Quit Griping!

quit-your-belly-aching

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

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

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

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

“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” – (Exodus 15:1)

“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” – (Exodus 15:24)

Exodus 15 is an amazing chapter of Scripture, which demonstrates the fickle nature of God’s children. The first 21 verses, which comprises more that three-fourths of the chapter is the record of God’s people singing, dancing, and praising Him for the great miracle that He had done in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians. Specifically, they are praising God and thanking Him for parting the Red Sea so that they could pass through on dry ground. You will remember, the Egyptians tried to follow them and that same sea closed up upon them and drowned them. The people of God were thrilled that God took away the water so that they could travel to other side. Now, at the end of the chapter, they are complaining that there is no water. First they want the water to go away, and then they want it back again. You just can’t make these Israelites happy, can you? I am kidding, of course; but I do want to point out the tendency that Israel had (and we have today) to forget about all of God’s past blessings by griping about some apparent injustice that seemed to be taking place in the present. Here, they begin to think that God delivered them from Egypt only to kill them with dehydration in the wilderness. Absurd! That big God that they were worshipping in the beginning of the chapter all of sudden got smaller when the people got a little thirsty.

I find that we are no different today. We sometimes see God do wonderful things in our lives, and from that mountaintop we offer up to Him praise and worship. But then when God allows a little testing to come our way, our attitude changes completely. Our view of God seems to be based solely upon what He does for us. When we are getting popcorn, bubble gum, and ice cream, God is good; but when God says that we should eat a little broccoli because it’s what we need at the time, God becomes some mean ogre. We act like little children in the nursery, don’t we? Let’s grow up! Let’s mature in our faith to the point where we trust God completely. God is good when the circumstances in life are great; but God is also good when things are not going as we would like them to. God is always good. He loves us. He says He will never leave us; never forsake us. He has our very best interests at heart. Trust Him even when you don’t understand; and whatever you do, don’t gripe. Griping is perhaps the most predominant cause of death in the Old Testament. I am not saying that you should not bring your concerns and burdens to Him. There is a big difference between a prayer request and a complaint. Let’s get to the point in our Christian walk where we can praise Him even in the dark days. Remember, there are others out there that have it worse than you. God is not just good, He is awesome. Learn to wait on Him. He will deliver you if you will simply trust Him, obey, and be patient.

Look, we are all really good at spotting problems, but instead of murmuring, why don’t we try becoming part of a solution. We can pray, and we can work to make the situation better. Anybody can complain, and they often do; but it takes a person of true character to actually make a difference.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” – (Philippians 2:14)


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Now Do I Have Your Attention?

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

(Second Milers also read – Luke 1 – 2; Proverbs 23; Psalms 111 – 115)

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

Read the “0123 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s passage in Exodus – “Your Free To Go” and “What Can Wash Away My Sin?

“And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.” – (Exodus 12:30-33)

Flies, frogs, locusts, darkness, hail. All of these and more sent by the hand of God in order that the Egyptians, as well as the Israelites, would know that there is an awesome and powerful God in Heaven. God’s command to the king of Egypt was simple: “let my people go”. However, Pharaoh was not too willing to heed the request of God. He seemed to be more willing to endure all of the plagues that God was sending his way. That is, all until his first born son was taken from him at the hand of God. God finally got his attention. He was finally ready to yield his stubborn will to the will of God.

There was a lot to think about in the passages of Scripture that we read this morning and I understand that there are deeper theological truths behind the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, but I couldn’t get past the thought that sometimes God has to allow some especially painful things in our lives in order to get our attention. We are sometimes like that hard clay that the potter must soften before he can use it. I’m just wondering this morning, is there something that the Lord has been trying to do in your life that you have been resisting. Have you hardened yourself to the point where, in order for God to accomplish His will, He will have to break you. What will God have to do to get your attention?  I suppose this thought applies just as much to the Christian that is fighting against God’s perfect will as it does to the lost person that is resisting salvation. Whichever your case is, the remedy is the same. Soften your heart, and yield to God’s will. Is there some sin that you are holding on to? God will do what He has to do in order to get you to repent of it and forsake it. Whatever it takes, God will accomplish His will for your life. You cannot win in a battle with God.


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Did Pharaoh Have a Choice?

Pharaoh

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

(Second Milers also read – Mark 15 – 16; Proverbs 22; Psalms 106 – 110)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0122 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.” (Exodus 3:19)

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 7:3)

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” (Romans 9:14-18)

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

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

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

I have listed a lot of verses above that are important for our discussion this morning regarding whether or nor Pharaoh had a choice or not when he refused to let the children of Israel go out of the land of Egypt. There are many more verses that could be used by either side of the argument, but I will use these just to start the discussion. It is my firm belief that Pharaoh acted according to his own free will when his heart was hardened, whether or not the Scripture states that it was hardened by God, or that he himself hardened his heart. Theologians on the other side of this argument would almost have us to believe that Pharaoh’s personal desire was to convert to Judaism, but God forced him against his will to oppose Moses and the Nation of Israel. Please do not misunderstand, I am not saying that God did not work in Pharaoh’s heart in order to achieve His goal of glorifying Himself in the sight of both His people and in the eyes of the Egyptians. However, God had a very willing participant. Pharaoh had already rejected God:

“And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2)

I firmly believe that God wants all men to be saved, and he desires all men to serve and glorify Him, but He also has given man the free will to make his own choice about that. God did not create a bunch of robots that do exactly what He wants at all times. It wasn’t God that caused Satan to rebel against Him, and it wasn’t God’s manipulation that forced Adam and Eve’s choice either. Does God know who will be saved? Absolutely. But, He doesn’t make that choice for them. Pharaoh had already made his mind up about God and His people, Israel; and God knew that there was nothing that would change Pharaoh’s will about that, so God used Pharaoh to help Him achieve His (God’s) goal. God is big enough and sovereign enough to use both the saved and the lost in order to achieve His purposes.

God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He has chosen to have mercy on “whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord.” In my view, this makes God infinitely bigger and more powerful. He runs His creation, and will achieve all of His purposes, even though the people He created are acting according to their own will. He is absolutely awesome!


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Excuses

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

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14; Proverbs 21; Psalms 101 – 105

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “Expect Opposition

Read the “0121 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.” (Exodus 4:1)

“And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but Iam slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)

“And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.” (Exodus 4:13)

It has always amazed me how our human nature kicks in when we are asked to do something, even when we are asked by God. There is something inside of us that immediately begins to reason that it cannot be done, or should not be done. We begin to figure out ways to get out of doing it. We don’t come right out and say that we don’t want to do it, at least not initially. We just say that it can’t be done, or shouldn’t be done, or that it will be way too difficult. Most projects get shut done by negativity before they even get off the ground.

Moses did the same thing here in Exodus 4. The first excuse that he gives is that the people will not listen. Basically he is telling God that it can’t be done. This is really nothing more than unbelief when it comes to things that God calls us to do. If it is truly of God, He will bring it to pass. All we need to do is obey Him. The results are up to Him. God does not need advisers, He needs obeyers.

The second excuse that Moses offers is really the root of the problem. I know that it is the same thing that often keeps me from fulfilling God’s will. Moses says that he is not the man for the job, that he is not able to do it. Now he is no longer doubting God’s ability or anybody else, he is merely doubting his ability to do what God asks him to do. This is not necesarily bad. We need to realize that we can’t do the work of God in our own power or ability. It can only be done through the power of God. What Moses needed to do (and what we need to do) is believe that if God asks us to do something, He will also equip us to do it. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) We truly can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us.

Finally, Moses is exasperated. He just doesn’t want to do it. He tells the Lord to send somebody else. God finally convinces him to do it, but he certainly was not a willing servant initially. If we refuse to be obedient to the calling of God He may just choose somebody else, but we will miss out on the blessing of being used of God. Know this, though, that if God asks you, you are the man (or woman) for the job. Don’t refuse Him. Stretch your faith. Allow Him to show you what you can do in His strength when you are yielded to His will.


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It’s Still Murder – The Saturday Morning Post

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

(Second Milers also read – Mark 11 – 12; Proverbs 20; Psalms 96 – 100)

Read the “0120 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour. And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.” (Exodus 1:13-17)

Good morning. Did you know that America has aborted over 58 million babies since Roe v. Wade? A few years ago, in a blog, I mentioned that the count was just over 52 million. Our children have been lied to, and now believe what was actually a baby is just a blob of goo. At only 2 months after conception, your baby has its own fingerprints, your baby can urinate, make a fist, and feel pain.

Jeremiah 1:5 says…

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

God had already had a plan for Jeremiah’s life. Does that make you think something like, “I wonder, out of the 58 million aborted babies, which one God ordained to have the cure for cancer? Or the solution to the food shortage? Or the solution to the pollution of the earth?”

Even Isaiah…

“Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.” Isaiah 49:1)

Count the cost. The cost of an abortion is around $500 for the first trimester, and $2000 for the second trimester. Do the math: 58 million abortions (and we’ll just say they were all first trimester) times $500 equals $29 TRILLION DOLLARS! Somebody’s making a lot of money. Even back in the days of the prophet Amos…

“Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border…” (Amos 1:13)

I don’t think that God likes abortion.

“Thou shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20:13)

And in Proverbs 6…

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Children are a reward for you, not a burden, or an inconvenience.

Psalm 127 says…

“A Song of degrees for Solomon. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127)

Going back to Exodus chapter 1, look what the LORD did for the midwives…

“Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.” (Exodus 1:20-21)

If you have had an abortion, it will not keep you out of Heaven, however, depending on what you do with Jesus could…

“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Matthew 12:31-32)

We all sin…

“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)

But, there is a but…

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

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

Eternal life in Heaven is one of God’s free gifts to you. All you need do is reach out and receive it…

“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)

Ask Jesus to forgive your sins, come into your heart and save you. And He will. And do you know what you will find?

Peace.


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Graduation Day

Graduation Day

Today’s Passage – Genesis 48 – 50 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 9 – 10; Proverbs 19; Psalms 91 – 95)

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

Read the “0119 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” (Genesis 49:1)

I remember when I was a young person attending school. At the end of every school year there was an awards ceremony and they would give out various awards for attendance, academics, athletics, and even some for attitude. I didn’t receive many awards as a child, I was what you might call “exceedingly average” in just about every area. Looking back on my school days, I can only recall receiving three awards: two in intermediate school, and one in college (the first time I went to college – not Bible school). However, I remember that every time I attended one of those awards ceremonies, or a commencement exercise, I would always feel two things. First, I would feel regret for not having applied myself more that year. I would realize that I could and should have done more; I should have worked harder; I shouldn’t have goofed off so much, wasting valuable time. The second thing that I would feel is motivated. I would determine that next year was going to be different for me; next year I was going to do better; next year I would be up there on the stage getting some kind of award. The only problem was that my weaknesses in character always outlasted my bursts of motivation.

You may be wondering right now what all of this has to do with the passage that we read in Genesis this morning. Well, here is the connection. Every time I read chapter 49 in Genesis, I am reminded of these award ceremonies. Except, here it is the one who is graduating to Heaven that is handing out the awards. Jacob is about to die, and he calls all of his children together to pronounce a blessing upon some. Unfortunately, he also will be pronouncing a curse upon others. Can you imagine the last words that you hear out of your father’s mouth before he dies being words of regret, rather than words of praise. I know well what it feels like trying to live a life that is pleasing to a father. I spent a good deal of my young adulthood trying to receive “attaboys” from my dad by achieving sales and success in the business world, which was his life. I think every child desires to please their father; at least most do. I cannot imagine the hurt I would feel if my father were to offer words of regret about my life at his passing. These sons of Jacob had all ran out of time. The time to live a life that would be worthy of being blessed by their father had passed.

You know what’s worse, however, than not receiving words of blessing and praise from your earthly father? Not receiving them from your Heavenly Father. Someday all who are His children will stand before Him and give account for their lives. Some will hear words of praise and will receive rewards; others will not. I want to please my Heavenly Father in my life today so that He will someday say to me, “Well done”. I guess I never got past that desire to hear “attaboy”; only now it is my Heavenly Father that I want to live for. Don’t misunderstand, I love my dad dearly, and I want my life to be a source of blessing to him as well, but my passion in life today is to live for God. I want the same thing for my children. Yes I want to be pleased with them, but ultimately the only thing that matters is if God is pleased with them.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4)


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Just Let It Go

Let-Go-Forgive-Feel-Better-722x406

Today’s Passage – Genesis 45 – 47 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 7 – 8; Proverbs 18; Psalms 86 – 90)

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Big Picture

“And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.” – (Genesis 46:29-30)

“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” – (Proverbs 17:9)

I could be wrong about this, but I do not believe that Joseph ever told his father what his brothers had actually done to him. He does discuss it with the brothers, but only to assure them that he had forgiven them, because he knew that God had allowed all of it to happen for a greater purpose. Joseph was certainly in a good position to get even with his brothers, but what good would that have done. He also could have brought their evil report to their father as he had done earlier in his life, but that would only have hurt his father, and further damage relationships within the family.

Joseph was a great picture of Christ. He not only forgave their sin, but he also worked hard to restore the relationship. We need to learn to be more like Joseph. Too many of us are harboring bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts toward those who have wronged us. We refuse to just let things go. We want to keep punishing the people who have hurt us in the past, and we want to make sure that everbody else knows what they have done. But in the long run, we are only hurting ourselves, and that bitterness that is oozing from our hearts is literally destroying us from within.

Let it go. Learn to forgive, forget, and move forward in your relationships with people. Yes, we have been wronged, but we also have wronged others as well. It profits none of us to continue living in the past.


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Dream One Fulfilled

Today’s Passage – Genesis 43 – 44 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6; Proverbs 17; Psalms 81 – 85)

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

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

Read previous posts from today’s reading passage – “Passed the Test” and “People Can Change

“And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph’s house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.” (Genesis 44:14)

“For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.” (Genesis 37:7-8)

Just a quick thought from today’s reading. The greatest truth from this passage was dealt with in a previous post, which I encourage you to read if you haven’t done so. (See “People Can Change“)

However, this morning, I noticed that Joseph’s brothers were “on the ground” before their brother Joseph, which was a perfect, literal fulfillment of the dream that he had way back in chapter 37. To “make obeisance” literally means to bow before. Joseph’s brothers were now voluntarily making obeisance to him, albeit it was the circumstances orchestrated by Joseph that drove them to it. The point is that Joseph had a dream that was from God, and that dream was going to be fulfilled as God said it would.

By the way, someday the lost world who perhaps now is rebelliously determined never to bow before the Lord Jesus Christ will someday fall to their knees as well. Hopefully, they will bow voluntarily before it is eternally too late.

“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11)


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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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What About Judah?

Lion-Of-Judah-HD-Wallpaper

Today’s Passages – Genesis 38 – 40 (Click on the references to listen to the passages. Click here to view today’s passage on Blue Letter Bible.)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 1 – 2; Proverbs 15; Psalms 71 – 75)

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

Read the “0115 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” (Revelation 5:5)

We don’t talk a lot about Judah as a man. We know that Jesus comes from the tribe of Judah, and we know that when Israel split in the time of King Rehoboam that the tribe of Judah alone stood in Jerusalem and demonstrated better adherence to the Law of God than her neighbors to the north did; but what do we know about the man, Judah. I have been guilty of assuming that the reason that God chose the tribe of Judah above all of the other tribes was due to the fact that Judah was a more honorable man than his three older brothers. In fact, I recently posted that thought in the “Boys Will Be Boys” post from two days ago. However, after reading today’s passage, I had to give it a little more thought.

In chapter 37, we discover that it was Judah that suggested to his brothers that they sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites, and there is nothing in the context to support the fact that he did so for the purpose of sparing his life:

“And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.” (Genesis 37:26-27)

It appears that he merely wanted to make a profit from the situation. Killing Joseph would not have benefitted him financially. By the way, we usually don’t think too highly about Reuben, but it was he who tried to save Joseph, not Judah.

Chapter 38 is a parenthetical digression dealing solely with the family of Judah. In it we see that Judah marries a woman from Canaan:

“And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.” (Genesis 38:2)

You may recall that Isaac strictly forbid Jacob (Judah’s father) from taking a wife from the daughters of Canaan. (Genesis 28:1, 6)

Later on in chapter 38, we read about Judah purchasing a prostitute, which turns out to be his daughter-in-law:

“When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face. And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?” (Genesis 38:15-16)

Now in a couple of days we are going to read a story about Judah where he is doing a good thing. In Genesis 44 he will be interceding with Joseph, pleading with him to allow Benjamin to go home to his father, Jacob. He even offers himself as a substitute. Judah got this one right:

“Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. … For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren.” (Genesis 44:18, 32-33)

So, here it is: the bad and the good about Judah, and it seems that there is more bad than good recorded. So why did God choose Judah? Was it because he was a good man as opposed to his evil older brothers? No, I don’t think so. He did, however, demonstrate Christlikeness when he offered himself as a substitute for his brother Benjamin. But I still do not think that is the reason why Christ descends from Judah. Judah was just like you and me. He was a sinner. He did bad things, just like us; and it was only because of God’s grace that He could do anything with Judah at all. By the way, it is only because of God’s grace that He can do anything with you or I. He saves us by His grace, and He can only use us by His grace as well.

“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.” (Genesis 49:8-12)


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The Green Eyed Monster

Envy

Today’s Passage – Genesis 36 – 37 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 27 – 28; Proverbs 14; Psalms 66 – 70

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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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No More Jacob

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Today’s Passages – Genesis 31 – 32 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 23 – 24; Proverbs 12; Psalms 56 – 60)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 51

Read the “0112 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28)

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

Jacob left the land of Canaan with a name that means “supplanter” or “deceiver”; but he returns after twenty years with name Israel, which means “a prince of God”. This is a wonderful picture of the power of God to transform lives. Jacob didn’t just get a name change, either, he received a nature change, and so do we when we give our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. God gives us a new nature. The Holy Spirit of God moves in and transforms our lives from the inside out. This isn’t just a “turning over of a new leaf”. This is the impartation of a divine nature into the heart of a formerly fallen sinner. What a wonderful thing it is to be a Christian.

Notice, however, that Jacob did not receive his new name until he had been with Laban for twenty years. Justification and positional righteousness take place immediately when we are born again into the family of God; but sanctification and practical righteousness in our lives is a lifelong process. God had to do some things in Jacob’s life. I have been saved now for over twenty-five years myself, and God is still chipping away at my rough edges; still revealing areas of my life that need His touch. In fact, the closer I walk with him, the more I see the things in my life that are not as they should be. My goal is just to get close to Him, and allow Him to have His will and His way in my life. I am not what I should be but, praise God, I am not what I used to be, either. I am not yet an Israel, but no longer am I Jacob. God is still at work in my life. I am trying to get out of His way and let Him work.

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

 


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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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The Battle of the Ages

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 25 – 26 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 17 – 18; Proverbs 9; Psalms 41 – 45)

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

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

Read previous posts from this passage – “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree” and “From A Father To A Son”

“And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.” (Genesis 25:22)

As I was reading this I could not help but think that it is a picture of the struggle that is within each of us. Here in this passage we see Rebekah with twin boys in her womb; and the Scripture tell us that they struggled within her. Now, we know from hindsight that these boys and their descendants would be struggling for a long time; in fact, they are still struggling today. However, we also can see how that these boys are a picture of the new nature which struggles against the old nature. Esau who was born first is a picture of the flesh, and Jacob is a picture of the new birth, the birth of the Spirit. You see, when we trusted Christ as our Saviour we became new creatures in Christ, but God did not remove our old, sinful nature. He is alive and well. That is why Paul talked often about crucifying the flesh. Look at some of the things that God used Paul to pen regarding this struggle:

“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)

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:17)

“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” (Romans 7:15)

All of these verses speak of the struggle that is within each one of us who are saved. In this New Year,  I have resolved to get as close to God as possible so that He will “[work] in me both to will and to do of his good pleasure”. I want to reduce the influence that my flesh has over my mind. I want my mind and body to be yielded to the indwelling Spirit of God. There will always be a struggle between the Jacob and Esau within us, but I want to see Jacob win more often.


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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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Supper’s Almost Ready

supper-of-the-lamb

Today’s Passage – Revelation 16 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 141 – 145; Proverbs 29)

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

Read the “1229 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s passage – “It Will All Be Gone Someday”

“And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”  (Revelation 19:9)

I must confess that I really don’t understand all that is going to take place during that period of time called the Great Tribulation. I know that it will be a horrible time for those living on the earth for both the saved and the lost. I know also that it will be a time of rejoicing and receiving in Heaven. You might think that those words are not exactly adequate to describe what will take place there in that day, but maybe after I explain you will understand what I mean.

The rejoicing part is rather self-evident. We will do a lot of rejoicing in Heaven. In chapter 19, we see the words, Alleluia, Amen, and Praise used repeatedly. The angels will be rejoicing, as well as the Saints. We will probably get a little glimpse as to what is going on in the earth while we are in Heaven awaiting the end of the Tribulation. We will see the destruction of God’s enemies. We will watch the destruction of Babylon, with all of the political power and false worship that it represented. God will win. We know that now through faith in his Word. I remember hearing a song years ago entitled, “I Read The Back of the Book and We Win”. That’s the truth! We are reading about it prophetically now, but someday soon we will see it. We should probably learn to rejoice now, shouldn’t we?

The Tribulation period will also be a time of receiving for those who are experiencing the events from Heaven. What will we receive? Well, for one, we will receive rewards for the works that we did for the Lord while we were on earth. The Bible calls those rewards “crowns”. I don’t know if I will receive any rewards or not, but one thing I know – I really don’t deserve any. Jesus deserves all the glory. Anything I did for His Kingdom that was of any value, He did through me anyway. I guess that is why the Bible says that we will cast those rewards back at the feet of Jesus.

What else will we receive? Well, I believe that all throughout the Tribulation Period we will be receiving new saints in Heaven. Saints that have made their robes white in the blood of the lamb through martyrdom. I believe that many will be saved during this period, but I also believe that most of those that get saved, will be martyred. We don’t know much about persecution in the time that we are living in today, especially in America; but most of these Tribulation saints will be faithful unto death. Every day, more will arrive. Heroes of the faith that chose death rather than live in allegiance to Satan.

Then, we will receive some supper. It is called a supper isn’t it? I wonder what we will eat? Can you imagine sitting at a table with the Lord and all of the saints? As I said before, I couldn’t possibly know all that will happen, but I do know that it will be wonderful, because everything He does is wonderful.


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Before It’s Too Late

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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)

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

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Revelation 14:6 & 7)

I have always been fascinated with the Book of Revelation. In it, we see the final destruction of the earth, and the judgment of all of those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ. However, in the midst of all of the judgment and destruction are many invitations for people to come to Christ. Chapter 14 in particular reveals this truth. The last verse in the chapter is traditionally understood to be about the final battle in the Tribulation Period known as the Battle of Armageddon. Not much of a battle really. Christ is going to return and completely destroy all that oppose Him. Notice, though, that prior to this great battle, even right before the final destruction, God was inviting people to come to Christ. The chapter begins with a discussion about the 144,000 who are evangelists covering the earth with the gospel of Christ. Next, we read about three angels that are flying around the skies warning people about the impending judgment, and inviting them to trust Christ. You see, God is not willing that any should perish. Even at the very end, He is inviting people to turn to Him.

I am no history expert, but I think I remember hearing that before we dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki we warned the people of the coming destruction by dropping leaflets from planes. I may have my facts mixed up a little, but I have heard that our government is known to warn the innocent, so that they can be saved. It kind of reminds me of what God is doing here in these passages. Yes, the judgment is certainly coming, but God is willing to save any and all that will come to Him before that day comes.

How about you? Have you heeded the warning from God regarding the coming judgment? You see, my friend, the wages of our sin is eternal death; but God in His mercy and grace is willing to save anybody who is willing to turn from their sin unto the Saviour. If you haven’t yet trusted Christ, I encourage you to read the “Are You Saved?” page on this blog.

Now to those of you who are saved, don’t ever give up on your unsaved loved ones. Keep praying for them, and preaching to them. As we have seen in this passage, God is going to keep giving them opportunities to repent, even at the very end. We should have the same attitude. Keep trying to win them, keep inviting them, keep reaching out to them, keep loving them, even until the end of our earthly lives.  It may be that last try that convinces them that Christ is their only hope.


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He Alone is Worthy

worthy

Today’s Passage – Revelation 4 – 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 Timothy 1:17

Read the “1227 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s passage – “Come Up Hither

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” (Revelation 5:9)

“Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” (Revelation 5:12)

Three times in our passage today, there are references to Jesus being “worthy”. In chapter four, He is found worthy because He created all things, including you and me. In chapter five, He is found to be the only one that was worthy to open up the seven seals. He was  worthy because he “wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by [his] blood”. We owe everything to the Lord, so He alone is worthy.

He Is Worthy Of Our Praise

“Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalms 150:6)

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;” (Psalms 107:1-2)

He Is Worthy Of Our Service

“Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” (Psalms 2:11)

“Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” (Psalms 100:2)

He Is Worthy Of Our Sacrifice

“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.” (Romans 12:1)

We spend a lot of time praising men, serving those who will serve us back, and sacrificing for ourselves; but Christ alone is worthy of all of these. This year, let us determine to put Christ at the very center of our lives; let us conform to His will, yield to His Spirit, fulfill His commission. He alone is worthy of all of our devotion and effort.


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Compassion Makes a Difference

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Today’s Passage – Jude – Revelation 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 126 – 130; Proverbs 26)

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

Read the “1226 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s passage – “Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock

“And of some have compassion, making a difference:” (Jude 1:22)

The Epistle General of Jude is a very interesting letter. Throughout almost the entire letter God is calling for us to stand up and fight against those who are promoting doctrinal error, as well as those that are encouraging immoral lifestyles. These are not the ones who are merely walking in the counsel of the ungodly, but have gone all of the way to sitting in the seat of the scornful. They are not just allowing sin, they are spreading it. The letter demands that we draw a line in the sand, and that we hold that line, defending it with all of the passion that we can muster. However, at the very end of the letter, Jude says something very interesting:

“And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23)

While we are earnestly contending for the faith, we are to be looking for people who we can show compassion to, which will make a difference. These may be people who have fallen prey to those who are promoting  error. These could be people whose lives have been absolutely torn asunder because they have believed the lies of the ungodly. These are people whose lives may have been destroyed, but whose hearts have been softened enough to be salvaged for the glory of God.

There are a lot of people out there in the world today who desperately need to experience the compassion of God. They certainly may not look or act like the people in our churches, but God sees something in them that He loves, and He sees hope. We don’t know who they are, either, so we had better be prepared to be compassionate with a lot of people until we find the one upon whom it will make a difference.

Compassion will make a difference. Don’t give up loving people for the Lord Jesus. People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.

How can we demonstrate the compassion of God to those around us?

1  Share Christ with Them – Though the context of this passage would certainly include people who are saved but have strayed from the faith, I think it would be safe to assume that many of the people that God wants to make a difference in are still lost in their sins. We need to compassionately convince these people of the love that Jesus has for them.

2  Spend Time with Them – We certainly need to maintain separation from people with ungodly lifestyles, but how are we supposed to reach these folks without interacting with them. We can be separated without being isolated. I do not have to participate in or condone the sins of those we are called to reach, but I can still come int their world. Verse 23 states that we have to pluck some of them out of the fire, and we cannot do that without getting close to the fire. Jesus said that we were to be in the world, but not of the world.

3  Supply Needs for Them – People whose lives have been torn apart by sin are often brought to their knees through very drastic circumstances, and many times they will need the support of God’s people in order for the love and compassion of Christ to penetrate them. Hungry people need food as well as the gospel. Homeless people need shelter and clothing as well as Bible principle. We might argue that the gospel and Bible principle are more important than the physical needs of the body, but these people will likely never give us their ears to hear, unless some of the distractions of the physical need are removed.

Jesus went about showing compassion on hurting people. He fed them, healed them, comforted them, and forgave them. We who are saved need to be ambassadors of God’s compassion today.

A man is walking along the shoreline of an ocean when he comes up on a little boy standing in the midst of thousands of starfish that had washed up along the shore. The man watches the little boy as he picks up a starfish and one by one throws them back in the sea. The man watches for several minutes then walks up to the boy and asks, “What are you doing?” The little boy answers, “I’m saving these starfish so they won’t die.” The man says to the boy…”There are too many too save, it wont make any difference.” The little boy reached down and picked up another starfish and said, “it will make a difference to this one” as he threw it into the ocean.


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