Good Friends Are Hard to Come By

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 – 10Proverbs 5Psalms 21 – 25)

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

Read previous posts from today’s passage – “Balanced and Biblical Separation;” “Relationships are More Important than Riches;” “Gardens and Green Grass or God’s Will?”

“And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.” (Genesis 14:14)

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

Abraham demonstrated that he was a good friend to a man who in the past was not so friendly to Abraham. Back in Genesis 13:8 – 11 , Abraham’s nephew Lot decided that he no longer wanted to live in the same place that Abraham dwelt in. He said that there just wasn’t enough grazing grass for the both of them and their large herds. He wanted to move away from the man that had taken him in and took care of him after his dad died (See Genesis 11:27 – 28). Abraham was very gracious to Lot and allowed him to make the first choice about where he wanted to be, and Abraham agreed to settle away from whatever area that Lot chose. Lot’s choice was the “well watered” plain of the Jordan Valley.

Time moves on as it always does, and Lot eventually ends up living near and then inside of the very wicked city of Sodom. When Sodom and four other cities are conquered and taken captive by a confederation of four kings, Lot and his family are taken into captivity with them. Abraham could have forgotten about Lot and left him in the hands of the Canaanites, but Abraham was a good friend to Lot, and came to his rescue. A good friend will help even when the person they are helping has not been very friendly. Abraham will later come to Lot’s rescue again by interceding for him to God (see Genesis 18:23 – 33) when God was about to destroy cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, including all the people living in them. God spares Lot and some of his family by removing them from the city before the destruction came (See Genesis 19).

Uncle Abraham was not a “fair weather friend” to Lot. He made a choice to be a friend to him, and he continued acting as his friend even when his kindness was not being reciprocated. People may not always be friendly, kind, and loving to us; but we can choose to be a friend to them regardless. Christ acted as our friend by dying for us when we were not deserving, and He still is our friend today. Let’s take the spiritual high road in our friendships. Let’s choose to be good to people, to be friendly towards them, even when they are not being very kind to us.

One more thought. While we should always choose to be friendly to all people, we should also be careful who we allow to be good friends to us. If we let the wrong people get close to us and influence us, it could pull us out of the will of God. Remember, “Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab” (2 Samuel 13:3), but Jonadab wasn’t a very good friend. Amnon should have been a little wiser in who he chose for his friend, it would have saved him a lot of heartache, and in the long run it would have saved his life.


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It Was Just A Little White Lie – The Saturday Morning Post

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)

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

“And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.” (Genesis 12:11-20)

Good morning. Or is that ‘just a little white lie’? Good morning? Actually, any time you can get up early and join brothers in prayer is a good morning. A few years ago I was given a neat Christmas gift, actually a New Years gift: Dr. Paul Chappell’s Stewarding Life Planner. In the planner, I needed to develop a ‘purpose statement’. I want to share with you the first part of my purpose statement…

The purpose of my life is to glorify God through preaching the gospel (John 15:8), being truthful (Joshua 7:9), and by giving Him praise (Psalm 86:12).

How do you feel about lies? Would you prefer someone to tell you a lie or the truth? I would prefer the truth. Even if it was something about a mistake I made, I would then know that I have something that needs changing: something to repair in my life. Truth is the most solid, stable, unmovable object that you can hold onto. If you could move or change truth, it stops being truth and becomes a lie…

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

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in TRUTH: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in TRUTH.” (John 4:23-24)

“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6)

Aren’t you glad you have a God who is the Truth, and changes not? And it should be easy for you to be truthful with God when you realize that He already knows what sins you will commit tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, and you don’t. The truth of the matter is that our lies affect those around us. In our text, Abraham told a half truth, which makes it a lie, and he did it to protect his own neck. The result was that the Lord plagued all of Pharaoh’s house with great plagues. In an effort to cover up his sin with Bathsheba, David tried to make it look like her future baby was from her husband, Uriah. When that did not work, David had Uriah killed in battle. David’s lie cost Uriah his life, also the life of the child he had made. Of course Eve believed the greatest lie of all time, and the entire world was plunged into sin. What can we do? Let me give you several key truths and verses to remember. Remember that lies are sin, even the little white lie…

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all LIARS shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

Remember where lies come from…

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

Remember God is Truth, and He does not change, so as Psalm 136 tells us 26 times that His mercy endureth forever…

“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)

Remember, if you have Jesus, you have the Truth living in you…

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in TRUTH: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in TRUTH.” (John 4:23-24)

God is looking for His people to worship Him in truth. Why not give Him what He wants in 2020.

Peace! (John 14:6)


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The Dove Flew Away

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 – 6Proverbs 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“;  “Too Old To Do Something for the Lord?”; and “The Law of First Mention Regarding Wine”

“And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.” (Genesis 8:12)

I have a somewhat strange devotional thought from the passage this morning, from Genesis eight in particular. First, however, let me explain the context. In Genesis eight, the rain has stopped, and the water is gradually receding from off the face of the earth. Noah and his family are no doubt very excited about the prospect of soon being able to live on land again in a brand new world.

In verse eight, the Bible tells us that Noah released a dove presumably in order to see if the dove would find the water sufficiently drained someplace to roost. Apparently, the dove found no such place and returned. Seven days later, he released the dove again and the dove returned, this time with an olive leaf in its beak. This was exciting news indeed. Not only was there a tree out there somewhere, but it was alive and producing leaves. Seven days later, Noah releases the dove a the third time, and this time it does not return. It had apparently found a new home, and would await the release of its mate so that they could reproduce and repopulate the world with doves.

Here is my strange devotional thought from this passage. God had called Noah to save his family plus the rest of God’s animal creation by building an ark that would protect them in a worldwide flood. It took him a hundred years to build the ark, and then when the time came, God gathered all of the animals and Noah’s family into the ark. Noah spent a lot of time during this process in close intimate contact with his family and with the animals, but that was all going to end soon. The dove flew away and did not return, and soon Noah’s children and their wives would also leave.

God brings family and friends into our lives at particular times and for particular purposes. God may give a young couple children, and for eighteen or more years the children will live together with the parents and there will be a level of closeness and dependency during that period. However, in most situations the doves will fly away and not return. Oh, they may return to visit for a time, but it will not be the same as it was when they were living in the home. It can be very discouraging for parents, but this is the way God intended it to be. Children are supposed to leave, to fly away to do God’s will for their lives.

Sometimes God also brings people together to a specific geographical area for a particular purpose, such as a job or even in to serve in a local church. People may work together or worship and serve together closely for many years. But, eventually God will move some of those people away. My wife and I have been serving at Jersey Shore Baptist Church in Galloway, NJ for nearly twenty years. We have some great friends here. My children were reared here. I cannot imagine life without the people that God has brought into our lives. However, the reality is that God has moved some very dear friends away for a variety of reasons, and may very well cause some of the good folks that are here now to “fly away” in the future to do something else for Him in a different place. Or, He could call my wife and I to a different location.

Thankfully, we never truly lose our saved family and friends, especially in these days of technology and social media, but we do lose the closeness and camaraderie that we enjoyed while living or serving together. We simply cannot expect life to forever be exactly the same as it is now. God will bring changes of scenery and changes of people into our lives. It’s all good. The people that we are very close to now may be called by God to “fly away” and not return. That is His choice. Someday, we will all be reunited together in Heaven, but for now, we need to all find the place where God wants us to serve, and enjoy the people that God has given (for now) to serve along with us.


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Walking with God

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 – 4Proverbs 2Psalms 6 – 10)

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

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

“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)

The exact phrase’ “walked with God,” is used only three times in the Bible, and is only used in reference to Enoch and Noah. In connection with Enoch we are simply told that he walked with God and “God took him.” The Book of Hebrews shines a little more light on the subject:

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)

Here we see that Enoch was translated up to God before he could physically die. We also see that “he pleased God,” which is a synonymous phrase to “he walked with God.”

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

Regarding Noah, the phrase “walk with God” is connected to the fact that Noah was “a just man and perfect and upright in his generations.” The word “just” tells us that Noah had a relationship with God through faith (Romans 3:28; 5:1; Galatians 3:24). This is further evidenced by the fact that Noah was “seen [as] righteous” (Genesis 7:1). As a human, Noah was a sinner and not perfectly righteous, but he was “seen righteous,” or justified by God because of God’s grace (Genesis 6:8), and Noah’s faith.

Though the exact phrase, “walked with God,” is found only in connection with these two men, Enoch and Noah, we find similar phrases used in connection with other people of faith throughout the Bible:

“And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 17:3-4)

“But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, … Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 18:5, 9)

“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 9:31)

“And they (Zacharias and Elisabeth) were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” (Luke 1:6)

“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” (2 John 1:4)

From these and others related passages in the Scripture, we can state that walking with God involves three things:

  1. Relationship – Have you entered into a relationship with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Communication – God communicates with us through His Word, and we communicate with Him in prayer. In this new year, determine that you will carve out special time every day to communicate with the Lord.
  3. Submission – If we are going to walk with God, we are going to have to let Him lead. He is God and we are His children. Yield to His will and to His Word.

Let us start this new year off right by walking with the Lord!


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Subdue and Replenish

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 – 2Proverbs 1Psalms 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;” “Let There Be Light;” and “Just Don’t Do It”

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

This morning, on this first day of 2020, I want to start with a little Bible study from Genesis 1, and then move into a practical devotional thought from the passage.

The word “replenish” in its exact form is only found twice in the Bible: here and in Genesis 9:1 where God commands Noah to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” The word “replenish” is interesting. According to Websters American Dictionary of the English Language (1828 Edition), it means “to recover former fullness,” which is pretty much how we use the word today. The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (2003) gives as its first definition: “to fill with persons or animals.” The Strongs Concordance also defines the Hebrew word (מָלָא – male’) as “to fill, or be full.”

Perhaps you are wondering as to why I am offering this word study on “replenish.” The reason is that there are some Bible teachers that would tell us that the word “replenish” only means “to replace or recover from a former fullness,” and based on that narrow view of the word they have come up with some extraordinary theories regarding a previous pre-Genesis world that somehow was destroyed and needed to be recreated by God. C. I. Scofield, in his famous Scofield Reference Bible espoused his Gap Theory partially based upon his understanding of “replenish.” He believed that a previous creation existed on the earth prior to Genesis 1:2, and went through “a cataclysmic change as the result of a divine judgment,” due to the fall of Satan and his fallen angels. His view and others like it offered an explanation for the billions of years that scientists have demanded for the existence of the earth. Personally, I think this is a weak argument. I am an advocate for a young earth, created by God as little as six thousand years ago, and not millions or billions. While I am certainly not a scientist, I would say that there is valid scientific evidence that supports a young earth. See Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis for more information from a scientific perspective.

Now for the practical application. Adam and Eve were given stewardship of a brand new world. They were given dominion and were commanded to subdue it, meaning to take responsibility for it and conquer it. They were to be fruitful and multiply in order to fill the earth with people, and they were to be good stewards of God’s Creation so that the earth would be filled with other good things as well.

Starting today, you and I have a brand new year. Last year is gone. It really matters not whether last year was filled with victories or defeats, we need to move forward in the perfect will of God in the future without dwelling in (or on) the past. Replenish (fill up) this new year that God has given you with all of the things that He would want you to include for a successful and prosperous year for His glory.

Fill the year with the Scripture. Spend some time in the Word of God every day. Follow a Bible reading schedule that will help you to stay on track. We cannot fulfill God’s will apart from His Word.

Fill the year (and yourself) with the Holy Spirit by yielding to His will and not your own. God commands us to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Let Him have control of your life.

Fill the year with Soul winning. Tell everyone you know about our wonderful Saviour. Let’s subdue 2020 for the Lord. Let’s let God work through us to give us dominion to “occupy” for Him this year.


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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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…And Gave Glory To The God Of Heaven – The Saturday Morning Post

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

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

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” (Revelation 11:3-13)

Good morning. When I read this passage, I started thinking about Ben and Robert: two friends who went home to be with the Lord. I thought about my Uncle Frankie, my brother, my mom and dad. They’re all in Heaven. We are all stamped with an expiration date that only God can change. As I look near the bottom of my computer screen, I see a picture of Melissa. I am comforted in knowing she is with the Lord, though I still miss her. But there is a great deal of comfort to be found in this passage…

Notice that there were two witnesses.

Did you know that when you have Jesus, you are never alone? Jesus is always with you. This is what the Lord told Joshua…

Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:1-9)

And according to Hebrews 13:5, God makes the same promise to us: He will never leave us, nor forsake us. So you are never going to be alone.

Secondly, notice that God had a job for them to do. He has a job for us to do also. And these two witnesses went forward with their work in the power of God. Nothing could stop them until there work was completed. What stops you? Jesus told us that without Him we could do nothing. These men went forward in the power of the Lord and we should also…

“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)

When their testimony for the Lord was completed, God had another job for them to do: to die. Their work on earth was not over yet. The beast overcame them and killed them, but their lives were in the hands of the One who gave them life.

Are you sitting on the shelf, self-imprisoned? Are the devils celebrating the fact that you are no longer a threat? Do you long to get back into the Lord’s work? Have you been dead too long? It’s time to resurrect…

“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” (Revelation 11:7-11)

And we know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) and wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Then look at what happened…

“And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” (Revelation 11:12-13)

Because of Jesus, we are never alone.

Because of Jesus, we have a testimony.

Because of Jesus, we have the power to share that testimony.

Because of Jesus, we can witness in death as well as life.

Got Jesus?

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

Peace.


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The Perfect Gift – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Hebrews 12 – James 1; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:13-17)

Good morning. My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I did not know. Don’t laugh: do you know what you want for Christmas? There was a time when I could answer that question. Something would catch my eye, either on TV or in a catalog, and I thought I really wanted whatever it was. Now that I’m old, I guess I’m not impressed by the things of this world. There was a time when I was amazed at new technology. I saw a commercial the other day for a new wristwatch. One that could do just about everything a smart phone could. Amazing how far LSI (Large Scale Integration) has come: cramming all that stuff into a wristwatch. Okay, maybe I am a little impressed; do I want one? Na, I’d probably have the screen shattered within the first month. What do you want for Christmas?

“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.” (Genesis 3:6)

And you know what happened after that. That ‘gift’ Adam received from Eve caused the downfall of all mankind. But James 1:17 tells us…

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

Let me give you three characteristics of the Perfect Gift…

1) It costs the giver, not the receiver.

“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)

2) It is perfect: exactly what you needed.

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

3) It is made to be shared so others will benefit from the gift also.

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1Peter 4:10)

This Christmas, let’s try to stay focused on God’s Perfect Gift…

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

Merry Christmas! (Luke 2:13-14)


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We Should Suffer Tribulation – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – 1 Thessalonians 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 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

“Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.” (1Thessalonians 3:1-4)

Good morning. If you look at the cover of my Bible, you will find my name and a verse inscribed: John 16:33…

“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.” (John16:33)

Jesus said that. Habakkuk said he would still rejoice in the Lord…

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

Job told his ‘friends’ that he would trust in the LORD though He slay me…

“Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay. Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will. Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand? Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.” (Job 13:12-16)

Tribulation is going to happen in our lives, yet we can be of good cheer, rejoice, and trust in the LORD. Let’s take a look at the life of Paul…

“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. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2Corinthians 11:23-12:10)

Are you feeling strong today? Are you rejoicing in the troubled that are coming your way? Are you upset because you could not get close parking when you went to the mall? My feet feel for you. Be thankful that you didn’t go through what Paul went through.

Peace.


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The Builder – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passages – 2 Corinthians 11 – 13; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with an holy kiss. All the saints salute you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.” (2Corinthians 13:11-14)

Good morning. Paul is concluding his letter to the Corinthians. Under the dictation of the Holy Spirit, he writes us a To-Do list…

Be perfect (complete).

Be of good comfort.

Be of one mind.

Live in peace.

Matthew Henry gives a good explanation of these in his commentary…

“(1.) To be perfect, or to be knit together in love, which would tend greatly to their advantage as a church, or Christian society. (2.) To be of good comfort under all the sufferings and persecutions they might endure for the cause of Christ or any calamities and disappointments they might meet with in the world. (3.) To be of one mind, which would greatly tend to their comfort; for the more easy we are with our brethren the more ease we shall have in our own souls. The apostle would have them, as far as was possible, to be of the same opinion and judgment; however, if this could not be attained, yet, (4.) He exhorts them to live in peace, that difference in opinion should not cause an alienation of affections – that they should be at peace among themselves. He would have all the schisms that were among them healed, that there should be no more contention and wrath found among them, to prevent which they should avoid debates, envyings, backbitings, whisperings, and such like enemies to peace.”

Paul wrote in 2Corinthians 13:10…

“Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.” (2Corinthians 13:10)

If the Apostle Paul came to your church, would he have to use sharpness to get you to do what was right? Or, could he be uplifting , building you up: edifying you. In 1Corinthians 14:12…

“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” (1Corinthians 14:12)

And in verse 26, “…Let all things be done unto edifying.”

When you edify someone, you build them up in the Lord: train them as a child in the way they should go, and they will help someone else; and so on.

Today the teens are going to the Youth Congress out in New Egypt, NJ. They will be receiving a Christian Life Journal. I would ask them to add one more question to the daily page if it is not already there: “What did I do to edify someone today?”

If we answer that question on a daily basis, we will be focused on what Jesus was focused on: others. If we get our eyes off ourselves, and look to the needs of others, edifying them, God’s work will get done.

Let me leave you with an example that my wife and I are very thankful for. Two actually: one from God, and one from someone unknown…

On December 6, 2013, was my daughter’s 38th (44th yesterday) birthday. Camille and I celebrated by going over to the grave, adding new flowers, and a few other Christmas items. It had been raining and drizzling all day. When we got to the cemetery, God held back the rain. We were edified: God reinforced the fact to us that He is in control. He cares for us in the little things, as well as the big. Just think about it: the Creator, who spoke everything we have into existence cared enough about us to hold back the rain while we went to the grave. Just a note: as we drove away, the rain came down in buckets! God is good!

Part two of this is also a part of what inspired this blog today. Somebody had come and visited Melissa’s grave earlier, and left a message written in the ground behind the gravestone. Maybe the message was from God too. I know we received much joy from reading it, and knowing that someone else cared. The message simply said, “I LOVE YOU.”

Peace! (JOY: Jesus, Others, You)


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