Servant Leadership


Today’s Passage – Mark 10 – 11 (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 101 – 105; Proverbs 21)

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

Read the “1021 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” – (Mark 10:43-45)

When I was in Bible college, I went to work for a supermarket chain in the East Texas area. This company had a unique, but refreshing leadership style that I was unaccustomed to at the time. My store manager, and all of the assistants were people that worked hard alongside the employees of the store. They didn’t just bark out orders to the clerks, they were willing to get their hands dirty themselves. It was not at all unusual to see the store manager with a mop in his hand, cleaning up a spill; or out in the parking lot gathering up the buggies (shopping carts). Their philosophy was that in order to be a leader in the company, you first had to demonstrate that you could be a great servant.

I find that in the ministry the same principle should also be true. The pastor, deacons, and other leaders in the church should not be beneath any task that needs to be done within the church. If the bathrooms need to be cleaned, or the lawns need to be mowed, the leadership should be more than willing to pitch in at times to do it. Now, I understand that it may not be the most efficient use of time and talents to have the leaders doing these things that could be done by others, but the leadership should be willing to do whatever needs to be done in order for the cause of Christ to move forward. There are no “big shots” in the ministry. The Lord we serve is the only superstar. The rest of us are merely servants.

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Hear Ye Him!


Today’s Passage – Mark 8 – 9 (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 96 – 100; Proverbs 20)

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

Read the “1020 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” – (Mark 9:5-7)

In our passage today we have the account of the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus where a select few of His disciples were privileged to get a glimpse of the Lord in His resurrected glory. But something else that was very strange occurred on the mount that day that caught the attention of the disciples. Appearing to talk with Jesus was Moses and Elijah, two of the greatest men of the Old Testament. It seems that Peter was more impressed with the appearance of the two Old Testament men than he was with the Lord Jesus in all of His glory. He wanted to make three booths on the mountain: one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for Jesus. In all fairness to Peter, however, notice that it said in v 6 that “he wist (knew) not what to say”.  One lesson that we can learn from this is that if we don’t know what to say we should keep our mouthes shut. At any rate, what happens next is amazing. God the Father booms from Heaven, This is my beloved son, hear ye him.He sternly rebukes Peter for even considering the other two men in the same category as His Son. Peter was willing to include the Lord, but he did not give the Lord the place of preeminence.

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” – (Colossians 1:18)

I believe that most Christians today are in a way guilty of the same thing. We want God to be part of our life; but we do not give Him the place of preeminence either. He is included in our decision making, but He is not the final authority in our lives. We give Him part of out time, treasure, and talent; but we do not recognize His sovereign right to dictate wholly what we do with them. I believe God shouts down from Heaven, through His word, the same thing to us today. He is telling us to listen to His Son. Forget about all of the other voices of influence out there and give God exclusive rights in your life.

Notice that the Father commands the disciples as well as us today to “hear Him”.  Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice. I wonder how many Christians today are listening for the voice of the Saviour. It is a wonder that we can hear anything at all with all of the noises and distractions that are a part of lives today. God wants to speak to us, and He will if we will simply get alone with Him and open our hearts up to Him.

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Are You For Real?

John the Baptist prepares the way

Today’s Passage – Mark 6 – 7 (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 91 – 95; Proverbs 19

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read former posts from this pasage – “Don’t Lose the Personal Touch” & “Politicians”

“For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” – (Mark 6:20)

In our text today, we read about the execution of John the Baptist by Herod. I will not rehash the story, as most of you are probably familiar with it, and if by chance you are not, you can read it for yourself in Mark 6:14 – 29. John was arrested by Herod because he had been preaching against Herod’s immoral relationship with his (Herod’s) brother’s wife. People who sin willfully do not like to be pointed out, or reminded about their sin. Most people do not have the option of silencing their critics, but when you are the mistress of the King, you can pretty much do whatever you want. Thus, Herodias eventually got what she wanted – John’s head on a platter.

Herod did not want to arrest, or kill, John the Baptist. He was actually afraid of him, because he knew that John was real. He knew that John, unlike the rest of the religious crowd of the day, was genuine in his faith and holiness. Men will fear a genuine believer who walks with God, and practices what he believes. Unfortunately, they will fear the crowd more. Herod feared Herodias, and the people who were watching, more than he feared God or John the Baptist. Pilate also feared the people more than he feared the Lord Jesus. However, the fear that Herod had for John continued even after John was gone. He actually thought that Jesus was some kind of a reincarnation of John, coming back to get him.

The thought I have this morning is that Herod feared John because he knew that John was the real deal. He was genuine. He wasn’t just playing some religious game, or using religion to advance his own personal agenda. The question I have for you (and me) this morning is, are you real? Is your faith making a difference in the lives of the people around you. Are there some Herodias’s in your life that just can’t stand you because of what you stand for? Are you poking some holes in the darkness around you, or are you just going through the religious motions, playing the church game? Just a thought.

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Go Home To Thy Friends


Today’s Passage – Mark 4 – 5 (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 86 – 90; Proverbs 18)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read the “1018 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this morning’s reading passage – “Good Ground

“Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” (Mark 5:19)

The testimony of this man from Decapolis that was saved by the Lord was incredible. He was delivered out of an horrible pit of the worst kinds of sin. He then volunteers by asking the Lord if he could stay with Him. You would think that the Lord would have this man travel with Him full-time sharing with the whole world what he had done for him. However, the Lord had different plans for this man’s life. Instead of taking him with Him, He told the man to go back home and tell all of his friends and family about his testimony. The Scripture tell us that the man “published” in Decapolis all things that the Lord had done for him.

I got to thinking that the Lord has different plans for all of our lives. Some of us He will call to minister for Him full-time as a pastor or missionary, etc. However, the vast majority of His children will be asked to stay home and tell their friends, family members, and neighbors about the Lord. We all have a testimony if we are saved; and the best place to start in sharing Christ with others is simply telling them what that Lord has done for us. Have you shared with your friends “how great things the Lord hath done for thee”? If you haven’t, there is no time better than today to start.

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Who Is In The Driver’s Seat?


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

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

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “1017 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this morning’s Bible reading passage – “What Does It Mean To Blaspheme the Holy Ghost?

“And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.” – (Mark 1:12)

Years ago, I used to see bumper stickers on the back of tractor trailers that would say, “God Is My Co-Pilot”. As a lost man, I remember thinking that it was a clever slogan, but now that I have thought about it, I am sure that God does not want to be a passenger in your life: He wants to drive. We see in our text that Jesus was “driven” by the Holy Spirit of God into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. While Jesus walked this earth He was filled with the Spirit, lead of the Spirit; and He performed all of His miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit.

It should be the same for the followers of Christ today. We should not to be in the driver’s seat of our own lives. We should be living our lives submitted to the will of God, and yielded to the Spirit of God. Consider the following verses regarding the Holy Ghost:

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” – (Ephesians 5:18)

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. … If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – (Galatians 5:16, 25)

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” – (Ephesians 4:30)

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” – (John 16:7-8)

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” – (John 16:13)

When I first trusted Christ as my Saviour, I recognized the presence of the Holy Spirit of God in my life. Though, I did not understand it then (nor do I understand it completely now), I knew that there was something inside of me “driving” me toward the direction of the will of God and the Word of God. I realize now that the Holy Spirit was even working in my life long before I was saved. I used to think that the Holy Ghost was kind of like an unseen force in my life; but I have come to realize that He is not a force, He is a Person, and He is God; and God does not take a back seat to anybody. God wants to drive, and we need to be willing to let Him drive us wherever He wants us to go.

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True Love by Pastor Ted Stahl


Today’s Passage – Matthew 27 – 28 (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 76 – 80; Proverbs 16)

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

Read the “1016 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

True Love

As the people cried out, “His blood be on us, and our children!”; the soldiers took Jesus to scourge Him. The pieces of bone, broken pottery, and metal attached to the nine strands of the whip dug deeply into his skin. And the blood flowed. True love. In the true spirit of hatred, the soldiers stripped Jesus and dressed Him in a scarlet robe: they did this to the Creator of the universe. With cruel mockeries they bowed down saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”  With every ounce of hate, our Lord was crowned with a crown of thorns that pierced His scalp. And the blood flowed. True love. Then came the crucifixion. Our Lord Jesus Christ was beaten so badly that Simon of Cyrene was ordered to carry the cross. Long spikes were driven through the hands and the feet of our Lord as He was nailed to the cross. They sat down at the cross to watch Him die. And the blood flowed. True love. The mockings continued as chief priests, scribes, and elders breathed out their hatred. And the blood flowed. True Love. And then He was dead. The Lord had given up the Ghost. The payment for sin had been paid because the blood flowed. True love.

Joseph of Arimathaea, and Nicodemus lovingly wrapped the body of Jesus and placed it in a cold, dark tomb. There lay the body for three days, and three nights.

“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.  And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him” (Matthew 28:1-9)

True love.

To God, love has always been an action word. Him loving us caused Him to shed His blood paying the price for our sins. We love Him because He first loved us. When they saw the risen Lord, they held Him by His feet and worshipped Him. True love. 1Peter 1: 22 says, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently…”

That’s true love. Having that love in us, calling ourselves Christians, how can we kick our brothers and sisters when they are down. How can we destroy families, and cause fellow believers to leave the churches. How can we discourage and not edify Is that true love? Even when we are to rebuke someone who wronged us, it’s to be done in love and only between you and that person. Proverbs is full of wisdom about the tongue. “The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out” (Proverbs 10:31).  “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4). “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21).

Remember the scourging. Remember the thorns. Remember the spitting, and pulling out the beard. Remember the cruel mocking. Remember true love. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another ” (John 13:34-35).

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A Memorial – The Saturday Morning Post


Today’s Passage – Matthew 26 (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 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)

Read the “1015 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” (Matthew 26:6-13)

Good morning. Just out of curiosity, did any verse pop into your head when you read the title and the verses above? The first one to pop into my head was…

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

In our text passage, the Lord calls what the woman did a good work that was done for Him. And her story will be remembered in the gospel, and be a memorial of her. We can see as the woman poured out the ointment on Jesus’ head, and the sweet odor filled the room, the disciples were filled with indignation – they became angry: “[It] could have been sold for much, and given to the poor.”

Maybe their priorities were a little backwards in putting the poor first…

“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:35-40)

Maybe we should put God first, and in the putting and obedience to Him, help the poor, or whatever it is He wants us to do. Was it good that the disciples thought about the poor? Yes, it was. But Jesus needed this ointment for His burial. She put God first, and Jesus made it a memorial to her. Obedience to God is as simple as one, two, three.

1) The Holy Spirit opens your eyes to something that needs to be taken care of.

2) You ask God what He wants you to do about it, and God tells you.

3) You do it.

Whether it is confession of sin, helping someone in need, whatever, you cannot out give God. He is always there to help you, and to help others through you. But put God first, and you don’t have to worry about filthy rags.


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Wasting Talents


Today’s Passage – Matthew 24 – 25 (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 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “1014 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s Bible reading passage – “Where Lord?

But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.” (Matthew 25:18)

The context of the chapters which we read today really has to do with Israel and the Tribulation Period, but we can certainly make some good, practical applications to ourselves for today. In the parable referenced in Matthew 25:14 – 30, we have the story of the man who left with his stewards some money (talents) for them to invest in some way and make a profit for him while he went away. (Note – a talent was actually a weight of measure, thus a talent of gold would be approximately 75 pounds of gold; etc.) He gave each of the three stewards a different number of talents, and expected each one to bring a return proportionate to the number of talents that they received. In other words, he did not expect as much from the guy that was given less talents as he did from the guy that received more talents; but he expected each man to give him a return on his investment.

The traditional way that we interpret and apply this passage is to use the secondary meaning of the word talent, which is a gift. We say that the Lord has given us each certain gifts. Some have been given more gifts than others. God expects us to be faithful and profitable with the gifts and talents that he has given us. We are not to waste our gifts by not using them, like the guy in our text who buried his talent in the ground. We are also not to misuse our gifts for sinful or selfish reasons. Our gifts are to be used to bring a return to the Saviour, and to glorify Him.

We could also make an application of this parable to the subject of stewardship which is what the passage is really dealing with anyway. However, today we no longer deal in talents, but in dollars. God supplies each one of us with a certain amount of income, and He expects us to be faithful and profitable with the money that he gives us. When we give our tithes to support the local storehouse, and we give our offerings so that worldwide missions can go forth, we are bringing the Lord a return on His investment in us. Conversely, when we hoard our money or misuse it, it is like the man who squandered the talent that the Lord gave him.

The bottom line is that we are to use whatever the Lord gives us for His Kingdom and His glory. We are only here on this earth as His ambassador anyway. Are you using your finances and talents for the Lord’s glory, or are you burying them in the sand? There is still time to get it turned around. You’re not dead yet. Dig that talent back up and invest it for the Lord. Find ways to invest yourself in God’s ministry to this lost world.

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Inside, Then Out


Today’s Passage – Matthew 22 – 23 (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 61 – 65; Proverbs 13)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read the “1013 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:26)

Matthew chapter 23 contains a harsh rebuke by the Lord to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were the fundamentalist of their day. They had the right doctrines. In fact Jesus admonished the disciples to do what the Pharisees taught, but He was careful to warn them not to follow their example. They were hypocrites: they portrayed on the surface a godly lifestyle, yet on the inside they were anything but godly. They were a cold and judgmental bunch. They were quick to point out the flaws of others, but they never looked within themselves to see if their own lives were right. They had all kinds of inward problems themselves, yet they focused on pointing out the flaws of others.

Unfortunately, today we see far too often Christians who we thought had “all of their ducks in a row”, only to discover that they are hiding some dark sin in their lives. They looked good on the outside, but they were filthy on the inside. Don’t misunderstand, we all struggle with sin, but we must be careful that we come clean with the Lord through confession, and then do our best to forsake the things that displease Him. God forgives and cleanses from sin. More importantly though, we must not try to appear to others in a self-righteous way.  As fundamental Christians today, we must be very careful that while we take our stand for all of the right doctrines, and as we preach the truth about sin; that we make sure that we don’t portray ourselves as above sin. We are sinners just like everyone else. While we try to live our lives as righteously and separated as we can, we are still a people who struggle with sin ourselves. Most importantly, we must not think ourselves to be any better than those that are without. If it wasn’t for the grace of God we could certainly find ourselves involved in some of the vilest sins. We must have a genuine compassion for people who are struggling. We must never compromise the truth, but we should preach the truth with a tear in our eye.

Jesus was very hard on the religious crowd, the ones that didn’t think that they needed any help. However, you will find that though He never once compromised in either His living or His preaching, He always treated the lost sinner with compassion. He loved them to Himself. We must do the same thing. While we strive to live a holy, separated life let us also demonstrate love and compassion to the lost world around us. If they get upset with us for our position, so be it; but let them never be able to find fault with our disposition.

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It’s Not Fair!


Today’s Passage – Matthew 19 – 21 (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 56 – 60; Proverbs 12)

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

Read another post from this passage – “The Ministry – Not What I Expected

Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?” (Matthew 20:15)

In the passage referenced above we have the story of the man that hired a number of laborers to work in his vineyard. He started hiring first thing in the morning and promised those early workers a penny for their toil. Throughout the day he would find more people who were idle, and he offered them “what is right” in exchange for their labor. When the day was finished and it was time to pay the workers, each man, regardless of the length of time they labored, received a penny. The men who were hired early in the morning worked longer hours yet received the same wage. They complain that the man who hired them was unfair, but he reminded them that they received exactly what they agreed to work for; and that he had the right to pay anybody else whatever he chose to pay them.

The primary interpretation of this verse, I guess, would involve Israel. They are probably a little envious of the church who is a late arrival to the service of God. After all the Jews have had a long relationship with him, and who did these Gentiles think they were coming in and claiming that they have a claim to Heaven. I believe we could also see this attitude among those in the church. Let’s say for example that a man grows up in a Christian home and is saved at an early age. He goes to the same Heaven that another man would go to who trusted Christ on his deathbed.

The thought that grabbed my attention this morning, however, as I read was that we often think God to be unfair because He deals with us uniquely, and it seems sometimes that he treats others better than He treats us. There are two things that we can learn from this passage. The first is that God will always do what He says He will do; and secondly He will always do that which is right. So for us to become envious about how God blesses others, or uses others is to say that God is making mistakes, or is acting like men.

Sometimes as a pastor, I see the way God is blessing other ministries. It seems that some churches and pastors just have victory after victory. Sometimes I want to cry, “unfair!”  But I need to remind myself of a couple of things that I am sure of:

1  God loves me just as much as He loves anybody else.

2  God will fulfill every promise and principle in my life, family, and ministry just as He will with anybody else.

3  God has a unique plan and purpose for my life and ministry, which is different from His plan for others.

4  I may not have had the same upbringing, training, and equipping that others have had. I just need to be faithful to do the best I can with the training that I have received; and I need to learn and grow as much as I can so that I can be more effective in ministry.

5  My vantage point of others in the ministry is limited. I can only see a small part of the picture. Even though it may seem that there are no burdens or problems at the other ministry, I know that there are. That pastor in the large ministry is probably paying a much larger price than I am paying.

In John’s gospel there is an interesting story that took place after the resurrection where Jesus is restoring a very discouraged Peter. Peter had denied the Lord prior to the crucifixion. Here Jesus tells peter to “feed His lambs”. Peter, however, was not satisfied with just being restored to the ministry: he wanted the top post. He asked the Lord (referring to John), “and what shall this man do”. Jesus replied, “what is that to thee?”. The Lord basically told Peter to mind his own business. God had a purpose and plan for Peter, and He also had one for John. He has a plan for me and you too. I don’t need to worry about what God is doing with you, and you don’t need to worry about what God is doing with me. We both just need to be faithful.

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Pardon Me

Torn piece of paper with the word "Forgive" in the woman's palms.

Today’s Passage –Matthew 16 – 18 (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 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

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

Read another post from this passage – “The Coin is in the Fishes’ Mouth”

“Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.” (Matthew 18:27)

Many years ago, I was caught and convicted by a man that I owed a staggering debt to. He had the power to have me locked away forever with no possibility of any kind of parole. What can I say, I was (and am) guilty. I had broken just about every law that this man established and I deserved whatever punishment He decided to give me. I was worthy of the eternal death penalty. Then a strange thing happened: I asked Him for mercy, and He granted it. He not only forgave me; He paid the debt for me and adopted me into His family, and I became both His child, and His brother. At first, I was overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving. I learned that there were many others that had sinned against Him, and that He was willing to pardon them as well. I wanted to tell everybody about Him and His forgiveness. Thinking back on those days, I can’t recall one person on the planet that I was upset with; that I had a beef with, because I was too consumed with the forgiveness that I had received. But as time went by, I began to forget about the mercy and grace that I had received, and slowly developed a mindset where I subconsciously thought that I somehow deserved the pardon that I received. I began to think that my debt wasn’t as bad as others: that somehow the One that pardoned me needed me to help Him run His kingdom. I started thinking about others that, to me, were less worthy of forgiveness than myself. After all. I deserved it: they did not. This was all a slow, and subtle development in my mind. I then began to pick and choose who I would allow myself to forgive. Some did not deserve my forgiveness as I deserved the forgiveness that I received. I began to put people away in my own “debtor’s prison”.

Eventually I began to move farther and farther away from the One who had given me the pardon in the first place. I began to think, say, and do things that had already condemned me. Something inside of me bothered me, and I began to be grieved about my life; but at the same time, I gave some second thoughts to the ones that I had locked away. I reasoned, “what right do I have to hold people in my prison, when I have been given a complete pardon for the same things.” If He was willing to forgive all of my past, present, and future debt, ought not I be willing to pardon some people myself.

I have been saved a long time, and through those years I have been hurt countless times by many different people. Unfortunately, however, I have also hurt just as many people as have injured me. I have given up the mind game of trying to somehow justify that my sins weren’t as bad as their’s were. I didn’t (and don’t) deserve God’s forgiveness; and I don’t deserve the forgiveness of the people that I have wronged. They don’t deserve it from me either; none of us do. However, I accept it. I have received forgiveness, therefore I must give forgiveness. If you have wronged me, I forgive you. If I have wronged you, please forgive me. Once both of us are released from prison we will be free to serve the One who pardoned us in the first place.

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

“And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:4)

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Keeping Your Focus in the Storm


Today’s Passage – Matthew 14 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

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

Read the “1010 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14:30)

Just a quick thought this morning from today’s passage. The disciples were traveling by ship in the Sea of Galilee without the Lord. The Lord had stayed behind to get alone and pray. The Lord saw them through His omniscient eyes, and saw that they were struggling and frightened in a severe storm on the sea. He went to them, walking on the water. Peter sees the Lord walking on the water and he decides that he would like to try it as well. He asks the Lord’s permission to venture out on top of the waves. The Lord bids him to come, and he Peter does well for a short time until he loses his focus. While his eyes were on the Lord, he stayed afloat; but when he took his eyes off of the Lord and focused on the storm and the waves, he began to sink. Finally, he cries out to the Lord for help.

In the Christian life, there will be many storms. Some of these storms will be physical, some financial, some relational; but we will all go through the difficult days as we serve the Lord. Some of these storms will be self-inflicted, while others will be caused by others, and still others are beyond explanation. It really matters not where the blame lies as to the storm itself. The key to staying afloat in the storm, however, will be keeping our focus on the Lord Jesus. He allowed the storm in our lives for a purpose. It may be for our good; it may be for His glory; it may be for both. We need to trust the Lord and allow Him to see us through the storm.

I have seen this principle in action many times in my life. Each time a storm would appear in my life, I would spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how the storm started and who was to blame for the storm. Surely, it couldn’t be my fault, could it? God has shown me, however,  that most of the storms that I have experienced  were at least partially of my own doing. He also has shown me that the purpose of the storms was to teach me and grow me. I must confess, I always wanted to sink. I wanted to just throw in the towel, blame everybody else for my troubles, and move on in bitterness. Instead, I have learned to cry out to the Lord for help. He has always lifted me up, and helped me to make my way back into the ship. I thank the Lord for his mercy, grace, and patience with me.

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Good Ground


Today’s Passage – Matthew 12 – 13 (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 41 – 45; Proverbs 9)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3

Read the “1009 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” – (Matthew 13:8)

I have always enjoyed studying these parables in Matthew 13. The Parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3 – 9; 18 – 23) in particular has helped me to understand many things about the nature of people. I have been a Christian now for a long time, and I have observed many people come and go through the years. It grieves me when people fizzle out spiritually; some even turning their backs completely on the Lord. This parable sheds a lot of light as to why that happens.

In this passage, Jesus uses soil to illustrate the four different kinds of life situations that the seed of the gospel comes in contact with. My goal in this short devotional thought is not to discuss in detail each of these different types of lives that is impacted by the gospel seed; but I would like to make some observations about the “good ground”. After all it is the good ground that produces the most fruit, isn’t it? So what are the characteristics of good ground?

1  Good ground is well watered and fertilized. It contains all of the nutrition that it needs in order to be healthy. I have never been a gardener, but I have heard many say that when they fortify the soil with plant food (like Miracle Gro), the plants will produce much more fruit, and the overall appearance of the plant will be that of health. Christians need to be nourished and watered daily by spending time with God in His Word. The spiritual nutrition that we receive from the Word of God will yield much fruit in our lives. We will starve to death spiritually without it.

2  Good ground does not contain a lot of rocks and debrit that will hinder the root system. Rocks will also hinder the retention of water. Jesus says that this illustrates the person who never allows the Word of God to take root in his life. Many Christians make professions of faith, but never get grounded in the Word through a a discipeship program in a good local church. As a result, they never develop a strong root system that will help them get established. They do well for a while, but they cannot survive any stress that may come their way.

3  Good ground is weeded regularly. Now, I do know a little something about weeds. This year, all of the flower beds at the church were overrun with weeds. It became a huge project to dig them all up. Weeds will steal all of the nutrition and water that the plant needs to survive. This scenario pictures the Christian who allows a lot of the world’s distractions to get into his life. He becomes too busy, and often too carnal to produce fruit anymore in his life.

As you can see from this passage, there is not a lot that we can do to change the fact that some people will continue to grow and produce fruit throughout their life, and some simply will fizzle out or fall away completely. However, we can do something about the soil of our own hearts. We can make sure that we are maintaining the “good ground” by keeping well-watered and fertilized with the Word of God; by removing any rocks or impediments that will hinder our root system; and by removing any weeds (distractions, weights) that may steal away the nutrition that is necessary for a healthy and fruitful life.

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Doubt – The Saturday Morning Post


Today’s Passage –Matthew 10 – 11 (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 36 – 40; Proverbs 8)

Read the “1008 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:1-3)

Good morning. Have you ever doubted? Everyone doubts something once in a while. In our passage this morning we have John the Baptist in prison, hearing about the wonderful works of Jesus. And John questioned. Then sent two disciples to ask, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”

John was having doubts. Was Jesus the Messiah? One of the things making John doubt was the situation he was in. He was thrown into prison…

“But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him [JOHN THE BAPTIST] for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.” (Luke 3:19-20)

Not only did his situation give him doubts, but things were not as he expected them to be. John knew there was something special about Jesus, even from the womb…

“And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:39-45)

And John knew…

“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)

So John, being in prison, was in a situation that caused him to doubt. Being in prison, his expectations were crushed: he could not do the job that the Lord had given him to do…

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” (Mark 1:1-8)

There wasn’t too much John could do from prison. He was a messenger sent by God, and the voice of one crying in the wilderness, but his crushed expectations caused him to doubt. Crushed expectations added to his bad situation, and added to his doubt. Being in prison, John heard about the works of Christ: he probably heard other comments also…

“Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” (Matthew 13:55-56)

“There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?” (John 10:19-20)

Being in prison, John heard the pros and the cons. The opinion of the world can also add to your doubts, as they added to John’s. Do you find yourself in a bad situation, with crushed expectations, and being influenced by the world? Is your faith on shaky ground? What can we do to get our focus back on God? First…

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

1 – Read Your Bible.

But keep James 1 in mind…

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:22-25)

2 – Exercise Your Faith

Get out of the boat…

“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:22-33)

As you read the Bible, you come to know about Jesus and put your faith in Him. As you exercise your faith, you get to know Jesus in a greater capacity that is more personal. You can read that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. But what good does it do you until you say, “Lord Jesus, save me!”

Jesus was right there with Peter when Peter cried out. Jesus is right there with you when you step out in faith, ready to pick you up too if you begin to sink. And getting back to John in prison, Jesus gave him the perfect answer…

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” (Matthew 11:4-6)

There is a good passage in Romans chapter 8 to remember when your faith wavers…

“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 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. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:24-39)


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What Do You See?


Today’s Passage – Matthew 7 – 9 (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 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)

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

Read the “1007 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this morning’s passage – “What Is Your House Built Upon?

“And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11)

In our reading today we learned about the conversion and calling of Matthew. Matthew was at his work of collecting taxes when the Lord approached him and called him to follow. The Bible tells us that Matthew immediately left his job to follow the Lord. He didn’t even give two weeks notice! Shortly after this, Matthew invites the Lord to his house to dine with him and his friends. Now this was not the crowd that hung out down at the synagogue. These were a rough bunch of “publicans and sinners”. The kind you would tell your kids to stay away from. Jesus saw this as a tremendous opportunity to minister, and to shew mercy to these folks. The Pharisees, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to criticize. They found fault with Jesus, wondering aloud as to why he would associate with such a group of “rabble rousers”.

A few years back, our church was running a “Kid’s Club service on a Wednesday Night. I remember one particular night there was an extraordinary number of kids that got on the church bus to come to the service. As we were driving through the complexes, we were amazed! The kids just kept getting on the bus. Some of them I had never seen before. I was excited because I knew that this was a tremendous opportunity to reach some of them with the gospel of Christ. Jesus loves these kids and gives stern warnings to those who would try to hinder them from coming to Him.

As the kids service came to a close that night and we were getting back on the busses to bring the children home, many of our church families were arriving for the adult Bible study and prayer meeting. I could not help but wonder what some of them were thinking. Were they as excited as the Kid’s Club workers were? I don’t know. I am sure that some were happy to see what God was doing, but I am also concerned that some may have not looked at it the same way. Some may not have been happy to see all of the “snotty nosed bus kids” on property. After all, they don’t act right, and most of them do not dress right. I had to tell one teenager to pull up his “droopy drawers” a couple of times. Take it easy on him though. He was brand new, just got saved; and he hasn’t missed a service since.

It is amazing that two people, both Christians, can look at the very same thing, and yet see something totally different. But what do you see? Do you see the multitudes out there in the world as your enemy, or an opportunity for you to demonstrate and distribute the love of Jesus Christ? And, while I’m at it, why aren’t you helping us reach and serve these kids? They need somebody to mentor and love them.

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Quit Worrying!

Quit Worrying

Today’s Passage – Matthew 5 – 6 (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 26 – 30; Proverbs 6)

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

Read the “1006 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34)

Beginning in Matthew chapter 5 we have recorded what is known as the Sermon on the Mount. These verses teach us the rules for the Kingdom. These are not verses that deal specifically with the church, nor are they principles that deal with salvation. However, these passages do show us how a Spirit filled people will live during the Millennial Kingdom. Having said that, I think these verses should also describe how a Spirit filled people should live today. These principles go way beyond the bare minimum; and they surpass the minimum requirements of the law. God’s people should be second milers. They should be a people who are willing to go beyond just the law in their relationship with God, and men.

The last section in chapter 6 deals with worrying. Many of us are consumed with worry. We stress over what might, or might not, happen tomorrow. God says that we should be able to trust him with tomorrow and just content ourselves with serving Him today. God gave us provision and protection today, and He is well able to do the same tomorrow. I am not a doctor, but I am pretty confident in saying that worry and stress are contributing factors in many health problems; but we don’t have to live that way. Worry is really nothing more than a lack of faith. If our faith is strong, we know that our God will take care of us and guide our path; so we don’t have to stress over life. We worry and stress because we have taken our lives into our own hands; and we realize that we are not able to control all of the situations that will come our way; and we will not always make the right decision. However, if we put our lives and our families in the hand of God, we can be assured that God will do right by us, and He will take care of us.

These verses are not teaching, however, that we should not carefully prepare for our tomorrows. It is not wrong to make good decisions, under His guidance regarding future planning. If you think about it, salvation itself is decision that ensures a safe future. I realize that salvation entails much more than “fire insurance”, but many of us were saved because we were concerned about a future judgment. So it is not wrong to spend some time today considering tomorrow. However, when we get to the point where we are so stressed about tomorrow where we cannot serve Him today, we have taken planning well beyond the healthy limits. It is not wrong to put some money away for a rainy day, but if we get so consumed with hoarding our income today to the extent where we won’t give our tithes and offerings, we have gone well beyond mere planning.

The bottom line is that if we can trust God with our eternal destiny, can’t we trust Him with all of the little details that comprise living for Him in this world. God took care of us yesterday; He is feeding us today, and He will continue to do so tomorrow. We can trust Him. Stop worrying.

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It Is Written


Today’s Passage –Matthew 1 – 4 (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 21 – 25; Proverbs 5)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” – (Matthew 4:4)

“Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” – (Matthew 4:7)

“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” – (Matthew 4:10)

In our reading passage today in chapter 4, we have the account of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. The devil made three attempts here to get Jesus to yield to his will, but Jesus stood strong through all that the devil threw at him. Jesus proved that He is Who He claimed to be by resisting the devil. Theologians have argued through the years about whether this was a genuine temptation. In other words, they say that since Jesus is God He cannot be tempted. I guess that is true, but it didn’t stop Satan from making the attempt. I once heard an analogy that illustrates this point pretty well: it is possible for a rowboat to attack a naval fleet; the attack would be real, but the probability of success is not very great. Satan’s attempt to seduce Jesus was real, but because Jesus is the omnipotent God, Satan could not possibly win. Consider what God said through the writer to the Hebrews:

“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.” (Hebrews 4:15)

The thing that I find very interesting about this account is that Jesus quoted from the Word of God each time that He was tempted by the devil. Now I hasten to say that everything that came from the mouth of Jesus was the Word of God, because He is God. However, in our passage, Jesus quotes from something He previously said in the Old Testament: something that was already recorded in the Scripture. I believe the main reason that Jesus did this was because He was giving us the formula; the secret to resisting temptation, which is memorizing and quoting Scripture. Consider these verses:

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also makea way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” – (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Notice the phrase, “a way to escape”. God’s way to escape is quoting Scripture. And you cannot quote Scripture unless you have it in your heart:

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” – (Psalm 119:11)

This is why it is absolutely critical for us to be in the Word of God all of the time. We need to saturate our minds with the Scripture through our daily reading, writing, studying, meditation, and memorization of the Bible. We are now even learning how to sing the Scripture (see Scripture Memory Songs), which also helps us to keep God’s Word in our heart and mind.

The sad truth, however, is that most believers do not know enough Scripture to resist the devil’s tempation. What a shame. There is no excuse for it. I believe that this is one of the greatest needs for the people of our church today. We need to strengthened and fortified by the Word of God so that when the flesh, the world, or the devil try to get us to yield, we can stay inside the perfect will of God.

One final thought. You will notice from this passage that Satan also said, “It is written”, but it is important to note that while Satan “quoted” the Scripture, he conveniently left out part of the O.T. verse. He is still using that same method today by re-writing the Word of God in all of these modern versions. He changes words, and leaves out words as it suits his purposes. Stick with the old King James!

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Stout Words

stout words

Today’s Passage – Malachi 1 – 4 (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 16 – 20; Proverbs 4)

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

Read the “1004 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” – (Malachi 3:13-15)

As I was reading this morning, the phrase, “your words have been stout against me”, caught my eye. That word “stout” is not a word that we use often in our vernacular. In the context of this passage, the word means strong or bold. God was telling Israel that they have been very bold about what they had to say about God. The passage goes on to speak about the pride of the people. It is always a dangerous thing when God’s people become large in their own eyes. Remember what the prophet Samuel told King Saul:

“And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?” – (1 Samuel 15:17)

Saul had become too big for his breeches. He started to call his own shots; he didn’t need God any more. The people of Israel and Judah had the same problem in Malachi’s day. They were proud and boastful; and they no longer feared the Lord.

Our society today is much the same way, and perhaps even worse. We are a proud people. We boldly live a godless lifestyle, and almost dare God to do something about it. We shake our fists in the face of God, and proudly declare our independence. We say with our words and our actions, “We don’t need you God – stay out of our lives. We will live as we please.” Our words and actions are “stout” against God. Even in the church their is a haughty attitude of independence. God help us. We need to get back to fearing God again. God needs to be magnified in our sight, and self needs to be minimized.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” – (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

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What A Day That Will Be

Zechariah 12:10

Today’s Passage – Zechariah 10 – 14 (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 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read the “1003 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from Zechariah 14 – “Touchdown!”

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” – (Zechariah 12:10)

“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” – (Zechariah 13:1)

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” (Romans 11:25-26)

The Bible makes it very clear in the Book of Romans that Israel, as a nation, is right now blind to the Truth of the gospel. They just can’t see that Jesus was and is their Messiah. This does not mean that there will not be individual Jews that will trust Christ as Saviour, but as a whole they have been blinded because they rejected Christ when He first came to them:

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” – (John 1:11)

There is coming a day, however, when the blindness of Israel will be taken away, and they will be able to recognize “me whom they have pieced”.  The verse goes on to say that they will mourn, “as one mourneth for his only son”. In chapter Zechariah 13:1, the Scripture goes on to say, “in that day there shall be a fountain opened … for sin and for uncleanness”. The day referred to in this verse is the same day that Israel looks upon and mourns for the One whom they pierced. Cleansing for sin only comes after we recognize our sin, and our rejection of the Saviour.

This is the exact same process that God uses to cleanse us from our sins today. God opens our eyes so that we can see the one whom we have pierced, because it is our sin that put Him on that cross. When we see our sinful condition, and realize that Jesus took all of that sin upon Him on the cross, our eyes begin to open; and when our eyes open, so does that fountain of cleansing that removes the stain of our sin from us. What an awesome God we serve!

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

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We Will Go With You


Today’s Passage – Zechariah 6 – 9 (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 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25

Read the “1002 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” (Zechariah 8:21-23)

Throughout the Book of Zechariah, God tells us what life will be like during the Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth. This will certainly be a wonderful time to for people to live on the earth. The Bible tells us, …the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof (Zechariah 8:5). It goes on to say, And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. (Zechariah 8:8) God will be “running the show” here on the earth, and the people will be thrilled to have him ruling in righteousness.

In vs. 21 – 23 of chapter eight, there is a phrase that grabbed my attention: ten men…shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you. The people of the surrounding nations will be so impressed with the relationship that the Jews have with their God that they will ask to join them as they go to the House of God. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the people that we know today could look into our lives and clearly see the relationship that we have with our Lord, and say to us, “I want to go with you to church, because I can see the Lord is with you, and He has made a wonderful difference in your life”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God’s people today exuded the love, joy, and peace that comes from a life filled with the Spirit of God. Maybe the reason that we are not attracting too many people to desire a relationship with the Lord is because they cannot see the difference that the Lord has made.

By the way, I am not saying that all we need to do is live before our neighbors. We still need to speak the truth to the people around us. Notice v. 16

“These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:” (Zechariah 8:16)

The truth is that people need to hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ from our mouths, but they also need to see the love, joy, and peace that come from the relationship that we have with Him.

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Your Adversary The Devil – The Saturday Morning Post


Today’s Passage – Zechariah 1 – 5 (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 1 – 5; Proverbs 1)

Read the “1001 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” (Zechariah 3:1-4)

Good morning. Did you ever have a day where nothing was going right? Has anything you tried to do blown up in your face? You have an adversary standing next to you, ready to resist you…

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1Peter 5:8-9)

We are all in the same boat. In our passage this morning we see Joshua the high priest and the devil standing before the Lord. The devil is ready to resist: to accuse the brethren. But the LORD intervenes for Joshua whose garments are filthy: stained with sin. The LORD rebukes the devil, and says of Joshua, “…is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”

And the LORD commands: “Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.”


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

Satan looses.

“Wherefore he [JESUS] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)

My friends, the devil has already lost the battle. The victory belongs to the LORD who shed His precious blood to save us from the wages of sin. We have won, the devil lost, but he will still try to make life miserable for us if he can. We need to keep fighting and resisting the devil.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

When your adversary the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future…

“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)


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A Bag With Holes


Today’s Passage – Haggai 1 – 2 (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 – Revelation 21 – 22; Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 30 – 31)

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

Read the “0930 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. …Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.” (Haggai 1:6 & 9)

Haggai is writing to the children of Israel that have returned to the land after their time spent in captivity in the land of Babylon, and later Persia. Upon returning, they had done well in the beginning: they immediately began to re-build the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. However, after some opposition came along (and it always does), they put aside the building of God’s house and began working on their own houses and farms, etc. The problem was that God was not blessing them in their work. In many respects they were spinning their wheels. They were working hard, but God wasn’t helping them, simply because they were no longer putting the Lord first in their lives.

I see a lot of parallels from this passage with Christians today. There has never been a time in the history of America when we are as busy as we are now. Many families have both husband and wife working with some folks working two and three jobs. It is very common to hear people say that they would like to attend all of the church services, but they always have to work. After all, they have to take care of their families, don’t they? Now, I understand that people need to work. Work is good. The Bible says that men need to work in order to eat; but when our work replaces God, or seriously interferes with our worship of Him, something is wrong. And I wonder if God isn’t doing to us what he did to those Israelites of old who had misplaced priorities. Do you miss church regularly due to work? I’m not saying it is always wrong, but you have to ask yourself and the Lord if your missing services is OK with Him.

The same could be said about our giving. We would like to give, but money is tight. We justify our lack of giving due to the fact that we need to care for our families. But did you ever think that by taking matters into your own hands, you are forsaking God and removing His blessing upon your life. God said that their wages were going through a bag filled with holes. I have often felt that my money was going into a bag like that as well. Have you stopped giving your tithes and offerings because money is tight? You can expect it to get even tighter.

The problem is that we are often blind to this condition. We don’t see where we have put something above God in our lives. Ask yourself honestly. Have you put something in front of God: your job; your children; your pleasure? What is causing you to miss the full blessing of God in your life. We need to put God back where He belongs in our lives. He deserves and demands first place. After the Israelites repented and starting working again on the temple, God said, “I am with you”. I want God to be with me in my life, and He will be as long as put Him in His rightful place. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that God is with you, that His hand of approval and blessing is on every aspect of your life?

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – (Matthew 6:33)

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” – (Colossians 1:18)

“I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.” – (2 Corinthians 8:8)

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.” – (Malachi 3:10-11)

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God Is In The Midst Of Thee


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

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 17 – 20; Psalms 136 – 140; Proverbs 29)

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

Read the “0929 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.” (Zephaniah 3:15)

If I understand this verse correctly, it appears that Zephaniah is looking forward to the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth. It would seem that this will be the only time that all of the things mentioned in the context could take place. In the first two chapters Zephaniah wrote of judgment which has already come and is still coming, but the future holds a time for Israel when they will be reconciled completely with God; and God will once again be pouring out His blessings upon them; and will remove all of there enemies from the land.

My thought this morning, however, is how this verse, though directly dealing with Israel, applies perfectly to the Christian today. The Christian already has today what He is going to give Israel in the future. First, it says “The LORD hath taken away thy judgments”. How wonderful it is to know that the penalty for sin is gone. I will not be judged for my sin. I used to hear preachers say that when I stand before God, He is going to show a video of every bad thing that I have ever done. Not true. Jesus paid for all of my sins at Calvary and they are all under the blood. My record is clean because of what Jesus did for me at Calvary. My sins are gone! Praise God!!!

Secondly, Zephaniah says “he hath cast out thine enemy”. Now this isn’t true yet; but it soon will be. My enemy is Satan, and though he and his devils are reeking havoc today, he is already defeated. Some day soon, we will see Satan cast into the lake of fire. I am on the winning side and Satan is a loser. Just a thought: why do so many people, including Christians, follow him.

Finally, Zephaniah says “the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee. I know that this verse is talking about God dwelling in the midst of His people Israel, but I have God dwelling in me right now.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Colossians 1:27)

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” (John 15:4)

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

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

God is not only with me, He is in me. And if I will allow Him to have His way with my life, I will reveal Him to others around me.

P.S. I have one additional encouragement from Zephaniah 2:

“Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” – (Zephaniah 2:3)

This verse is a great encouragement to me because it teaches that though there may be judgment by God on the world around us, we may escape it if we are in a right relationship with Him. God has not appointed His children to wrath, and though He may pour out His judgent on this land, He will still protect and provide for His own.

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Revive Thy Work


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

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 13 – 16; Psalms 136 – 140; Proverbs 28)

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

Read the “0928 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” – (Habakkuk 3:2)

In our passage, Habakkuk is writing to a nation that had forsaken the Lord. They had turned their back on God’s law, and had become a pleasure seeking, idolatrous, and gluttonous culture filled with drunkenness and all kinds of immorality. Sounds like America doesn’t it? We know from the vantage point of history that God did bring revival to this nation, but only after the nation experienced God’s judgment. It was the judgment of God that caused Judah (Israel) to turn back to Him.

I fear that it will also take the judgment of God to cause America to wake up. I know that in my own life it often takes the chastisement of God to get me to see that I am drifting from Him. I have been asking God to do whatever it takes in my life to get me to where I need to be. I want to “know Him”; I want to serve Him; and I want my life to be fully yielded to Him. I want God to revive me. I am His workmanship. I want Him to break up the fallow ground in my life, and mold me into something that He can use for His glory. I want that for my family as well, and for the people in our church. I hope that we don’t have to experience too much chastisement and trial in order to get there; but if that’s what it takes, so be it.

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Pretty Feet?


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

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 10 – 12; Psalms 131 – 135; Proverbs 27)

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

Read the “0927 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s reading in Nahum – “What Are You Thinking?” and “Whose Side Are You On?

“Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.” (Nahum 1:15)

The Book of Nahum is a “burden” of judgment pronounced against Nineveh. In the middle of this book about Nineveh is a very interesting verse written to encourage the people of God who had experienced the oppression of the Ninevites. Nahum 1:15 is a very interesting verse. It is written to Judah, which was the southern kingdom of Israel. The northern kingdom had already been attacked and conquered by the people of Assyria who are the main subject of this little book. As God is pronouncing judgment against Nineveh (the capitol city of Assyria)  for all that they did to Israel and Judah, He inserts this verse of encouragement to the people of Judah who were spared. God tells them that He has “cut off” the nation that was oppressing them. These were certainly “good tidings” (good news) to the people of God.

Portions of this verse have been quoted in others parts of the Bible:

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7)

“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)

Notice that it says in all of these verses that the feet of of the people who bring good news are beautiful. I do not think that God was speaking literally about the attractiveness of a person’s feet, but I believe that He was saying that it was a pleasant sight to see the people who are the bearers of good tidings. When Paul quoted from this verse in Romans 10:15 he was referring to the man who is sent to preach the gospel, which is the “good tidings” regarding salvation. God says that it is a beautiful thing for people to bring the good news about the Lord Jesus Christ.

How beautiful are your feet? Are your feet being used of the Lord to bring the good news of salvation to your neighbors. Are feet are used to bring us to a lot of places, but the greatest service that they can render is to bring us to the place where we can introduce a lost sinner to Jesus.

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Do Right, Love People, Walk with God


Today’s Passage – Micah 5 – 7 (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 – Revelation 7 – 9; Psalms 126 – 130; Proverbs 26)

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

Read the “0926 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8) (Click on the verse to hear it sung by the Clark Family)

A simple but very profound verse of Scripture from the Book of Micah. Do you want to know how you can be right with your God? There is a simple three point outline here in verse eight of chapter six that explains just how to do that. Notice, however, that this verse is written to a people that already know God, so in order to make the application to yourself today you would have to have already begun a relationship with Him through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. If you have already trusted Him as your Savior, then this verse is for you:

1  Do justly – this has as much to do with our relationship with others as well as our obedience to God. We need to strive to be in a right relationship with others; and do the right thing by them. If we have wronged somebody, let’s try to get it right. “Do the right thing”.

2  Love mercy – this has to do with forgiving others who have wronged you. Are you bitter against somebody today? Why not release him from the debtor’s prison in your heart; and forgive him. Look at how God (and others) have forgiven you. Loving mercy could also apply to your love for the souls of men.

3  Walk humbly with God – We need to see ourselves for who we really are – nothing; and see God for who He is – everything. Do you have a walk with Him? Are you spending time daily in prayer, and in the Word? Are you living your life in submission to His will.

Living in a right relationship with God is not all that mysterious or difficult. Jesus said that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. But if we refuse to submit ourselves to His Lordship, holding on to our own will and desire; walking with Him will be impossible. I’m not talking about perfection here: we all blow it at times; but when that happens, we must confess it to God, get back up, and move forward again in our walk with Him.

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There Is Coming A Day


Today’s Passage – Micah 1 – 4 (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 – Revelation 4 – 6; Psalms 121 – 125; Proverbs 25)

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

Read the “0925 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” – (Micah 4:1-5)

I just want to give you a couple of quick thoughts this morning from today’s passage in Micah. In Micah chapter 4, God is referring to the Millenial reign of Christ on the earth. This future time period will come only after the church is raptured and the world endures a seven year period of tribulation which will separate the sheep from the goats (the saved from the lost). This 1000 year reign of Christ on earth will be a wonderful time of peace on the earth. Christ will physically be here on the earth ruling the affairs of men. All nations will be in submission to Him, and it will truly be a time of tranquility and safety. Everyone will be living according to the principles found in the Word of God, and Christ Himself will be the instructer. What a time to live on the earth.

Obviously, the day that we are living in today is not like this Millenial reign of Christ, but I believe that Christians can do a lot more to make their homes and their churches more like this future time period. We can do this by yielding our lives to the will of God, surrendering our wills to the Spirit of God, and saturating ourselves with the Word of God. We will never be able to control what goes on in the world around us but we can do something about the homes that we live in, and the churches that we worship in. In the the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth…”. We can do the will of God while we are on this earth, and by doing so we will have a little taste of the Millenial Kingdom. Our homes and our churches should be little pictures of this wonderful time described in Micah 4.

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Where Ya Gonna Run To? – The Saturday Morning Post


Today’s Passage – Jonah 1 – 4 (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 – Revelation 1 – 3; Psalms 116 – 120; Proverbs 24)

Read the “0924 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” (Jonah 1:1-3)

Good morning. When the Lord calls you to do something, do you go and do it? Do you run the other way? Maybe you don’t know where such an idea came from: how could you even think something like that. It’s really not your thing anyway. Do you hold a grudge, or maybe are a Calvinist: if they are going to be saved, God will save them; if they are meant to be lost, God will not save them. What does the Bible say?

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29)

Let me give you four excuses that we come up with to run from God.

1) Fear – You Don’t Know The Lord

Jesus warns us in Matthew chapter 7…

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

What a shame to have all your works judged and rejected, and then you are cast into hell because the Lord did not know you. Ephesians 2:8-9 says…

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)

The Lord is everywhere, so where are you going to run to?

But even after you receive Jesus, you may still be hesitant to obey the Lord’s will for your life.

2) You Think You Can’t Do What God Wants You To Do.

And you would be somewhat right. Jesus said that without Him, we could do nothing. But when we got saved we received power: the power of the Holy Spirit…

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The Bible tells us in Hebrews chapter 13…

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:21)

Romans chapter 4 gives us the example of Abraham…

(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:17-22)

[AND] “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6)

Although knowing that God wants to complete the good work He started in you. And knowing that…

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25)

3) You Want To Do Your Own Thing.

We all want to do our own thing. We tell God that it’s okay, I can handle this. We attack the task in our own strength and fall flat on our face. But the prophet Isaiah said…

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:6-8)

We are being molded to be like Jesus and Jesus came to do His Father’s will. If we do our own will, or our own thing, it is sin. Romans 8:28 tells us that…

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)

Doing our own thing leads to destruction, and not good. The only other reason you may have is like Jonah…

4) Like Jonah, You Have A Grudge Against The People And Want To See Them Destroyed.

These were the Assyrians. They were the first terrorists. They could be compared to ISIS today. We know the atrocities and the merciless deeds inflicted on others. We see the news, pictures on social media, even in the papers. Here is a report from one of the Assyrian generals…

I destroyed, I demolished, I burned. I took their warriors prisoner and impaled them on stakes before their cities. …flayed the nobles, as many as had rebelled, and spread their skins out on the piles [of dead corpses]… many of the captives I burned in a fire. Many I took alive; from some I cut off their hands to the write, from other I cut off their noses, ears and fingers; I put out the eyes of many of the soldiers.”

I slew two hundred and sixty fighting men; I cut off their heads and made pyramids thereof. I slew one of every two. I built a wall before the great gates of the city; I flayed the chief men of the rebels, and I covered the wall with their skins. Some of them were enclosed alive in the bricks of the wall, some of them were crucified on stakes along the wall; I caused a great multitude of them to be flayed in my presence, and I covered the wall with their skins. I gathered together the heads in the form of crowns, and their pierced bodies in the form of garlands.”

No wonder Jonah hated these people.

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?” (Jonah 3:10-4:4)

So what should be our attitude towards our enemies?

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45)

So why are you running from God? He only wants what is best for you. And where are you going to run to: how far will you get?

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)

Do you well to be angry?


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Spiritual Famine


Today’s Passage – Amos 6 – 9; Obadiah 1 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 2 John, 3 John, Jude; Psalms 111 – 115; Proverbs 23)

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

Read the “0923 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:” (Amos 8:11)

Amos is writing concerning Israel about a time where there will be an absence of the Word of God among the people. But that famine of Bible instruction and principle comes as a result of the lack of desire among the people of Israel for hearing the Words of God. The people of Judah and Israel had their fill of God. They no longer desired to hear what He had to say; they no longer desired to live in by His precepts. They simply felt that they no longer needed God or His instruction.

I feel that America today is in the same boat. There is no famine here. There may be preachers out there who water down the Word of God, and there may be a lot of compromise out there; but, a copy of the Word of God is certainly available to nearly every person in America, and there really isn’t a shortage of churches out there. The problem is not the availability of the Word of God. Rather, the problem is a lack of desire for instruction from God. We have loosed from the moorings of our Biblical heritage and are floating in the sea of secular humanism. We are shouting to God from our culture, “Get Out!”, we don’t need you and we certainly don’t want you. I don’t think it is too far fetched to think about a day in the near future when our authorities try to stop the distribution of the Word of God altogether.

God will not stay where he is not wanted. In fact, the only thing holding back the judgment of God is a remnant of people in America who love the Word and the God who wrote it. So what is the solution? Can this tide of apathy and antagonism toward God be stopped, or even slowed? I am not sure. But my instructions are still to “preach the Word”, even when it is out of season. Christian, it matters not what the world thinks about our God and our Bible. We need to keep obeying God by sowing the seed of His word to the world around us. Some day soon, our job will be done; but for now it is still our responsibility to reach who we can with the glorious gospel of Christ. There are still people out there that hunger and thirst after righteousness.

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Walking Together in Agreement

walking together

Today’s Passage – Amos 1 – 5 (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 – 1 John 1 – 5; Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22)

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

Read the “0922 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)

The context of verse 3 above deals with both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and how they had chosen to live contrary to the principles of the Word of God. They had become immoral and idolatrous. They had become enamored with the cultures of the heathen nations around them. God tells them here that He cannot walk with these people because they are not in agreement with Him.

I have often quoted this verse when preaching, particularly while speaking on matters of separation. How is it that the professing Christian today feels so comfortable walking alongside the people of the world, who do not know Christ? There must be agreement in order for there to be fellowship. Now, I can walk alongside anybody for a short distance. I will have to work at times with people who are not Christians; and hopefully, I will walk along with a lost man for a time trying to persuade him to trust Christ. Jesus walked and ate with some lost people at times in order to reach them. But, I do not think that this verse is talking about casual, purposeful, or limited contact with the lost world around us. It is talking about true communion. God cannot commune with people who have forsaken Him; and we should not be comfortable running with people who are not in fellowship with Him either.

Christian, be careful who you run with. Surround yourself with people who are going to influence you positively, encouraging your walk with God. Stay away from the gossips who have “the goods” on everybody else. Avoid those who are always negative: who desire to tear everything down, instead of building things up. Run with people who have the same doctrine and standards that you have. My preacher used to say, “You are, or soon will be, who you hang around.” I want to run with people who will cause me to do right and grow in the Lord. Just a thought!

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