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Monday, October 31, 2011

Focus 40 - Day 22

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me

David has just completed a self examination and what he sees, he doesn’t like. David has penned many songs, and has brought our hearts melting before the Lord, and now he cries out to the Lord for himself. The Lord knows David; He knew him before the foundation of the world. God is omniscient; He knew his strength and his failings. And God knows you.  The view of a mountain range covered with fresh fallen snow can take your breath away. The beauty, the pureness of the white snow is breathtaking. Soon the first tracks appear of a lonely skier, and the fresh fallen snow is marred. Not too long after it begins to melt, footsteps, dirt, pine needles, now the beauty is gone. That’s where David is, the purity of a man, sought out by God, one who’s titled “A man after God’s own heart” cries out, in the dirtiest part of his life, Create in me a clean heart.” The word “create”  lets you know the seriousness in which David is in.  Do not use any part of the old; I have done a great job of messing things up my life. My past has polluted my life; my past has caused my heart to stumble. God I know your forgiving power, I know that in one sacrifice you can make my heart clean and forgiven; but what I desire most is a new created heart.
And then Lord, renew my spirit. What David is saying is God, keep my thoughts pure and help me focus my day upon you. Renew my thoughts and make my thoughts pleasing to you. What makes you happy; what makes you joyful, Lord help me to focus on those things.

Often time I feel like David, I want to cry out with him, Create in me a clean heart.” So Lord, with tears running down my face renew me today before you.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Focus 40 - Day 21

Psalm 139:23
Search Me
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way." 

These are perhaps some of the most poignant words in the entire Bible. In these two verses there is so much. We see the Psalmist asking God to search him, to look to the deepest part of what he is, his own heart. Why would the Psalmist ask this? And, why would any of us ask it? The reason is simple. We cannot know our own hearts as well as God can. He indwells us, knows every thought, is aware of every feeling, and He understands us better than we do. If we ever needed anyone to reach down in the depths of our hearts to find out what is unholy so that it can be removed, it is God.
David is the psalmist. David is asking God to prove, to test his loyalty because he is not like the wicked men spoken of earlier in the Psalm. David desired God and God's holiness.
When God asked Solomon what he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom, and because he did not ask for money, and power, or fame, God blessed him with all of them. Wisdom was a great thing to have. Nevertheless, Solomon fell into idolatry in his latter years and his wisdom did not help him in the end.
By contrast, David said, "One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple," (Psalm 27:4). Even though David committed adultery, murdered Bathsheba's husband, and used deception to cover his great sins, God, who knew this would happen, said of him through Samuel, "The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people..." (1 Sam. 13:14). There was a quality in David that pleased God. What was that quality? It was David's heartfelt desire for the Lord.
You need to know this because it will help you to understand the intimacy that David sought with God which ultimately led him to ask God, "know my heart." David seeks God in the most intimate place and asks Him to examine him there. David asks God to see if there is any hurtful way in him -- in the deepest part of his being. David was being vulnerable.
Is there any hurtful way in your heart? Would you be able to ask God to search your heart down to the deepest levels and reveal to you the secrets that not even you know is there? Would you trust God enough to ask Him to expose and root out of you that which is displeasing to Him? Do you have the courage to bow your knees, to lower your head, to lay prostrate before God, and to become as vulnerable as you can to Him as you ask him to look into your heart, to see if there's anything bad in there, and to deal with it accordingly? Such a request grows out of humility as well as increases humility. It is the ultimate trust in God. It can be scary. But it is definitely good.
David did not simply ask God to see if there's any hurtful way in him and leave it at that. He asked to be led by God in the everlasting way. This means to be corrected and sanctified by God's loving hands.
David did not know the Messiah since Jesus was far distant in the future. But David knew the Messiah would come. You, on the other hand, know the everlasting way -- if you know Christ as your savior. Jesus, who is God in flesh, who died on the cross and rose from the dead bodily, is the everlasting way. Therefore, for you to be led by God in the everlasting way is to be led to Christ.
May the desire of your heart be that you would seek Jesus, that you would dwell in His house forever, and that you would behold His beauty. God desires that you desire this, because He loves you.

Focus 40 - Day 20

Psalm 92:1-3
“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night, On an instrument of ten strings, On the lute, And on the harp,”

This psalm was written as a Psalm to be sung in the sanctuary on the Sabbath day. We are called upon and instructed to give thanks. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord. (Psalms 92:1-3) Praising God is good: it is good in itself to lift up the Lord, and good for us. It is our privilege to praise God. It is good to give thanks for the mercies we have received; it is good to sing praise and give thanks to God the Most High, exalted above all blessing and praise.
In our frustration we cry out to God; in our time of need we cry out to God; in our point of failing health we cry out to God, and in each situation we receive from Him the ample supply for the need of the moment. And then we praise Him; we lift Him high; all is going great, because He has moved on our behalf. Time has the ability to bring down our praise, to soften our memory of the need. But the Psalmist is reminding us that it is good to give THANKS.
When are we to praise God--in the morning and every night, not only on sabbath days, but every day. We must praise God, openly among our friends,  in your secret place, with our families. We must begin and end every day with praising God. We must thank him every morning, before we go to work, every night, when we are again at rest from our activities of the day.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Focus 40 - Day 19

Proverbs 22:7
Slave to the Lender
“The rich rules over the poor,                                             
And the borrower is servant to the lender”.

When you sacrifice to give, when you are obedient to what His word says to you about giving, you begin to experience just as Abraham did, that Christ is Jehovah Jireh - your Provider.  

If you could look into my heart it is not my desire to place guilt or condemnation on anyone, but it is my desire for you to experience the Lord as your overwhelming provider. The scripture is full of examples on making and spending money.

1. Budgeting

As Christians, we recognize that everything we have is a gift from God. We are not the owners; we are simply the managers of what He has entrusted to us. Knowing this fact should give us a better perspective on how we handle money. A budget is a great way to make sure we are handling money in the best way.

"But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner" (1 Corinthians 14:40)

"For God is not a God of confusion" (1 Corinthians 14:33)
"Prepare plans by consultation" (Proverbs 20:18)

"The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage" (Proverbs 21:5)

"Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts" (Proverbs 24:3-4, TLB)

2. Contentment

"Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ’I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid" (Hebrews 13:5-6)

"If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content" (1 Timothy 6:8)

"Besides You, I desire nothing on earth" (Psalm 73:25)

"But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment" (1 Timothy 6:6)

3. Debt

"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave" (Proverbs 22:7)

"Let the creditor seize all that he [the wicked] has; and let strangers plunder the product of his hand" (Psalm 109:11)

"Thus says the Lord... ’To whom of My creditors did I sell you? Behold, you were sold for your iniquities’ " (Isaiah 50:1)

"The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives" (Psalm 37:21)

"Woe to me, my mother, that you have born me as a man of strife and a man of contention to all the land! I have neither lent, nor have men lent money to me, yet every one curses me" (Jeremiah 15:10)

4. Giving

"But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3:17)

"If I give all my possessions to feed the poor... but do not have love, it profits me nothing" (1 Cor. 13:3)

"God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7)

"Go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasures in heaven" (Matthew 19:21)

"If any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family, and to make some return to their parents" (1 Timothy 5:4)

5. Greed

"Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to ...greed, which amounts to idolatry" (Colossians 3:5)

"He said to them, ’Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions’ " (Luke 12:15)

"Besides You, I desire nothing on earth" (Psalm 73:25)

"The greedy man curses and spurns the Lord" (Psalm 10:3-4)

"The treacherous will be caught by their own greed" (Proverbs 11:6)

6. Honesty

"The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick" (Jeremiah 17:9)

"It is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth" (1 John 5:7)

"Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit" (Psalm 34:13)

"A truthful witness saves lives, but he who speaks lies is treacherous" (Proverbs 14:25)

"Better is the poor who walks in his integrity, than he who is crooked though he be rich"
(Proverbs 28:6)

7. Idolatry

"You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves" (Exodus 20:23)

"Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands" (Psalm 115:4)

"The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, the work of man’s hands" (Psalm 135:15)

"All of her [Israel] idols will be smashed, all of her earnings will be burned with fire, and all of her images I [the Lord] will make desolate" (Micah 1:7)

"And you [God’s people] will defile your graven images, overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold. You will scatter them as an impure thing; and say to them, ’Be gone!’ Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture" (Isaiah 30:22-23)

8. Riches

"He [the wicked man] will not become rich, nor will his wealth endure" (Job 15:29)

"Surely every man walks about as a phantom; surely they make an uproar for nothing; he amasses riches, and does not know who will gather them" (Psalm 39:6)

"Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death"
(Proverbs 11:4)

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36-37)

"Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God" (1 Timothy 6:17)

9. Saving and Investing

"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8)

"A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children" (Proverbs 13:22)

"A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, and will share in the inheritance among brothers" (Proverbs 17:2)
"The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets"
(Proverbs 21:20, LB)

"Steady plodding bring prosperity" (Proverbs 21:5, LB)

10. Taxes/Tribute

"Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection (to the government), not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due" (Romans 13:5-7)

"The king will enrich the man who kills him [Goliath] with great riches... and make his father’s house free in Israel" (1 Samuel 17:25)

"It is not allowed to impose tax, tribute or toll on any of the priests, Levites, singers, doorkeepers, Nethinim, or servants of this house of God" (Ezra 7:24)

"Then the king of Egypt deposed him [Jehoahaz] at Jerusalem, and imposed on the land a fine of one hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold" (2 Chronicles 36:3)

"Mighty kings have ruled over Jerusalem, governing all the provinces beyond the River, and that tribute, custom, and toll were paid to them" (Ezra 4:20)

11. The Poor

"[The wicked] caused the cry of the poor to come to Him, and that He might hear the cry of the afflicted [judgment result]" (Job 34:28)

"A poor man who oppresses the lowly is like a driving rain which leaves no food" (Proverbs 28:3)

"Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people" (Proverbs 28:15)

"He who oppresses the poor to make much for himself or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty" (Proverbs 22:16)

"The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, the wicked does not understand such concern" (Proverbs 29:7)

12. Work

"Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it" (Genesis 2:15)

"Six days you shall labor and do all your work" (Exodus 20:9)

"Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until evening" (Psalm 104:23)

"Whether, then, you eat of drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31)

"Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established" (Proverbs 16:3)


"A good name is to be more desired than great riches, favor is better than silver and gold." Proverbs 22:1 NASB

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Prayer Requests

Orville - to find a full time job
Sally - bladder cancer, also lung & lymphoma 
Dan - to turn his life around, all signs point to drug-related 
Danielle - 11th grader at PSHS - protection.

May this Praise Report be an encouragement to us all to the power of Jesus' name!


I have a praise report.  After being unemployed for almost 10 months,
I got a full-time job as the full-charge bookkeeper for ABC Recovery
Center in Indio.  Not only is it a great job that helps people (rather
than just making someone wealthy), it has EXCELLENT benefits,
including health, dental, vision, life and 401K.  I felt like Pastor
Fred was talking to me a couple of weeks ago on Sunday night when he
said God wanted him to tell someone who was "at the end of their rope"
to "tie a knot and hang on".  God was up to something in their life. 
Well, God was up to something in my life - that's for sure!  Anyway, I
 "tied a knot" and hung on and God has blessed me immeasurably.
Thank you,

Dolores - recovery from back surgery.
Debbie - God's strength and protection for her marriage.
Eddie - in hospice treatment, has tumors in his entire body.
Marge - pancreatic cancer.
Bill - (Russ' brother) going through chemo treatment Fran's daughter - starting chemo for uterine cancer.
Yulando - financial breakthrough to catch up on bills.
Praise quote of the day:  "This fasting is really bringing my husband and I closer to the Lord.  

In Jesus name we pray, Amen!"

Focus 40 - Day 18

The Captain of the Lord of Host
Joshua 5:14
So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” 

Victories for God’s people come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it even seems that God sets up the certain situations to show His sovereignty. Before we begin today, I would like to say that God’s ultimate view of victory is summed up in a person; the Lord Jesus Christ.

In our text this morning we are looking at God’s servant, Joshua. The setting for his encounter with the Lord is; the children of Israel have just crossed over into Jericho and Joshua is scoping out the land devising a battle plan. It is here where Joshua comes into the presence of God (Joshua 5:13-15). It is during this encounter that the Lord reveals Himself as Commander of the army of the Lord. In chapter six of Joshua the Lord gives a list of steps for the children of Israel in order to win the battle. Joshua’s response to this visit from the Lord requires us to look a little deeper. “Are you for us or for our enemies”? You would think His response would be “I’m on your side, here’s how I see things”. But His response is “neither”  Christ has gotten involved in this conflict because He wants to work the will of the Father. “I’m here to do the desire of my Father”. Joshua, I’m sure, could have put up a very good fight, but God didn’t want a plan put into play designed by man and his limited abilities. He had a purpose.

The victory the Lord wants to give us requires us to be both committed and submitted to His plan and purpose. We could tell God how to do things, try to persuade Him with our opinions. When the Lord appeared to Joshua I’m sure he had devised a plan, in his mind’s eye he could see how it would unfold, but God had another idea. The battle for victory may bring you through a valley of sorrow or suffering. But the unshakeable hope is that in the beginning of the battle the Commander of the Army is there; during the battle the Commander of the Army is there. He’s been there before and knows just what to do.

Here are some practical lessons learned from Joshua as he encountered Christ at the battle of Jericho.
            First: never enter a battle without consulting the Captain. The victory that God wants us to experience today in Jesus’ name requires us to receive our Captain’s strategy for battle.
            Second: worship the Lord in reverence and humility before seeking His guidance! Joshua fell on his face humbly before God as an act of worship and reverence before he asked “What message does my Lord have for His servant” (Joshua 5:14).
            Third: pursue patterns of personal purity as the result of encountering Christ. If we listen carefully during our times of quiet intimacy with the Lord, we’ll surely hear Him say as He did to Joshua “take off your sandals for the place you are standing is holy” (Joshua 5:15).
            Fourth: only those who listen and obey will experience the totality of Christ’s promised victory! Joshua not only listened to what his Captain said, he obeyed Him in every detail. Obedience is the key to victory.

Let’s go forth today courageously, ready to conquer in Jesus’ name. Nothing we could need- strength, growth, joy, provision, purpose, peace- escapes the power of Christ.