God Has Not Changed His Mind About Sin

Today’s Passages – Romans 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 120 – 125Proverbs 25)

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

Read the “1125 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “And Can It Be” and “Thanksgiving

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: … For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (Romans 1:24, 26-28)

The Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans from the vantage point of the City of Corinth near the conclusion of his third missionary journey. The city of Corinth was a very immoral place whose practices had crept into the church. There is even a report of an incestuous relationship between a man and his step-mother. Paul explains in the first chapter of Romans, from verses 18 – 32, the depravity of mankind, which he was seeing on a daily basis as he travelled through Corinth and the rest of the Roman Empire. Sin was everywhere, and it was not only accepted, it was even condoned by the mainstream of the citizens.

Today it has become much the same way in America. Sin seems to find no boundaries, and our society is steeped in its wickedness; and there are few who are voicing an opinion of opposition. In the verses listed above, we see that man’s rebellion against God eventually leads to unrestrained lusts, which will manifest themselves into many forms of sexual immorality including fornication, adultery, and homosexuality. In America today homosexuality is being forced down the throats of the people. The schools are spending millions of dollars convincing our children that the old fashioned concept of monogamous, heterosexual marriages are just not in step with today’s enlightened culture. The government is creating volumes of legislation designed to silence anybody who speaks against the madness that is consuming our country from the inside out.

Homosexuality is still sin. God called it an abomination in the Old Testament, and even destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of it. And though homosexuality was not specifically mentioned, I am sure that it was part of the “wickedness” that grieved God in Genesis 6 causing him to destroy the entire earth with a flood. Here in Romans 1, God reaffirms His disdain for sexual impurity, and though He loves people, all people, all sinners, including those who are guilty of homosexuality, He still hates the sin.

I do not think, however, that Christians should elevate one particular sin over another. It would be wrong for us to emphasize the wickedness of homosexuality and minimize other sins, which are just as sinful in the sight of God. Remember, God also said that “divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord, and a false balance is not good” (Proverbs 20:23), referring to cheating people in business transactions. It is all sin, and it is all displeasing to the Lord. But we must not call homosexuality or any other sin anything but what God calls it. The present culture will call you a racist or a homophobe if you do not go along with its pro-homosexual agenda. As Christians, however, we need to be far more concerned about God’s opinion than we are about what the world thinks is right. “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

In these last days, I can only imagine that man will continue to get further and further away from the will of God, but Christians must stand firm. Don’t be duped by this sinful generation into thinking that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. It is sin. Don’t stop loving all people, including homosexuals. Don’t stop trying to share the message of forgiveness that is available to all of us sinners through the shed blood of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. But don’t capitulate to this world either by calling homosexuality anything other than what it is – sin. We are all guilty of sin, but let’s not be guilty of disagreeing with God about what sin is.


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Thankful for Faithful Men and Women

Today’s Passages – Acts 26 – 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 116 – 118; Proverbs 24)

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

Read the “1124 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” (Acts 28:30&31)

The last few verses of Acts sum up the purpose of Paul’s entire life, to preach Christ. No matter where he went, and no matter who he was talking to, Paul preached Christ. In these last three chapters we see Paul rehearsing his testimony before Herod and Festus. Later we see him being the spiritual leader during the crisis of the shipwreck; and later still he is ministering to the people on the island of Melita. Paul had one focus in life and that was to be an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ. He could have gotten bitter about his unjust treatment; he could have gotten discouraged because of his lack of liberty; but he just kept preaching Christ: to kings and governors; to soldiers; to his fellow prisoners; to the barbarous people on the island; to the Jews and Gentiles at Rome.

I am thankful for the faithfulness of Paul, and men (and women) like him that have also been faithful to preach Christ. I was saved because someone was faithful to preach the gospel to me. In fact, I had several somebodies who had witnessed to me. I am thankful for my friend Kathleen who preached Christ to me; and for Pete; and for Doug, a dairy man at Shoprite who invited me to church; and for Reverend Riter who knocked on my door while canvassing for a bus ministry; and for men on the radio like J. Vernon McGee who were also faithfully preaching and teaching, and were used of God to ultimately reach me.

I am also thankful for the men of God that He has used to influence my life after my conversion; men who discipled and trained me. I couldn’t possibly list all of the people that have helped me a long the way; but let me mention one: Pastor Rick Wedemeyer is the one man that I have had a relationship with since the early days of my salvation. Pastor Rick has never turned me away. Even when he was going through turbulent times himself, he always had time to encourage me, and he always helped me.

I wonder if my life will have the same impact and influence on this generation. I want to be faithful to preach Christ to my generation as Paul was to his; and I also want to be used of the Lord to help develop and mentor younger Christians. How about you? Do you desire to be a faithful ambassador for the Lord? Do you witness when given the opportunity? Do you take time to teach those that are still babes in Christ? You and I are saved because somebody else was faithful. Let’s be faithful also.


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A Clear Conscience

Today’s Passages –Acts 23 – 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 111 – 115; Proverbs 23)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34

Read a previous post from this passage – “What Are You Waiting For?

“And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” – (Acts 24:16)

In our passage today, we see the great Apostle Paul standing before Governor Felix. The official accusation that was laid against him was by the religious leaders was that he was a “mover of sedition”, and that he “profane[d] the temple”. (Acts 24:3 & 4) The real beef that the nation of Israel had against Paul was that he was a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that he taught that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead. Paul did not try to hide his faith in Christ and the resurrection. He boldly declared that Jesus Christ was the true Messiah, was God in the flesh, and that He had, in fact, risen from the dead. However, though Paul was bold in his conviction and preaching regarding the message of Christ, he was not guilty of what he was being accused of. He stated that he strove (exercised) to always have a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Paul had a clear conscience. He loved the nation of Israel, and he wanted more than anything to see them come to faith in Christ. He preached the message of salvation boldly, which was exactly what God had called him to do. His first concern was to obey God. However, sometimes in obeying God, we will offend men; but we ought not go out of our way to be an offence to men. The message of a resurrected Christ was what offended the Jews. Though Paul did nothing to hurt the Jews, his message was nevertheless offensive to them.

God has called us to be light and salt to this world. We will offend God if we refrain from what he has called us to be. This world is getting more and more offended by Christians who are living in obedience to God’s call; but we must not let that stop us from telling them what they need to hear. If I have to choose between offending men, and offending God, I must choose to offend men. However, it is not my desire to hurt men. I love people, and I will work hard (exercise myself) to be as loving and non-offensive to them as possible, but there will be times when my life and my message as a Christian will offend them. However, even when the world gets offended, I can still pillow my head with a clear conscience knowing that I did what God has told me to do.


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Are You In The Ministry? – The Saturday Morning Post

In The Fire

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

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

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

Read the “1121 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.” (Acts 21:8-14)

Good morning. Jesus said to a disciple named Ananias in a vision…

“…Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:11-16)

The Apostle Paul had been through alot. He still had alot more to go through. He was beaten, stoned, imprisoned, all for the cause of Christ. And now he had made his mind up to go to Jerusalem. In our passage in Acts 21, he was warned that he would be bound and turned over to the Gentiles. The disciples who were gathered with him, tried to talk Paul out of going. But Paul was in the ministry. And he told them, “What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Are you in the ministry? If you are saved, you are…

“And he [Jesus] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

Did you ever notice the first two verses of ‘Am I A Soldier Of The Cross’, by Isaac Watts?

*1*

Am I a soldier of the cross,

A follower of the Lamb?

And shall I fear to own His cause,

Or blush to speak His name?

*2*

Must I be carried to the skies to the skies

On flowery beds of ease,

While others fought to win the prize,

And sailed thro’ bloody seas?

Are you in the ministry? Is it really that difficult to hand somebody on the street a tract. Or even leave one in a public rest room? Paul was in the ministry. Beaten and locked in prison, he was still ministering the gospel to those around him…

“And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:23-31)

Are you in the ministry? Just something to think about.

Peace! (Matthew 28:18-20)


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Repentance

Today’s Passages – Acts 17 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 101 – 105Proverbs 21)

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

Read the “1121 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read  previous posts from this passage – “Mentoring” & “We Need the Bible

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” (Acts 17:30)

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19)

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

This word “repent” has been the source of much dispute among Christians for as long as I can remember. On the one end there are those that say that repentance is simply a changing of one’s mind, and on the other end there are those who say that repentance is reformation, meaning a change in behavior. Many would also add that repentance involves a mourning over past actions, a sorrow for sin. I really do not think, however, that the concept of repentance is all that difficult to understand. The first thing that we need to clarify here is that we are referring to repentance as it regards salvation. Obviously the word repent, as any other word, can be, and is, used in a variety of contexts.

One dictionary defines “repent” (μετανοέω [metanoeō]) ” to think again”, or to think afterwards, like an afterthought. When I trusted Christ as my Saviour, I had to re-think all that I thought I knew about Jesus and salvation. I previously thought that salvation was somehow dependent upon my good works, and learned that I was wrong. So repentance certainly involves a change of mind, and in a simplistic, literal sense I would wholly agree with the definition of repentance as a changing of one’s mind.

However, repentance as it regards to salvation is so much more than just a changing of mind. There also is a change of attitude about sin. Before I was saved, I didn’t think sin was such a big deal. I tended to minimize sin, instead of considering myself “exceeding sinful”. God had to bring me under conviction, which caused me to see sin more like God sees it, rather than the way I had previously viewed it. Then when I realized my guilt and understood the penalty that I deserved there was also a change of heart, a brokenness, a humility. Unrepentant sinners tend to justify themselves. I finally saw my sin from God’s perspective, and there was guilt. Now, I must also state here that I believe it is possible to have guilt without repentance. Esau was sorry, but he did not repent. Sorrow will bring a person to the place where he can repent though. Guilt does not always lead to repentance, but repentance always involves guilt.

Finally, I knew that salvation would involve a change in direction. Don’t get nervous. I am not saying that I believed I had to work my way to Heaven, but I knew that saved people lived differently than unsaved people did. I knew that the direction that I was previously going was wrong, and I needed God to get me turned around. When I trusted Christ as my Saviour, he changed my direction. I have not perfectly followed His plan at all times, but my desire is to stay within His will for my life, which was not even the slightest concern before I was saved.

So here goes. I am going to give you my best definition of the word “repentance”. Repentance as it regards to salvation is a change of mind, heart, and attitude that brings about a change in direction.


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Tenacity

Today’s Passages –Acts 14 – 16 (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 – 100Proverbs 20)

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

Read the “1120 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “In Tune with the Spirit of God

“And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,” (Acts 14:19-21)

The Apostle Paul was a unique individual. he travelled to Iconium on his first missionary journey, and received intense persecution there, almost being stoned. He escapes to Lystra where he was stoned and left for dead, and then after preaching at Derbe he returns again to both Lystra and Iconium. If you look at the map below of Paul’s first journey you will notice that Paul did not have to go back to Antioch, where he started out, through those cities. He went out of his way to go back to the places where he was almost killed, and where he surely faced danger again. Why would he do that? Because there were people there that he needed to help. He didn’t let fear of almost certain persecution keep him from doing what God had called him to do. That is tenacity.

There are very few people today who are willing to face this kind of persecution in order to reach people with the gospel. In fact, there are not many who are willing even to sacrifice a little comfort in order to serve God. Today, we let the slightest excuses keep us from fulfilling the will of God. We need to get tough. We need a revival of tenacity in our churches today. A revival of people who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.


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Begotten from the Grave

Today’s Passages –Acts 11 – 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 91 – 95; Proverbs 19)

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Beginning of the Journey

“God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” (Acts 13:33)

I had fully intended to write a post this morning on God’s call upon Paul and Barnabus, but as I read further I came upon the verse above. I got to thinking about how this verse is twisted by many of the cults, who try to use it to prove that Jesus is not God the Son, but merely a son of God; a created being like angels or human beings.

The verse in question is actually a quotation from the 2nd Psalm; and it is used again in Hebrews 1:5. In none of these places is this phrase, “this day have I begotten thee” used in reference to Christ’s birth. In the second Psalm, I must confess the exact meaning is uncertain. Typically the word “begotten” refers to a birth or a “bringing into existence”. I noticed though that Oxford gives the meaning, “give rise to” as the second use of the word. However, Acts 13:33 is the key that unlocks the door of understanding to the precise meaning as God uses it referring to Christ. From Acts 13:33, we can determine without doubt that the word “begotten” is a reference to the resurrection, not the incarnation.

In the Book of Hebrews, the focus of discussion is not on the word “begotten”, but on the word “Son”.

“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”

In fact, this point is further proved because in Hebrews 1:6 He is referred to as the “firstbegotten”. This could not be a reference to Christ’s birth as He is not the first one born to God, Adam is. Christ is, however, the firstbegotten from the dead. By the way, the people that were raised from the dead by Jesus and the apostles are excluded because each of them went again to the grave in natural death.

Consider the following verses that prove the pre-existence, and deity of Christ:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1 – 3)

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”. (John 1:14)

Notice again the word, “begotten”, referring not to his birth at Bethlehem, but His resurrection from the dead. Remember, His glory was not revealed at birth. John uses the term “we”. He did not witness His birth, but He did see His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, and after His resurrection.

“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” (Ephesians 1:20 – 22)

“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1:3)

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” (Hebrews 1:8)

Jesus is not a created being. He is eternally God. He is the “I Am”. John’s gospel proves that over and over again. He has always been God, and always will be God. He is one with the Father (and the Spirit also).


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JUST FOR LADIES – By Camille Stahl

SHUT-UP- 

Today’s Passages – Acts 9 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 86 – 90Proverbs 18)

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

Read the “1118 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Persecutor, Preacher, Prisoner”, “They’re All Precious In His Sight” & “The Beauty Of Salvation                             

Shuttest Thy Mouth

“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Proverbs 18:8

When God repeats something in His Word, He means business.  In Proverbs we see the same 19 words repeated twice.  That must mean that their message is extremely important.

“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Proverbs 26:22

In this verse, the word, words, can be translated a tasty, deadly morsel or words of sport.  The word, talebearer, means spice peddler, wounds means deadly wounds, belly means the entire human cavity.

In other words, the tasty deadly morsels (words) of a spice peddler (talebearer) are as deadly wounds to the entire human body (belly). Notice it says, they are deadly wounds.

So there is the person who is gossiping (the spice peddler), the juicy gossip, maybe about a person (the tasty deadly morsels), and the person who is listening to the gossip (the person being killed with the morsels).

So who is destroyed, the talebearer, the listener or the one being gossiped about?

When a gossiper tries to destroy with the ‘morsels’ to the hearer, he thinks it’s the one who hears or accepts the morsels who is being poisoned and destroyed. The talebearer is already been destroyed or poisoned.  The morsel (the person or thing that is being gossiped about) is the only one who is innocent

A talebearer is trying to hurt you even though they don’t know it.  When you listen to gossip, you are the one who is being poisoned, and you are the one who is going to be destroyed. Most Christians don’t think that just listening to gossip is wrong, but it is self- destruction!  A Christian should run from talebearers and consider it as if someone is trying to kill them.  They usually are a good person who simply did not have the courage to rebuke the talebearer.  Run from the talebearer! Run from the slanderer.

God gave us warnings not to listen to gossip.  These are warnings to the hearers not to listen.

3 Things That Listening to Gossip Will Kill

1.  It will kill your spirit.

“The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” Proverbs 18:14

2.  It will kill your trust.

“For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:” (1Peter 3:10)

3.  It will kill your joy.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  (Philippians 4:8)

Thoughts from Jack Hyles

Thank You

Revelations 20:10


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Say Cheeeeeeese!

Today’s Passages – Acts 7 – 8 (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 – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “1117 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Divine Appointments

“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 8:59 & 60)

The world is taking a picture of our lives every day; but what image are they getting. When people look at me do they see me, or do they see Christ. As Christians, we are supposed to be pictures of Christ to this godless world. We are to show them Christ through our lives and testimonies. When people see us they are supposed to get a glimpse of what Jesus would be like if He were here in the flesh personally. In our passage today, we see a man who demonstrated Christ to his generation. He lived like Christ, and he died like Christ.

1  Stephen was fearless in his preaching. He knew that the crowd that he was witnessing to had already killed the Lord, and they had already beaten and imprisoned Peter and John. He knew that he was risking his life by saying the things that he said, yet he preached the truth.

2  Stephen was faithful in his passing. He had his eyes on the Lord right up until he died. He was not thinking about his circumstances, he was looking straight into the eyes of the Lord. And the Lord was standing at the right hand of the Father, waiting to receive Stephen. What a way to go.

3  He was forgiving to his persecutors.  Perhaps this is the most striking picture of Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, He said, “Forgive them Father”. Here Stephen says virtually the same thing. He says, “Lay not this sin to their charge”.

There was a young man named Saul in the crowd that day that got a good look at the picture that Stephen was portraying that day. Saul would get another look at the Lord, first hand, later on; but I contend to you that he had already seen the Lord through the testimony of Stephen.

What do people see in our lives? Do they see Jesus or do they see us? We need to peel back the layers of our own desires and personalities, and allow Christ to live through us. This world desperately needs to see the real Jesus. There have certainly been many impersonators out there; but through our surrendered lives, we can show the world Christ.


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Ye Cannot Overthrow It

Today’s Passages –Acts 4 – 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 76 – 80; Proverbs 16)

Memory passage for the month of November – Psalm 95

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

“But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” – (Acts 5:39)

“And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” – (Acts 5:40-42)

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

Persecution has a strange way of producing the opposite outcome the what was intended by those that are doing the persecuting. In our text, Peter and John are preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ until they are arrested by the religious leaders and put in prison. They are released the next day, but only after they are threatened. They go right back to preaching, because they believed that God’s command to preach superseded any human law. They are again arrested, but are miraculously removed from prison by the Angel of the Lord, only to go back out and preach again. The religious leaders don’t know what to do about these trouble makers, so they arrest them again; and they release them again, but this time before they are released, they are beaten. We can see that things are certainly starting to heat up for the apostles. In chapter 7 we will see that things will heat up even more, when Stephen is put to death for preaching the gospel.

You would think that with all of this punishment being handed out to the Christians that the preaching would be curtailed; but the opposite is actually true. The more they were persecuted, the more they preached. In fact, when persecution really heats up in Jerusalem (Acts 8), the people are scattered throughout all Judea and Samaria preaching the gospel. And the more they preached, the more people got saved.

It is the same way in the world we live in today. Christianity is thriving in some of the most unlikely places. Did you know that it is estimated that the actual number of Christians in communist China is said to be more than the number of Christians in Europe and America combined; and most of the churches in China are operating illegally, underground. Many Christians have been imprisoned in China for their faith; yet the Christians keep coming.

Now let’s consider America. We have freedom and prosperity here; but it seems that we are spiritually dying in most places. Maybe the churches in America would benefit from a little persecution. Does that sound strange to you? Don’t misunderstand. I am not wishing or asking for persecution; but I am willing to ask the Lord to do whatever is necessary to wake the churches in America up, even if it includes some persecution.


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Continue

Today’s Passages –Acts 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 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “He Was Down, But He Got Back Up

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” – (Acts 2:41-42)

While reading this morning, I noticed the word, “continued” in Acts 2:42. I did a little research and discovered the words “continue”, or “continued” are found 12 times in the Book of Acts. The Christian life is all about continuing. In fact, I would go as far to say that the secret to being successful in your walk with the Lord is to just continue. Don’t go back; don’t quit; just keep going.

In verse 42, we learn that this new group of believers in Jerusalem continued in:

1  The Apostles Doctrine – It is so important that we keep growing in our knowledge of Bible doctrine. We never arrive at a place in the Christian life where we know all that there is to know. So many Christians are weak today, and so many of our church are misguided, because they have not placed an emphasis on Bible doctrine.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – (2 Timothy 2:15)

2  Fellowship – This new church gathered together often to edify and encourage each other. Living for the Lord in this wicked world can be very difficult at times, to say the least. We need to have a place where we can go where we are around people of like, precious faith: people who are going the same direction that we are going.

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

3  Breaking of Bread – I could be wrong about this, but I believe that the phrase “breaking of bread” has to do with more than eating meals together, though I am sure that ecause they fellowshipped often, they also would frequently share meals together. However, I believe that this phrase is speaking primarily about this church’s observance of the Lord’s Supper. I believe the early believers regularly remembered the body and blood of the Lord.

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” – (1 Corinthians 11:26)

4  Prayers – This church faced incredible persecution from both the religious officials of Israel, and also from the Roman government. They needed to be a praying church. They needed to pray fervently for each other.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” – (James 5:16)

Living for the Lord is not always easy, and sometimes it can even be discouraging; but we need to keep going: keep moving forward. The sun will rise again in the morning, and someday it will truly all be worth it all. Hang in there. Take it one day at a time; and if you have already quit, get back up and get back in the game.


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Going Fishing

Today’s Passages – John 20 – 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 66 – 70Proverbs 14)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121

Read the “1114 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Lovest Thou Me

“Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.” – (John 21:3)

In our passage today we see Peter returning to his old occupation of fishing. When the Lord first called Peter into the ministry he was a fisherman. In fact, that occasion was amazingly similar to this passage. You can read about yourself in Luke 5, but I will point out some of the similarities:

In both passages Peter and company are fishing through the night on the Sea of Galilee (also called the Sea of Tiberius).

In both of the passages the fishermen catch no fish despite all of the efforts.

In both passages Jesus asks them to cast the net(s) out again. Actually, the first time the Lord told Peter to cast out his nets (plural). Peter reluctantly casts out one net, but the catch of fish was too big for the one net, and the net broke. He should have listened to the Lord.

In the first passage, Jesus was calling Peter into the ministry. He told Peter that he would no longer be fishing for fish, but rather he would now be catching men for the Saviour. In this morning’s passage, however, Peter is being reminded of that call. Jesus is reminding Peter that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance”. In other words, God was telling Peter that He had not changed His mind about Peter, even though Peter had just recently change his mind about the Lord. Remember, just a short time prior to this passage, Peter had denied the Lord. Peter thought that he was through. He assumed that the Lord would no longer want him in the ministry after what he had done. He was wrong. The Lord was not finished with Peter. He still wanted to use him. In tomorrow’s reading in Acts, we will see what the Lord will do with Peter.

The Lord is not through with you either. I know that you may have blown it in the past, like Peter did; but the Lord is merciful, and gracious. Don’t turn back, and if perhaps you have already turned back, you can always come back to the Lord. God called me to preach the Gospel nearly 20 years ago. There have been many times that I have wanted to quit and turn back, but I am thankful that the Lord has always somehow reminded me that He wanted me to keep going for Him, and by His grace, I am still fishing for men.

Don’t quit.


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That the Scripture Might Be Fulfilled by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Passages – John 17 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 61 – 65Proverbs 13)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121

Read the “1113 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” – (John 17:12)

Good morning. What a great way to start the morning with my favorite chapter from the Bible: John chapter 17. Jesus is praying to His Father before going to the cross. Jesus prayed for His disciples, and us: those who would believe through their testimony: their word. And there was only one who was lost: the son of perdition: Judas.  And the explanation is given as to why: that the Scripture might be fulfilled (vs12). The Scripture, God’s Word, should be one of the most cherished possessions in our lives. Chapter 17 is all God’s Word (yes, even the 13 words printed black in verse 1). Because God’s will is being done no matter what, we can trust the promises from the Scripture will come to pass: that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

1) The Father would be glorified through Jesus, that the Lord’s glory would be restored as it was before creation, and that we would glorify Jesus (vs 1-10).

Revelation 19:11-16 says,

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

That the Scripture might be fulfilled.

2) Safety for believers (vs 11-16).

John 10:27-30 tells us this also,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”

We are protected so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

3) Jesus also prayed that we would be sanctified (made holy) through the Scriptures (verses 17-19). And in Hebrews 10:10 the Scriptures tell us that,

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Because of His sacrifice the Scriptures say we are sanctified.

I’m getting excited about this. Isn’t it great to know you’re saved and on your way to Heaven!

4) In verses 20 through 23, Jesus prays for the unity of those who believe, and that the world would believe. Revelation 7:9-12 gives us a glimpse into the future. John said,

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.”

And that’s only the tribulation saints, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

5) And I especially like verse 24 which tells us that one day we will see Jesus. Stephen saw Jesus just before he was stoned to death, Acts chapter 7:55-56 tell us,

“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”

Face to face we shall behold Him that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.

6) And that brings us to verses 25 and 26. Jesus prayed that we would have the same love of the Father that He had. This is the sacrificial love, the agape’ love. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This was Jesus going to the cross, paying the price for our sins, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. We are supposed to have the same love in us. We need to die too: die to self. If we can be a little bit humble, maybe bury our pride, we can easily forgive our brothers and sisters when they sin against us, or hurt us.

We should be demonstrating the love of God to others so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Peace (John 14:27).


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He Will Never Leave You

Today’s Passages – John 14 – 16; (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 – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “1112 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. (John 16:32)

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” – (Hebrews 13:5)

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – (Matthew 28:20)

The context of this passage of Scripture is the conversation Jesus had with His disciples after the Last Supper, and before the crucifixion. He has repeatedly told them that He was about to leave them; and He has also instructed them several times in these three chapters about the coming of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost of God. In verse thirty the disciples make a bold declaration of their faith, and in the verse above (32) Jesus tells them that when He is taken away for crucifixion the disciples will scatter, leaving Him alone. However, He tells them that He is not really alone, because the Father is always with Him. The Father will endure with Him the darkest time of His earthly life.

Have you ever felt that you were all alone and that nobody cared about what you were going through? God cares, and God shares your pain and sorrows with you. If you are a child of God, born again through faith in His Son, you have the Holy Ghost of God that Jesus told us about in these chapters in you and with you. He is there all the time. Have you talked to Him today? Have you acknowledged His presence? Have you yielded to His will? I think the reason why most of us feel so alone at times is because we have failed to fully appreciate and develop our relationship with the indwelling Spirit of God, which then causes us to become over-dependent upon the approval of men. Think about it. If we could learn to live daily with the realization of the presence of God in every aspect of our lives, why we be so concerned about what people think? Yet, we are constantly pushed and pulled by the whims of men.

One of the central truths of the Christian faith is the presence of the Holy Ghost of God in the life of every believer, all of the time. We must learn to cultivate that relationship until the reality of that presence becomes very real to us. Speak to the Holy Ghost constantly, acknowledging Him. Ask for His help in understanding the Scriptures. Ask for His guidance and direction with decisions you need to make in life. Look to Him for comfort before running to another human. It may seem weird at first, but as you put these things into practice, it will become more natural and He will become more real to you.


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Mad About The Money

Today’s Passages – John 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 –Psalm 51 – 55Proverbs 11)

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

Read the “1111 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Closet Christians” and “Servant Leadership

“Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?  This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” (John 12:4-6)

“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” (Matthew 26:14-16)

Have you ever been to a church business meeting where people were fussing and fighting over how the money was being spent? In our passage today, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, took a very expensive ointment and poured it all out and anointed the Lord Jesus’ feet. Matthew’s gospel tells us that this ointment was worth three hundred pence, which is almost a years salary for a working man. Judas Iscariot thought that this was a tremendous waste of money. He said that the ointment should have been sold and given to the poor, but he didn’t really care about the poor at all, but he did care about the money. Matthew’s account goes on to tell us that immediately after this event Judas set out to betray the Lord, and made the worst decision of his life – all because he got mad about the money.

Christian, be careful that you don’t get so concerned about money matters within the local church that it cause you to become mad, and then bitter, and then causes you to make stupid decisions. Jesus said:

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

I have been part of local churches for a long time now, and I don’t always agree with every decision made by the leadership; but as long as the gospel is going forth, and the Bible is being preached, and God is being glorified, I do not let myself get bogged down with minor disagreements. Money issues can be a stumbling block for many of us, so be careful not to get too caught up in the administrative details of the church, and keep your focus on what is eternally important.


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Jesus Still Weeps

Today’s Passages – John 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 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)

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

Read the “1110 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Door”

“Jesus wept.” – (John 11:35 )

Though this verse is short in length, it is long in truth because it reveals the heart of compassion that God has for His children. If you think carefully about this passage, you will conclude that Jesus was not weeping for Lazarus. He knew that He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead; He knew that Lazarus would soon be reunited with his sisters, Mary and Martha. In fact, Jesus delayed his arrival to Bethany long enough because had He gotten there earlier, we would have been reading about a healing rather than a resurrection. Jesus wanted to prove His power over death, and by so doing foreshadow his own resurrection. So why was Jesus weepin? I believe He was weeping because the people that He cared about were weeping. He identified with their grief. He actually felt the pain that they were feeling. It is comforting to know that even when Jesus allows difficult days to come into our lives, He goes through them with us; and He weeps with us.

As I was reading this passage, I got to thinking about another passage that tells us about our Saviour’s tears:

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” – (Matthew 9:36)

In this passage Jesus looks out over the multitudes and He was “moved with compassion”, which means He wept for them. I believe at that moment Jesus not only saw the multitudes of that location and that time, but He also saw all of the people in every place throughout eternity that were without a Shepherd. He saw all of the people that were in need of a Saviour; and He saw all of the people who would ultimately die without Him. By the way, this verse has caused me to reject the Calvinistic idea that Christ created people to go to Hell, and does not give them a choice regarding salvation. Why would God weep over people that have no free will and were created to go to Hell. It just doesn’t make sense. No, “God is not willing that any should perish”. He wants people to be saved. Unfortunately, most will reject Him; and this will still cause God to weep.

Let me give you one more time where Jesus wept:

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” – (Luke 22:44)

In this passage, Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane and He is about to have the sins of the world placed squarely upon His shoulders. His Father will turn His face away from Him, and pour out His wrath upon His only Son. Our sin causes God to grieve. We grieve Jesus, and we grieve the Spirit within us, when we sin. Many people are kept inside the will of God because they fear His wrath or judgment; but I have to tell you, His tears are what bother me the most. I don’t want to grieve God anymore. I have caused Him enough tears already.


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Before Abraham Was – I Am

Today’s Passages – John 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 41 – 45Proverbs 9)

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “Put Down Your Stones”

Read the “1109 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Put Down Your Stones

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. (John 8:18)

And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. (John 8:23)

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24)

Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (John 8:28)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exodus 3:14)

This is one of my favorite passages of Scriptures in the entire Bible. I just love when Jesus tangles with the religious leaders. They never seem to get it. The “bottom line” of Christianity is taught very clearly in this passage: you either believe that Jesus is God or you do not. The Pharisees certainly did not. They accused Him of being a Samaritan and “born of fornication”. They said He had a devil. They claimed that because He grew up in Galilee that He was disqualified. I guess they didn’t bother to check where He was born because if they did they would have found that His birthplace was Bethlehem. Everything in the Scriptures completely pointed to Jesus being the true Messiah.

The thing that really amazes me about this passage though are all of the I am statements made by the Lord in this dialogue. There is no doubt here that Jesus was making a bold declaration as to Who He is. He is God. Remember when Moses asked God His name in Exodus 3. God said to tell the people that “I AM THAT I AM hath sent [him]“. Jesus uses that little phrase, I am, at least a half a dozen times in this passage alone. The best being verse 58 where He attests that He pre-existed Abraham. That really “hair-lipped” the Pharisees. They took up stones to stone Him. Why? Because they knew that He was claiming to be God.

You can tell me that you do not believe the Bible, and I will accept that; but you cannot say that the Bible does not teach very plainly that Jesus is the Great I AM; that Jesus is God. And you cannot claim that Jesus did not claim deity for Himself. The record is crystal clear. You either believe it or you don’t. And until you put your faith in Jesus, the Great I AM, you will also remain in your sins.


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Bring Glory To God – The Saturday Morning Post

the-glory-of-god-2

Today’s Passages – John 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 36 – 40; Proverbs 8)

“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” (John 7:16-18)

“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21)

Good morning. Do you have peace this morning? Look at John 20:21. Jesus said, “Peace be unto you…”; and then there is a colon. A colon usually gives a fuller explanation of the statement before it. According to what Jesus said in John chapter 7, He was seeking to bring gory to His Father who sent Him. And there is peace for us in doing the same. How can we bring glory to God? Here are 9 ways…

“And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.” (Joshua 7:19)

1) Be Truthful – Achan was told to give glory to the Lord by telling the truth about what he had done.

“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Luke 17:12-19)

2) Be Thankful – only one of the 10 lepers returned to give God glory.

“Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.” (1Chronicles 16:10)

3) Be Joyful – let your heart rejoice in His Holy Name.

“Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.” (1Chronicles 16:24)

4) Be Witnessing – declare His glory.

“Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” (1Chronicles 16:29)

5) Be Giving – bring an offering, and come before him. God doesn’t need your money: He’s given you 168 hours this week, do you have 17 hours to bring to Him?

“Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.” (Psalm 138:5)

6) Be Singing – God will give you a song to sing no matter what your situation is.

“And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.” (Acts 12:21-23)

7) Be Fearful – the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Abraham…

“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.” (Romans 4:18-21)

8) Be Believing – what God has promised, He is able to perform!

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

9) Be Saved – for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.” (Psalm 24:7-10)

Peace. (Habakkuk 2:14)


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Are You Thirsty?

Today’s Passages – John 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 31 – 35;Proverbs 7)

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

Read the “1107 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Living Water

“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” (John 7:37)

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

I remember as a young boy I used to play baseball on a sandlot baseball team. Our team was made up of fellas from our neighborhood and we would challenge other neighborhoods to come play against us. I remember one particular game in the heart of the summer where we were playing the team from Lake Riviera. It was about 95 degrees outside and very humid. Do you know that only one person out of all of those boys there had enough sense to bring some water. We had about 2 dozen guys there that were very thirsty. The guy with the water jug almost did not make it out of there with his life, let alone his water.

In this passage of Scripture, we have the Lord Jesus talking with the woman at the well in Samaria. She was concerned about earthly water, the kind that is necessary to sustain life for the body. The Lord was concerned about spiritual water, the kind that is necessary to bring about everlasting life. He was referring to the indwelling Holy Spirit of God which would indwell all believers.

My thought this morning though is not about the water itself, but the thirst. Thirst equals desire. It is amazing to me how that so many Christians have a desire for the things that this world offers, but little thirst for the things of God. What do you desire; what do you thirst for? God desires to fill you to overflowing with eternal things, with the fruits of His Spirit; but He will not fill those of us who are not thirsty. Are you thirsty for God? I almost beat up the kid with the water jug that day, because I was thirsty; but how passionate am I about my desire for the spiritual? How about you?


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Just Do It!

Today’s Passages – John 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 26 – 30Proverbs 6)

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

Read the “1106 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” – (John 2:5)

Several years ago Nike developed an advertising campaign surrounding the phrase “Just Do It”. I don’t know if the phrase was original with them or not, but they made it very popular. The world is stilled filled with t-shirts and bumper stickers with the slogan on them.

As I was reading this morning’s passage and came to John 2:5, I thought about the phrase “Just Do It”. I got to thinking that this phrase kind of sums up the secret to the successful Christian life. We are to find out what God says and do it. Now before you fuss with me, I understand that salvation is a gift we receive, and not and not an action we do; but we do need to listen to what God says about salvation and then apply it personally to our lives. And then after we are saved, we are to find the will of God for our lives through the word of God, and obey it. God says that if we “just do it” we will have success and fulfillment in the Christian life.

We are also to do the will of God heartily:

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” (Colossians 3:23)

There is way too much apathy among God’s people today. Where is the zeal for the Lord’s work that used to be so prevalent among believers.

We are also to do the will of God for our lives with joy:

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)

We are also to do God’s will quickly, without procrastination.

“So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” (Luke 14:21)

Just Do It!

“And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.” (Luke 8:21)


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Heart Burn

Today’s Passages – Luke 23 – 24; (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 – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “1105 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32)

Years ago I had a friend that loved to eat Chinese food. The problem was that it would destroy his stomach whenever he ate it. He would get the worst heartburn every time. But do you think that kept him from eating it? No! He would feast at the Chinese restaurant every chance he got. Our passage today contains an account about a different kind of heartburn. Two of the disciples of the Lord are walking from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus which was about 7.5 miles from Jerusalem. All of a sudden the Lord draws near and begins walking with them but they do not recognize Him after His resurrection. They begin to tell this “stranger” about all of the events surrounding the crucifixion that had taken place in Jerusalem just three days ago. They also recount the fact that the Lord’s body is now apparently no longer in the tomb and some of the women have claimed that He has risen from the dead. Jesus then begins reciting passage after passage from the Old Testament Scriptures that foretold that all of these events would happen, and He rebukes these disciples for not believing the Word of God.

I found it interesting that twice in chapter 24 the Lord takes the Old Testament Scriptures and uses them to teach the disciples regarding Himself. He did not perform any miracles here. He just opens up their understanding to the Word of God. I got excited about that because that is exactly what I do. I open up the Scriptures and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, I help people understand them. The disciples on the road to Emmaus stated the their hearts burned within them as he taught them the Scriptures. When was the last time your heart burned within you because of the Word of God. We almost act like God’s Word gives us the bad kind of heartburn, like my friend got when he ate Chinese food. We avoid reading and studying the Bible like it causes us pain. The Word of God is the most powerful tool that we have available to us today in the transformation of our own lives, and in the fulfillment of the Great Commission, yet we seem to be using it less and less these days. Our sermons are getting shorter and shorter, and whole services and studies are being removed from the schedule. It just seems that in practice we do not recognize the power of God’s Word to transform lives. Jesus did. He quoted Scripture all the time: when tempted by Satan, and here He is quoting Scripture to help these disciples understand His death and resurrection. We need to place the same emphasis on the power of God’s Word in our lives. Let’s get back to reading, studying, and memorizing the Bible.


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JUST FOR LADIES – By Camille Stahl

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Today’s Passages – Luke 21 – 22; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

Read the “1104 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “This Is Just The Beginning” and “God Sees

There Is Safety in Numbers

“Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.”  (Luke 22:3-6)

Although Judas was with Jesus and had his place with the twelve, he did not believe who Jesus really was, the Only Begotten of the Father.  Satan too was with God but wanted to be a god.  It seems obvious that Judas would be a likely candidate for Satan to use.

Now I would like you to notice the last part of verse 6, “sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude”.  Isn’t that just how Satan works?

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8)

Have you ever watched a lion hunting for prey?  They will crouch down and walk slow and quietly.  The sneak up and watch their prey.  Most all animals live and travel in groups.  There are some who may be weak or stray a little.  Those are the prey that the lion goes after.  They are the perfect ‘candidate’ for the lion to ‘devour’.

Satan wanted to wait for Jesus to be alone when he attacked.  He thought if there was a crowd, they would fight back and he would lose the chance to kill Jesus.  Just a side note, Jesus gave His life willingly.  Unknowing to Satan, it was in God’s plan, and He was using Satan to fulfill His will.

Satan works the same way today.  He is waiting for an opportunity to strike his pray.  As Christians we must stay close to our Saviour.  It’s important to pray, read our Bible and stay in church.  We also must be in fellowship with other Believers.  We must stay strong and stay with God’s crowd.  Once we start straying or become a weak Christian, Satan will pounce as that roaring lion going for the kill.

For now, things may seem hopeless.  You may be on the verge of growing weak or even straying away.  You’re growing weary of Satan’s attacks.  But be of good cheer.  Someday he will get what he deserves.

“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)

AMEN

Thank You

1 John 5:12 – 13


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Stay Busy for the Lord

Today’s Passages – Luke 19 – 20 (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 51

Read the “1103 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” (Luke 19:13)

The word “occupy” literally means to stay busy. In this parable the Lord gave each of his servants a unit of money called a pound and instructed them to occupy – to stay busy – to do something with the money that the He had given them so that when He returned He would receive a profit. Two of the servants had been diligent to invest the money wisely and when the Lord returned he received from both a substantial increase. However, one of the servants took the money and buried it, and gave it back to the Lord with no increase. The Lord rebuked him sharply and took the pound from him and gave it to the man who reaped the most profit.

The Lord has given each of us many things. He has given us talents and abilities; and He has also blessed us with material possession. We are to “occupy” with all of the gifts that the Lord has given us, meaning we are to stay busy, using them for His glory. We are not to waste the gifts he gives; we are not to keep them for ourselves; we are to bring them back to Him with an increase, a profit.

Christians today are very busy; they are “occupying”, but are they busy with the things that really matter? Soon the Lord is going to come back for His Bride, and the time for being busy here on the Earth will be over. I believe at that time we will regret what we were not busy doing with our gifts. Let’s get busy using the talents and tangibles that the Lord has given us. He’ll be back soon!


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Where Are The Nine?

Today’s Passages – Luke 17 – 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 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

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

Read previous posts from this passage – “Forbid Them Not”; and “Attaboy”

“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” - (Luke 17:17-18)

In our passage today, we read about the ten lepers that were healed of their debilitating disease by the Lord Jesus. Leprosy was, and is, a real disease that was often fatal for all who contracted it; but in the Bible, it was also spiritually a picture of sin. Sin is the ultimate debilitating disease, and is always fatal unless the sinner comes to the only One who can cure it. (Romans 6:23a) Of course, the only cure for sin is the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ, which can be applied to the sinner when he places his faith in Him. Anyway, in the Bible story today Jesus heals all ten of these lepers, but only one out of the ten returns to thank the Lord. Jesus asks the question: “where are the nine?”.

The same question can be asked today. There are many people who have come to the Lord Jesus, and have asked Him to forgive their sins, which He promises to do; but all too often the people who receive forgiveness tend to forget to demonstrate their appreciation to the One who gave it. This is the month that we celebrate Thanksgiving. Let’s not forget to put thanks to God at the top of the list of the things that we are thankful for.

How can we demonstrate our thanks to God for all that He has done for us:

1  By glorifying Him in our praise. We need to express our thankfulness to Him audibly by praising Him for all that He has done for us. We certainly need to praise Him in our prayer closets, but we also need to be public in our praise. We need to let everyone know that we appreciate God. That is how He receives glory. We make Him look good to the people around us when we praise Him.

2  By giving back to Him in our service. It is easy to express words of thanksgiving, but a better expression of true appreciation comes when we give back to Him. We give back to Him when we serve His people, and when we support His cause.

3  By going to the people He died for, and giving them the gospel. The greatest way to express your thanks to God for the spiritual cleansing that you received is by taking the message of salvation to the world around you. Jesus loves people. He came to earth in order to die for people so that they could be healed from sin. We must go out and tell people how much the Lord loves them.

Don’t be like these nine people who failed to be grateful for what the Lord had done for them. They may have been thankful in their hearts, but the Lord was grieved because the thanksgiving was not expressed. Tell the Lord how much you love and appreciate Him, and then demonstrate your appreciation by surrendering your life to Him.


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A Walk Through Hell – The Saturday Morning Post

door_to_hell_9_melville_kenneyToday’s Passage – Luke 14 – 16 (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 – Psalm 1 – 5; Proverbs 1)

“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes…” (Luke 16:19-23)

Good morning! Here we have the true story of a rich man who is in Hell as you read this. He has been there for around 2000 years. In the book of Ezekiel God warns us twice…

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4)

And…

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die…” (Ezekiel 18:20)

Twice in the same chapter: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. This goes right along with what Psalm 9:17 says…

“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17)

George Washington said, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God… to be greatful for His benefits…”

(If you want to know what’s wrong with America, read Leviticus chapter 18.)

The Soul that sinneth, it shal die…

“Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.” (Isaiah 5:14)

But here in Luke chapter 16 we have the story of a certain rich man, and a beggar. The beggar was named Lazarus, and his body was full of sores. Someone would always lay Lazarus at the rich man’s gate. He could see the rich man through the window, and would have loved to eat the crumbs that fell from the table. And the rich man could probably see Lazarus also. The rich man may have said, “What!? Who’s that lying by my gate? It’s that beggar again. He’s gonna drive my property value way down. Look at him – disgusting! Sores all over his body. Torn, ragged clothing; looks like a reject from The Goodwill Store. I’ll bet he hasn’t showered, or taken a bath, in several years. I can smell him all the way over here! I’ll fix him. Release the dogs!”

And the dogs ran to Lazarus. But God had compassion on Lazarus: instead of biting him and tearing him apart, the dogs licked his sores, giving him some relief from his pain. But then…

“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:22-24)

We can see from these few verses, as we take a walk through Hell, is that it is a place of torment: extreme suffering. Hell has flames, and Hell is hot. Sulfur, or Brimstone, burns with black smoke: Hell is pitch black. At one time, though, there was light in Hell. That light came from across the great gulf, far away, in a place called Abraham’s Bosom. All those who believed God, and put their trust in the coming Messiah, were all there. The light that God gave them shown bright enough to give light to those in Hell. The rich man could see Abraham, holding Lazarus, and comforting him. This also would torment him, remembering all those things he said about Lazarus. But shortly after Jesus told the people about this rich man and Lazarus, they nailed Him to a cross, and crucified Jesus. As the rich man looked over to Abraham’s Bosom, he may have seen a brighter light come down, and a voice ringing out…

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:18)

And suddenly, before he had a chance to fall on his knees before God, there was darkness: the light was gone. All those in Abraham’s Bosom were with Jesus in Paradise. He was left in the dark flames of Hell. When sulfur is on fire, it melts like wax: it starts dripping. As the rich man felt his way around, every place he touched, the burning sulfur would stick to his skin. At this point, it was aaround 250 degrees. Reaching out his hand, he touches something. It feels like a crown. Instantly, he feels sharp teeth dig into his arm holding him fast. He cries out in pain, as he feels the stinger pierce his flesh. It felt like a wasp, and he could feel the pain travel up his free arm. He had just encountered one of the creatures who will be released to attack those who do not have God’s mark on them during the Great Tribulation period. (see Revelation chapter 9)

Time is running out for the rich man. He has been tormented for over 2000 years. Suddenly he is out of the Hell he was in. This is what he saw…

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)

And the Lord commanded the books to be opened. “Does the rich man’s name appear?”

“No Lord.”

And then the rich man hears those final words: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…”

Sulfur boils at 832 degrees. He stares at the Lake of Fire realizing that this will be his new home forever. Then an angel picks him up by the arm and flings him into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. Tossed out like garbage. It didn’t have to be that way. He had Moses and the prophets telling him about the coming Messiah. He had what little time he spent in the temple and the synagogue. He may even had had a friend speak to him. Once he died, it was too late. The Bible says, in the book of Jude…

“But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 1:17-23)

God knows who will receive, and who will reject Jesus as their Saviour. We don’t. That’s why He commands us to go into ALL the world, and preach the gospel to EVERY creature. It’s not up to us to save them, they have to make that choice. Our job is to give them the gospel so they can choose. Remember, God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Help pull them out of the fire. Tell them about Jesus, and how to avoid Hell. It’s up to them to avoid the fire, the torment, the burning, and the stinging that hides in the blackness of Hell; but we need to tell them.

Peace. (Mark 16:15)


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Put Away Your Ax

Today’s Passage – Luke 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 146 – 150Proverbs 31)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25

Read the “1031 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” – (Luke 13:6-9)

I must confess that I am often a little bewildered as I try to understand these passages of Scripture. There are often several different levels of interpretation for consideration. For instance, this story of the fig tree can be studied on both a practical and a symbolic level. Symbolically, the fig tree represents Israel. You will find that to be true in other passages such as in Matthew 21 where Jesus curses the fig tree, again because there was no fruit on it. Israel was expected to be fruitful. There was no reason for them not to be fruitful. They were given all that they needed, yet they chose to reject their Messiah. However, we know that someday Israel will “look on him whom they have pierced” (John 19:34), ”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 KJV). God is very patient with Israel, and someday Israel will turn back to Him. Really if you think about it, the process of digging about it and dunging the fig tree could very well be the Tribulation Period where God will be bringing Israel back to Himself.

On a practical level, however, I believe that we can safely say that not all Christians will produce the fruit that we might expect them to right away. We must be careful to be patient with new believers. God may have to dig about them and dung them as well. Don’t be so quick to write off people. I thank the Lord that He is patient with me; and I also thank Him for putting me through the training and trials that have been needed in order for Him to produce the fruit that He desires through me. And He is not finished with me yet. I am a long way away from where I need to be. So, as we appreciate and expect the Lord to be patient with us, let us also be patient with others. Put away your ax. God may not be finished with the tree just yet.


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Who Is My Neighbour?

Today’s Passage – Luke 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 141 – 145Proverbs 30)

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

Read the “1030 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10:29)

In our reading passage today there are so many wonderful truths that we could meditate on, but I have decided to consider the “Good Samaritan” passage found in Luke 10:25 – 37. The actual story of the good Samaritan was actually an illustration used by the Lord Jesus in His discussion with a lawyer who had tempted Him with the question, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” As Jesus often did, He replied with a question of His own: He asks the man what His understanding of the Law taught regarding the subject. Now remember, this guy was “tempting” Jesus, he was not sincerely inquiring about going to Heaven, and he was also a lawyer, an expert in the Law. Notice the man’s reply, which was pulled from two Old Testament passages (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18):

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. (Luke 10:27)

I guess this lawyer thought that he was impressing Jesus with his knowledge of the Law. Jesus replied that the man had answered well. He told the man that if He could perfectly love God and perfectly love his neighbor, both of which are impossible,  then He could go to Heaven. The men then asks a question to clarify the definition of a neighbor. “Who is my neighbor?” That’s a good question. No doubt the lawyer would consider his neighbors to be only those from within the nation of Israel.

Jesus then tells the story about the good Samaritan who comes across a man from Israel who had been beaten and robbed; and then passed by by two upstanding, “Law” abiding citizens (neighbors), who could have and should have helped him, but didn’t. I guess they weren’t feeling neighborly that day. But along comes the Samaritan who although he was not an upstanding member of the Jewish community acted like a neighbor should by helping the man. By the way, this good Samaritan is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ who was willing to help some undesirable people like us.

Jesus’ story of the Samaritan explained to this lawyer that the word “neighbor” means everybody, not just the people you like. Remember what He said in the Sermon on the Mount:

“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. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” (Matthew 5:43-47)

By the way, Jesus was not teaching this man that if he would do these things that he would be saved, but rather he was proving to the man that he had already missed the mark, and that he was a long way away from being able to “justify himself” as he tried to do in Luke 10:29. But Jesus also let us know from this passage that our field of ministry includes all people, everywhere; not just a select few.

Have you loved a neighbor today? Think about some tangible way that you can demonstrate the love of Christ to someone today. You may just get the opportunity to share the gospel with them as well.


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Return To Thine Own House

Today’s Passage –Luke 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 141 – 145Proverbs 29

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

Read the “1029 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.” – (Luke 8:38-39)

“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)

In today’s passage we read the familiar story of the man from Gadara who was gloriously saved and transformed by the Lord. This man was in bad shape: he was possessed with a legion of devils that caused him to wreak havoc, not only on himself, but also to the people around him. He was often locked up because on his insane condition. Finally, he was “driven of the devil into the wilderness”. When Jesus saved this man, he was completely changed, and when the citizens of the area found found him, they saw him in his right mind, fully clothed, and sitting at the feet of Jesus. What a great God we serve who so wonderfully saves people who are often considered by men to be without hope.

You would think that Jesus would want this man to travel all over Israel reciting his testimony, but that was not the case. The man had actually begged (besought) the Lord to let him go with Him. However, the Lord had a different plan for the life of this man: He told him to go home to his house and friends. The will of God for this man was going to be for him to be a testimony for Jesus in his own hometown. Perhaps he would eventually be a part of a local church; maybe he would be a teacher, or even a local pastor to his community. He certainly would be a spiritual leader in his own home to his family, and neighbors. He would be used of God to win souls for Christ where he lived.

The will of God for most people, after they are saved, will be to go home to their house and friends. Certainly, God will call some to go away to some foreign place of service, but for most of us, His will will be for us to make a difference where we are. Whether we serve him at home, or in some place away from home, it really doesn’t matter. Regardless of location, we are to win souls, and serve the Saviour in whatever capacity he deems for our lives.


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JUST FOR LADIES – By Camille Stahl

woman_at_jesus_feet  pic

Today’s Passage – Luke 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 131 – 135; Proverbs 28)

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

Read the “1028 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Cast Out First The Beam” and “The Prison of Pleasing People

The Woman Who Anointed Jesus’ Feet

“And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50)

Think with me and imagine the scene. Simon, a Pharisee, was having a dinner party. He asked Jesus to join them. Now the Pharisee’s didn’t believe in Christ, yet He accepted the invitation and ate with them. In walks a woman with a questionable background.  Now I don’t know about you, but if I was home and a stranger walked in….., or was she. According to verse 39 Simon knew what this woman was. How did he know who she was and why didn’t anyone asked her to leave when she first came in? Just asking.

This woman, with a bad reputation, heard the preaching of Jesus with conviction. She realized who Jesus was and brought Him what she had. She did not approach Him eye to eye.  She felt so unworthy  that she humbled herself at His feet and kiss them. Her tears of joy washed the feet of Jesus.  Her hair became a towel to dry them. There was no pride found in her.  She anointed His feet with oil, owning Him as “The Anointed One”. Finally someone who excepted and truly loved her. The Pharisee’s also heard His preaching and yet there was no humility or conviction. They sat and watched as she touched Jesus thinking, how can He let her touch Him. If He only knew who she was. If she would have touched Simon he may have said  “ …Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou….”  (Isaiah 65:5)

God’s warnings are all around us.  Time is short.

“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. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

Sinners of all kinds will be invited by the Holy Spirit to enter into our churches to receive the “Free Love Gift” of God.  Will we be willing to “rub elbows” with ALL types of repented sinners?

“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.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

I don’t understand how a God so divine, could lower Himself to a life such as mine.

And consider me worth every minute of time, to rescue a sinner like me.

When I think of my Saviour alone on the cross, I know without Him that my life would be lost.

If He had not been willing to suffer the cost, to rescue a sinner like me.

To rescue a sinner like me, LORD, to rescue a sinner like me.

He abandoned His throne and His kingdom above, to rescue a sinner like me.

My mind is so limited that I cannot see, the reason He died and arose just for me.

So unworthy was I, yet He came willingly, to rescue a sinner like me.

To rescue a sinner as worthless as I, Yet He gave me a reason to sing.

It’s so hard to believe, that it happened to me, Hallelujah to Jesus my King!

To rescue a sinner like me, LORD, to rescue a sinner like me.

He abandoned His throne and His kingdom above, to rescue a sinner like me.

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

Thank You

John 3:16

 


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A Hospital for Sinners

Today’s Passage – Luke 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 126 – 130Proverbs 27)

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

Read the “1027 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Let’s Go Fishing

“And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.” (Luke 5:31)

Jesus was eating at the house of Matthew (Levi) the publican (tax collector), and there were also many other publicans there. These were not the type of people you wanted your children to run with. Though the term publican simply means tax collector, these people were not just your everyday, ordinary IRS agents. They were traditionally thought of as thugs, the mobsters of the day; extorting from people whatever they could. They were despised by the honorable citizens of Judaea; but Jesus loved them and wanted to reach them. He went to a place where no respectable Jew would have gone: a party where there were a bunch of publicans and other “sinners”. But please don’t misunderstand His motivation and purpose for being there. He was not there to participate in any sinful activity. He was there to love and reach people with the gospel.

Our churches should be full of people with problems. Every once in a while I will sense that some of our folks are not too thrilled with some of the people we are trying to reach. Their pharisaic disdain for “sinners” almost seeps out of their pores. It’s a shame really that Christians will develop that kind of attitude. I remember years ago when I was attending church in South Toms River. We had a lady there who referred to the people that we were bringing in on our busses as “scummers”. She really thought that because she had been saved at a young age and raised in a good home that she was better than these folks who we were trying to reach for Christ.

Our church will always have a good number of people in it who have not “arrived yet”. There will be people with financial problems, moral problems, family problems, all kinds of problems. Now this does not mean that we will stop preaching against their sin. We will always preach the Book; but we will love them through the preaching. I love the diversity in our church. We have a great mix of cultures, races, educational backgrounds, and income levels; but I am also glad about the fact that we have people at all different spiritual levels here. Some are not saved yet; others are brand new babes in Christ; and still many others have been saved for years. But they are all welcome and should be accepted and loved by all others in the congregation. Jesus loved people with problems. He loves me, and I want to do my best to see to it that our church continues to love the people He loves.


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