Now Do I Have Your Attention?

Today’s Passage – Exodus 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 1 – 2; Proverbs 23; Psalms 111 – 115)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0123 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s passage in Exodus – “Your Free To Go” and “What Can Wash Away My Sin?

“And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.” – (Exodus 12:30-33)

Flies, frogs, locusts, darkness, hail. All of these and more sent by the hand of God in order that the Egyptians, as well as the Israelites, would know that there is an awesome and powerful God in Heaven. God’s command to the king of Egypt was simple: “let my people go”. However, Pharaoh was not too willing to heed the request of God. He seemed to be more willing to endure all of the plagues that God was sending his way. That is, all until his first born son was taken from him at the hand of God. God finally got his attention. He was finally ready to yield his stubborn will to the will of God.

There was a lot to think about in the passages of Scripture that we read this morning and I understand that there are deeper theological truths behind the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, but I couldn’t get past the thought that sometimes God has to allow some especially painful things in our lives in order to get our attention. We are sometimes like that hard clay that the potter must soften before he can use it. I’m just wondering this morning, is there something that the Lord has been trying to do in your life that you have been resisting. Have you hardened yourself to the point where, in order for God to accomplish His will, He will have to break you. What will God have to do to get your attention?  I suppose this thought applies just as much to the Christian that is fighting against God’s perfect will as it does to the lost person that is resisting salvation. Whichever your case is, the remedy is the same. Soften your heart, and yield to God’s will. Is there some sin that you are holding on to? God will do what He has to do in order to get you to repent of it and forsake it. Whatever it takes, God will accomplish His will for your life. You cannot win in a battle with God.


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Did Pharaoh Have a Choice?

Pharaoh

Today’s Passage – Exodus 7 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 15 – 16; Proverbs 22; Psalms 106 – 110)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0122 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.” (Exodus 3:19)

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 7:3)

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” (Romans 9:14-18)

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

I have listed a lot of verses above that are important for our discussion this morning regarding whether or nor Pharaoh had a choice or not when he refused to let the children of Israel go out of the land of Egypt. There are many more verses that could be used by either side of the argument, but I will use these just to start the discussion. It is my firm belief that Pharaoh acted according to his own free will when his heart was hardened, whether or not the Scripture states that it was hardened by God, or that he himself hardened his heart. Theologians on the other side of this argument would almost have us to believe that Pharaoh’s personal desire was to convert to Judaism, but God forced him against his will to oppose Moses and the Nation of Israel. Please do not misunderstand, I am not saying that God did not work in Pharaoh’s heart in order to achieve His goal of glorifying Himself in the sight of both His people and in the eyes of the Egyptians. However, God had a very willing participant. Pharaoh had already rejected God:

“And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2)

I firmly believe that God wants all men to be saved, and he desires all men to serve and glorify Him, but He also has given man the free will to make his own choice about that. God did not create a bunch of robots that do exactly what He wants at all times. It wasn’t God that caused Satan to rebel against Him, and it wasn’t God’s manipulation that forced Adam and Eve’s choice either. Does God know who will be saved? Absolutely. But, He doesn’t make that choice for them. Pharaoh had already made his mind up about God and His people, Israel; and God knew that there was nothing that would change Pharaoh’s will about that, so God used Pharaoh to help Him achieve His (God’s) goal. God is big enough and sovereign enough to use both the saved and the lost in order to achieve His purposes.

God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He has chosen to have mercy on “whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord.” In my view, this makes God infinitely bigger and more powerful. He runs His creation, and will achieve all of His purposes, even though the people He created are acting according to their own will. He is absolutely awesome!


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Don’t Rock The Boat – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Exodus 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14; Proverbs 21; Psalms 101 – 105

Read the “0121 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.” (Exodus 5:20-23)

Good morning. Most of us have heard the saying: Don’t Rock The Boat. Usually at work, when something good is happening. Don’t rock the boat: you don’t want to spoil the good thing happening. And truthfully, the only one who has time to rock the boat is the one who is not paddling. Moses was just carrying out God’s orders. In the eyes of Israel, he was rocking the boat. They said that it was Moses’ fault that there was a riff between God’s people and Pharaoh with his people. This riff would continue even as they left Egypt…

And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:10-12)

But if Moses did not rock the boat, Israel would still be working as slaves down in Egypt. God was answering their cries for help by sending Moses. And Moses rocked the boat. The problem appears to be a lack of belief. God was answering their prayers and they did not know it. God sent plagues to force Egypt to let Israel go. When they thought it was all over, either Pharaoh’s wrath or drowning in the Red Sea, God supplied a third option. Israel watched as the Lord parted the sea, and caused Israel to pass through the midst of the sea on dry ground. They followed God for a while, but when there was no water they complained. When there was no meat, they complained. When Jesus came, they didn’t even recognize their Messiah. They thought that Jesus would defeat the Romans and set up the Kingdom. But Jesus rocked the boat in revealing their sins, and their need for a Saviour.

Are you a boat rocker? There are people all over who are walking through life oblivious to their coming destruction. Are you going to rock their boats and wake them up? Are you going to let them row over the waterfall that leads to the lake of fire? God is rocking your boat. Jesus said…

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (John15:1-2)

Jesus also commanded…

…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

You need to get the Gospel out. Whatever you do… DO rock their boat.

Peace.


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Growing Through Affliction

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Today’s Passage – Exodus 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 11 – 12; Proverbs 20; Psalms 96 – 100)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121

Read the “0120 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” – (Exodus 1:12)

In our passage of Scripture this morning we read about the nation of Israel after they had been in Egypt for 400 years. When we last left the family of Jacob at the close of the Book of Genesis, the people of God were prospering, but after many generations have passed in this foreign land, they are now being persecuted. It seems that the Egyptians had recognized the hand and blessing of God upon His people, and became afraid that the Hebrews would take them over. So, they enslaved them, and made their lives bitter. However, the more the people of God were persecuted, the more they were grew. On a natural level, this doesn’t make any sense, but then again, the principles of God often go against human reasoning. These Egyptians simply couldn’t keep God’s people down, no matter how hard they tried.

There are two observations that I would like to make from this passage:

1  Throughout the history of the Christian churches, there have been periods of intense persecution. Persecution is a tool of the devil to defeat the people of God. However, again we have observed through history that some of the greatest times of growth in Christian history have come about as a result of persecution. Notice what happened to the church at Jerusalem after the death of Stephen:

“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. … Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” – (Acts 8:1, 4)

“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:12)

The devil attacked the church at Jerusalem, and it resulted in the spreading of the gospel throughout the rest of the world. Persecution actually caused the church to grow. Paul was persecuted throughout his ministry, but he states that the things that happened to him caused the gospel to go further. In America today, we are experiencing the greatest prosperity and freedom that we have possibly ever had in Christian history. However, are the churches growing? Are we seeing more people converted to Christ? Most Christians today are not even aware of what our true mission is in this life. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not asking for persecution, and I certainly don’t look forward to it, but I am convinced that a revival of true church growth will only take place if God allows things to heat up a bit.

2  The second observation that I would like to make has to do with the personal walk of the individual believer. We also tend to grow more during times of trial and testing than we do during those mountaintop times. Consider these passages:

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” – (1 Peter 1:6-7)

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” – (1 Peter 4:12-13)

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” – (James 1:2-4)

I know that when I look back in my own life I can clearly see that more growth came during those difficult days rather than the days that I was “at ease in Zion”. Again, I do not enjoy the hard times, but I have learned to embrace them, and also embrace the God who loves me enough to mature me and, with the trials he brings me through, conform me into the very image of Christ.


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Graduation Day

Graduation Day

Today’s Passage – Genesis 48 – 50 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 9 – 10; Proverbs 19; Psalms 91 – 95)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0119 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” (Genesis 49:1)

I remember when I was a young person attending school. At the end of every school year there was an awards ceremony and they would give out various awards for attendance, academics, athletics, and even some for attitude. I didn’t receive many awards as a child, I was what you might call “exceedingly average” in just about every area. Looking back on my school days, I can only recall receiving three awards: two in intermediate school, and one in college (the first time I went to college – not Bible school). However, I remember that every time I attended one of those awards ceremonies, or a commencement exercise, I would always feel two things. First, I would feel regret for not having applied myself more that year. I would realize that I could and should have done more; I should have worked harder; I shouldn’t have goofed off so much, wasting valuable time. The second thing that I would feel is motivated. I would determine that next year was going to be different for me; next year I was going to do better; next year I would be up there on the stage getting some kind of award. The only problem was that my weaknesses in character always outlasted my bursts of motivation.

You may be wondering right now what all of this has to do with the passage that we read in Genesis this morning. Well, here is the connection. Every time I read chapter 49 in Genesis, I am reminded of these award ceremonies. Except, here it is the one who is graduating to Heaven that is handing out the awards. Jacob is about to die, and he calls all of his children together to pronounce a blessing upon some. Unfortunately, he also will be pronouncing a curse upon others. Can you imagine the last words that you hear out of your father’s mouth before he dies being words of regret, rather than words of praise. I know well what it feels like trying to live a life that is pleasing to a father. I spent a good deal of my young adulthood trying to receive “attaboys” from my dad by achieving sales and success in the business world, which was his life. I think every child desires to please their father; at least most do. I cannot imagine the hurt I would feel if my father were to offer words of regret about my life at his passing. These sons of Jacob had all ran out of time. The time to live a life that would be worthy of being blessed by their father had passed.

You know what’s worse, however, than not receiving words of blessing and praise from your earthly father? Not receiving them from your Heavenly Father. Someday all who are His children will stand before Him and give account for their lives. Some will hear words of praise and will receive rewards; others will not. I want to please my Heavenly Father in my life today so that He will someday say to me, “Well done”. I guess I never got past that desire to hear “attaboy”; only now it is my Heavenly Father that I want to live for. Don’t misunderstand, I love my dad dearly, and I want my life to be a source of blessing to him as well, but my passion in life today is to live for God. I want the same thing for my children. Yes I want to be pleased with them, but ultimately the only thing that matters is if God is pleased with them.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4)


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Just Let It Go

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 45 – 47 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 7 – 8; Proverbs 18; Psalms 86 – 90)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Big Picture

“And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.” – (Genesis 46:29-30)

“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” – (Proverbs 17:9)

I could be wrong about this, but I do not believe that Joseph ever told his father what his brothers had actually done to him. He does discuss it with the brothers, but only to assure them that he had forgiven them, because he knew that God had allowed all of it to happen for a greater purpose. Joseph was certainly in a good position to get even with his brothers, but what good would that have done. He also could have brought their evil report to their father as he had done earlier in his life, but that would only have hurt his father, and further damage relationships within the family.

Joseph was a great picture of Christ. He not only forgave their sin, but he also worked hard to restore the relationship. We need to learn to be more like Joseph. Too many of us are harboring bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts toward those who have wronged us. We refuse to just let things go. We want to keep punishing the people who have hurt us in the past, and we want to make sure that everbody else knows what they have done. But in the long run, we are only hurting ourselves, and that bitterness that is oozing from our hearts is literally destroying us from within.

Let it go. Learn to forgive, forget, and move forward in your relationships with people. Yes, we have been wronged, but we also have wronged others as well. It profits none of us to continue living in the past.


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People Can Change

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 43 – 44 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6; Proverbs 17; Psalms 81 – 85)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0117 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s reading passage – “Passed the Test”

“And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.” (Genesis 37:26 & 27)

“Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad benot with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.” (Genesis 44:33 & 34)

There is quite a contrast between the events that take place in chapter 37 and those that happen in chapter 44 of the Book of Genesis. In chapter 37 the brothers of Joseph want to put Joseph to death (all except Reuben). Judah, who is the fourth oldest son comes up with idea of selling his brother into slavery. His idea does save Joseph’s life, but consider with me what this heinous act did to Joseph’s father, Jacob. We are all familiar with the events that transpired in the life of Joseph; they are recorded in these chapters 37 through 44. God had his hand on Joseph, and although he certainly suffered, God raised him up to a position of great influence and authority. But what about Jacob? For years Jacob thought his favorite son, Joseph, was dead. Joseph’s brothers seemed to have no problem going home and telling their father that their brother was killed by some wild beast. How could their level of compassion and care for their father be so low that they would be willing to put him through the tragic loss of Joseph.

There is certainly a change, however, in chapter 44. Joseph puts his brothers through a series of tests. (You will have to read the story for yourself in order to fully grasp the thought I am trying to convey here.) The final test is when Joseph arranges to “set up” Benjamin his youngest brother. I think Joseph was really trying to keep Benjamin safe with him, away from his other brothers. He tells the brothers that Benjamin is going to have to be kept as a bondman in Egypt. But notice how Judah intercedes this time for his brother. He remembers what the loss of Joseph did to his father, and now he is doing everything in his power to keep the same thing from happening to Benjamin. He knows that the loss of Benjamin will completely destroy his father. He even goes as far as to offer to take the place of Benjamin. This is certainly a change from his earlier days.

Judah changed. God changed him. God can change you and I too. People can change. I believe the best way to bring about the needed changes in your life is for you to get as close to God as you can. I am convinced that as we draw nigh to God, He will purge the dross from our lives, and conform us to the image of the Lord Jesus. Do you desire to remain the same or do you desire to be more like Jesus in your life? Judah certainly bore a resemblance to the Lord Jesus here in chapter 44 in the way that he interceded for his brother, and by the way he was willing to be a substitute. God can do the same for you and me as we yield our lives and our will to Him.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – (Romans 12:2)


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Saving for the Future

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 41 – 42 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 3 – 4; Proverbs 16; Psalms 76 – 80

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read a previous post from this passage – “In His Time

“Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.” – (Genesis 41:34-36)

Our passage of Scripture today explains that Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had a dream, which he did not understand the significance of. I am not sure that all dreams have significance, but this dream must have been especially troubling to Pharaoh as he called in all of the people he could to help him figure it out. He dreamed about seven cattle that were very healthy and fat, and they were feeding in a meadow. Then there came along seven cattle that were lean and unhealthy, and they ate the healthy cattle. Then Pharaoh dreamed about ears of corn. Once again, the first seven ears were healthy and full, but there came along seven other ears of corn that devoured the first seven. No one in the kingdom could help Pharaoh understand the meaning of the dreams, until they brought Joseph up out of the prison. You see, Joseph had already demonstrated in the past to some of Pharaoh’s servants that he could help in these matters.

Joseph revealed to Pharaoh that both the cattle, and the corn in his dreams represented years. That healthy and full cattle and corn represented seven good years; years when there would be plenty of rain, and the land would produce food in abundance. Unfortunately, the seven good years would be followed by seven years of drought, and famine; years where the land would produce very little, and the people of Egypt and the surrounding areas would eventually go hungry.

Because Joseph had the inside scoop on what was about to happen, Pharaoh had appointed him prime minister over the land, and granted him authority over everyone else, save Pharaoh himself. Joseph began purchasing food from the Egyptians in the good years, when it was abundant and cheap. He stored the food that he bought in the cities, and soon, he had a great mass of food laid up in store, ready for the lean years that were to come. I imagine that there were probably many people that thought Joseph was foolish for purchasing all of that food. I mean, after all, there was plenty of food everywhere, and the land just kept producing more. It may have seemed to most that there would never come a day when the good times would end. But they did. And Joseph was ready.

In this passage, Joseph not only demonstrated that he had a special gift from God in discerning the dreams of men, but he also showed that he had godly wisdom. Wisdom teaches that we should not consume all that God gives us today, because we may need some of it tomorrow. It is wise to prepare for the days of leanness and famine that may be ahead in our future. Just recently in America we saw countless people who had their expensive houses and cars foreclosed on because they had lost their jobs. In the previous years they were making great money. Who would have thought that the economy was going to plunge into recession? Many people went into large amounts of debt, simply because they believed that the good years would never end, but they did; and now they are suffering the consequence of their over-consumption and lack of preparation for the lean years.

We need to learn a very practical lesson from this passage. Things may be good today, but they may not be so good tomorrow. It is very wise to save a little today, so that we are bettered prepared for tomorrow. You do not have to be a miser, but a little saving will go a long way. Also, it is very wise to avoid debt, especially consumer debt. Cut up those credit cards if you have trouble controlling your spending. Learn to live with a little less today, so that you can survive tomorrow.

Joseph was a wise steward, and as a result he prospered while everyone else was suffering. We can do the same thing.

Oh, I almost forgot. The best way to save for the future is to invest in God’s Kingdom. He pays better interest that anything else out there.


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What About Judah?

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Today’s Passages – Genesis 38 – 40 (Click on the references to listen to the passages. Click here to view today’s passage on Blue Letter Bible.)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 1 – 2; Proverbs 15; Psalms 71 – 75)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “0115 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” (Revelation 5:5)

We don’t talk a lot about Judah as a man. We know that Jesus comes from the tribe of Judah, and we know that when Israel split in the time of King Rehoboam that the tribe of Judah alone stood in Jerusalem and demonstrated better adherence to the Law of God than her neighbors to the north did; but what do we know about the man, Judah. I have been guilty of assuming that the reason that God chose the tribe of Judah above all of the other tribes was due to the fact that Judah was a more honorable man than his three older brothers. In fact, I recently posted that thought in the “Boys Will Be Boys” post from two days ago. However, after reading today’s passage, I had to give it a little more thought.

In chapter 37, we discover that it was Judah that suggested to his brothers that they sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites, and there is nothing in the context to support the fact that he did so for the purpose of sparing his life:

“And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.” (Genesis 37:26-27)

It appears that he merely wanted to make a profit from the situation. Killing Joseph would not have benefitted him financially. By the way, we usually don’t think too highly about Reuben, but it was he who tried to save Joseph, not Judah.

Chapter 38 is a parenthetical digression dealing solely with the family of Judah. In it we see that Judah marries a woman from Canaan:

“And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.” (Genesis 38:2)

You may recall that Isaac strictly forbid Jacob (Judah’s father) from taking a wife from the daughters of Canaan. (Genesis 28:1, 6)

Later on in chapter 38, we read about Judah purchasing a prostitute, which turns out to be his daughter-in-law:

“When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face. And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?” (Genesis 38:15-16)

Now in a couple of days we are going to read a story about Judah where he is doing a good thing. In Genesis 44 he will be interceding with Joseph, pleading with him to allow Benjamin to go home to his father, Jacob. He even offers himself as a substitute. Judah got this one right:

“Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. … For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren.” (Genesis 44:18, 32-33)

So, here it is: the bad and the good about Judah, and it seems that there is more bad than good recorded. So why did God choose Judah? Was it because he was a good man as opposed to his evil older brothers? No, I don’t think so. He did, however, demonstrate Christlikeness when he offered himself as a substitute for his brother Benjamin. But I still do not think that is the reason why Christ descends from Judah. Judah was just like you and me. He was a sinner. He did bad things, just like us; and it was only because of God’s grace that He could do anything with Judah at all. By the way, it is only because of God’s grace that He can do anything with you or I. He saves us by His grace, and He can only use us by His grace as well.

“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.” (Genesis 49:8-12)


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The Plot – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Genesis 36 – 37 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 27 – 28; Proverbs 14; Psalms 66 – 70

Read the “0114 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams. And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again. And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they strip Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no. And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.” (Genesis 37:12-36)

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Good morning. We start off with a plot: a plot to kill Joseph. Jealousy, or envy is a breading ground for hatred. And Joseph was hated by his brothers. They were going to kill Joseph, and throw him in a pit. Then Reuben intervened: God was beginning to make a bad situation good. Reuben told his other brothers that Joseph should not be killed because of him being their brother. So they stripped Joseph of his coat of many colors, and threw him in the pit. Reuben would recover Joseph later and return him to his father safely. But the plot thickens. The other brothers sell Joseph to a caravan going down to Egypt. They rip and tear Joseph’s coat of many colors, and soak it with goat’s blood. This is what they presented to Jacob when they returned home. It appeared that Joseph was killed by a wild animal. But “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

And God had Joseph right where He wanted him. God would use Joseph to save a nation from starvation. Later, Joseph would be reunited with his family. His brothers beg Joseph for forgiveness, and Joseph explains Romans 8:28 to them…

And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.” (Genesis 50:18-21)

Now here is the lesson: Jesus said…

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Tribulation is going to come. When it does, how will you handle it? Will it be a pity-party? Or will it be something that drives you to the Lord: what do I need to learn? How can I use this to help others? Yes, to help others…

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.” (2Corinthians 1:3-7)

If you look at yourself for the answer to the plot that is plotted against you, you will not find the answer. But if you look to the Lord, He will give you the answer and show you who to help.

Peace!


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Boys Will Be Boys

Today’s Passage – Genesis 33 – 35 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 25 – 26; Proverbs 13; Psalms 61 – 65)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 55:17

Read the “0113 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s reading – “Lead On Softly

And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.” (Genesis 34:25)

“And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard [it]. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:” (Genesis 35:22)

I grew up in a home with four boys. We were blessed to not have any sisters. Girls have cooties: at least that is what I was told as a boy. In fact, even in my extended family, on my dad’s side, there were only boys. I had six male cousins, but no girls. I remember my grandmother would often get frustrated with our bad behavior. We were always fooling and fighting. We were being boys. She would often go get my dad and tell him: “Those Boys!” I must have heard that phrase come out of her lips a thousand times, and it usually meant that we were in trouble.

Jacob also had a bunch of boys that would often find themselves in trouble. In fact the verses above tell of the shinanigans that three of the sons were involved in. The first involved sons numbers two and three: Simeon and Levi. (I was often referred to by number as a child as well.) It seems that these boys wanted to exact revenge upon a local huligan that had raped their sister. Now, there is nothing wrong with these boys wanting to see justice done to this guy; but they took it way too far. Without the permission of their father, they go into this man’s village and kill every male. Jacob later recalls the event and says that the boys were instruments of cruelty, and that their anger was fierce. I don’t blame them for the way they felt, and I do not fault them for desiring revenge. I have three daughters of my own now, and I don’t even want to think about what I would do if this happened to one of them. But, there will be many times in life where our passion, and our thinking need to be yielded to the will of God.

The next incident involves son number one; the oldest, Reuben. This man also had a big problem with passion, but with him it was a sick lust for the opposite sex. This man actually had sex with his father’s concubine (kind of a second class wife). His fleshly desires were out of control. He was certainly not considering the will of God when he did this. Consider for a moment the depravity of the human heart. Your heart and my heart. We need to yield our members as instruments of righteousness; and we need to walk in the Spirit so that we will not fulfil the lusts that are inside each of us.

Unfortunately for these boys there were some pretty severe consequences for their actions. You will recall that the boys involved in these two incidents were boys one through three, right? Reuben, who was the firstborn, should have been the one with the birthright, but he lost it. Simeon and Levi were disqualified also. Guess who got it? Your right. Boy number four, Judah. I seem to recall that Jesus is called the lion of the tribe of Reuben, right? No. He is the lion of the tribe of Judah. Jesus descended from Son Number Four. The only thing good that came from Reuben is a tasty sandwich with Pastrami and Swiss Cheese. The bottom line is that I want to exhort you to think before you allow your passions to take control. The act of passion takes only a moment, but the consequences are long term. Please, walk with God. Run every decision, every word, every act past His desk. Let Him control your passions.


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No More Jacob

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Today’s Passages – Genesis 31 – 32 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 23 – 24; Proverbs 12; Psalms 56 – 60)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 51

Read the “0112 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Jacob left the land of Canaan with a name that means “supplanter” or “deceiver”; but he returns after twenty years with name Israel, which means “a prince of God”. This is a wonderful picture of the power of God to transform lives. Jacob didn’t just get a name change, either, he received a nature change, and so do we when we give our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. God gives us a new nature. The Holy Spirit of God moves in and transforms our lives from the inside out. This isn’t just a “turning over of a new leaf”. This is the impartation of a divine nature into the heart of a formerly fallen sinner. What a wonderful thing it is to be a Christian.

Notice, however, that Jacob did not receive his new name until he had been with Laban for twenty years. Justification and positional righteousness take place immediately when we are born again into the family of God; but sanctification and practical righteousness in our lives is a lifelong process. God had to do some things in Jacob’s life. I have been saved now for over twenty-five years myself, and God is still chipping away at my rough edges; still revealing areas of my life that need His touch. In fact, the closer I walk with him, the more I see the things in my life that are not as they should be. My goal is just to get close to Him, and allow Him to have His will and His way in my life. I am not what I should be but, praise God, I am not what I used to be, either. I am not yet an Israel, but no longer am I Jacob. God is still at work in my life. I am trying to get out of His way and let Him work.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – (Romans 12:2)

 


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Surprise!

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 29 – 30 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –Matthew 21 – 22; Proverbs 11; Psalms 51 – 55)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

Read a previous post from this passage – “Moving Forward

And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? (Genesis 29:25)

It this passage we see that Jacob who had deceived his father is now being deceived himself. He had left Canaan (Israel) and travelled back to the place where his family originated (near Babylon) in order to find a wife. He arrives and meets a beautiful young lady named Rachel who happened to be his cousin (OK back in those days – really wierd today). He falls in love with her and strikes a bargain with her uncle to work for him for seven years as payment for his daughter. Oh how I wish that we still followed this program today. I have three beutiful daughters and I would have been rich. Anyway, after his seven years of hard labor is completed, Jacob wants his wife. However, when he wakes up in the morning he does not find beautiful Rachel lying next to him in the bed, but instead he sees Leah, Rachel’s older sister. You can imagine the suprize that must have been on his face when he laid eyes on Leah who the Bible describes as “tender- eyed”. That was the phrase you used in Bible days when you wanted to be kind when describing someone who was ugly. Jacob was tricked by his uncle Laban. The deceiver was deceived.

I have two thoughts regarding this passage of Scripture. The first is the principle of sowing and reaping. Jacob reaped deception because he was a sower of deception. In fact, I think we learn in the coming chapters that Jacob reaps a little more than he sowed. We sure have to be careful in our lives because this principle is certainly in effect today as well. The Bible says be sure your sin will find you out; and the way of the transgressor is hard. It will eventually come back to bite you. I have seen this principle often in my life and ministry. Many of the problems that I have dealt with as a pastor have been areas where I have been guilty in the past. However, the principle works for good things as well as bad. Sow some good things in your life and you will reap some good things back. Sow a little mercy toward others and you will reap a little mercy from others. Sow a little kindness, and reap a little kindness; sow a little compassion, and you will reap a little compassion. You get the idea.

The second thought is that you cannot trust the world. Laban was not a saved man, and Jacob was trusting him to be faithful and trustworthy in his dealings with him. Laban is a type of the devil. If you make a deal with the devil or the world for Rachel, you are going to wake up someday with Leah. Satan is a liar, and this world is completely out for itself. Even God’s people can be downright untrustworthy at times; but know this: you can trust God completely. He will always deliver what he promises, and He will always do right. Even when we don’t understand what He is doing, or why; we can be assured that He loves us, and that He has our best interests in mind.


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I Am With Thee

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 27 – 28 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 19 – 20; Proverbs 10; Psalms 46 – 50)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0110 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “The House of God” and “Savory Meat

“And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Genesis 28:13-15)

In today’s passage we read about Jacob fleeing from his brother Esau into the land of Mesopotamia (Padanaram) where he will live for twenty years with his Uncle Laban. Along the way he stops at a place that he would later Bethel, which means “house of God”. There the God of his grandfather Abraham meets with him personally for the first time, and there God will confirm His covenant with Jacob. God now makes the same three promises to Jacob that He originally made to Abraham back in chapters 12 and 15. The covenant includes:

Provision of Land (v 13)

Progeny (Children – v 14)

Protection and Prosperity (v 15)

My thought this morning surrounds the phrase, “I am with thee”. Jacob had certainly done nothing to deserve God’s presence in his life. His history thus far has only demonstrated that he was a deceiver. Yet, God promises to bless him and go with him. God can do what He wants to do, and He sees what we cannot see. He sees beyond the mistakes that we have made in our past. He sees what we will be, what He will mold us to be. God made the very same promise to Isaac back in Genesis 26:24. God would later repeat the phrase several times in regard to the entire nation of Israel. The only other time the exact statement is made is in the New Testament to the Apostle Paul. (Acts 18:10)

What an awesome privilege it is to have God’s presence with us. He indwells the believer today with His presence:

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13)

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

As you go through your day today, go with the assurance that the same God that was with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob so many years ago is also with you. He will “never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)


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The Battle of the Ages

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 25 – 26 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 17 – 18; Proverbs 9; Psalms 41 – 45)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 47:1

Read the “0109 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree” and “From A Father To A Son”

“And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.” (Genesis 25:22)

As I was reading this I could not help but think that it is a picture of the struggle that is within each of us. Here in this passage we see Rebekah with twin boys in her womb; and the Scripture tell us that they struggled within her. Now, we know from hindsight that these boys and their descendants would be struggling for a long time; in fact, they are still struggling today. However, we also can see how that these boys are a picture of the new nature which struggles against the old nature. Esau who was born first is a picture of the flesh, and Jacob is a picture of the new birth, the birth of the Spirit. You see, when we trusted Christ as our Saviour we became new creatures in Christ, but God did not remove our old, sinful nature. He is alive and well. That is why Paul talked often about crucifying the flesh. Look at some of the things that God used Paul to pen regarding this struggle:

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18)

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:17)

“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” (Romans 7:15)

All of these verses speak of the struggle that is within each one of us who are saved. In this New Year,  I have resolved to get as close to God as possible so that He will “[work] in me both to will and to do of his good pleasure”. I want to reduce the influence that my flesh has over my mind. I want my mind and body to be yielded to the indwelling Spirit of God. There will always be a struggle between the Jacob and Esau within us, but I want to see Jacob win more often.


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Taker or Giver?

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 23 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 15 – 16; Proverbs 8; Psalms 36 – 40)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 34:6

Read the “0108 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Bride of Christ”

“And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.”(Genesis 23:12-13)

“And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:” (Genesis 14:22-23)

“And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.” (2 Samuel 24:24)

“I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:33-35)

My thought this morning may be a little strange, but I noticed in our reading today that Abraham was offered several times a place to bury his wife Sarah at no cost to him, but he refused to take it unless he paid for it. Back in Genesis 14, we see a similar situation. Abraham and his servants had helped save the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah after they had been conquered and taken captive. The kings of the cities that Abraham helped offered to give Abraham money and possessions for his help, but Abraham refused them also.

In 2 Samuel 24, David was offered the threshing floor of Araunah along with the oxen necessary for a sacrifice, but David refused him also, insisting that he pay money for those things.

Paul also was very reluctant to take anything from people, as can be seen in the above reference from Acts 20.

All three of these men of God were very careful in their financial dealings with people. They didn’t accept any gifts from people who might be giving gifts with strings attached to them. These men wanted to be sure that people understood that God was the supplier of their needs, not men.

I too am very uncomfortable receiving gifts from people, perhaps because of a pride issue, which is also wrong; but I think all too many servants of God are too willing to accept gifts from people, even going to the extreme of constantly asking people for things. Ministers often have a bad reputation in this world for being covetous and greedy, and unfortunately in some cases this is not unjustified. Ministers today need to be very careful to remember that it is God who supplies our needs, not people. The Bible says,“And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.” (Exodus 23:8).

We who minister today need to make sure that the people know that we are not merely hirelings who do what we do only for what we can get. We need to improve our reputation by being givers, not takers.


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God Will Provide Himself A Lamb

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 20 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 13 – 14; Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7

Read the “0107 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Heream I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” Genesis 22:7-8

Before I begin my thought this morning from today’s passage in the Scripture, let me say that I feel totally inadequate to even attempt to glean all of the depth and beauty that is contained in chapter 22. We are certainly treading on Holy Ground as we deal with the great test that God gave Abraham when He asked him to offer up his only son, Isaac. I strongly encourage you to prayerfully re-read this chapter, and ask God to open your eyes to the many wonderful pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ that we will see in this chapter. I will discuss some of these types of Christ from this passage in a minute, but first let me say, that God was definitely putting Abraham to the test by asking this of him. God had first promised Abraham a son twenty years before He actually gave him. Abraham had waited so long, but God finally delivered on His promise. To make matters worse, Abraham’s other son, Ishmael, who was born to a concubine had been sent away; so Isaac was all that Abraham had, and God was now asking him to give him back. Think now how you would respond to this. What if God were to ask you to sacrifice your only child? What if God were to ask you to let your child serve Him on a foreign mission field? We become pretty attached to the children God gives us, don’t we?

First, let us consider the  person of the sacrifice. Before, we look at the pictures of Christ contained in chapter 22, let’s examine how the child, Isaac, is a picture of Christ. The birth of Isaac bears a striking resemblance to the birth of Christ in many ways making Isaac’s birth a type or a picture of the birth of our Lord. A. W. Pink in his work, Gleanings in Genesis, points out the following:

1  Isaac was the promised seed and son; and so was Christ. (Genesis 17:16; 3:5; Isaiah 7:14)

2  In both cases there was a long period of time between the promise of birth and the fulfillment of that promise. (Genesis 12:7)

3  In both cases the announcement of the birth to the mothers and the reception of the news were similar. (Genesis 18:12 – 14; Luke 1:34 – 37)

4  In both cases the name of the child was specified before birth.  (Genesis 17:19; Matthew 1:21)

5  Both births occurred at an appointed time. (Genesis 21:2; Galatians 4:4)

6  Both births were miraculous.  (Consider also the birth of Samuel and the birth of John the Baptist)

7  The name Isaac, which means laughter, was given by Abraham indicating the delight of the father.  So too did Jesus’ Father declare His delight, when He said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

These types, which are replete throughout the Book of Genesis, remind us of the infallibility of the Word of God.  How could any human instrument paint such an accurate and beautiful picture of our Lord centuries before His birth.

Now let’s consider the place of the sacrifice. Did you know that this Mt. Moriah is the very same mountain that the Lord Jesus would be crucified on years later. By the way, it is also the place where David offers his sacrifice; and also the same mountain where the temple would be built.

Finally. let us look at some of the other pictures contained in this chapter:

1  They arrived at Moriah on the third day. (v 4)  For three days Isaac was thought to be as good as dead to Abraham.  But on this third day, Abraham was given back his son alive.  Of course, the third day is the day of resurrection.

2  The wood for the sacrifice was placed upon Isaac, (v 6) and carried by Isaac to the place of the sacrifice.  Remember that Christ carried the wood for His sacrifice as well.

3  In verse five, they leave the servants behind.  This was between the father and the son.  Christ also left the disciples at Gethsemane; and even the two thieves were excluded when the darkness fell when Christ was on the cross.

4  Notice in verse eight, “God will provide himself a lamb”.  This is not a reference to the ram that was given later on in the chapter.  This is clearly a reference to Christ.

5  The Ram was caught in a thicket.  Thorns were upon the head of the Saviour.

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)


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Don’t Look Back

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 17 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 11 – 12; Proverbs 6; Psalms 26 – 30

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 25

Read the “0106 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage –“Abraham Did a Little Walking With God, Too” and “The Prayer of a Friend”

But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:26)

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

Our passage today contains the familiar story of the deliverance of Lot and his family from the city of Sodom just before God destroyed it. After they had travelled a good distance away from the city, Lot’s wife looked back at the destruction, and God turned her into a pillar of salt. I have done a little thinking through the years as to why Lot’s wife had turned her head back to gaze upon the life she was leaving behind. Though there may be many reasons, I have concluded that three possible explanations are these:

1  She had people that she loved that were still back in Sodom.

2  Everything that she knew was behind her, and the future was unknown.

3  There was a lot about Sodom that she really enjoyed. Like the Israelites who left the bondage of Egypt who lusted after the leeks, onions, and garlic that they used to enjoy on the other side of the Red Sea, Lot’s wife was definitely going to miss some of the old life.

Have you made the spiritual connection here from this passage to what a believer goes through after being saved? Sodom represents our old life. Our old life contained people we loved who choose not to enter into the journey of salvation with us; at least not yet. We love them, and we long for them to be a part of our new family of faith with us. We also remember some things that we used to do before our salvation that we really enjoyed, and we reluctantly give them up because they are not what God would have for us today.

God wants us to move forward by faith, leaving behind the old man, and the old way of life; and though the future has not been completely revealed, we know that God wants to give us a far more abundant, joyful, and fulfilling life than anything we had before.

As God brings us forward down the road of faith, let us enjoy the ride as much as we will someday enjoy the destination. And don’t look back. Looking back is the first step toward going back. You cannot possibly enjoy the journey that God has set before you if you are constantly looking back at what used to be.


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Relationships Are More Valuable Than Riches

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Today’s Passages – Genesis 13 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 9 – 10; Proverbs 5; Psalms 21 – 25)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read the “0105 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read last year’s post from this passage – “Gardens and Green Grass – or God’s Will?”

“And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.” – (Genesis 13:8)

I recommend that you go to the link above and read the post that we did last year. However, I also want to give you a quick thought this year from Genesis 13. Lot and Abraham, and apparently the people that worked for them, began to fight because their possessions increased to the point that they could no longer work and live together. Now, I completely understand that it is a good things for our children, or in this case a nephew, to separate from us and go out on their own. However, the thing that troubles me from this passage is the reason that this particular family separated. It was all about money and possessions. It grieves me that family and friends will often forsake each other due to conflicts regarding money. Riches are not as important as relationships, and relationships are of far more value than riches.

“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” – (Luke 12:15)

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” – (1 Timothy 6:10)

As I get older, I realize that the people in my life: my wife, my children, and my friends; bring me more joy than anything that money can buy. Possessions are not wrong as long as they don’t possess you, but possessions have a way of becoming idols in our lives. We need to be careful that we never let our bank accounts, or our stuff, take precedent over the relationships that God has given us.


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The Beginning of Globalism

The Ruins of the Tower of Babel

The Ruins of the Tower of Babel

Today’s Passage – Genesis 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 7 – 8; Proverbs 4; Psalms 16 – 20)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

Read a previous post from this passage – “Don’t Move Unless God Moves You

“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” – (Genesis 11:4)

In our passage today, we read about the Tower of Babel, man’s first attempt at a one-world government. God was not pleased with man’s attempt to build himself a place in the heavens then, and He is not pleased with it now. Our world is moving rapidly toward this “New World Order”, which will eventually be headed up by the antichrist, and will include a universal religion. Unfortunately, this one-world worship system will not be worshipping Jesus Christ, but will in fact be worshipping the god of this world – Satan.

I for one am grieved with all of this coming together. I am an American. I am proud of my heritage, and the culture that I was raised in. I am not against other nations, and people groups. I love them, and desire to see them reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ; but I am not trying to get them to become like me in their culture, and neither do I want to become like them. In our church, we have many different nationalities present, including people from Africa, Europe, Asia, and South America. They are all wonderful people and have unique cultural backgrounds. I enjoy fellowshipping with them, and I especially enjoy eating their delicious foods; but I am not trying to change them. The common bond that glues us together is the Lord Jesus Christ. We are all followers of the Lord, but I do not believe the Lord would want us to all give up the things that make us diverse from one another culturally.

I am also very opposed to uniting with all of the other religious groups in the world. I can have no fellowship at all with religions that do not worship and serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe we should even separate from so-called Christian religions and denominations who preach a gospel other than salvation by grace through faith. The Bible is clear that two cannot walk together unless they be agreed. I am a Baptist, and I am not ashamed of that. I don’t wish to become anything else. I find that when we attempt to all come together, we have to lose some of the distinctives that we hold dear. I don’t want to lose those things, so I separate from other religious groups. I don’t hate them, and I don’t try to stop them, I just don’t fellowship with them in a church setting. Personally, I may be able to enjoy the company of believers of other denominations because of our common bond of salvation, but I will not invite other denominations to preach for us at the church, or participate in our worship services.

The only one-world government and religion that I will go along with is the one that is completely under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Someday soon He will set up a wonderful New World Order with Himself as the King, but it will be completely free from the corruption of man and sin.


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Too Old To Do Something for the Lord?

Group Of Senior Couples Attending Book Reading Group

Today’s Passage – Genesis 7 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 5 – 6; Proverbs 3 ; Psalms 11 – 15

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0103 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s passage – “It Doesn’t Take Long, Does It?“; “A Token

“And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.” – (Genesis 7:6)

“And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.” – (Genesis 9:28-29)

The thought I have this morning may seem a little strange, but bear with me. Notice that Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, and he lived beyond the flood another 350 years. The lifespan of man back in these early days after creation was obviously a lot longer than it is today. Men and women would have lived forever had sin not entered into their world, but the wages of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was death; but even still, that death didn’t come for 100’s of years. The flood would cataclysmically change the earth, which would reduce lifespans; and then a strange event is mentioned but not explained in the Bible, which would further reduce the average age that men and women would live on the earth. (See Genesis 10:25; 11:10 – 19) By the time you get to Abraham, man’s years are reduced even further to 175; and eventually God limited man’s years on earth to “three score and ten (70), with possibly another ten years added for good behavior. (Psalm 90:10)

I didn’t mean for this to be an exhaustive study on the Biblical history of lifespans, but I merely wanted to point out that Noah’s life was better than half over when God called him to build the ark and deliver his family through the flood. In today’s years, Noah would have been in his fifties when called upon to do this monumental task for the Lord. Moses was two-thirds of the way done with his life (80 years old) when God called him to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt. It seems that God does not have a problem giving older folks the strength and energy to do great things for Him.

I am 52 years old, and I am way past the half way point in my life; but I can still be used of the Lord to accomplish His will. Sometimes, I start to get a little discouraged about how much I have done for the Lord thus far. I would like to have completed some more tasks, done a little more than I have; but then, when I read passages like this, I get encouraged, because it may just be that I will be used of God in greater ways in my remaining years. I bet the same is true for you as well. You are not as young as you used to be, but God still wants to use you to accomplish great things for Him.

Noah Webster completed his monumental American Dictionary of the English Language at age 66.

Benjamin Franklin helped draft the Declaration of Independence at age 70.

Nola Ochs became the oldest person to receive a college diploma, a degree in general studies with an emphasis on history at age 95.

Grandma Moses (yes it’s a real person) started painting at age 76, and completed over 1000 paintings by the time she died at 101.


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Shining Brightly in a Dark World

Today’s Passage  – Genesis 4 – 6 (Click on the reference to listen to the audio. Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 3 – 4; Proverbs 2; Psalms 6 – 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0102 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:8)

“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9)

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Genesis 6:11)

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,” (Matthew 24:37-38)

The New Testament tells us that what we read in the Old Testament is partially given to us to be an example to us and to admonish us. I am very encouraged by the example of Noah who was a bright and shining light during a very dark period of man’s history. The Bible tells that in the days of Noah “every imagination … was only evil continually”. In fact, Noah and his family were the only saved people on the face of the earth. 2 Peter tells us that Noah wasn’t a silent Christian, either; he was a “preacher of righteousness”, which means that even though the people weren’t taking him seriously, he continued to shine brightly by preaching the truth.

The parallels to our present day are very plain here. We are also living in perilous times, and though it may not be quite as bad yet as it was in Noah’s day, the world today is certainly a very dark place. Yet, we can be challenged by the example of Noah, and continue to boldly live for the Lord, and shine the light of Christ’s glorious gospel. If Noah had enough grace to stand for the truth back then, I am sure that God will give us the grace that we need in order to stand today.

Here are some tips for keeping your spiritual battery charged this year so you can continue to shine brightly:

1  Walk with God every day. Noah did (Genesis 6:9) – spend time daily in the Word of God and prayer.

2  Gather with God’s people every time the doors are opened. The preaching of the word and the edification that we receive from other believers will strengthen us tremendously:

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

3  Win souls – get out in the highways and hedges, the streets and lanes of the city, and tell people about the Lord. There is nothing more invigorating than to see people come to faith in Christ; and unlike Noah’s day, people are still getting saved today.

4  Unplug from the world. If you really want to shine brightly in this dark world, you will have to stop allowing the darkness to permeate your life.


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Let There Be Light

 

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 1 – 2; Proverbs 1; Psalms 1 – 5)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Deuteronomy 32:4

Read the “0101 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s reading – “In the Beginning“; “He Is Still Creating Me

“And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:4)

This is the first of three separations in this chapter. Here light is separated from darkness; later, the sky will be separated from the water; and then the land will be separated from the water. This is also the first spiritual picture of the doctrine of separation. God divided the light from the darkness. We are the children of light (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.” (John 12:36)

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” (Ephesians 5:8)

We are commanded to shine the light of God, and we are also instructed to not fellowship with darkness.

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

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)

There is a lot of darkness in the world, which should, at least theoretically, cause our light to appear brighter. Unfortunately, too many Christians are also becoming darker because of the attraction that we have for this world and its culture and our desire to be accepted. The Bible commands us to love the people in the world, but also to “love not” the worldly culture and anti-God philosophies. The best way to do this is to live separated lives as we shine the light of the gospel to the people around us.


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How To Make The New Year Happy – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Your Favorite Passage

(Second Milers also read – Proverbs 31)

Read the “1231 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” (Ezekiel 37:1-10)

Good New Year’s Eve morning. 2017 is upon us. New Year’s resolutions need to be made and hopefully kept. There are parties to go to. Food to be cooked. So many things to do. So much to think about the future, and plans to make. But if you want a happy New Year, you should review the old year. How far back did you slide spiritually? How much did you grow spiritually? Did you finish reading your Bible through at least once in 2016? How about this: did you keep all the New Year’s resolutions you made in 2015?

If you’re like me, you didn’t keep them. You failed miserably. But you now have a new year in which to fail or succeed. The most important thing to remember is what Jesus said…

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John15:5)

Do yo feel sometimes like these dry bones? Going nowhere? Gathering dust? Not accomplishing anything? Do you feel like these dry bones?Remember what Jesus told Martha, Lazarus’s’ sister?

Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” (John 11:23-27)

And Jesus is the living Word of God. That is why God told Ezekiel, the first thing he should say to those dry bones is, “Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.”

The very first thing you need to have a happy new year is Jesus. If you do not know 100% for sure you are going to Heaven when you die, you need to do as the Philippian jailer was told by Paul: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…”

The Bible will tell you…

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

If you are already saved, you need to hear the Word of the Lord. One of the proofs that you did hear is obedience. James said…

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” (James 1:22-24)

If you want a happy new year, you need to be obedient to God’s Word. And remember Jesus said without Him you can do nothing. That includes being obedient. So all you really need for a happy new year is Jesus. And if you have Jesus in everything you do in 2017, you will have a happy new year.

Peace! And Happy New Years!


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You’re Invited!

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Today’s Passage – Revelation 20 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “1230 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s passage – “Behold, I Make All Things New

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)

First of all, I want to congratulate those of you who have journeyed with us this year through the Bible. Reading the Bible through each year is quite an accomplishment, and it is also very rewarding. Some who are reading this post may not have been completely faithful in your reading at times; perhaps you were “hit and miss”. I have often been there myself. Don’t be discouraged! Try again this year. Our new journey begins January 1st in the Book of Genesis. I am excited again to offer an even more intense “Second Milers” program this year for those who desire to take their walk with God to a higher level.

Have you ever taken notice of all of the invitations there are in the Bible? Here at the very end of the Bible is another invitation for people to come to Christ. Have you received Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Have you received that new birth that Jesus spoke of in John chapter 3?  Jesus loves you very much, and desires for you to come to Him. He won’t force anybody to come; but as you can clearly see from the verse above, He invites you to come. All throughout the Bible, God has always offered an opportunity for people to turn from their sin unto Him. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, He still desires a relationship with you.  Mind boggling, isn’t it. Why would God desire us? Maybe you’re a Christian, and you have strayed away from God’s will. God invites you too to come back to Him. He never stopped loving you either, no matter how far away you’ve wandered.

A final note to those of you who are doing well spiritually: God wants you to come in a little closer. John tells us in his gospel that God wants us to have “life more abundantly”. Every day of our life ought to be more abundant than the day before. Why? Because every day we ought to be drawing closer to Him. Make 2016 the year that God gets all of you, the year that you surrender more fully to the will of God; the year that you are wholly yielded to the Spirit of God. Who knows, this may be year that Christ comes to take us home to Heaven. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. What a blessing it is to be a child of the King!


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Supper’s Almost Ready

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Today’s Passage – Revelation 16 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 141 – 145; Proverbs 29)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – James 4:10

Read the “1229 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s passage – “It Will All Be Gone Someday”

“And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”  (Revelation 19:9)

I must confess that I really don’t understand all that is going to take place during that period of time called the Great Tribulation. I know that it will be a horrible time for those living on the earth for both the saved and the lost. I know also that it will be a time of rejoicing and receiving in Heaven. You might think that those words are not exactly adequate to describe what will take place there in that day, but maybe after I explain you will understand what I mean.

The rejoicing part is rather self-evident. We will do a lot of rejoicing in Heaven. In chapter 19, we see the words, Alleluia, Amen, and Praise used repeatedly. The angels will be rejoicing, as well as the Saints. We will probably get a little glimpse as to what is going on in the earth while we are in Heaven awaiting the end of the Tribulation. We will see the destruction of God’s enemies. We will watch the destruction of Babylon, with all of the political power and false worship that it represented. God will win. We know that now through faith in his Word. I remember hearing a song years ago entitled, “I Read The Back of the Book and We Win”. That’s the truth! We are reading about it prophetically now, but someday soon we will see it. We should probably learn to rejoice now, shouldn’t we?

The Tribulation period will also be a time of receiving for those who are experiencing the events from Heaven. What will we receive? Well, for one, we will receive rewards for the works that we did for the Lord while we were on earth. The Bible calls those rewards “crowns”. I don’t know if I will receive any rewards or not, but one thing I know – I really don’t deserve any. Jesus deserves all the glory. Anything I did for His Kingdom that was of any value, He did through me anyway. I guess that is why the Bible says that we will cast those rewards back at the feet of Jesus.

What else will we receive? Well, I believe that all throughout the Tribulation Period we will be receiving new saints in Heaven. Saints that have made their robes white in the blood of the lamb through martyrdom. I believe that many will be saved during this period, but I also believe that most of those that get saved, will be martyred. We don’t know much about persecution in the time that we are living in today, especially in America; but most of these Tribulation saints will be faithful unto death. Every day, more will arrive. Heroes of the faith that chose death rather than live in allegiance to Satan.

Then, we will receive some supper. It is called a supper isn’t it? I wonder what we will eat? Can you imagine sitting at a table with the Lord and all of the saints? As I said before, I couldn’t possibly know all that will happen, but I do know that it will be wonderful, because everything He does is wonderful.


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Before It’s Too Late

jesus-with-a-sharp-sickle-in-his-hand

Today’s Passages – Revelation 11 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 136 – 140; Proverbs 28)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Revelation 14:6 & 7)

I have always been fascinated with the Book of Revelation. In it, we see the final destruction of the earth, and the judgment of all of those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ. However, in the midst of all of the judgment and destruction are many invitations for people to come to Christ. Chapter 14 in particular reveals this truth. The last verse in the chapter is traditionally understood to be about the final battle in the Tribulation Period known as the Battle of Armageddon. Not much of a battle really. Christ is going to return and completely destroy all that oppose Him. Notice, though, that prior to this great battle, even right before the final destruction, God was inviting people to come to Christ. The chapter begins with a discussion about the 144,000 who are evangelists covering the earth with the gospel of Christ. Next, we read about three angels that are flying around the skies warning people about the impending judgment, and inviting them to trust Christ. You see, God is not willing that any should perish. Even at the very end, He is inviting people to turn to Him.

I am no history expert, but I think I remember hearing that before we dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki we warned the people of the coming destruction by dropping leaflets from planes. I may have my facts mixed up a little, but I have heard that our government is known to warn the innocent, so that they can be saved. It kind of reminds me of what God is doing here in these passages. Yes, the judgment is certainly coming, but God is willing to save any and all that will come to Him before that day comes.

How about you? Have you heeded the warning from God regarding the coming judgment? You see, my friend, the wages of our sin is eternal death; but God in His mercy and grace is willing to save anybody who is willing to turn from their sin unto the Saviour. If you haven’t yet trusted Christ, I encourage you to read the “Are You Saved?” page on this blog.

Now to those of you who are saved, don’t ever give up on your unsaved loved ones. Keep praying for them, and preaching to them. As we have seen in this passage, God is going to keep giving them opportunities to repent, even at the very end. We should have the same attitude. Keep trying to win them, keep inviting them, keep reaching out to them, keep loving them, even until the end of our earthly lives.  It may be that last try that convinces them that Christ is their only hope.


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He Alone is Worthy

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Today’s Passage – Revelation 4 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 131 – 135; Proverbs 27)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “1227 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s passage – “Come Up Hither

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” (Revelation 5:9)

“Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” (Revelation 5:12)

Three times in our passage today, there are references to Jesus being “worthy”. In chapter four, He is found worthy because He created all things, including you and me. In chapter five, He is found to be the only one that was worthy to open up the seven seals. He was  worthy because he “wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by [his] blood”. We owe everything to the Lord, so He alone is worthy.

He Is Worthy Of Our Praise

“Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalms 150:6)

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;” (Psalms 107:1-2)

He Is Worthy Of Our Service

“Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” (Psalms 2:11)

“Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” (Psalms 100:2)

He Is Worthy Of Our Sacrifice

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

We spend a lot of time praising men, serving those who will serve us back, and sacrificing for ourselves; but Christ alone is worthy of all of these. In 2016, let us determine to put Christ at the very center of our lives; let us conform to His will, yield to His Spirit, fulfill His commission. He alone is worthy of all of our devotion and effort.


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Compassion Makes a Difference

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Today’s Passage – Jude – Revelation 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 126 – 130; Proverbs 26)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “1226 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s passage – “Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock

“And of some have compassion, making a difference:” (Jude 1:22)

The Epistle General of Jude is a very interesting letter. Throughout almost the entire letter God is calling for us to stand up and fight against those who are promoting doctrinal error, as well as those that are encouraging immoral lifestyles. These are not the ones who are merely walking in the counsel of the ungodly, but have gone all of the way to sitting in the seat of the scornful. They are not just allowing sin, they are spreading it. The letter demands that we draw a line in the sand, and that we hold that line, defending it with all of the passion that we can muster. However, at the very end of the letter, Jude says something very interesting:

“And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23)

While we are earnestly contending for the faith, we are to be looking for people who we can show compassion to, which will make a difference. These may be people who have fallen prey to those who are promoting  error. These could be people whose lives have been absolutely torn asunder because they have believed the lies of the ungodly. These are people whose lives may have been destroyed, but whose hearts have been softened enough to be salvaged for the glory of God.

There are a lot of people out there in the world today who desperately need to experience the compassion of God. They certainly may not look or act like the people in our churches, but God sees something in them that He loves, and He sees hope. We don’t know who they are, either, so we had better be prepared to be compassionate with a lot of people until we find the one upon whom it will make a difference.

Compassion will make a difference. Don’t give up loving people for the Lord Jesus. People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.

How can we demonstrate the compassion of God to those around us?

1  Share Christ with Them – Though the context of this passage would certainly include people who are saved but have strayed from the faith, I think it would be safe to assume that many of the people that God wants to make a difference in are still lost in their sins. We need to compassionately convince these people of the love that Jesus has for them.

2  Spend Time with Them – We certainly need to maintain separation from people with ungodly lifestyles, but how are we supposed to reach these folks without interacting with them. We can be separated without being isolated. I do not have to participate in or condone the sins of those we are called to reach, but I can still come int their world. Verse 23 states that we have to pluck some of them out of the fire, and we cannot do that without getting close to the fire. Jesus said that we were to be in the world, but not of the world.

3  Supply Needs for Them – People whose lives have been torn apart by sin are often brought to their knees through very drastic circumstances, and many times they will need the support of God’s people in order for the love and compassion of Christ to penetrate them. Hungry people need food as well as the gospel. Homeless people need shelter and clothing as well as Bible principle. We might argue that the gospel and Bible principle are more important than the physical needs of the body, but these people will likely never give us their ears to hear, unless some of the distractions of the physical need are removed.

Jesus went about showing compassion on hurting people. He fed them, healed them, comforted them, and forgave them. We who are saved need to be ambassadors of God’s compassion today.

A man is walking along the shoreline of an ocean when he comes up on a little boy standing in the midst of thousands of starfish that had washed up along the shore. The man watches the little boy as he picks up a starfish and one by one throws them back in the sea. The man watches for several minutes then walks up to the boy and asks, “What are you doing?” The little boy answers, “I’m saving these starfish so they won’t die.” The man says to the boy…”There are too many too save, it wont make any difference.” The little boy reached down and picked up another starfish and said, “it will make a difference to this one” as he threw it into the ocean.


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The Saviour of the World

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Today’s Passage – 1 John 3 – 3 John 1 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 121 – 125; Proverbs 25)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “1225 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” (1 John 4:14)

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.

I submit two thoughts for your consideration this morning from 1 John 4:14:

1  The Exclusiveness of Candidates for Saviour – Notice the definite article “the”, indicating that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, is the only Saviour for the world. There are not many ways to be saved, only one.

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:12)

The disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus once and asked Him if He was the one that they were waiting for, or perhaps is there another one coming. (Luke 7:20). Jesus replied emphatically that He was the One who fulfilled all of the Biblical requirements for being the Messiah, and He also added that we should not be “offended” in Him. Jesus is “the” Saviour, and He is also “the” Lord.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

2  The Inclusiveness of the Candidates for Salvation – Notice the word “world” – it is the same word that is used in John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

The word “world” (Greek – κόσμος [kosmos]) does not mean just a select few; it means everybody. God wants everybody to receive the gift of the Saviour. Unfortunately, not everybody will come to the Saviour for salvation because they reject “the way” and “the truth” and “the Life”, choosing instead to be the god of their own lives. What a shame.

Thank You, Father for sending us Your Son, the Saviour; and thank You, Jesus, for being willing to come.


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