before David went to battle he inquired of the Lord. There are two sets of verses that I want to go over. The two verses are David’s questions to God and then there are two different answers from God.

2 Samuel 5 18,19 “Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The LORD answered him, “Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.”

2 Samuel 5 22-25 “Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” So David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.”

This is what we can take away from David’s faith in God.

1. Do you ask God before you make a decision?
2. If you do ask God a question do you expect God will answer the same way again? If so does that stop you from asking again?

How many times in this life do we move so fast that we miss and mess up?  David could have asked God the second time and not waiting for the response because he felt that God would give him favor. But if David did not wait upon the Lord then he would have gone straight up against the Philistines and probably been defeated.

So how long do we wait for an answer to our prayers? As long as it takes to get an answer.Let’s say you have a big meeting coming up or a crisis in your marriage. How long do you wait to get an answer from God till you make a decision? God treats each person differently but in a loving way. God is not vindictive. If we are not used to praying to the Lord often we will have a difficult time when a crisis comes up. God won’t have a difficult time but we will.

DO YOU HAVE A REATIONSHIP WITH JESUS?  If you are unsure then this is the most important decision of your life. I would ask you today to send this e mail to as many people as you know that you love. Because you and they can know for sure if you are going to heaven after reading this link.

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

If you are saved you have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you that will help you make decisions and guide your life BUT you need to ask. Have you ever gotten on your knees to pray for a very important decision with your mind already made up on what you are going to do? Do feel bad you are not alone. God is the opposite of humanity. Humanity says that you are only as good as your last deal. God says that you can be renewed each day. God will forgive and forget the past when you come to Him with a repentant heart. That’s the God I want to get to know. He desires to wipe the slate clean and give us a fresh start. Today the questing is “Will you follow and listen to Him” or will you put God to the side and still do your own little deal in your own little kingdom?

The choice is yours. You will always have pain and anxiety when you do NOT WAIT upon the Lord.  The devil can masquerade as the voice of Jesus when you have not been listening to Jesus. How do you know who is talking to you? That is why we need to be constantly asking God for protection against the evil one and really trying to listen to what God is trying to reveal to us. Isn’t that amazing that God in all His creation is trying to reveal His plan to us? Today slow down enough to put God first and your burdens will start to be light. Your anxieties will lessen and your joy will start to come back. God is God and we are not. If you don’t know how to talk to God a good way is just to say “Help me Lord get to know you”.

Have a great day as God made it and get to know the one who holds the stars in the skies and the ONLY One who truly knows YOU.

Brad

"Trusting God" Part I June 23, 2011

Too much information can be a bad thing. A couple days ago I had an MRI for my shoulder. The initial damage came a number of years ago when I was training for an Ironman. A car pulled out in front of me and that was all I remember. I remember having road rash over most of my body but especially my left shoulder. At that time they only took an MRI of my head since I had been knocked unconscious.

Years later since I cannot lift my arm over my head there must be a problem so my doctor scheduled an MRI with contrast dye. The contrast dye is supposed to show any tears in the tendons and ligaments that would not show up in a normal MRI. For those of you who don’t know me too well I am a hypochondriac. I spent 4 years of college in Pre Med. I know enough to be dangerous. But what is really dangerous is the internet. The night before the test I looked up the test called an Arthogram. Well the dye they out into you can cause some serious side effects. If I get indigestion I think I am having a heart attack, a migraine can be a brain tumor, and a pain in my knee could be a blood clot, Oh the humanity!!!! Well the side effects to this dye are shutting down of the kidneys called Nephorgenic Systemic Fibrosis.

Nephorgenic Systemic Fibrosis is a progressive disorder which is associated with the development of excessive scar tissue and thick, hardened and tight areas of skin which often cover the joints, resulting in severe limitations on movement. In many cases it renders the victim unable to walk or fully move the joints of their arms, hands, legs and/or feet, and they become dependent on a wheelchair within weeks of the onset. There is no known cure or effective treatment for Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis, and in some cases it can lead to death.

Ok so what is worse the constant pain in the shoulder or dying form the dye? Oh, oh the word dye is in dying?? Can you see where my mind is going? So I decide to get the dye as we all have to die of something. They put an x ray machine over you so the doctor can see where to insert a LONG needle into your shoulder and then they inject the dye into the shoulder joint. Then they take you over to the MRI tube and you listen to beating and banging for 25 minutes. Now when the doctor calls you the next day that usually isn't good. Apparently I have 4 tears of different muscles so let the games begin. I will definitely be putting out a prayer request for this one. But what this test taught me was that too much information can be a bad thing.

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;”

In this life the Internet has allowed us to be our own doctors, therapists and psychos. Am I trusting everything I read or am I trusting in the Lord? If a professional doctor tells me I need a test do I believe in me because “I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express Last Night”?

Faith in Jesus is far superior to any knowledge we can acquire. So where are you today on this spectrum of trust and lack of trust in Jesus? A lot of us know about the person Jesus but do we have Him in our lives? Not only that but do we ALLOW Jesus to direct our lives. Do we go to the internet first or do we go to God? I am going to write a story on David tomorrow and how he inquired of God for a battle. This will be part 2 of Trust.

Today will have many trials and anxieties. God already knows the outcome. We have to get to the point in our lives where we trust God more than man and intellectual content. God IS intellectual content, God is ALL. Today let us all take a deep breath and know that God is still on the throne. NOTHING can come between you and God, NOTHING. Pray today that you would rest in God and do the best that you can do. Then let everything else go. God has it covered. Trust Me?

Have a great day and try not worry, yeah right!!!! OK I am working on it.

Brad

"Are You Really Content" June 22, 2011

Content -  To be satisfied

Many of us spend all or waking hours trying to find contentment. We desire to be satisfied. Satisfaction can come in many forms. Satisfaction can come from helping others to achieve their dreams. Or satisfaction can come from helping our own self build US up. Satisfaction can also come from being the best that you can be at a particular trade.

There are some of you that will never be content unless…….. I will get to the answer later. When I was a high school and collegiate runner it is was not good enough to break a record in running. If I did not break that record again and again then I felt like a failure. No coach or person put pressure on me. I put more pressure on myself than anyone. Ever been there? I was setting myself up for a fall. If I finished well ahead of the field and was not wasted at the end then I did not do my best. If I left something in the tank then I defeated myself. One race went particular well but I ran so hard I threw up at the end of the race. Then every practice, every race I needed to run till I threw up. I wish I had a psychologist as a coach but no one saw me self destructing. All anyone could see was performance. All I could see was my performance. My whole life was running and my joy was dictated upon how I ran each week.

Many of you are gauged not only by what you have done but also how good you are today. You may have put together a great deal that helped the company. The problem is you have raised the bar. Now you have to keep equaling or surpassing that level of intensity and perfection. In the back of your mind you may already know that you are in a no win situation and wonder how you will get by.

Let me tell you today that you are not alone. The bible teaches us a lot about contentment but the bible also teaches us to do the best with the talents that we have. Do you know your talent and are you using it? If so here is how to be content in your circumstances. I will bring up two scripture verses.

Hebrews 13 5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Philippians 4:12 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

The apostle Paul wrote Philippians but Paul could have also written Hebrews. So let me give you a number of things to interject into your own life from the life of Paul. Paul used to be the number one person who persecuted Christians till His life was transformed by Jesus. Then Paul suffered many trials for the name of Jesus.

1. Money is not bad, it is the love of money that is evil. If you are consumed with making money then you will never have money enough. The love of money is the ROOT of all kinds of evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) – A root goes in many different directions that are not seen. So with all the worries that the love of money brings.
2. God will never leave us but man will. No matter how hard or good you do your job you will eventually be replaced. But God will never replace you. Who is your hope in?
3. Pray for trials – Trials are life’s way of making things simple. Trials cut out the clutter and reveal to you what is really important. When you are standing at the bedside of a loved one nothing else matters. But rely on God to get you through or the trial will not lead you to contentment.
4. Do the best you can but do the best you can FOR the glory of the Lord and not your own glory. Quit trying to build your own little kingdom here on earth, even if you are a billionaire. Compared to God your kingdom is like a pauper compared to a King.
5. KNOW that God is in control and that he loves you. Many of us are not content because we are trying to find loved based upon our performance. Performance in the world will never be enough.

Pray today that the Lord would start to show you how much He loves you. Your life will not turn from performance to love till you can feel the Lord’s love, grace and mercy. All you have to do is ask with a repentant heart and Jesus will fill you with His spirit. He will give you abundant life. He will help you not to worry but to have hope. You will wake up and be joyful instead of having despair. I know you want that in your life. Stop letting the devil get a foothold in your life by chasing after things for contentment. Chase after God and the desires of your heart will be filled to overflowing.

Have an awesome day thinking about the Lord and helping others.

Brad

"Is This The Right Way" June 21, 2011

Julie and I took the boys to the park last night to play basketball. While we were sitting there a young woman with a baby came up and we asked her to sit down with us. Her older son joined in shooting baskets with Bryce and Chase. Now I have been in some odd conversations in my life but this had to be near the top. This woman proceeded to tell us that she just had “Tubal Ligation” (to not have children anymore) and then stood up pulled up her shirt and her pants to expose her scar!! Oh that is just the beginning of the story.

She said that they put air in her abdomen so that the doctors can easily see all the organs. At the end of the procedure she asked the doctor how the excess air got out of her system. The doctor told her by belching. OK I am just the messenger here. They gave her some paperwork to take home and to follow the directions. The directions said to

 1. Not do much activity for 14 days.
 2. Swab the scar with soap and water
 3. Daily raise your left arm repeated times.

Apparently the bloating was not going away and she wondered why raising her left arm and not her right arm would enable her to belch. After 5 days of the treatment the incision started to open up and she had to go to urgent care to get sewn back up. Hence the showing of the scar. Now listen to this one!

She told us that they had given her the paperwork for the woman who was before her that had shoulder surgery. The woman who had shoulder surgery got the paperwork for a tubal ligation. So the woman with shoulder surgery laid on her back for 14 days and only took sponge baths and our friend (she had to be a friend she showed us her scar) was trying to belch by doing shoulder exercises. Now I have heard some good ones but last night God knew Julie and I needed to laugh. To tell you the truth we laughed so hard I got a headache.

The bible is very clear on the direction on how to get to heaven. VERY CLEAR!!

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus cannot lie. He IS truth. There are many religions and factions of the same religion. But the truth is NO ONE and the bible says that NO ONE will come to God unless it is through Jesus. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, sin entered the world. Beforehand there was no sin in Adam and Eve but they disobeyed. Since sin is in the world and there is no sin in heaven God loved us enough to make a way. God’s way was to send His son, Jesus to pay the ultimate price. Our death would not do. God needed a perfect sacrifice. One that is pure without blemish and without sin.

That is the gospel, the good news. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13) Don’t take the wrong directions or listen to people who distort the truth. Jesus is the only way. I continue to thank you for forwarding this devotional onto others. We have had numerous people sign up in the past few weeks since you have been asking others to sign up. The link is below. We don’t know how long we have on this earth but let us in the Lord's power make the most of every opportunity. I thank all of you who have been praying for us and for lifting us up.

Please also pass this link onto people who may not be sure if they are saved or need assurance of their salvation.

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

I thank that Lord that many of you have made the most important decision of your life and the life to come. Let us know how we can pray for you. YOUR burden is to be shared with others so we can lift you up in the Lord’s power, grace and His mercy. He is more than able.

Oh by the way I have an MRI this morning as I am going to need shoulder surgery. Please pray that the procedure goes well and that I get the correct paperwork when I leave?

Have a great day and don’t allow the evil one to steal your joy.

Brad

"You Could Be The Next Joseph" June 20, 2011

I love the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. Joseph’s brothers did not like him and sold him into slavery at the age of 17. Joseph went to Egypt and was sold to Potiphar who was a high ranking official in Egypt. In many instances in the life of Joseph the bible says

Genesis 39:2 “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of the Egyptian master.
Genesis 39:5 “….. the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.”
Genesis 39:23 “The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.”

Joseph did everything Potiphar asked and Potiphar’s household was blessed. Then Potiphar’s wife came onto Joseph and he fled. But Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph and Joseph was thrown into prison. But in prison “The Lord was with Joseph” and the warden put Joseph in charge. Joseph interpreted the dream for Pharaohs officials but the officials forget him till the appointed time. I say the appointed time because the Chief Cupbearer did not have much influence. But when Pharaoh had the dream now the Chief Cupbearer remembers Joseph. Not only that but now Joseph came into contact with Pharaoh the head of Egypt. Joseph interpreted correctly Pharaohs dream and then he was put second in command only under Pharaoh. Joseph was 30 years old when he was elevated to this position. This trial of Joseph lasted 13 years.

Some of you today are in dead end jobs. You may also be in a good job with bad people. Or you may just be plain miserable in your settings. Know this, if you are working hard, treating people right for the sake of the Lord the Lord will notice. As Joseph was put down to be brought back up you may go through the same thing. You may be fired for not being in the “IN” crowd. You may be let go for other reasons. But if you are in a dead end job God may need to move you. Don’t be discouraged when God is on the move in your life. Don’t be discouraged when things look bleak and that things aren’t happening the way you planned. I doubt very much that when Joseph’s brothers threw him in the pit that he was thinking “Great I am going to become second in command to Pharaoh”. No he was thinking “Why Me” and when will I get out of this situation. If Joseph got out of prison early he would not have been able to interpret the dream for Pharaoh.

No matter where you are in your life right now “God KNOWS your situation.” Pray that you would be able to work to the best of your ability no matter what is thrown your way, no matter who try’s to thwart your efforts. Why? Because no one can overcome God. Do everything in your life as unto the Lord and you will never have to look back. Things may not seem right, going your way or getting the acknowledgment you deserve. But know this, God knows and that’s all that should matter. If you have a story similar to Joseph please e mail me. God is still in the miracle business and you may be the next Joseph. NEVER give up hope.

Have a great day

Brad

"Do You Feel Far From God" June 17, 2011

If you were honest there are a lot of times that we feel far from God. So why is that? In China and other Communist or Muslim countries the “Persecuted Church” thrives. So why doesn’t the church thrive in the United States like it does in China? Let me clarify the Christian Church in China. The above ground church which is government run has a couple million members. But the “Underground” church that meets in secret has tens of millions of members.

Persecution - a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate a people because of their religion, race, or beliefs: American Dictionary

Acts 5:17-20 “Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”

If the Apostles had not been put in jail then they would not have seen the power of God at work.  The persecuted church and persecuted people thrive with the gospel because

THEY HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO GO.

In this country we have many places to go for comfort. Our churches are not stopped from worshipping, we have food on every corner and if we don’t like one group of people we just move. In our own mind we don’t need God. We only call on God when we are in big trouble.

The prophet Joel in the Old Testament foretold about the coming of Jesus. But he also told us how to be close to God.

Joel 2:12,13 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

If your life is on cruise control and you do not feel the presence of God you may want to pray for trials. It is better to NEED God and rely upon Him than to have a false sense of security that we are in control. If we think we have any control of our lives that is arrogance towards God. In the Old Testament and some people today in mourning they would rip their clothes and throw ashes on their head. There have been times I have been so anguished that I could have ripped by shirt in despair. But the above verse talks that we can get into a habit of this and it then has no meaning. We can be “Religious” on the outside and our heart is far from God. Have you ever been so sad or distraught that you wailed? “Weeping and Mourning” get the attention of God. Weeping and Morning are an outward appearance of an inward condition called brokenness. We can’t fake brokenness to God. But if we truly come to God “Broken” with no where else to go then you WILL feel the presence of God. God loves the brokenhearted and those who truly seek after Him.

Today you have many choices in life and that is part of our problem, we have too many choices. Today try to have a garage sale of your heart. Throw off all that clutter that is making God cloudy or non existent in your life. Get back to the simpler times and God will be there. Actually He always was. We just need to slow down, get rid of stuff and make God number one. The choice is yours. How will you choose? If you are having trouble, ask God for help. If you need prayer please call or e mail me. Get back to God today and your life will thrive.

Take care

Brad