Sound Advice

Today’s Passage – Exodus 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 5 – 6Proverbs 25Psalms 121 – 125

Scripture Memorization for January – Philippians 3

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34

Read a previous post from this passage – “Remember Sunday

“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? … Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. … If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.” – (Exodus 18:13-14, 18, 23-24)

In our passage today, we see that Moses gets a visit from his father-in-law, who is not an Israelite, but apparently had placed his faith in the Lord. (see 18:11 – 12) While visiting, Jethro got a chance to observe the day to day ministry of his son-in-law, and determined that Moses was doing way more than any man could handle by himself. Moses was judging and advising the large congregation of Israel all by himself from early in the morning until late at night. Moses, like many leaders, apparently felt that he was the only one who could do the job right, so he did it alone. However, Jethro knew that if Moses kept up that pace, without getting any help, he would wear down physically, and eventually would become less effective at what God had called him to do.

Jethro advised Moses to allow other godly men within the congregation to share in the burden that Moses was carrying. Moses would still be in charge, and he would handle all of the really important matters, but others would be assisting him in dealing with the day to day decisions within the congregation. This advice given by Jethro helped in several ways:

1  Moses got the help that he needed, which freed him up to dedicate more time and do a better job in the important matters.

2  Moses was probably less stressed and better rested than before.

3  The congregation was served better. Even though Moses may have been able to do a better job than most of his helpers, he certainly could not get as much accomplished as all of them together. More was getting done.

4  Leaders were being developed within the congregation. People need to be given opportunities to serve if they are going to be able to grow.

If our ministries are going to get all of the help that they need today to fulfil the will of God, then more people than just the pastor are going to have to be involved. The pastor must work at developing leaders, and delegating responsibility.

A secondary thought from this passage is that Moses was willing to listen to advice, even from a guy that was not an Israelite and had not even been a believer very long. Pride will sometimes keep us from listening to sound wisdom. God will often use people to teach us things. We should be ready to listen. We may not always heed the advice of others, and we certainly need to check with God to see if the advice given is in fact His will, but we can still listen.


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The Right Hand Of God – The Saturday Morning Post

shacklesToday’s Passage – Exodus 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 3 – 4; Proverbs 24; Psalms 116 – 120)

Read the “0124 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.” (Exodus 14:26 – 15:6)

Good morning. God is all powerful, but in this passage, Israel focuses on His right hand. His right hand is become glorious in power and has dashed in pieces their enemy. His triumph caused Israel to sing praises unto the Lord. Leading the congregational singing, I notice the faces of those out in the pews. Very few look happy. It is like they are mouthing the words, but do not understand what the words mean. They are not singing from the heart: it is like they do not have the victory: they have not seen their enemy dashed in pieces. And it’s sad. Remember our theme verse for last year? The Bible says…

A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalm 100)

Are you focusing on the Victor or on the victory? Do you perceive yourself as fighting a never ending battle. We should focus on the Right Hand of Power: the One who has already given us the victory…

“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. 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. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Romans 8:28-34)

We already have the victory. Christ is triumphant. Christ is triumphant over sin…

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Christ is triumphant over death…

“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.” (Matthew 28:1-8)

Christ is triumphant over the devil…

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:7-10)

Christ is the Victor, and by Him we receive the victory…

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Corinthians 15:51-58)

So the when you’re singing in church tomorrow, remember the One you are singing about, what He has done for you, and the victory He has won for you. And smile!

Peace! (Psalm 144:15)


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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 – 2Proverbs 23Psalms 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?

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 – 16Proverbs 22Psalms 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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Expect Opposition

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 – 14Proverbs 21Psalms 101 – 105

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read a previous post from this passage – “Excuses

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)

Moses did exactly what God had told him to do. He went unto the people, and convinced them that God had called him to deliver them out from under the bondage of the Egyptians. He then went to Pharaoh, and demanded on behalf of God to let the people of God go. However, things did not work out exactly the way Moses thought they would. Instead of things getting better, things actually took a turn for the worse. Not only did Pharaoh refuse to let the people go, he also made their jobs harder by making them gather their own straw for the bricks that they had to make for their labor. Pharaoh was mad at the people; the people were mad at Moses; and Moses was mad at God.

Notice the opposition that Moses faced in the will of God:

1  He had opposition from without the congregation. I guess Pharaoh could be symbolic of the devil. The devil will vehemently oppose anyone that seeks to do the will of God.

2  He also faced opposition from within the congregation of Israel. They were all for God’s plan until their life got uncomfortable, then they wanted to go back. Many Christians today are the same way. They claim to love the Lord, and want to do His will, but when it begins to cost them something, they will often quit.

3  Notice also that Moses faced opposition from within himself. When the pressure was on him, he began to second guess the will of God.

Nobody ever said that the road was going to always be easy. You can take to the bank the fact that opposition will come to those who are doing the will of God. But you can also take to the bank the fact that God will always bring His victory, if we will just stick with the plan, and not quit.


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JUST FOR LADIES – By Camille Stahl

Pharaoh's Daughter Finds Moses Exodus 2:3-6

 

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 – 12Proverbs 20Psalms 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.

  Pharaoh’s Daughter

 “And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.   And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.  And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.  And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.  And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.  And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”   (Exodus 2:1-6)

Today, in the world’s eyes, being important and well known is everything. But, is it really?  Pharaoh’s daughter was educated, powerful, and well known in her time.  She had all that anyone could ever have: wealth, servants, beautiful clothing….  Her father was the ruler of Egypt.  He just commanded, that all Hebrew boys 2 years old and younger be drowned in the Nile River.  When she saw the baby, the Bible says she had compassion on him.  She was brave enough to disobey her father and kept the baby.  She would later raise Moses in the house of Pharaoh.  The education, and training, helped Moses in many areas of his life; and God used him in a mighty way.

Even with the important role she played, and what she did, no one knows her name.  The Bible doesn’t say if she came to know the God of the Hebrews, but God placed the right woman in the right place at the right time.

How many people do you know that may be unsaved that performs good deeds?  A coworker, a family member, your friends.  God can use the unsaved to fulfill his will in our lives.  God can use different people to fulfill His goals.  However, He never forces them to have faith in Him.

There are many daughters of Pharaoh living among us.  They are guided by God and doing His will but lost.    We see them and think all is well.  They have it all, as Pharaoh’s daughter, and yet they have nothing.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”     (Matthew 16:26)

Will you reach out to one today?  Will you give them a tract or invite them to church?  We can all rejoice when they come to know Jesus too!

“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”  (Matthew 9:37-38)

Thank You

1 John 5:13


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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 – 10Proverbs 19Psalms 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

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 – 8Proverbs 18Psalms 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

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 – 6Proverbs 17Psalms 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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Judah – The Saturday Morning Post

Lion-of-the-Tribe-of-JudahToday’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)

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

“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.”

“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 & 33)

Good morning. In chapter 44 of Genesis, we find that Joseph had framed his little brother, Benjamin, in order to keep him in Egypt. Judah stepped forward and made intercession for Benjamin. Reading this had made me remember another member of the tribe of Judah. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Judah interceded for his brother, Jesus intercedes for us…

“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Romans 8:34)

When Judah stepped forward, his mind was on his father, Israel, and Benjamin. When Jesus went to the cross, His mind was on us…

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Judah was willing to leave his wife, family, everything he had to set Benjamin free…

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:9-10)

“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:1-5)

And we could go on, but let me ask you, have you thanked God, and praised Him for what He has done for you, yet, today?

Peace! (John 3:16)


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Are You Willing to Wait?

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 16Psalms 76 – 80)

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

Read the “0116 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s reading passage – “Saving for the Future”

“And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.” – (Genesis 41:38-41)

There are two questions that I would like to consider this morning:

1  Would you be willing to wait all of the years that Joseph waited if you new there was a marvelous and exciting plan for your life in the distant future?

2  Would you be willing to endure all of the hardship that Joseph endured and remain faithful to the Lord if you knew that those trials were necessary to advance the plans and purposes of God?

The story of Joseph begins in Genesis 37. In these chapters we discover that Joseph goes from being a favored son of Jacob to a slave in the house of Potipher, and then to a prisoner in Pharaoh’s kingdom. Joseph’s downward slide began with a dream that he had which revealed to him that God was going to elevate him above his brothers, and even above his father. His brothers would have none of Joseph’s dreams and sought to be rid of him, and for a long time they were. However, many years after they sold their brother into bondage, the sons of Jacob went down into Egypt at the request of their father to purchase food, and who do you think was the guy in charge of the food? You guessed it: Joseph. Egypt was the only place that had food in this time of famine, and the only reason they were prepared  was because Joseph had revealed to Pharaoh that he should store up food in the days of plenty, so that Egypt would have enough when times got hard. By the way, that’s not a bad idea for us, either.

At any rate, when the brothers finally come to Egypt, their little brother is no longer a slave; he is the prime minister of all of Egypt. However, it took a long times and a lot of hardship before Joseph was elevated by God to this prominent position. I am sure that there were times in those many years that he doubted God; but he never wavered. Joseph remained faithful to God. In God’s time, Joseph was delivered from his brothers, from the bondage, from the prison, and from the humiliation of it all; and all of the world could see that Joseph was God’s man. Though, Joseph certainly did not enjoy all of the days of trial and affliction, I bet that at the end of his life he would say that it was all worth what God finally gave him.

We sing a song that says “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus”. I bet when Joseph hears us singing that song from his vantage point in Heaven, he says “Amen. It was worth it all”.

Stay faithful to God. You may be in Pharaoh’s dungeon right now, but if you are a child of God, I promise you, that He will some day pull you out of that awful place. Trust God. He has a purpose and a plan for it all. God doesn’t often fill us in about all of the details of His sovereign plan, but we can trust that He will work it all out in the end.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – (Romans 8:18)

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)

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” – (Isaiah 40:31)


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God’s Perfect Plan – by Issan Acosta

God's Perfect Plan

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.

Read a previous post from today’s passage – “What About Judah?

“And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.” (Genesis 38:39)

When reading Genesis Chapter 38, I could not help but see God’s sovereignty through the Messianic line of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Old Testament clearly prophesied that the Messiah would come out of the Tribe of Judah.

“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” (Genesis 49:10)

Before Ruth, a Midianite woman; and Rahab, a harlot, were part of the lineage of Christ, there was a woman named Tamar, also a harlot who was part of our Saviour’s lineage as well.

“And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse” (Matthew 1:5)

“And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;” (Matthew 1:3)

Tamar was Judah’s daughter in law and she deceived Judah into sleeping with her. She stood where the harlots stood and dressed the way they did. Tamar ends up giving birth to Pharez and Zarah. She is named in the lineage of Christ with her twin boys. Although the Bible does not record positive things that Tamar has done, she was a great, great, great, great grandmother to King David, and was also in the lineage of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though Tamar used a deceptive method, she was a woman who risked her life to bare a child for her deceased husband. She knew she had the right to a child, and she knew that her first husband (Er) had the right to an heir. It is amazing how God’s plans can develop through the deceptive means of a person. Not one person in this story knew what God was planning in the long term. They were just living their lives, but the mind of God had a plan of which they knew nothing. Christian, you may be living your life today without a clue of what the future holds for you. Know this, however, that God has a plan for your life. Walk with God and stay close to God and he may just unfold his plans for you as He wills.


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The Green Eyed Monster

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 – 28Proverbs 14Psalms 66 – 70

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

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

“And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” (Genesis 37:11)

“And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,” (Acts 7:9)

“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on; …” (“Othello” – Shakespeare)

“For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.” (Mark 15:10)

“Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:26)

“Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” – (Proverbs 27:4)

You have probably heard the expression, “Jealousy is a terrible thing.” There can be no clearer illustration of this truth than the example given here in Genesis 37. Here Joseph’s brothers are so jealous (envious) of Joseph that they first conspire to kill him, but finally acquiesce to selling him into slavery. What would cause them to envy there brother so much that it would cause them to sin so against him (not to mention against their father)? I believe we can see three ingredients that fueled the jealousy.

1  The Favoritism of the Father – Joseph was one of only two boys that was born to Rachel, the wife he loved dearly; and he was the second youngest of all of his children. Jacob did not attempt to veil his love for this child, either He made it clear to all others inthe family that He had a very special place in his heart for Joseph. He made him a beautiful coat of many colors. The other brothers received no such token of the father’s affection. It is not wrong to treat our children individually, based upon the needs that each may have; but it is wrong for parents to love their children differently. I confess, that at times this can be difficult; but we must strive to assure each of our children that we love them, and that our love for each does not exceed the love of another.

2   The Folly of the Son – I may be off base here; but Joseph did not show much wisdom in his bold declarations of the dreams to his brothers. God had obviously revealed a special plan for Joseph: a plan which involved him being placed in a position of authority over, not only his brothers, but also his father and mother. Maybe it was just because of his honest nature, but Joseph seemed to almost rub it in the face of his brothers.

3  The Finger of God – God obviously had his hand on the boy’s life. He had a special plan for Joseph. God’s hand upon Joseph was clearly evident to his brothers, and I believe this was the real problem. They saw in Joseph something they had lost. Joseph had a purity about him, that we have already seen to be lacking in some, if not all, of his brothers. They saw in Joseph what they should be, and instead of rejoicing in his devotion to the Lord, they attempted to destroy the reminder.

Envy is a terrible thing. I fight it all of the time in my life. I hear of a preacher being blessed of God in his ministry, and often the “green eyed monster” rears his ugly head. I sometimes have to force myself to rejoice in the victory that God is giving my brothers. I bet that some of you have this problem as well. God blesses somebody in your life, maybe financially or materially, and you get jealous. Maybe your peer at work receives a promotion, and you don’t. How does it make you feel? Ask God to help you rid your heart of this monster. This green beast does not come from the Spirit of God; he is purely a product of your sinful nature. Don’t allow him to influence you to such an extent that you sin against God and others with your words or actions. The “Green Eyed Monster” needs to be put to death in all of our lives. Remember, God is not a repecter of persons. He loves no one more than he loves you, and He has a special plan for your life, just as much as He has used others.


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JUST FOR LADIES – By Camille Stahl

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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 – 26Proverbs 13Psalms 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

STAY HOME

“And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.” (Genesis 34:1)

This sad story begins with a young girl Dinah, who comes to a new country and unwisely goes out to seek friends.  Just a side note, some say she was between the ages of 12 and 16.   This is an age where most young people try to leave the ‘nest’ to make their own life.  The friends she sought were not of her own people.  They were daughters of a pagan nation.  While away from home in the world, she was raped by Shechem, son of Hamor the Canaanite, a ruler.  Shechem then wanted to marry Dinah, but we learn that her brothers went on a killing spree.

It’s not much different today.  Our young children are bombarded with all kinds of temptations.  It’s everywhere.  They are encouraged to rebel against the wishes of their parents.  Parents get so frustrated that they give in as their children draw away from them and their family values.  These young children, barely teens, enter a world they know nothing about.

Our Bible is the source we can go to, to study out what it says about family, so we can have a successful plan.  It’s important to teach our children at a young age who to associate with.  Also that even a simple decision can impact a life forever.

Thank You

Proverbs 22:6


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No More Jacob

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 – 24Proverbs 12Psalms 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 life”. 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 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)

Only God take something like this

and transform it into this


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Moving Forward

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 – 22Proverbs 11Psalms 51 – 55)

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “Surprise!

“And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.” – (Genesis 30:43)

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” - (Philippians 3:13-14)

Our passage today reveals the blessing of God upon the life of Jacob. Jacob was a man who was certainly not always deserving of the abundant favor of God upon his work and his family, yet God always took good care of him. In chapter 30, we see God increasing the livestock of Jacob. Notice in vv. 37 – 42 that Jacob devises a peculiar and rather devious plan in order to make sure that his cattle prosper. However, I do not believe that Jacob’s “scientific” methods were the reason for the increase. It was God that had His hand upon Jacob’s life. I believe that God blessed Jacob the way He did because God saw the big picture. He was not blessing Jacob because of the things that Jacob had done in the past to deserve the blessing, because Jacob really hadn’t done anything yet. Up until this point, Jacob is mostly a deceptive person who takes matters into his own hands rather than place his trust in God. However, God saw what Jacob would become. God will change his name from Jacob (which means trickster or deceiver) to Israel, which means a prince with God. God was going to do something someday with Jacob. He saw what Jacob would become.

When we look at people, we also need to look past what they have been in the past, and even what they may be right now, and we need instead to try to see what they could be in the future. God has a wonderful tendency to make something marvelous out of ordinary, sinful people like us. In order to do this God has chosen to forget about the sins that we have committed in the past, and He even chooses not to “impute”, or record the sins of today and tomorrow. God had a plan for Jacob in the future that was not yet apparent at this point in Jacob’s life. I bet God has a plan for us too. If God chooses to see what we can and will be tomorrow, why don’t we do the same thing. Let’s not let the past bog us down, and cause to stay where we are. Let’s move forward into that abundant life of God’s blessing.

There is a passage of Scripture regarding Abraham that supports this thought:

“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” – (Genesis 18:19)

Notice in this verse that God knows some good things about Abraham, yet the things that He knows are all in Abraham’s future. God reveals His plan to Abraham, not based upon what He remembers about Abraham’s past, but what He sees in Abraham’s future. God saw what Abraham would be, and He did’t choose to remember any of the failures in Abraham’s past. We need to develop our spiritual eyesight so that we can see the possibilities of someone’s future rather than dwelling on what they were in the past. We have to learn to see people as God sees them.


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SATURDAY MORNING POST – By Camille Stahl

camels

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; Psalm 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 previous posts from this passage – “The House of God” and “Savory Meat

Rebekah, From Triumph To Failure

“And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.   And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.   And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.   Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:  And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.   And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.   And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.   And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.   And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.   And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.”  (Genesis 24: 10-19)

“And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.   And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.   Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.   Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth: And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.”  (Genesis 27:5-10)

Rebekah was a hard worker with a kind spirit, excited about doing God’s will.  Her day started like most of ours.  She got up, got dressed, and went to work, but this day was different.  While at work she met a man.   She served him by giving him and his camel’s water.  Rebekah was friendly and invited him to meet her family.  There was no thought when she said yes to the question “Will you go with this man?”   This was a great step of faith.  She would leave her family to go into an unfamiliar land to marry someone she never met, but she was willing.  She loved and served Issac.  Isaac and Rebekah served the Lord together and later Esau and Jacob were born.

In chapter 27, the Bible tells us that Rebekah loved Jacob more than Esau.  This may have been because Isaac favored Esau.  I only had one child, so I don’t fully understand sharing love between two children, however, I’ve seen the results of parents showing favor towards one child.  This was Rebekah’s down fall.  What was it that turned the heart of Rebekah from a kind spirited servant of God, to a deceiver?  The Bible doesn’t say, but we all know who’s behind all evil.

Rebekah’s life is much like the Christian life.  We are out and about doing our daily routine, when we meet someone who asks the question “Will you go with this man (Jesus)?”  We willingly say yes and except the Lord Jesus as our Saviour and begin to serve Him.  We work by serving others in church and in the community and are excited about it.  We lose the old man and start allowing the “New Spirit” to take control.  We do things and go places where we’ve never been before.  We invite strangers into our lives to help them find their way to the Lord.  But as we get on in our Christian lives, like Rebekah, we allow satan to creep in.  We love the Lord (Esau) but we really like the way of the world (Jacob).  We are divided.  Be careful not to make bad decisions when stepping towards the world.

I pray that if you find yourself in Rebekah’s shoes, that you will turn your attention back towards the Lord.  Remember “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”     (1 John 1:9)

“My eyes are dry, my faith is old, my heart is hard, my prayers are cold.  And I know how I aught to be, alive to you and dead to me.  But what can be done, for an old heart like mine, to soften it up with oil and wine.  The oil is You, Your Spirit of love, please wash me a new, in the wine of your blood.” (A Song By: Keith Green)

Thank You

1 John 5:13 – 14


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The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

Today’s Passages – 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 34

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

Read previous posts from this passage – “The Battle of the Ages” and “From a Father To a Son

And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said,

She is my sister: for he feared to say,

She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah;

because she was fair to look upon.” – (Genesis 26:7)

In order for you to fully understand this morning’s thought, you might want to go back and read Genesis chapter twenty. If this account of Isaac lying about the true identity of his wife sounds familiar to you, it is because we read back in Genesis 20 that his father, Abraham, did the exact same thing to Abimelech. It appears that the apple doesn’t fall very far the tree. Isaac apparently had picked up some of his father’s bad habits.

There is an old expression which states that parents don’t get what they want in child-rearing, they get what they are. I have observed that to be true. Our children definitely begin to emulate our values, character traits, and even our mannerisms. As a school teacher, I have closely observed the children in  my charge, and it is amazing how much the children are like their parents. It’s kind of scary to think that we are also passing on our bad habits. Isaac learned how to lie from his dad.

As parents, we must be very careful to remember that our children are always watching us; almost analyzing us. They mistakenly think that everything we do is right, so they have no reason not to mimic who we are. Even later when they are taught with words regarding bad behavior, the message that they received from the life of the parent will often leave a stronger impression. Parents, and mentors, need to be very careful to watch their own behavior, especially around those young ones that are so impressionable. We need to be what we want them to be. Be the right example to your children.


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Taker or Giver?

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 – 16Proverbs 8Psalms 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 today have a bad reputation in this world for being covetous and greedy, and unfortunately in some cases this is not unjustified. We who are in the ministry 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

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 – 14Psalms 31 – 35Proverbs 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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JUST FOR LADIES – By Camille Stahl

Sarah with Isaac

 

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; Psalm 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 –”Don’t Look Back“, “Abraham Did a Little Walking With God, Too” and “The Prayer of a Friend

THE STUDY OF SARAH

 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. (Genesis 18:9-14)

Abraham and Sarah lived a secure life in Ur, with friends and family. One day God appeared to Abraham and told him to leave his land and go to a place which He would point out to him. Most women would find it hard to leave their home to face an unknown future, but Sarah got on board and stood behind her husband, obeyed God and went willingly. After moving over 600 miles away, God told Abraham to move again. All the while Sarah was waiting for the promise of God to bear a child.

Abraham and Sarah continued moving around, and because of a famine, they decided to move to Egypt. For the first time Sarah saw Abraham not take council from God. She must have really questioned her husband when he asked her to tell the people she was his sister. Here was a man who walked beside God now running ahead. Sarah honored her husband, and God honored Sarah by protecting her in Egypt. Sarah knew from experience that to live a life of faith she would need to be patient. Faith and patience go together. You can’t buy them, you have to experience them. But Sarah was growing older and now past her days of child bearing. She suggested to Abraham that he take a Hagar as his concubine. Although these things happened frequently back then, it was still wrong because of her lack of faith.

A year after God appeared to them again, Sarah conceived and gave birth to a child. Finally the promise from God.

Today, we have two nations from the loins of Abraham: the Arabs, the descendants of Ishmael; and the Jews, the descendants of Isaac. They are still at war with each other, all because Sarah ran ahead of God.

We too must follow by God’s side. Never running ahead or dragging behind. Move when God moves us, wait when He is working. Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  If you ever walked in the woods at night with a flashlight, you know you must walk next to the one holding the light. Too far behind or ahead, you are in darkness. You might go down the wrong path, stumble or fall. So let’s take the Saviour’s hand and walk together by His side.

In conclusion, I do not want to leave Sarah on a sour note. Sarah’s had experienced many sacrifices. Her faith grew after the birth of her son Isaac.  She experienced hardships and disappointments all without complaints. She was flexible with the changes that were made in her life. By her obedience to Abraham, she allowed him to obey God. In Hebrews 11, she was honored for the faith she did have, not because of her failures.

Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy Blood was shed for me, And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God I come…

Thank You

1 John 5:13


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Gardens and Green Grass; or God’s Will

Today’s Passage – 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 – 10Proverbs 5Psalms 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 previous posts from this passage – “Relationships Are More Important Than Riches”

“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.” (Genesis 13:10)

“But the men of Sodom were wicked before the Lord exceedingly” (Genesis 13:13)

The story of Lot is really a sad one. Lot came from the same stock as Abraham, lived in the same places, seemingly had the same training and influences; yet Lot had dreams and desires that were diametrically opposite to those of Abraham. In the account given us here in Genesis 13, we see Abraham and Lot both returning from a time of sojourning in Egypt. Egypt was certainly a busy place: people on top of people; culture; education; and pleasures: more pleasure than Lot had ever seen. Abraham had his fill of the big city. He wanted to get back to place in Canaan where he built an altar for the Lord: the place where God promised to bless him. You see, Abraham finally realized that he didn’t need all of the excitement of the big city: he just needed God.

Not long after they returned to Canaan, the land of promise, it seems that Lot and Abraham began to fuss about the size of land their cattle were grazing on, whether or not it was big enough to provide for both of their herds. These men were both already very wealthy, yet it seems that Lot wanted more. Maybe he was tired of living under the shadow of Uncle Abraham. Maybe he didn’t like all of those righteous rules that Abraham governed his home by. Lot missed Egypt: he missed the exhilaration of the city life. Abraham senses Lot’s frustration and offers to let Lot separate from him. I am sure he divided up the livestock, and sent Lot away with plenty. He also gives Lot the pick of the surrounding land. He told Lot that if he chose east, he would go west. You see, Abraham didn’t need what this earth could offer him: he only needed God. It seems that he had learned much from the error of his previous move into Egypt.

Lot, however, decides that Sodom is the place he ought to raise his family. I believe that there were three attractions that lured Lot to Sodom:

1      There were lots of people in Sodom. Now there is nothing wrong with people. I love people and, more importantly, God loves people. Jesus died to save people. However, it seems that whenever you get a lot of people grouped together in one place, wickedness just pours right in. Verse 13 tells us that Sodom was an exceedingly wicked place. Lot should have been repulsed by it, yet instead he was enamored by it. By the way, his attraction to this large number of people was clearly not for the purpose of evangelizing them. We will learn later in chapter 19 that Lot influences no one in the city for God.

2      There was a lot of pleasure in Sodom. He said it reminded him of Egypt. The Bible tells us that there is pleasure in sin for a season; but the wages of that kind of pleasure is death. Lot was attracted to the fast life.

3      Thirdly, we see that Sodom was a place of wealth and prosperity. There was plenty of money in Sodom. It was well watered.  The livestock would do well there. Lot saw the chance to make some good money: maybe even a little more than ole Uncle Abe. Again, there is nothing wrong with money. I like what money can buy; but the love of money is the root of all evil. Lot wasn’t really concerned with the wickedness because all he could see was the dollars.

Through the years, I have seen a lot of saved people (remember, the Bible calls him “just Lot”) make the same mistake that Lot made.  They leave the place of blessing where God is protecting them and providing for them, only to trade it in for a place where they think the grass is “well-watered” My pastor in Bible College used to say that the grass may look greener, but it just might be artificial turf. Be very careful that you stay inside the perfect will of God. Don’t trade in the spiritual, eternal blessings for the temporary pleasures of this world.


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Don’t Move – Unless God Moves You

Today’s Passages – 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 – 8Proverbs 4Psalm 16 – 20)

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

“And Abraham journeyed, going on still toward the south” (Genesis 12:9)

There has only been two times in my life that God has clearly revealed His perfect will to me. I am not referring to the will of God that is revealed to all of us in the Word. What I am referring to is when God miraculously showed me where He wanted me to go and what He wanted me to do. The first time was when God showed me where to go to Bible College. I had been searching for His will regarding my training for the ministry and frankly I was not sure what to do. I won’t go into to all of the details, but after spending a lot of time in prayer, God made it crystal clear to me where He wanted me to go.

I will tell you a little bit more about the second time. I was in my last year of Bible College and the day of my graduation was at hand. I did not know at that time what God had planned for me after I finished. I had some thoughts about what I wanted to do, but I wanted to make sure that I was following God, not trying to get Him to follow me. I was out on my bus route in Texarkana one Saturday, and again I was praying about what to do. All of a sudden I thought about Pastor Charlie Clark, a preacher that I had known back in New Jersey. I decided to give him a call and ask his advice. I remember that he had once told me that he wanted to help start twenty new churches in south Jersey. Maybe God would allow me to be the pastor of one of them. I called 411, got his number, and then called him, and surprisingly Pastor Clark picked up the phone. I shared with him my dilemma, and after a long conversation, he agreed to help me start a church when I returned home. I later found out that as soon as he hung up the phone with me, the phone rang again. This time it was Pastor Dan Owens, the pastor of Jersey Shore Baptist Church. Pastor Dan had been called by God to become a chaplain in the military, and he needed somebody to take the church that he had started in Galloway. God used Pastor Clark to connect me with Dan Owens, and the rest, as they say, is history. I never candidated anywhere else, and I didn’t really candidate here at Jersey Shore. I just met with the pastor, and preached a couple of times for him; and upon his recommendation, the church voted me in. I believe with all of my heart that God, through those circumstances, revealed His perfect will regarding where He wanted me to go after I graduated from college.

Now I told you all of that to tell you this: it was thirteen years ago this week that the people of Jersey Shore Baptist Church voted me in to be their pastor. But before they chose me, God did. Now through these years there have been many good days, but there have also been many times of trial and testing. However, because I knew that I was where God wanted me to be, I did not quit. Though I have been tempted to do so many times, I did not move away.

In Genesis 12:6 – 8, Abraham entered into the land of Canaan, and God appeared to him and told him this was the place where He was going to bless him. X marks the spot. You don’t need to go anywhere else, Abraham, because this is the place of God’s blessing. How sad it is that in verse 9, Abraham is leaving the place of God’s calling. Verse 10 reveals that when a famine comes, he moves further away into Egypt. Do you know that God does not speak to Abraham again until he gets back to the place where God had told him to stay? (Genesis 13:14)

Christian, be very careful about the decisions you make in life. Things like where you live, whom you marry, what school you go to. All of the major decisions should be carefully prayed over, and counsel needs to be sought after. Don’t move unless you are sure you are in the perfect will of God. All of these decisions have long-term consequences. Make sure you get it right.  And once you find God’s perfect plan for your life, don’t move, unless you are absolutely sure that God is moving you.


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In Search of Noah’s Ark – The Saturday Morning Post

The Ark On AraratToday’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 ; Psalm 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.

“And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis 8:1-4)

Good morning and Happy New Year! 2015 is finally here, and that brings us closer to the Lord’s return for His bride. Our passage, in today’s reading tells of another rescue by the Lord: the story of Noah’s ark. While reading this passage (and being old), I remembered a TV series (In Search Of), and a movie (In Search Of Noah’s Ark). With all the evidence presented in those shows, they determined that the ark of Noah is on Mount Ararat in Turkey. You can still see some of these old shows on YouTube. But we already know that this is where the ark is: God told us…

“And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis 8:4)

God told us the ark came to rest upon the mountains of Ararat, so the ark is there. What I’m looking for is Noah’s other ark…

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)

“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (Genesis 6:22-7:1)

Noah’s other ark was faith…

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

In Genesis 7:1, God invites Noah, his wife, and their family, and their wives into the ark, “…for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” Noah and his family were the only ones on earth who God saw as righteous in his generation. But what about todays generation? Noah’s ark has already been built, but is broken in pieces, and scattered underneath the snow and ice of Mount Ararat. Today’s generation has an ark too. Our Ark can only be entered in by faith…

“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)

Our Ark was…

“…despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:3-12)

Our Ark is now seated at the right hand of the Father: He is the Lord Jesus Christ.

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1Thesselonians 4:13-18)

If you haven’t been invited into the only Ark that can save you from the coming flood of destruction, allow me to. Twice in Ezekiel 18, verses 4 and 20 tell us that “…the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”; we are all sinners…

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…” (Romans 3:10)

…And…

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23)

Romans 6:23 says…

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

But the Good News is in Romans 5:8…

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

And Jesus told us in John 3:16 and 17…

“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)

God’s word makes salvation plain and simple…

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1John 5:12-13)

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

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Romans 3:20)

If you call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to save you, He will. Isn’t it time to climb aboard the Ark by faith?

Peace. (2Corinthians 6:2)


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Shining Brightly in a Dark World

Today’s Passage –Genesis 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 – Matthew 3 – 4Proverbs 2Psalm 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.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Walking With God”

“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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He Is Still Creating Me

heaven

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 – Mathew 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 last year’s post from today’s reading – “In the Beginning

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:1-5)

Before I share my thought from this morning’s Bible reading passage, I would like to make perfectly clear something that I believe to be very important. I believe that the Scriptures teach that the earth was created in six literal days and that it is also a very young earth, existing only for thousands of years, not billions as the evolutionist often tell us. The reason that I wanted clarify my position on creation is because I didn’t want there to be any doubt about it as I develop the following thought from these first five verses in Genesis.

Genesis 1:2 teaches, “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep, which means that in the beginning of the creation process, on the first day, the earth was incomplete. God would develop the earth into a beautiful and finished product over the next seven days. I see a picture here in Genesis 1:1 – 5. Man in his lost state is incomplete without God. In fact, we know from the New Testament that man is actually spiritually dead in his trespasses and sins. (Ephesians 2:1 – 5; Colossians 2:13) Man is literally in spiritual darkness until the Spirit of God moves upon him and shines the light of spiritual understanding to his lost and  dark condition. When the Holy Ghost of God illuminates and brings conviction upon the lost sinner, he can then realize his need for the salvation that can only come through the Lord Jesus Christ. This does not mean that a person is saved automatically because the Holy Spirit brings him to this understanding, as he still has a choice as to whether or not he wants to be saved. John tells us that some men love darkness rather than light. (John 3:19) However, the Holy Spirit must move upon a person and Light must be given in order for a person to be saved; born again into the family of God. I remember very clearly the day that I trusted Christ as my Savior. It was literally as if somebody turned on a light, and I could finally see (understand) my need for Christ’s salvation. I finally “got it” because the Holy Ghost shined a light on my dark soul.

The exciting thing about this first day of creation is that it didn’t end there. There was more work to be done, and for five more days God continued to create. And, there is still a lot more work that must be done by God on the lost sinner after he receives the Lord Jesus as his Savior. The Holy Spirit will continue to move and transform the lives of those who become the children of God. God has been working on me for nearly three decades, and He is far from being finished. He will continue to work on me until He brings me into the very presence of Christ.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

“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)

“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)


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Resolve To Be Transformed

Today’s Passage – Your Favorite Passage

(Second Milers also read – Proverbs 31)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

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

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

 

Tomorrow begins the New Year, and it is the time that people traditionally make all kinds of resolutions regarding things that they want to see changed in their lives. Some want to lose weight; others want to become more organized; others want to quit some bad habit; the list is endless. In the past, I would make many resolutions, but, unfortunately, was unable to keep many of them. This year, I have resolved not to resolve. You may be asking, what do you mean by that preacher? What I mean is: I have resolved to stop trying to fix the myriad of things in my life that need fixing. No, I have not thrown in the towel on trying to live the Christian life; on the contrary, I have discovered a better way to see the necessary changes take place.

This year, instead of exercising my will power to change things in my life, I have opted to turn the whole process over to God. I have figured out that the closer I get to Him, the more He begins to chip away at the things in my life that need to go. Let me give you a verse that has been on my mind a lot lately:

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

This verse tells me that God actually works with our will. Our will is really the problem isn’t it? Paul said that the inside of him was no good thing, “for to will is present with me”. Resolutions are about our will, but transformation is about the will of God. We may desire to see things fixed in our lives, but then our will changes, and the fixing stops. However, when transformation takes place from the inside, God not only changes our will, but also implements the changes that need to take place.

You may be thinking: what do I have to do? This is too good to be true. I don’t have to do anything? God does all of the work? Well, you do have to draw nigh to God. He says that if you will do that, He will draw nigh (get close) to you.  In order to get close to Him, you are going to have spend more time with Him: reading His Word, and praying. You will also have to spend less time with the world. The world also desires to conform you to what it wants you to be. You see, the world will also mess with your will.  If you spend enough time pursuing the things of this world, your thinking will also change; your desires will change. The same is also true with God. Get with Him. Saturate yourself in prayer and the Word, and God will begin to chip away at all of the rough edges in your life, and you will gradually become a vessel more meet (fitted) for the Master’s use.

This New Year, you have some choices to make. You can decide to do nothing: throw in the towel, and wait out the return of Christ. You can also decide to make a long list of things that you want to see changed, goals that you want to see accomplished, etc., and set out through your will power, your tenacity, to implement those things. You may even be successful in fulfilling some of them. Door number three is the option that I am choosing. I am going to take some tangible steps this year to get as far away from the world and as close to God as I possibly can. Then I am going to sit back and watch what He does in my life. No goals this year, just God.


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You’re Invited!

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 – 150Proverbs 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 2012 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!

PS – Yesterday, our church said good-bye to a dear friend who died suddenly this past week at the young age of 48. I know his testimony very well. He was a Jewish man who found himself on the streets of Atlantic City. While living at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission he was invited to consider the Lord Jesus as the Messiah that he had been waiting for. He was invited to place his faith in Christ as his only hope for Heaven, which he he did. He was invited to come and be a part of the fellowship at Jersey Shore Baptist Church. I am so glad that he received and accepted these invitations. Praise the Lord!!!


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JUST FOR LADIES – By Camille Stahl

JESUS AND SATAN

 

 

Yeaaaaah!

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)

This is my favor verses concerning the devil.  I thank God I read the back of the book.

Soon Christ will return for His bride, when the dead in Christ shall be raised and the living shall be changed.  The church and the Holy Spirit will be taken and the tribulation will begin.  Satan will give every effort to gain control of the earth.  He will give power to the Antichrist who will gather the armies to the battle of Armageddon.  At the end of the tribulation, Christ will return to the earth with the saints, riding on a white horse.  He will win the battle for His children at Armageddon.  Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years.a  The flesh that remains, both great and small, will be devoured by the ‘fowls of the air’.  Revelation 19b ends stating, “All the fowls were filled with their flesh.”

But that’s not Satan’s end.

“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”(Rev 20:1-3)

After the awful condition of the tribulation and battle, Jesus will live and reigned on earth.   Satan will no longer have the power to  destroy, and disrupt.  But when the thousand years are over, Satan returns to stir up strife against the saints of the Lord.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

But be of good cheer, Satan may win many battles but he WILL lose the war!

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.   (Revelation 20:10)

Satan’s desire is to destroy and take every soul to Hell that he possibly can.  A saved soul is a testimony to God’s power therefore he desires to keep people from accepting Christ.

Satan hates Christians.  He causes people to murmur against God and to complain.  He leads them to worship false idols and gods.  Churches have often been torn apart.  He makes us feel unworthy to be called a child of God.  He loves to destroy families, he wants to destroy your life.  The only way we can conquer Satan and cause him to flee from us, is through the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So if it seems that Satan has a hold on your life and there’s no way out, remember this, some day Satan will bow before the Lord Jesus.

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  (Philippians 2:10-11)

Just as God destroyed the Egyptians, Satan will be cast out, no longer able to hold his power over you and never shall you be tempted by him or anyone again.

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.  (Exodus 14:13-14)

So when the devil reminds you of your past [sins], remind him of his future.

Amen!


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Supper’s Almost Ready

 

 

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 – 145Proverbs 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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