Give God the Glory

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

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

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

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

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

“And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” (Genesis 41:16)

In chapter 41 of Genesis, we hear about Pharaoh’s dreams of the corn and the kine. He know that these dreams mean something, but he has no clue what the significance of them is. He learns that there is a man named Joseph down in the dungeon that has been known to interpret dreams for other people. Joseph is hastily summoned to appear before Pharaoh, and Pharaoh questions Joseph about “Joseph’s: ability to explain the meaning of these of these dreams. Joseph is very quick to deflect the focus from himself to the Lord. He doesn’t take any credit for his gift but immediately gives the glory to God. In fact, five times in Joseph’s discussion with Pharaoh Joseph mentions God to Pharaoh. (vs. 16, 25, 28, and 32) Pharaoh gets the message also, because in vs. 38 and 39, he acknowledges that the interpretation of the dream can from God also:

“And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:” (Genesis 41:38-39)

This heathen king was introduced to the God of the Universe all because Joseph took an opportunity to use a gift that was given to him by God and acknowledge the fact that it was God who enabled him to do it. 

How many opportunities do we get each day to display our God-given abilities to the lost world around us? But, when we do a good job and we are recognized, do we give God the glory by letting everybody know that it is God who is working through us. Let’s not steal God’s glory, and let’s not waste opportunities to be witnesses for the Lord. Our sole purpose in life is to make God look good; to glorify Him in front of a lost and dying world. If we meet Pharaoh in Heaven someday, it will be because Joseph made God look good. How many people do we point to God?

By the way, the opposite of this story is also true. When we do wrong things in front of the lost people around us, we are making God look bad. What an awesome responsibility and privilege we have to represent the Lord in this world. Let’s be sure to give Him the glory when we get things right, and take the blame when we do things wrong. Let’s make God look good to the world around us.


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The Mighty God – The Saturday Morning Post

 

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

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

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

And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for an hundred pieces of money. And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.” (Genesis 33:18-20)

Good morning. Jacob bought some land and there built an alter calling it Elelohe-Israel, which means the mighty God of Israel. We serve a truly awesome and mighty God. Reading about how He worked in the lives of people, and then thinking about the way He worked in my life, I know that He is God Almighty. Has He worked in your life? Can you say what a mighty God He is? Are you where God wants you to be? If you answer yes then that alone should tell you how mighty God is. All those times you messed up throughout your life, and now you are in the center of God’s will. You probably did not realize that all those times He was guiding you out of the messes you had gotten yourself into. Well praise Him, for He is the mighty God, and worthy of that praise. Let’s take a look at some ways that God protected Jacob.

1) The LORD got him away from Laban.

“And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.” (Genesis 31:1-13)

But Rachel had stolen some little idols, Laban’s gods, from her dad. And Laban chased after Jacob and his family.

“And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead. And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword? Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp? And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.” (Genesis 31:24-29)

“And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac. Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount. And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.” (Genesis 31:51-55)

2) The LORD gave him favour with Esau, his brother.

Jacob did not leave home on good terms with Esau. Jacob had gotten Esau’s birthright and Esau’s blessing. Esau would have killed Jacob if he didn’t leave to get a wife from Issac’s family.

“And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck. And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.” (Genesis 27:38-41)

But God had blessed Esau, that he was satisfied with all that he had…

“And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves. And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord. And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself. And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.” (Genesis 33:1-11)

And we see by our text verses that Jacob and his family eventually landed in Shalem, a city of Shechem. While there, Shechem rapped Jacob’s daughter Dinah. But Shechem loved Dinah and was willing to pay any price for her. That price would be every male of the city would be circumcised.

“And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city. And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?” (Genesis 34:24-31)

But God was still with Jacob and…

3) The LORD granted Jacob safety as he traveled to Bethel.

“And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.” (Genesis 35:1-5)

Now none of this happened to me. This is Jacob’s story. But, God has proven to me over and over again that He is THE Mighty God. Is He the Mighty God to you?

Peace.


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Finding Favor by Garrett James Greene

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

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

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “Moving Forward

Acceptance in life is something we all desire. Even the strongest and toughest of us who say we don’t care how people feel toward us have to admit that there is that one person, or that handful of persons whose opinions actually matter. Such would be the case with Leah who’s story we find in the second half of Genesis.

In Genesis 29 we find Leah’s desire for acceptance, or favor if you will, in the eyes of her husband. If you don’t know the story, Jacob’s uncle, Laban, deceived him. Jacob loved Rachel and wished to marry her, but Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah, his oldest daughter.  Jacob was certainly a victim of Laban’s deceit, and therefore, it is easy to believe that this is why the Bible gives the impression that Jacob hated Leah. As a result, Leah found herself neglected by the one whom she was supposed to love and care for. God, like He always does, saw her affliction and blessed her with sons.

Leah’s first son was Reuben. Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn son, and his name literally means, “see ye a son.” It is very evident that Leah hoped Jacob would love her for the birth of his son because she said so in verse 32:

“And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.” (Genesis 29:32)

Leah had a second son whose name was Simeon. Simeon’s name literally means, “hearing.” It is easy to assume that Leah felt that God heard her while her husband did not because she still felt hated by her husband.

“And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.” (Genesis 29:33)

As we read verse 34 we can really feel the distress of Leah. She deeply loves her husband and simply wishes that he would return her love. She wishes that they could be “joined” together, but her husband is still distant. Levi was her third son, and his name means “attached.”

“And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.” (Genesis 29:34)

For what appeared to be her last son, Leah conceived again and called him Judah. Judah’s name means “celebrated,” but we learn that she wasn’t celebrating because her husband finally loved her. She was celebrating because she finally realized that God loved her and that was all that mattered. She might not have a husband that loves her, hears her, or wants to be near her, but she has a God that will always love her, hear her, and want to be near her. This concept seemed to overwhelm Leah, and we see her praising the Lord as a result.

“And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.” (Genesis 29:35)

Maybe you can relate to Leah. Maybe there’s someone in your life who you can’t seem to make happy. Don’t let that discourage you. Be like Leah and find your favor with God. God hears you, he’s near, and he loves you.

 

Garrett is a student at Vision Baptist College majoring in Pastoral Theology. Garrett’s dad, Pastor James Greene, is the pastor of Calvary Road Baptist Church in Indian Head, MD.

 


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I Am With Thee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Provision of Land (v 13)

Progeny (Children – v 14)

Protection and Prosperity (v 15)

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Praying for Clear Direction

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

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

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

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

Read previous posts from this passage – “The Bride of Christ” and “Taker or Giver

“And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. … And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master. … And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren.” (Genesis 24:12, 14, 27)

Genesis 24 is an awesome portion of Scripture, especially from a theological perspective. I have previously done devotions discussing some of the many types or pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ found in this chapter. (See “The Bride of Christ“) This morning, however, I would like to discuss how God guided Abraham’s servant to the perfect will of God regarding Isaac’s bride, Rebekah.

Abraham’s servant was given the awesome responsibility of finding the bride for Abraham’s son, Isaac. He obviously wanted to find the right one. We would all agree that one of the most important decisions in life is choosing the right spouse. The servant did not want to mess this up, so he prays and asks God to guide him to the right girl. He is very specific in his prayer request. He does not want there to be any doubt at all about the matter. The servants prayer here reminds me of Gideon’s “fleece prayer” in Judges 6:36 – 40:

“And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.” (Judges 6:36-40)

Gideon also wanted to be perfectly sure, without any doubt whatsoever, that he was doing exactly what God wanted him to do.

It is important to note that in both of these examples, God wanted the men to be sure about His will also. I do not believe that God wants us to wonder about His will. He wants us to be sure that we are where we are supposed to be, doing exactly what He wants us to do. Too many of us jump ahead of God’s will before He shows it to us.

Notice also from this passage that when God answered the servants prayer regarding His perfect will, it strengthened the servant’s faith and caused him to worship his God:

“And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son.” (Genesis 24:48)

Years ago, I asked the Lord to reveal His will for my life regarding where I should serve Him after Bible College. God answered my prayer so specifically and miraculously that I have never since doubted that I am exactly where God wants me to be. When problems arise and I am tempted to quit, I go back in my mind, remembering the way God answered my prayer, and it keeps me from straying out of God’s will. I figure if God miraculously revealed to me that Jersey Shore Baptist Church was where He wanted me to be, then He will also have to do something just as miraculous to tell me that it’s time to leave.

One final, important point regarding this passage is that the way that God miraculously answered the servants prayer convinced everybody else that Rebekah was the will of God for Abraham’s son. Notice in v. 50:

“Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.” (Genesis 24:50)

Folks, I believe that God still answers these prayers regarding His perfect will for our lives. Before you make any major decisions, why not ask God to clearly direct you in His will and show you exactly what He wants you to do.

 


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The Whole Truth

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

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

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

Read a previous post from this passage: God Will Provide Himself a Lamb

In Genesis twenty, we read that Abraham was up to his old tricks again, and not delivering the complete truth, this time to Abimelech, regarding his wife, Sarah. He told Abimelech that Sarah was his sister, which was technically true; she was the half-sister of Abraham, being the daughter of his father, but not his mother. If Abraham was to tell the whole truth, however, he would have had to declare that Sarah was his wife.

The reason that Abraham left out this important little nugget of truth to Abimelech here in chapter twenty, and to Pharaoh, previously in chapter twelve, was because he was afraid that these men would kill him in order to take his wife. This was certainly possible as these men were godless men who were both capable and willing to do whatever they pleased. However, Abraham should have trusted God. In both of these instances God protected Abraham and Sarah anyway, even though he had lied. In both of these instances, God also warned the men not to sin against Him by taking Sarah as their wife.

What is is about us, about our fallen, human nature, that we are prone to dance around the truth, either by outright lying, or by leaving out pertinent information? Is it because we, like Abraham, are afraid that we cannot trust God with the possible consequences of the whole truth? Even if there are real, potential negative consequences associated with telling the whole truth, are we not better off still declaring it. We need to trust God with the outcome. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.


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The Burden Of Abraham – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Genesis 17 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible) Second Milers also read – Matthew 11 – 12; Proverbs 6; Psalms 26 – 30

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

“And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.” (Genesis 18:20-33)

Good morning. It’s obvious that Abraham was concerned for his nephew Lot, who was living in Sodom. But besides Lot, what if Abraham was concerned about the souls living in Sodom too? Is Homosexuality more wicked, and unforgivable than the sins committed by Nineveh?

“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” (Jonah 1:1-2)

“And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” (Jonah 3:4-10)

Abraham did not have the same attitude as Jonah who hopped on a boat headed in the opposite direction. Maybe God sent Lot as a witness to the people there, just as He sent Jonah. Jonah gave Nineveh the Word and they repented. Maybe, even though Lot went, he did not give the people of Sodom the Word. Do we make the same mistake that Lot may have? Do we, like Jonah, have the let them die and go to Hell attitude? Do you ever watch a video of the second plane flying into the World Trade Center? Do you see the flames bursting out the far side of the tower, and think about those terrorists who will spend eternity in those flames because they trusted in a little stone idol, with a crescent moon in it’s chest, and not the Lord Jesus Christ. God has given us the command to go…

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

And what do we do? We can run the other way. We can be indifferent. Or, we can go. I think that Abraham had a burden, not only for his nephew Lot, but also those who would perish forever.

“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.” (2Peter 3:9)

What about you?

Peace.


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Balanced and Biblical Separation

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

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

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

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

Read previous posts from this passage – “Gardens and Green Grass – or God’s Will?”; and “Relationships Are More Important Than Riches”

“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.” (Genesis 13:14-16)

In Genesis 13, God speaks to Abraham and promises him that He will give him the land of Canaan as well as many children who would someday inherit and inhabit that land. God had already promised to give Abraham the land back in Genesis 12, but because there was a famine in the land, Abraham temporarily moved away into Egypt and away from the place where God had pledged to bless him and his seed. It was not until Abraham separated from Egypt, which is a type, or picture, of the world; and, until Abraham separated from Lot, who was becoming a very worldly man, that God spoke to Abraham again, and reaffirmed His promise to him.

God wants us to be a separated people as well:

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” (2 Corinthians 6:17)

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

However, notice from Genesis 13 and 14 that Abraham was very balanced in his separation. He was not unkind, nor did he lack compassion. He offered Lot and his family and servants the choice of where he wanted to go. Abraham knew that God would take care of his own family wherever they travelled as long as it was within the boundaries of God’s will. Abraham also continued to be an influence and source of blessing to Lot after Lot had left. Abraham rescued Lot from ruin in Genesis 14; and he prayed for Lot, begging God to save him  and his family from the destruction of Sodom, in Genesis 18. Though Abraham could not dwell any longer with Lot, he still tried to be a blessing to him and his family.

We can also be a blessing to people that we need to be separated from. We can pray for them, and we can let them know in tangible ways that we love them and care deeply for them. Of course, the most compassionate way that we can bless those that we separate from is to share Christ with them. If they were to get saved and begin to live for the Lord then we would not have to separate from them anymore.

Separation is clearly a biblical principle, but being arrogant, unkind, and lacking Christ-like compassion are not what God would want us to be. Christ interacted with sinners in order to demonstrate His love for them and to save them. While we are here “in the world”, we must love the people, even lost people, who are “in the world” with us. But, we must not become so intimate with them that they pull us out of the will of God. We are here on this earth to glorify the Lord and to shine the light of His gospel to a lost and dying world. We cannot do that if we are isolated, but neither can we do it if we are not biblically separated.

 


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The Land Belongs to Israel

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

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

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

Read the 0104 Evening and Morning devotion for today by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Don’t Move Unless God Moves You“ and “The Beginning of Globalism”

“And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.” (Genesis 12:6-7)

But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.” (Genesis 17:21)

“And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” (Exodus 6:8)

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:” (Exodus 33:1)

“Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26:42)

Biblically, there is no disputing the fact that God gave the land of Canaan to Abraham, and through Abraham to Isaac, and through Isaac to Jacob (or Israel), and through Jacob to his twelve sons, the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. There is also no disputing of the fact that there have been other people groups living within the borders of Israel throughout its history, whatever those geographic boundaries may have been at any particular point in time. According to Genesis twelve, when God gave the land to Abraham, there were Canaanites already there. But that does not change the fact that, according to the Bible, that God gave the land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his sons. You may argue that the Bible is irrelevant or even incorrect, but you cannot argue that the Bible does not teach that the rightful owners of Canaan / Palestine / Israel, or whatever you wish to call it, are the Jewish people. By the way, I wholeheartedly believe the Bible.

The question is this: will you follow the teachings of Scripture and side with Israel regarding their land, or will you take the position as many in the world are doing that the Jewish people have no claim, or possibly, just a partial claim to the land?

Another question you may ask yourself is: if the Jews do have sovereign right to the Land of Israel as the Bible teaches, do they then have the right to choose their own capitol? I contend that they do have the obligation to recognize God’s choice of Jerusalem as the Capitol of the Jewish People and someday, according to the Bible, the Capitol of the entire world:

“Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.” (Zechariah 8:3)

“Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel: But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.” (2 Chronicles 6:5-6)

“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16)

I wholeheartedly support President Trumps recent recognition of Israel’s sovereignty, and his decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem. I believe that he is in complete agreement with the Bible regarding the Jewish people and their right to choose the capitol of their own land. I also believe the president’s decision will be a great source of blessing to American people:

“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)

I am thrilled that America has chosen to bless the Jewish people and the Nation of Israel.

 

 

 

 


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The Law of First Mention Regarding Wine

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

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

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

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

Read previous posts from today’s passage – “It Doesn’t Take Long, Does It?“; “A Token“; and “Too Old To Do Something for the Lord?”

“And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.” (Genesis 9:20-21)

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1)

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

“A bishop then must be blameless, … Not given to wine” (1 Timothy 3:2-3)

There is a principle of hermeneutics, which has to do with Biblical interpretation, called the law of first mention. According to this law, if we want to find out the correct meaning or use of a word, phrase, or doctrine, we should go to the first time that it is used in the Bible. In Genesis 9:21, we see the first recorded use of the word “wine”. Noah planted a vineyard and drank of the wine, and became drunk, which ultimately led to him passing out naked in his tent. His son, Ham, then went into the tent and saw his naked father, and apparently went out and told his brothers, instead of just covering his father. Some theologians have stated that Ham did more than just look at his father, but the Scripture does not say that he “uncovered” his father’s nakedness, just that he “saw” it. (See Leviticus 18) Seeing his father in that condition without covering him, and then reporting it to others was considered horribly disrespectful and when Noah found out about it, he was very angry with his son. Perhaps his anger toward Ham was justified but he also should have been very upset with himself for getting drunk in the first place.

Later on in the Book of Genesis, we see the third use of the word “wine” in the Scriptures. (Genesis 19:30. 36) This time, it is Abraham’s nephew Lot that gets drunk and he ends up sleeping with both of his daughters. Drunkenness is often associated with loose morals:

“Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.” (Proverbs 23:33)

Though I will not make the argument that every time somebody drinks wine in the Bible a sin is being committed, I can state confidently that drunkenness is clearly sin; and, you can’t get drunk if you stay away from alcohol. By the way, the wine that is being sold today, would probably have been considered “strong drink” in Bible days. So many problems are caused from alcohol consumption. In a recent study that I was doing on the Book of Habakkuk, I came across some research on the problems that alcohol consumption has caused in America:

According to The Centers for Disease Control, there were 88,000 alcohol related deaths in the United States, making it the number three cause of preventable cause of death in the United States. One third of all traffic fatalities (9,967 in 2014) were alcohol related.[1]

  • 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes.[2]
  • 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.[3]
  • 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.[4]

Christians, we need to just separate ourselves from drinking alcohol. Though we have liberty in Christ, we have the responsibility, or I should say the privilege, of shining the light of His gospel. Let us not dim that light by dulling our senses with alcohol or drugs.

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alcohol and Public Health: Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI). Average for United States 2006–2010 Alcohol-Attributable Deaths Due to Excessive Alcohol Use. Available at: https://nccd.cdc.gov/DPH_ARDI/Default/Report.aspx?T=AAM&P=f6d7eda7-036e-4553-9968-9b17ffad620e&R=d7a9b303-48e9-4440-bf47-070a4827e1fd&M=8E1C5233-5640-4EE8-9247-1ECA7DA325B9&F=&D=

[2] Hingson, R.W.; Zha, W.; and Weitzman, E.R. Magnitude of and trends in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18–24, 1998–2005. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (Suppl. 16):12–20, 2009. PMID: 19538908

[3] Hingson, R.; Heeren, T.; Winter, M.; et al. Magnitude of alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18–24: Changes from 1998 to 2001. Annual Review of Public Health 26:259–279, 2005. PMID: 15760289

 [4] ibid.


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Sin Lieth At The Door

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

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

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

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

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” (Genesis 4:7)

In Genesis, chapter four, we read the familiar story of the slaying of Abel by his brother Cain. The events leading up to Cain’s murder of his brother are very interesting. Cain and Abel each brought their individual offerings to the Lord. Cain offers to the Lord from “the fruit of the ground”, presumably something from his garden. Abel, on the other hand, offered an animal sacrifice to the Lord, which caught God’s attention: God “had respect unto … his offering”, which means he gazed upon it and considered it. By the way, the Bible does not say that God was angry with Cain’s offering or that Cain’s offering was somehow sinful in itself; it just says that God did not have “respect” for it, meaning that it did not cause Him to look or gaze upon it in the same way that his brother’s offering did. Cain’s offering represented the work of his own hands from his labor in the garden. Again, it was certainly right for Cain to give back to the Lord a portion of what the Lord had blessed him with, but it seems that Cain was offering this fruit as a means of obtaining God’s favor, and as an atonement for his sins. Hebrews tells us that “without shedding of [Christ’s] blood is no remission“. God was very pleased with Abel’s offering because it was a blood sacrifice, which pictured the blood that the Lord Jesus would someday shed on Calvary for the sins of the world.

There is a phrase in verse seven that has always intrigued me: “if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door“. What does this mean? There are some theologians who believe that the word “sin” in that verse means “sin offering”. The Hebrew word for sin in  verse seven is chatta’ath, which has been translated into the phrase “sin offering” over 100 times in other Old Testament passages. This theory is very logical in that when people did sin, they could offer a sin offering, which served as a type or picture of Christ’s offering of Himself on the Cross. However, in my opinion the phrase in Genesis 4:7 is not speaking about a sin offering, but rather it is alluding to a personification of sin that is waiting to pounce on us like a ravenous beast and put us in bondage if we yield to it. Cain was angry because God did not respect his offering as He did Abel’s, and that anger inside of Cain was driving him over the edge. Anger in itself is not a sin, but it can cause us to sin, and this is certainly what happened to Cain. His anger turned into wrath and in his wrath he murdered his brother. God was warning Cain that his anger, which was completely unjustified because it was directed against a righteous God, was going to lead him further down the road into sinful actions. Even though Cain’s anger was an emotion that he perhaps could not control, he should still have repented of the way he felt, recognizing that his emotions were not in agreement with God. And, he could have asked God to help him deal with his emotions. Instead, however, he allowed his unjustified anger to cause him to go out of the door of God’s will where sin pounced on him.

Don’t allow sinful thoughts or even irrational emotions to develop into actions that are in rebellion to the will of God. What can you do:

  1. Recognize that your thoughts and emotions may very well be rooted in your sinful flesh and are thus, outside of the will of God. Cain’s anger was a result of his jealousy. He was jealous of his brother because God was pleased with Abel’s offering, and “did not have respect” unto his own. He wasn’t thinking right to start with, which eventually lead to more irrational thinking.
  2. Restrain your thoughts, emotions, and actions. The last phrase in verse seven, “and thou shalt rule over him“, literally means that we must rule over our sinful thoughts and emotions – we must control them. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, we can have victory over our sinful thoughts. Paul said to the Christian, “for sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14) We can control what we think about (Philippians 4:8), and we can “cast down sinful or irrational imaginations. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  3. Repent and ask God to help you. Turn away from the sinful direction with which you were heading. Ask God to help you. I think God wants to help you do what pleases Him.

Don’t be like Cain. A sinful progression eventually caused him to murder his only brother. What a shame. It didn’t’t have to happen to him, and it doesn’t have to happen to us either.


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Just Don’t Do It

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

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

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

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

Read previous posts from today’s reading – “In the Beginning”; “He Is Still Creating Me“; and “Let There Be Light”

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1)

“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” (Proverbs 1:10)

Every time I read the third chapter of Genesis, I find myself screaming in my mind to Eve and Adam, “Don’t Do It!!!” Yet, when I am faced with the temptation to sin, I find that I am often not very different from this first couple – I give in to sin. Of course, sinners today such as myself are at a little more of a disadvantage than Adam and Eve as we were born with a willful, fleshly nature that desires to do whatever it pleases, even it is wrong. The Apostle Paul said:

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

Adam and Eve did not have that problem. Eve was deceived by the serpent into believing that God was wrong about eating of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She was convinced that she was going to gain something by disobeying the clear command of God. However, she added only evil to her life. Before eating the fruit, she knew nothing but good. Now, she and her husband became intimately acquainted with evil. The fruit of disobedience is always evil. Adam, however, was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:14). He was well aware of what he was doing, and I believe he understood, at least partially, the consequences of his action. It is my opinion that Adam chose to join his wife in the sin, desiring to follow her will instead of the will of God.

As we enter into this new year, let’s decide to be obedient to the will and Word of God. We are all sinners by nature, but we can still choose not to sin. We have all made many bad choices in the past, but we can also strive to make better decisions in the future. Sin of any kind will cause nothing but problems for us and the people we love. Let’s decide now that when sinners entice us that we won’t consent. By the way, the sinner that entices me the most is me – my flesh.

What can we do to help us to be more obedient to the Lord this year:

1. Spend time every day in the Word of God.

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

Make it a habit to read the Word, study the Word, and memorize the Word this year. The old saying still applies today: “This Book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this Book”. Read the Bible through at least once this year and begin the practice of daily memorizing verses of  Scripture; particularly the verses that will help you in areas of temptation. There are all kinds of websites and apps that will help you follow a plan.

2. Submit to the Spirit of God every day.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)

To “walk in the Spirit” means to live under the Spirit’s control. Before salvation, we really didn’t have a choice, but now we can choose not to sin, and choose to allow God to control our lives. Pray specifically for help from the Spirit to resist temptation.

3. Surround yourself in an environment that supports you to do right.

Run with people who also want to yield to God, and lovingly separate from those who do not. Fill your home with godly music and Scriptural reminders of the will of God for your life. Go to church as often as you can, and find a ministry to serve in. Become a soulwinner, or a more committed witness, helping others with their sin problem as well.

Adam and Eve made their choice and there is nothing that we can do about it. We have all made our sinful choices in the past as well. But, in this new year and in all future new years, we can choose by the grace of God to do right. When it comes to sin – Just Don’t Do It!


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Resolve To Be Transformed

Romans 12_2

Today’s Passage – Your Favorite Passage

(Second Milers also read – Proverbs 31)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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The Happy Ending – The Saturday Morning Post

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

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

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

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Revelation 21:1-3)

Good morning. There are many people all over the world that live in constant fear for their lives. While governments war against other governments, it is usually the people who bear the hurts and the deaths that come with it. The lust for the things of this world. And they gather riches that they cannot take to the grave with them. For what? As we see in our first verse above that heaven and earth will pass away.

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2Peter 3:11-13)

Can you imagine leaving your doors open, and your windows unlatched in this day and age? One day you will be able to. It’s coming. New heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

But the best is in verse 3…

“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3)

Have a happy New Year.

Peace.


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Responsibility – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – 1 Peter 1 – 5 (Click on the references to listen to the audio –click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

Read the “1223 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1Peter 2:18-25)

Good morning. There is an old biker saying: “When we do good, nobody remembers; when we do bad, nobody forgets.”

But that’s the way people are. Aren’t you glad that God is not like that? If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But what glory is it, if, when you are buffeted for your faults, that you will take it patiently? Jesus didn’t do anything wrong: He knew no sin. Yet, there He hung on a cross between two criminals…

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:33-43)

I see it sometimes in the attitudes of the students in our school. They do not want to take responsibility for their actions. Just like in the old gangster movies, as the criminal is being escorted to the police car, he turns to the good guy and says, ” I’ll get you for this!”

Why? It’s his own fault. Even the thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus knew it was his own fault he was hanging there. He knew that Jesus did nothing amiss. It is acceptable with God, when you do well, and suffer for it, that you take it patiently. Jesus said…

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

In a world of wrong, you may be persecuted for doing right. Are you going to accept it?

“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)

Are you going to accept responsibility for you actions. Are you going to rejoice when you suffer for doing right? Do what is acceptable to the Lord.

Peace.


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When? – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passages – 2 Thessalonians 1 – 1 Timothy 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)

Read the “1215 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2Thesselonians 2:1-4)

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:12-17)

Good morning. When will the Temple at Jerusalem be rebuilt? Who is the son of perdition that will sit in the Temple attempting to show that he is God? This guy who thinks he is God doesn’t come on the scene unless there be a falling away first. Look around you, many are embracing the moon god, instead of the God who created the moon, and earth, and everything else. Not too long ago, many Christian churches, decided to reject God’s word, and embrace Homosexuality, which God calls an abomination. They marry two men or two women as husband and wife.

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)

Yet this abomination is freely accepted by many in this country and around the world. Why?

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 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; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:21-32)

There is a falling away from God’s Word. Actions prove it. Many embrace the new versions of the Bible, even though they contain many mistakes that have been brought to light. Compromise is everywhere: we try to please everyone instead of just concentrating on pleasing God. Some say that God and the Bible are not for today. God says…

“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?” (Malachi 3:6-7)

If you look at Sodom, God told Abraham that He would spare the city for just 10 righteous people. God used angels to forcibly remove Lot, Lot’s wife and his two daughters from the danger of God’s wrath. Four souls. And because of this promise to Abraham, many believe that the Lord will return and rapture His church out of here before America is destroyed. Can God do that? He sure can, just ask Enoch. God raptured him out before bringing the flood. God preserved Noah and his family in the ark along with all the types of animals that were in the world. But what about the 12 to 20 million Christians murdered by the Communists of the Soviet regime? What about the 6 million Jews killed by the Fascist regime of Nazi Germany? What about those killed by ISIS, locked in cages, and the doused with gasoline: set on fire, and burned alive? Is “Rocket Man” going to get a lucky shot in? Maybe the Lord going to return after 6000 years? I don’t know, but according to the Hebrew calendar, the year is 5778. We still have 222 years to go. Can America last that long? Unless she returns to God it is doubtful. All the action in Revelation centers around Israel. And what of the end of the world?

“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:24-26)

The end of the world started when the Lord Jesus Christ made the final payment for sin on the cross: it is finished!

“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” (Mark 13:28)

Listen to what the Bible says, and watch and pray.

“And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:8-21)

Peace.


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Do You Bear The Marks? – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passages – Galatians 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 –Psalm 41 – 45; Proverbs 9)

Read the “1209 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:17)

Good morning. The Apostle Paul went through a lot. In chapter 4 of our reading, we see it in his eyes…

Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” (Galatians 4:13-15)

We also see it in 2Corinthians chapter 11…

For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” (2Corinthians 11:20-28)

Yes, Paul went through a lot of persecutions for the Lord. And he bears the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ. What kind of marks do you bear? Do you bear the marks of the Lord Jesus, or maybe the mark of somebody stole the seat I normally sit in? Is the mark a blister on your foot from several miles handing out tracts and soul winning, or are the blisters elsewhere from being a pew warmer? You should, as Paul, have the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1) The Mark Of The New Creature

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

When you received Christ, you became a new creature. The old things are passed away. Some of the things that you will find are leaving you the things you used to do: you don’t want to do them anymore…

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

As God works our clay, forming us into the image of His Son, we may show some of the old man’s ugly face. But…

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9)

God also gave us…

2) The Mark Of The Holy Spirit.

“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” (2Corinthians 3:2-3)

If you are saved, the Holy Spirit will bear fruit in your life that others will see…

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:22-26)

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10)

3) The Mark Of Jesus

“These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” (John 15:17-25)

Jesus had many marks made by a hateful world on Him. The Bible only mentions two that remain: the nail prints in His hands, and the hole made by a Roman spear in His side. When we see Jesus in all His glory, we will know Him by the nail scarred hands. And He warns us in chapter 16…

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

Tribulation is going to come. Things are going to happen, even are happening now. But be of good cheer, God is in control.

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 16:17-20)

Are you bearing the marks?

Peace.


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A Gift To Profit Withal – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passages – 1 Corinthians 10 – 12 (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)

Read the “1202 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1Corinthians 12:4-11)

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1Corinthians 13:13)

Good morning. Only 23 more days till Christmas! But did you know that when you received Jesus as your Saviour, God gave you a Gift? Not only the Gift of eternal life, but also the Gift of the Holy Spirit. And God the Holy Spirit has gifts for you also. He gives them to every man severally as He will (you could have more than one.) Notice though, in the list of gifts shown in the above passage, that tongues and the interpretation of tongues are the last two on the list. Paul wrote…

“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.” (1Corinthians 14:1-5)

The reason I write this is that a few weeks ago I was in a music store, and the owner was telling another customer how he was at a church and this lady grabbed his hand. She then started speaking in a strange language. He proceeded to tell how it scarred the [SNOT] out of him. Is that the kind of affect that you want to have on a visitor to your church? While at college, I had heard a story that came out of First Baptist of Hammond, Indiana. There was a Chinese woman visiting the church, and she did not understand English. During the invitation, a man who was concerned for her eternal destiny, went through the auditorium enlisting help from someone who spoke Chinese. When he himself could not find anyone, he went back to the woman and gave her the Gospel. An interpreter was finally found who revealed that the woman had just heard the Gospel in her own language, and was saved.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.” (Acts 2:1-11)

These men heard the Gospel in their own language. The visitor from the music store did not. What good is it? That’s why Paul tells us to covet the gifts that edify…

“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” (1Corinthians 14:1-12)

Peace.


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Settling Disputes Within the Church

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

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

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

Read the “1201 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Stumblingblocks“, “Property of Jesus

“Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” (1 Corinthians 6:7)

One of the many problems that Apostle Paul was dealing with in his correspondence with the Church in Corinth was the problem of disputes between the brethren. Apparently, conflicts from within the church body were being brought before the secular courts for resolution. Paul uses some pretty strong language rebuking them for resorting to such measures in order to settle their disagreements, and he even uses a little sarcasm in order to drive his point home. However, we can glean some important principles from this problem at Corinth that will help us in our dealings with fellow believers today.

1. Never sue another believer. Personally, I have never sued anybody, Christian or not; but, I will not go beyond what the text is clearly teaching here. In Corinth, Paul was dealing with individuals from within the same church. Believers need to be very careful when dealing with each other, carefully considering all possible end results of their transactions. When we enter into an agreement with somebody, we seldom think about anything ever going wrong, but often that is not the case. We need to be able to resolve our disputes among ourselves.

2. Be willing to let it go. You may not be able to do this in every case, but if it is at all possible, be willing to forgive (and forget) the damage that was caused you by the offending brother. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did, and is still doing, for us.

3.  Follow the procedure outlined in Matthew 18:15 – 17

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” (Matthew 18:15-17)

According to Jesus’ instruction in Matthew, the offended brother should first go to the offending party and try to work out the disagreement between them. If that doesn’t work, then he is to bring in another person or possibly two to help bring about resolution. If this fails, then the dispute is to be brought before the church for a final decision. The church was the last “court of appeals” for any case.

4.  Be a peacemaker yourself.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “blessed are the peacemakers”. Every church needs to have a few Sprit-filled, impartial people who could sit down with two disagreeing parties and help them come to a mutual agreement.

As long as there are Christians who possess “a flesh” there are at times going to be disagreements within our churches. God prepares us to deal with these disputes in a Christlike way without airing them out before the unsaved world. I think that point two above is the most important instruction out of the four. There are going to be many times in life where we should be willing to give in and just let God deal with the situation. If it is a financial dispute, understand that all money belongs to God and He is well able to replace whatever amount you lost.


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The Foolishness of Preaching

Today’s Passages – 1 Corinthians 1 – 5; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “Baby Christians,and “A Father’s Love

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. … But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24)

It is amazing to me what the world thinks about preachers and preaching. Those who are faithful to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ are often mocked and scorned, especially by the socially elite and well educated. They portray preachers as ignorant, ill-mannered, and unintelligent. I know, because before I was saved, I had the same opinion of Spirit-filled preachers.  Yet, God says that He is going to use the foolishness of preaching to bring people to salvation. The wealthy and proud may not always listen to what we have to say, but oftentimes the common people, who would have also gladly heard Jesus (Mark 12:37), will listen to us.

God does not only use the foolishness of preaching to save people’s souls, He also uses passionate, biblical exhortation to change saved peoples’ lives, strengthen them spiritual, and guide them in the will of God.

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

Passionate preaching of sound Bible doctrine is imperative if we are going to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as we should. Support your preacher by attending the services faithfully and listening attentively. Let him know that you agree with him with a nod of your head and even a heavy “Amen”; and insist that he hold nothing back that ought to be said. America is in an mess today because of a lack of preaching. Preach the Word!


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If the Lord Will

Today’s Passages – Romans 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 141 – 145; Proverbs 29)

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

Read the “1129 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Responsibility“, “Giving Back“, “It Is Written”, and “Just One More Thing

“Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company. But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.” (Romans 15:24-26)

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.” (James 4:14-16)

Things rarely go according to our plans. It was no different for the Apostle Paul. He had plans t travel to Spain that he thought were going to come to pass, but his plans were changed by God.

The Letter to the Romans was written from Corinth at the end of the third missionary journey. In Romans 15:24 – 26, Paul states that he had plans to stop in Rome on his way to Spain, but first he had to go back to Jerusalem to deliver an offering that he had collected from the saints in Macedonia (Philippi. Thessalonica, and Berea) and Achaia (Corinth, Cenchrea, and Athens). According to the Book of Acts, Paul does go to Jerusalem, but he will be falsely accused and arrested there, and taken into Roman custody. He will end up going to Rome, but not as he originally desires. After two years being confined to the palace prison in Caesarea, he is transferred to Rome in order to appeal his case to Caesar. He remains there for a couple of more years awaiting his trial, and is eventually released. However, there is no Biblical record of him every going to Spain. There are some traditional accounts of him traveling there (and possibly even into Brittain) before his death, but this cannot be proven.

This is not the first time Paul’s plans were changed by God, either. In his second missionary journey, it was his intention to go through Galatia and then northeast into Bythinia, but the Spirit of God wanted him to go west into Greece:

“Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.” (Acts 16:6-10)

God has the right to veto or change any plan that we may have. It is good to have dreams about the future, and it is right to pray and plan the road ahead, but don’t be surprised if God radically alters your future. God’s will is so much better than our will anyway. His wisdom is infinite, and he sees what we cannot possibly see. Who knows? Our plans may have led to disaster. We need to trust that God knows what is best. “If the Lord wills” or “The Lord willing” needs to be more than just a trite phrase we spit out on occasion; it needs to be a mindset of cheerful submission to the perfect will of God.


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All Things For Good?!?

Today’s Passages – Romans 8 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

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

Read the “1127 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Paul’s Motivation

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

How can God work all things, even very bad things, together for good? Many people, including a lot of Christians, have a hard time absorbing this truth, especially when they are going through a trial.

It is important to note that this verse does not say that all things are good in and of themselves. It would be ludicrous to attempt to make the argument that everything in this life is good. No, there is an awful lot of evil in the world, and that evil is allowed by God to enter into our lives at times. The effects of sin are everywhere around us. Immorality, cancer, relationship heartaches, natural disasters, financial setbacks; the list goes on and on. These are all part of the sin-cursed world that we live in, and Christians are not immune to experiencing the pain of these bad consequences in our lives. They are anything but good.

But, we also know that God is good. The things that He allows in our lives are not always good, but we know that He is good! And, we know that He loves His children very dearly. A little further in Romans 8, Paul reminds us of God’s love for us:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 38-39)

If God loves us then why would He allow evil to come into our lives? Why would He let a young woman die of cancer? Why would He allow people to hurt each other? Why would He allow thousands of people to be killed in a natural disaster; or  dozens of His people slaughtered in a church shooting? Why? Why? Why?

The answer is – I don’t know. But, I know God loves me, and I know that God is good; and, though I cannot see what God is doing through these evil circumstances of life, I trust Him that He knows what He is doing. I may not always like it, but I know that God knows what is best. He may be using a trial to teach me something, to make me more like Christ. Or, He may be using my reaction to a trial to point someone else to Christ and/or to glorify Himself. Again, I don’t know, but He does. We simply have to learn to trust Him.

I once heard a preacher illustrate this verse by mixing ingredients and baking an apple pie. He pointed out that none of the individual ingredients were all that appealing in themselves, and certainly the process of going into an oven must not be very enjoyable; but the end result is something we all can enjoy. God is doing the same thing in your life and mine. He is mixing the ingredients, some good and some not so much; but, mixed together they will make something awesome. Trust Him to mix the right ingredients together in your life.

 


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God Forbid!

Today’s Passages – Romans 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 126 – 130; Proverbs 26)

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

Read the “1126 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Check out a previous post from this passage – “Imputed Righteousness

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2)

Romans, chapter six, answers the question that would naturally be on the minds of many who are studying this wonderful Letter and who are trying to get their heads wrapped around the doctrine of justification. If we are saved by grace, and secure by grace, can we then do whatever we want to do, including willfully sinning in order to satisfy our lusts. Paul answers the question very clearly here in this chapter – God forbid! He clarifies this instruction further in vs 12 – 14:

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:12-14)

We are to yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit within us, instead of obeying the lusts that are still within our sinful flesh. Our flesh is not redeemed, but our spirit, which was dead in trespasses and sins, has been brought back to life by God and is the home of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit wants to direct my life in obedience to the will and Word of God. The flesh still cries out to get its way, but I now have a choice not to listen. I can yield to God.

Since the time of Christ, there have periodically been movements within  Christianity that have taught that God is now OK with sin, because of His grace. They have got as far as to say that the more we sin, the more grace will be manifested. While it is true that there is no sin that the Christian can commit that could undo the work of grace in his heart, God still expects us to live our lives as Spirit-filled and Bible-obedient Christians. Grace not only saves us from the penalty of past and future sins, it also helps us to live separated and surrendered lives.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” (Titus 2:11-12)

We will never be sinless as long as we live in these fleshly, mortal bodies; but, we can live our lives yielded to the Holy Spirit of God within us, and, if we do, our conduct will be pleasing to our Heavenly Father. The secret to winning the battle against the flesh is not to try to fight it head on in a battle of the wills. The key is to yield to (walk in) the Spirit.

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

 


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Nothing But The Blood – The Saturday Morning Post

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 – 125; Proverbs 25)

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

“…Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God…” (Romans 3:24-25)

Good morning. What can wash away your sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. You see, without the shedding of blood, there can be no remission of sin.

“For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:19-22)

God showed Adam and Eve. When they sinned in the Garden of Eden, they tried to cover their nakedness by knitting together fig leaves for skirts. And man made religion had begone…

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:1-21)

Innocent animals had to die in order for God to make them coats of skins to clothe them. Their blood was spilled because of Adam and Eve’s sin. This would be a continual sacrifice that would become part of God’s Law.

“And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Leviticus 1:1-5)

God promised He would send a Man to be the final sacrifice for sins…

“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)

A death blow to Satan’s head. A wound at the feet of the Man, dripping blood. That Man was the Lord Jesus Christ: the Lamb of God…

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

Then a few years later, He would be beaten to a pulp. He would be whipped with a whip that had chunks of metal and glass on the ends that would rip His flesh releasing the precious flow of blood.

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:6-9)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace…” (Ephesians 1:3-7)

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins…” (Colossians 1:12-14)

And when Jesus was shedding His precious blood, being nailed to a Roman cross, He said, “It is finished.”: and the final payment for sin had been made.

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh! precious is the flow that makes me white as snow; no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Peace.


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Guilty But Pronounced Innocent

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 – 125; Proverbs 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.

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:9-10)

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:20-22)

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

The Letter to the Romans is an absolutely awesome portion of Scripture. Though it was written to teach the saved about their salvation, it is also the most comprehensive gospel tract available. In this wonderful epistle we learn about doctrine (chapters 1 – 8), dispensation (chapters 9 – 11), and duty (chapters 12 – 16).

Within the doctrine section of the Letter, we see that all men are guilty as fallen sinners before God. From Romans 1:18 all the way through 3:20, Paul exhaustedly proves that every man (and woman): Gentile or Jew, pagan or religious; all are guilty before God. Before a person can be saved, he must come to the brutal realization that he is a depraved and fallen, sinful creature. The truth hurts, but it is the truth. And, because of our sinful condition, we are completely deserving of God’s judgment, which is eternal separation from Him, ultimately in the Lake of Fire.

But, praise be to God,  the story does not end there. According to Romans 3:21 and 22, we can receive the righteousness of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ because of what He did for us on the Cross of Calvary. His death and shed blood on the Cross provide the atonement (redemption, complete cleansing of sin) for all lost sinners who are willing to repent and place their faith in Him.

Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians puts it this way:

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

I am guilty. I am totally deserving of judgment in Hell, but I have been pronounced innocent by God – completely clear of all charges of sin, because of what Jesus did for me. He died in my place. Though in reality, I am guilty, God now sees me as innocent – sinless. Not only did Jesus forgive my sins from the past, He will also not hold me responsible for any future sins. I am completely forgiven of all sins – past, present, and future. In Romans 4, Paul further clarifies this:

“Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:7-8)

What love, what mercy, what grace. We serve an awesome Saviour! Hallelujah!!

Do you believe that Jesus died for you? Have you placed your faith in Him and Him alone to take you to Heaven? I hope you have. If you have not yet trusted Him and you are concerned about your eternal destiny, click here.

I am already looking forward to tomorrow’s reading in Romans, where we will learn more about our justification in Christ and also explore the process of our sanctification.


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What Makes You Happy

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.

“I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:” (Acts 26:2)

 

What makes you happy?

The Apostle Paul was thrilled on this particular day because he was given the opportunity to share with King Agrippa II (*see note below) and his wife, Bernice, the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let me back up a little bit and provide a little context to the story. Back in Acts 21, we learn of Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem, being accused of the Jews of bringing Gentiles into the Temple, which was a false accusation. The chief captain of the Roman Guard, Claudius Lysius, after hearing that some of the Jews had covenanted together to execute Paul, delivered him to Caesarea to protect him, and and also to bring him before Governor Felix. Felix holds on to Paul for two years, but had the opportunity himself to hear the gospel story and Paul’s testimony from Paul. When Festus becomes the new governor, he attempted to bring Paul back to Jerusalem to re-try his case before the Jews. But, Paul would have none of it and instead appealed his case to Caesar, which he had the right to do as a Roman citizen. Before he leaves Caesarea, however, he is given the opportunity to witness to Agrippa, Bernice, and Festus.

Paul’s life was consumed with sharing the message of salvation with people. Paul was constantly rehearsing his testimony to whoever would give him an audience, and this made him very happy. It is interesting that a Spirit-filled Christian like Paul receives such joy out of sharing his faith and influencing people regarding salvation. Most of us are only happy when we are receiving tangible rewards or positive circumstances, but not Paul. Paul was in prison, but as long as he was telling people about Jesus, he was very happy.

Many Christians today are anything but happy, even though we are, for the most part, living very luxuriously. Perhaps, we should try doing what Paul did to amuse himself: witness to people. The good news of salvation is the greatest news on the planet, and there is no greater joy than sharing that news with someone who will listen. We may not see everybody that we speak to trust Christ as Savior, but we will receive joy knowing that they have the information they need in order to make that decision. Soul winning will make you happy. Try it today!

*Click here for more information about King Agrippa II and the Herodian Dynasty


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Learning To Be Truly Thankful

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 34:1 – 4

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

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Introduction

John Wesley was about 21 years of age when he went to Oxford University. He came from a Christian home, and he was gifted with a keen mind and good looks. Yet in those days he was a bit snobbish and sarcastic. One night, however, something happened that set in motion a change in Wesley’s heart. While speaking with a porter, he discovered that the poor fellow had only one coat and lived in such impoverished conditions that he didn’t even have a bed. Yet he was an unusually happy person, filled with gratitude to God. Wesley, being immature, thoughtlessly joked about the man’s misfortunes. “And what else do you thank God for?” he said with a touch of sarcasm.  The porter smiled, and in the spirit of meekness replied with joy, “I thank Him that He has given me my life and being, a heart to love Him, and above all a constant desire to serve Him!” Deeply moved, Wesley recognized that this man knew the meaning of true thankfulness.

Many years later, in 1791, John Wesley lay on his deathbed at the age of 88. Those who gathered around him realized how well he had learned the lesson of praising God in every circumstance. Despite Wesley’s extreme weakness, he began singing the hymn, “I’ll Praise My Maker While I’ve Breath.”

Thanksgiving is certainly a wonderful time of the year, when people are generally more appreciative than they are at other times in the year. But, why do we need to set aside a special day to be thankful. All people, saved or lost, have much to be thankful for, especially in America. Christians, particularly, should have nothing but gratitude in their hearts every hour of the day, and at every season of the year.

All of us struggle with ingatitude at times, but many Christians today have a difficult time seeing past the struggles and trials of daily living to a realization of the sovereign hand of the Lord actively working in their lives through each and every situation – whether “good” or “bad”.

In our text, the Apostle Paul encourages the believers at Thessalonica to be thankful for and in everything. This means that whatever situation they may face, they need to realize that they have much to be thankful for.

There is a similar passage found in Ephesians:

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 5:17-20)

We will give the context of this passage a closer examination in a minute, but, for now, just focus on v. 20:

“giving thanks always for all things”

Here again, we see that it is possible to live at a level of Christian growth where we can truly be thankful for everything that comes our way: good days, bad days; sunshine or rain; prosperity or poverty; through pleasures as well as through pain – being thankful for all things always.

The phrase “give thanks”, or something very similar to it, is found some 73 times in the Bible; thanksgiving 28 times, many times talking about the Old Testament sacrifice of thanksgiving; thankful is found 3 times; thank (singular) is found 27 times.

Clearly, we are expected to be a thankful people, but it would be far better to develop a truly thankful heart, then to just go through the motions of thanksgiving at certain seasons of the year.

As time goes on and as we draw closer to the return of the Lord Jesus, the world will become less and less appreciative:

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21)

But, this should not be the case for Christians. We need to recognize how truly blessed we are.

When we think about what we have in Christ, we often consider things like his provision for our every need and even many of our desires. God has given me salvation from Hell and a home in Heaven. He has given me a beautiful wife, wonderful children, and even more awesome grandchildren. I have a nice, cozy home to live in, a car to get me where I need to go, food to eat, and plenty of warm clothing.

God has also given His protection over us. I cannot be sure how many times that God has shielded me from harm, but I know that He has. He has been merciful to me at times when I deserved His judgment.

He has also given us purpose. God has a wonderful plan for each of our lives. He wants to use us to help fulfill His will for this world. Just think, the God of the Universe has handpicked me and specifically chosen you to do a particular task for Him.

All of these things are wonderful in themselves, and they are individually each a reason for us to rejoice, but I there is a fourth reason for us to be thankful, and this reason if fully grasped will help carry our attitude of thanksgiving beyond the good days into the days when the car breaks down, the doctor tells us bad news, or our loved ones hurt us by an unkind action.

I’m referring to God’s providence. God’s providence has to do with His sovereign control over all that goes on in His creation. Nothing happens in this universe without God’s permission, and God promises to us that everything that happens – “good or bad” – will ultimately be used of Him to advance His agenda.

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

Even the bad things that God allows in our lives are for our good or for His glory. We just need to trust that He knows what He is doing.

That’s why Paul could be content in whatever situation that he was in:

“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:12)

Paul knew that God was in control of his circumstances, and he knew that God was taking good care of him, and working through him to fulfill God’s Great Commission.

Let’s consider the passage we looked at earlier from Ephesians:

“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 5:17-20)

Consider Three Ingredients from these verses that will produce true thanksgiving in our hearts:

God’s Sovereignty – Paul says that we should be wise enough and mature enough to understand the will of the Lord, which is often very good and pleasant for us; but, sometimes includes some pain and sorrow. But, if the pain and sorrow are part of God’s will then we can rejoice, knowing that it is ultimately going to bring about good.

God’s Spirit – Then he says that we are to be filled with the Spirit. Sometimes, people will escape from life by drinking wine or partaking in some other sinful activity, but a Spirit-filled Christian deal with life’s problems because we can see the Hand of God in every situation.

God’s Songs – Then He tells us to sing. Singing is an expression of praise to God, and is also a tool in our arsenal to combat negativity and depression. Godly songs will elevate our moods, and the truths contained in those songs will help us to look at things from the perspective of God and other brothers and sisters who have already experienced what we may be facing.

Finally, we get back to the place where we are truly thankful, again.


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Then Had The Churches Rest – The Saturday Morning Post

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 – 90; Proverbs 18) Read the “1118 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” (Acts 9:26-31)

Good morning. Saul was persecuting the churches, but then he met Jesus. After meeting Jesus, Saul boldly preached that Jesus was the Christ: the Saviour of the world. Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria. Do you know why the world is in the condition it is in? ISIS and Islam don’t have Jesus, they have a moon god. The Hindus don’t have Jesus. They have, according to Wikipedia, 330 million gods. You have to worship over 900,000 per day to get them all in for the year. Buddhists are trying to be perfect, but only Jesus was perfect, and they don’t have Jesus. Tree-huggers worship creation, but not the Creator: they don’t have Jesus. The Atheist, the Communist, the Fascist, the Socialist, and the DNC don’t believe in God, but by their actions may worship the god of this world. They don’t have Jesus. The Mormon Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible, he is Satan’s brother. As a matter of fact they believe there are sins you can commit that require your own blood to be shed in payment: their Jesus is a weak Jesus, not God Almighty. And the Catholic Jesus is still hangs on the cross, while the real Jesus is risen. There are many other religions around the world, and they all have one thing in common: they don’t have Jesus. Why don’t they have Jesus?

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 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 28:18-20)

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

And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:44-49)

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

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

Because we have ignored the Great Commission that Jesus gave to us to get the gospel to a lost and dying world. The Apostle Paul wrote about the Gospel he preached…

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1Corinthians 15:1-9)

The Gospel as simple as that. And if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (see 2Corintians 5:17). Simply, when you got saved you became a new creature: you should know, because you know what you were like before, and you yourself should know the change in you; others will notice and see as you grow in Christ. So you ARE WITNESSES of these things.

The church had dropped the ball on personal soul-winning may years ago. Godless evolution crept into our schools as churches argued what color the new carpet should be. Now children are searching for the truth, but are being pulled away into believing in false gods and their false religions. They need to hear the Truth, and Jesus is the Truth; and the only One who can give Life (because He is the Life), and the only Way to Heaven (because He is the Way).

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30)

The churches can have rest. Do you have wisdom?

Peace.


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By Reason Of Him – The Saturday Morning Post

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 – Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

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

“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.” (John 12:9-11)

Good morning. Did you ever wish to have that kind of testimony: the testimony of Lazarus? The chief priests wanted to kill Jesus, and Lazarus as well. Why? Because that by reason of him [Lazarus] many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. The Bible says…

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

Before you got saved, you did not have Jesus: you didn’t have life: you were dead. But…

“For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (John 5: 21-25)

Did you hear?

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

Eternal death in Hell is passed away, we have a brand new life in Jesus. You see we are all sinners and destined to die…

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

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

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…” (Romans 5:12)

The good news is…

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

In Isaiah, the Bible says about Christ…

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53)

God the Father loved us so much that He gave us Jesus…

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

God the Son loved us so much that He gladly went to the cross to die for our sins…

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

If you’ve never received Jesus as your own personal Saviour, the time is now to give your life to Him. He will use you as He used Lazarus to bring many new believers to Himself. The Lord Jesus Christ took on the hard part for us by shedding His precious blood to pay for our sins. He gave us the easy part…

“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:8-13)

Then tell someone. As the Scripture above says that you believe with your heart, then with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Tell others what Jesus did for you. Someday you may find that someone will say, by reason of you, I found Christ.

Peace.


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To Whom Shall I Go?

To-whom-shall-we-go-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)

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

Read the “1108 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” – (John 6:68)

I remember recently having a discussion with a close friend of mine about whether he ever thought about quitting on God. His answer kind of reminded me of Peter’s answer in John 6:68 above. He said, “where am I going to go?”. What he was actually saying was that there is only one hope for salvation, and that is in the Person of Jesus Christ. Who else could we possibly turn to? There is no-one else.

I have been saved now for many years; and in that time I have experienced many mountaintops. It is easy to praise God and exalt His name when I am on the mountaintop. However, I have also been in the valley, many times due to some bad decisions that I have made. In the valley it is not always so easy to praise the Lord. In fact it is not always easy to even see the Lord. There have been times that I have actually contemplated throwing in the towel, and turning my back on the Lord and His church. By the grace of God, He has kept me in, but I think what has always helped me was the fact that God would remind me that I really have no alternative. Who would I go to? What would I do? If I thought the valley I was in at the time was bad, I wondered how much worse life would be without the Lord. My faith in God, and the promises of His Word, would always keep me from quitting.

Praise the Lord for His grace! Let me encourage you: don’t run from the Lord – run to Him. He has the Words of eternal life!


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