The Truth – The Saturday Morning Post

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

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

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

“Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land. Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court. Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.” (Amos 7:10-17)

Good morning. Proverbs 12:22 says…

“Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.” (Proverbs 12:22)

And also in 1Peter chapter 1…

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1Peter 1:14-16)

If you are saved, God is in the process of conforming you to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And since Jesus said that I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and also told us that, God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth; truthfulness should be one of the traits we look for in ourselves. Don’t look for it in anyone else: this is personal between you and God. He knows when you are lying and so do you.

There was a priest at the time of Amos, whose name was Amaziah. Amaziah did not like to hear the truth. Like so many others who do not like to hear the truth, they try to keep others from hearing the truth also.

Amaziah tried to get the king to turn against Amos. Then he basically tells Amos to get lost, go back to Judah and prophesy there. And Amos delivers Amaziah the truth…

“Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.” (Amos 7:14-17)

Truth is the only thing that is stable: it can not be bent or reformed. If truth is modified in any way, it is no longer truth, it is a lie. In America, we have been being fed lies for a long time. Evolution, there is no God, god is in everything so hug a tree, it’s okay to abort a baby because it’s just a blob of goo, and the list goes on and on. Adolf Hitler said that if you tell a lie often enough, it would be believed as truth.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

Jesus is the Truth. The Words given Amos to speak to the nation of Israel, and write in a book, they are truth. In our search for personal holiness, we must be truthful. Truthful to God (He knew what you would do. He knew all about you before you ever existed). Truthful to others. Truthful to yourself. Examine yourself (remember this is all between you and God). Peter pointed to the disciple whom Jesus loved, and asked what that man would do. Jesus saith unto him, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”

Peace.


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When Is It Okay To Be A Dissident? – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Daniel 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Philemon – Hebrews 4; Psalms 76 – 80; Proverbs 16

Read the “0916 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

(Daniel 5:30-31) “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. (31) And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.”

(Daniel 6:1-10) “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; (2) And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. (3) Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. (4) Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. (5) Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. (6) Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. (7) All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. (8) Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. (9) Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. (10) Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

Good morning. When is it okay to be a dissident? Before we delve into this, a dissident is a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state. An authoritarian state is a government that concentrates political power in an authority not responsible to the people. In other words, your Nazism, your Communism, and your Socialism. They, the government, know what is right for you, and your opinion doesn’t matter. In Texas, a few years back, Annise Parker, the openly lesbian mayor of Houston wanted pastors to turn over copies of their sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity, or the mayor herself. Or should what they’ve been preaching be considered a hate crime. All those in charge have to do is pass a law. That’s what the presidents who did not like Daniel did. They got King Darius to pass a law, that no man could ask petition of any god or man; they could only ask the king.

(Daniel 6:10) “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”

Because Daniel obeyed God he was thrown into the den of lions. But God protected Daniel by shutting the mouths of the lions. The presidents who accused Daniel didn’t fair as well…

(Daniel 6:24) “And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.”

Daniel was a dissident, and God backed him up. Peter and the apostles went through a similar situation…

(Acts 5:12-42) “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. (13) And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. (14) And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) (15) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. (16) There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. (17) Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, (18) And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. (19) But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, (20) Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. (21) And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. (22) But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, (23) Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. (24) Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. (25) Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. (26) Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. (27) And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, (28) Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. (29) Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (30) The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. (31) Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. (32) And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. (33) When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them. (34) Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; (35) And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. (36) For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. (37) After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. (38) And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: (39) But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. (40) And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. (41) And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. (42) And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Now what are you going to do when persecution comes? Will you stand for what is right? Will you stand for God? Will you be rejoicing that you were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus? When is it okay to be a dissident? If you are walking in the Spirit, you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. The Holy Spirit will let you know what is right and just.

“O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” (Last verse of The Star-spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key)

May the Heav’n rescued land (that’s us) Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation (that’s God). If we forget God, what good is being a dissident? If God’s not in it, don’t do it. If you are asked to do something that goes against God’s Word, don’t do it. Obeying God is better than sacrificing yourselves for a cause that is not of God.

Peace.


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Have You Forgotten?

have-you-forgotten-9-11

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 38 – 40 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Thessalonians 1 – 3; Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

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

Read the “0911 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – (John 15:13)

22 years ago today our nation was attacked by radical Muslim terrorists filled with hatred for our culture and our freedom. I have not forgotten that day, and I am sure that all of you who read this who were alive on September 11th have not forgotten either. We remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that day. It is my prayer that as the years go by the memory of 9/11 will remain vivid in our hearts and minds for several reasons:

1 I do not want to forget that there is an enemy out there that wants to destroy us. In this world of distraction, we go about busily living our lives almost oblivious to the fact that evil still exists in our world. Satan is still very active, and His hatred for God and God’s people has only become more intense as years have passed. His influence on people has also increased; and there are more people than ever out there who are under his influence, and are willing to do his evil bidding. As Christians, we are admonished to be alert:

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

2 I do not want to forget that there is still a cause worth fighting for. The evil that exists in the world reminds me that I must be daily in the battle, fighting the devil, and working to deliver people from his spell. The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is still the most powerful weapon in our arsenal against the wiles of the devil. The more people that we can reach with the message of salvation, the less people Satan will have to do his bidding. Evil cannot be removed by more evil. It can only be eradicated through the love of Christ.

3 I do not want to forget that there are still people out there that are willing to die for that cause; and there are still folks out there worth dying for. Jesus died to set us free:

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – (John 8:32)

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” – (John 8:36)

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” – (Romans 8:2)

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – (Galatians 5:1)

Jesus died to give us liberty, and there are many still today who are willing to lay down there life for the same cause. The men and woman who are fighting today are fighting for our liberty and freedom. The men and women who were murdered by the terrorists nineteen years ago were murdered because the concept of liberty and freedom was under attack.

The greatest demonstration of love is sacrifice. Jesus commended His love for us by dying on the cross for our sins. Parents show their love for their children by what they sacrifice for them. The men and women that went into those buildings in order to save lives were putting their lives on the line for other people. The men and women that fight for our freedom today are putting their lives in jeopardy for the cause of our liberty. They are sacrificing their own liberty in order to help us keep ours.

Let’s not forget these things. Let’s not forget these people. And let’s get in the battle ourselves, and be willing to sacrifice some of our liberty so that we can help others enjoy theirs.


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Leading The Sheep – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 32 – 34 (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 – Colossians 1 – 4; Psalms 41 – 45; Proverbs 9)

Read the “ 0909 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.” (Ezekiel 34:1-6)

Good morning. During the time of Ezekiel, God was having trouble with His shepherds. They were not taking care of His flocks. The sheep have needs, and they trust the shepherd. The shepherds were not doing anything to relieve their pain, heal their wounds, or to strengthen the sheep. Now shepherds are human: there is none righteous, no not one; and for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10 and 23). Even David, a man after God’s own heart, failed the sheep and the sheep suffered. 1Chronicles 21 says…

“And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” (1Chronicles 21:1)

“And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.” (1Chronicles 21:7)

“So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.” (1Chronicles 21:14)

1) A Leader’s Sin Can Be Costly.

“And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.” (1Chronicles 21:17)

2) A Leader Should Take Responsibility For His Actions.

“Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.” (1Chronicles 21:18)

“And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight.” (1Chronicles 21:24-25)

3) A Leader’s Sin Should Cost Him: It Is Called Chastening.

And…

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:6)

Now here is the lesson. No matter how low you are on the totem pole, there is somebody watching and learning from you. If you are saved you are a shepherd representing the Lord Jesus Christ. The only Good Shepherd that others may see is Jesus in us.

“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Corinthians 3:18-21)

Before I attended Texas Baptist College in Longview Texas, we were at one of their Soul Winning Clinics. While sitting there in the auditorium, a young boy came up to me and asked me to sign his Bible. I told him I was nobody. He said, “Nobodies can be somebody someday.”

I signed his Bible. I still consider myself a nobody, but it got me through college. I knew that little kid would be watching me. I knew people back home would be watching me. Being the oldest student, at 41, I knew the other students would be watching me. It took 5 years, but praise the Lord I graduated. What kind of influence I had on others, if any, is known only by God. But if it wasn’t for the others, I have no idea where I would be. Thank you. When we care about others, we’ll care about the sheep. Somebody is watching you, be a good shepherd.

Peace.


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Conviction

Feeling-Guilty

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 20 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Galatians 4 – 6; Psalms 21 – 25; Proverbs 5)

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

Read the “0905 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.” – (Ezekiel 20:43)

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” – (Romans 7:24)

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

Just a quick thought from the Scripture this morning. Here in chapter 20 & 21, God is delivering a stern rebuke upon the people of Israel for their rebellion against Him. However, there is one place in these two chapters where I see hope for the children of Israel, and it comes here in v 43. This is the place where the people finally recognize their sin against God, and actually feel what would be to us the convicting power of the Holy Spirit of God. I cannot say that I enjoy the feeling of being pronounced guilty from within my own spirit; but I am very glad that God loves me enough to let me know when I am guilty. Incidentally, one of the best assurances that you are a child of God is the presence of the Holy Spirit of God within you.

Notice an important truth about this loathing that people of Israel would feel about themselves. It comes after God gathers them back into the land of Israel, and after He begins to bless them again. He says in verse 44 that the people would realize that God did not deal with them according to their wickedness; He blessed them inspite of the fact that they had turned against Him. They deserved judgment, yet God dealt with them in mercy and grace. The New Testament tells us that it is the love of Christ that constrains us. That verse is referring to His love for us, not our love for Him. When we realize the unmerited and unconditional love that God has for us, it causes us to realize how undeserving of that love we really are, and it brings about the conviction, the self-loathing that Ezekiel speaks about in this passage.

Paul felt the same way about himself in the Book of Romans. He called himself a wretched man. He recognized the sin that was within him. The Holy Spirit of God pointed it out to him, and he didn’t attempt to cover it, hide it, or defend it. He came clean with God. We need to do the same thing. When our Heavenly Father points out to us the things in our lives that displease Him, the best thing that we can do is agree with Him, confess them, and then forsake them. The whole process starts, however, with conviction.


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Rebellion: As The Sin Of Witchcraft – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 10 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Corinthians 5 – 8; Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Read the “0902 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

(Ezekiel 12:1-2) “The word of the LORD also came unto me, saying, (2) Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.”

Good morning. When Obama was president, he announced that the United States was no longer a Christian nation, I laughed and said wanna bet? The Alliance For Religious Freedom said…

“On April 30th, 1789, America had a Constitution and a newly formed government. On that day, the government, the House, and the Senate gathered for the Inauguration of our first president, George Washington. In his Inauguration Address, Washington gave a prophetic warning: “We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and the right which heaven itself has ordained.” Washington’s warning was, if we would begin to depart from God, He would remove His blessings, His prosperity and His protection from our nation.”

And now take a look at America. Just like Israel, America has become a rebellious house. You can see the rebellion in the youth, brought up to believe that there is no God. You can see the rebellion in the laws that allow you to kill unborn babies. You can mention any little ‘g’ god, but don’t mention God or Jesus Christ: the only true living God. (Just a thought: the world would probably forgive you for saying their names if you stub your toe, or hit a finger with a hammer. That’s the way the world is – they want nothing to do with God.)

(Revelation 16:7-21) “And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments. (8) And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. (9} And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. (10) And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, (11) And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. (12) And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. (13) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. (14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (16) And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (17) And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. (18) And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. (19) And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. (20) And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (21) And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

As we see in the passage above, they blasphemed God because they would not give Him the glory He deserves. And they also blasphemed God because they repented not of their deeds. What’s going to happen to them.

(Revelation 20:10-15) “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (11) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Can you see them shaking their fists, and blaspheming the only one that can save them? And now they have to stand before Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, and be judged. This is the direction that America is heading. The people have eyes, but will not see. They have ears, but will not hear. WAKE UP AMERICA BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! Or maybe it is.

Peace.


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God Was Broken?

Today’s Passage – Ezekiel 5 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 2 Corinthians 1 – 4Psalms 1 – 5Proverbs 1)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25

Read the “0901 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s reading – What Do You Do in the Dark?

“And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.” (Ezekiel 6:9)

The prophet Ezekiel was also a priest (Ezekiel 1:3), and was part of the group that was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC, which was the second of three deportations from Judah into Babylon. The first deportation took place in 605 BC where Daniel, Hannaniah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego) were taken. The final deportation took place in 586 BC when the Temple and the entire City of Jerusalem was destroyed. Chapters one through twenty-four of Ezekiel were written prior to the final destruction of Jerusalem, but Ezekiel was already in captivity and was settled at a place called Tel-abib near the Brook Chebar (Ezekiel 3:15). Chebar was likely an irrigation canal that came out of the Euphrates River (and flowed back into the Euphrates) and provided water for an area near the City of Babylon. Throughout our reading today, Ezekiel is prophesying about the coming destruction of Jerusalem. Though, Ezekiel and Daniel were already taken captive, the final act of Nubuchadnezzar against Jerusalem was still in Ezekiel’s future.

My thought for today comes from Ezekiel 6:9. God states through Ezekiel that He was broken because of the idolatry of His people. What does that mean? Well, I do not think it means that God was limited in any way, otherwise He would have been less than God. What it means is that God was hurt, His heart was broken because of the sin of His people. The idolatry and immorality that was rampant and unrepented of in Judah, even after many warnings for decade after decade. The people just did not care what their sin was doing to God. But, what about us? Do we care about how are sin affects God.

I recently did a study on what caused Jesus to weep. There are at least three places in the gospels that reference Jesus being moved to tears:

  • The Sheep Without a Shepherd

“36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38)

  • The Suffering of the Saints

“33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!” (John 11:33-36)

  • The Sin Upon His Shoulders

“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” – (Mark 14:32-36)

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

I do not believe Jesus was not crying because of the physical pain that He would endure on the Cross, but He was moved to tears because of the sins of the world that were about to be put upon Him. He knew what was coming. His Father would have to turn His eyes away from Him because of that sin because He is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:3). Jesus would cry out from the Cross: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).

My sin did that. Yours as well. God is still broken by our sin. Let’s keep that in mind and let’s also consider how much He loves us and what He was willing to do to atone for that sin. The love that Christ has for us ought to constrain us to want to stop sinning.


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I Will Pardon Them Whom I Reserve

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 51 – 52 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 1 – 4Psalms 131 – 135Proverbs 28)

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

Read the “0828 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Are You Still in Prison”

“18 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria. 19 And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead. 20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” (Jeremiah 50:18-20)

Beginning in chapter 47, God is pronouncing judgment through the prophet Jeremiah on all the nations that had been an enemy to God’s people: Philistia (ch. 47), Moab (ch. 48), Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Cedar, Hamon, and Elam (ch. 49). In chapters 50 – 51, the focus of God’s judgment is on Babylon. Again, the judgment described in these chapters seems to surpass the conquering of the Babylonians by the Medes and Persians, which seemed to have happened without much of a fight (see Daniel 5). The description given in these chapters depict the future destruction of Antichrist’s kingdom in Revelation 17 and 18.

Interestingly, chapter 52 goes back in time and discusses the Babylonian siege against Jerusalem, which culminated in 586 BC. It is another historic interlude similar to one we saw in chapter 39. This one reads almost identically to 2 Kings 24:18 – 25:30.

My thought this morning is that though God used Babylon as an instrument of judgment against Israel, which is what the majority of this Book of Jeremiah has been focused on, He will still judge Babylon for what she did to God’s people. God allows and even uses evil people to accomplish His will in the lives of those that belong to Him, but we must not ever make the mistake of confusing God’s chastisement of His own with His ultimate wrath upon those who do not belong to Him.

I remember when I was a boy, my brothers and I used to fight like cats and dogs, but there was never a time when anybody outside of my family could ever attack me without experiencing the wrath of my older brothers. My brothers felt like they could whip up on me all they wanted, but they were not about to let anybody else touch me. That may be a weak illustration but it somewhat pictures God’s dealings with Israel. God would allow a certain measure of punishment to come Israel’s way but He would never allow them to be completely destroyed. However, the nations, like those listed above and in chapters 47 – 51, had no such guarantee. God ultimately destroyed (or will destroy) these nations that had oppressed Israel.

What is the application for us today? If you belong to God, you are in His hands and no-one can pluck you out of God’s hands. Absolutely nothing bad can happen to you unless God for some very good reason wills it to happen. Nothing gets past the desk of God. He sees everything that is happening in your life. I am reminded of what Satan told God in the Book of Job: “10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land” (Job 1:10). How did Satan know that God had hedged Job in on every side? He must have been trying to get in, but God wouldn’t let him. It is the same way with us. Satan can only do what God permits him to do to us, and the same principle applies to all our enemies. Israel had to be chastised for their rebellion against God, but God never forsook them, and He still has a wonderful plan for them. He has a wonderful plan for you as well. Notice Jeremiah 50:20 above. God sees Israel without iniquity and completely pardoned; and if you belong to God, that is how He sees you as well.

Notice what Spurgeon said about v. 20: “Those sins were of no common order. The Israelites were always a stiff-necked and rebellious race. Israel’s sins were of the most heinous character because of the greatness of their privileges and the peculiar and special love the Lord had lavished on them. They were positively unmatched in guilt by any nation under heaven. For all of that, the Israelites cast away their God. They who had worshiped the Lord turned aside from him and bowed down before Baal and went after other gods and worshiped idols. But their provocations, their idolatries, their lusts were all to be swept away and to be forgotten.” (Spurgeon. 2017. The Spurgeon Study Bible: Notes. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers).

We all deserve the judgment and destruction that Babylon received (and will receive in the future), but God in His marvelous grace has pardoned those who have placed their faith in Him. What an awesome God we serve!


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Heartache, Failure, and Disappointments by Pastor Matthew Swiatkowski

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 49 – 50 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

Read a previous post from today’s passage – “A Word to the Shepherds.”

(Second Milers also read – Romans 13 – 16Psalms 126 – 130Proverbs 27)

Read the “0827 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

This article was originally published in the Gospel Light Baptist Church Newsletter (08/19/2023).

For this story, we will refer to the young man as Paul. And at this point in his high school years, he is deeply in love with a girl we will call Linda. To everybody who could see from the outside, they made a perfect couple. He was a good-looking young man with a great sense of humor, a slim, muscular physique, and instead of attending a regular high school, he opted to enroll in a technical school. This decision allowed him to receive an education and gain a trade that he could utilize after graduation. She was a pretty girl with brown hair parted in the middle, feathered in the style of the day, and pretty, blue eyes. This much I can say is true–that Paul loved her with all his heart. His brothers knew how he felt about her, and they were glad that he was happy and maybe even a little jealous.

Everyone has a best friend, and his closest friend, whom we will call Tom, was always there to support him, or so it seemed. Tom was a good-looking young man. You might even say he was Hollywood handsome. Tom always seemed to attract a crowd of girls wherever he went. By now, you might guess where this is going, and yes, Tom and Linda began to have a fling behind Paul’s back. One day, Paul’s youngest brother walked in on Linda and Tom as they were embraced in each other’s arms in the clubhouse in the backyard of Paul’s home. Sadly, his youngest brother was too young to understand what was taking place, and maybe that’s a good thing. Knowing his younger brother as I do and his anger issues at the time, if he were older, there would be bloodshed. Eventually, the ugly truth was revealed. To say Paul was hurt would be an understatement; he was devastated. He lost the first girl he truly loved and lost his best friend. This is not the first time this has occurred to someone in history, and it wouldn’t be the last. Five years later, it happened to two friends of mine. I told the one he shouldn’t do that behind his friend’s back. He didn’t listen, and it got ugly. By the way, God gave Ten Commandments, and #9 is not to covet thy neighbor’s wife. The whole idea is not to covet what belongs to someone else.

Back to Paul. Losing the one you love, or a best friend is often difficult, but losing both in this manner can be a challenging hurdle to overcome. It would take Paul a long time to restore his emotions. To complicate matters, his father was of no support. His dad was the type of man who would constantly criticize and put you down. Paul’s confidence was shattered on every level, as infidelity often destroys a person’s self-worth and self-value. If nobody is there trying to help you put the pieces back together, the healing process will be very long. 

Fast forward 30 years, Paul and I talked, and he told me how he had come across Linda one day. He said they had a pleasant conversation. I stood there listening as he spoke. He said, “Well, I’m finally over her”. Puzzled and with a halfway smile, I asked why. He said, “Well, I’ve met her many times since we broke up, and this is the first time my heart didn’t hurt.” That first cut goes deep and often takes a long time to heal. 

Many people have suffered heartache from others. Infidelity, divorce, and constantly being put down or ignored affect an individual’s self-worth. The sad reality is that when one suffers this type of pain, it usually leads to a misstep that causes another heartache. 

The question often asked is how you overcome painful hurts and bad episodes in your life. The answer is, dealing with our pain with scripture. The above story with Paul. Linda and Tom have been played out untold times in the course of history. Books, poems, songs, and movies have told its ugly story. When I think of it from time to time, I am reminded that everyone involved lost something and nobody gained a thing. The fling between Tom and Linda did not last long. Remember for everything you win there is something lost. 

Any counseling that does not involve God and His Word is useless. Dealing with emotional pain and mental anguish with medication will never bring healing, never. 

I have several historical events in the gospels that I love and never grow tired of reading and studying. 

The first is the woman at the well (John 4:1-42). The second we will discuss next week.

The woman at the well presents us with a worst-case scenario—a very immoral individual. In the story of the demoniac, we have another worst-case scenario, it’s bad on every level, with Peter denying the Lord another worst-case scenario and Saul of Tarsus the same thing. God tells us these stories to remind us he is in the saving business. The next time you think you are too rotten for help, remember your bible.

In our story above, it would be effortless to say that if Paul had been in church and serving the Lord, he would not have had this heartache and emotional damage. That’s a cheap answer, and when we study the life of our Saviour, it’s something He never said to anybody.

Imagine Him meeting with the woman at the well, and He said something like this: “You know, if you had just followed what I said in the Bible, you wouldn’t have those five loser husbands, and you wouldn’t be shacking up with this individual right now!” The conversation would have gone nowhere, and there would have been no conversion and no city coming to faith. Telling someone they should not have done it after the heartache is idiotic. So, how did the Master deal with this woman?

First, He treated her like a human. The day’s culture was to think of her as inferior because of her gender; She was also of mixed race, which was another strike. She had five failed marriages and no doubt lived in an immoral way between marriages. Christ came to her knowing all this, yet He still talked with her and was there to help her.

Second, He brought up her relationships, but He didn’t dwell on them and beat her up. The point of it was to expose her need and to reveal Himself. If you miss that last one, you miss the whole story.

Third, the conversation turns spiritual from here, and the Master tells her He is the Messiah. This, of course, leads to her salvation.

Human nature never changes; how people feel now is how they felt 2000 years ago. This dear lady was lonely and hurt by all the wrong choices and pain others inflicted upon her. There is no doubt that she had been hurt by someone in her life, and she, in turn, probably hurt others. There is something inherent in our sinful nature that when we are emotionally damaged by someone, we seek to hurt them back. In the case of adultery, too often, the victim will go out and commit the same sin to get back at the one they love. Sadly, too often, people will afflict themselves and often blame themselves for why the one they love did what they did. 

Nowhere in this does the Saviour tell her, you need to move on, you need to go forward, you have great worth, you are awesome. He does something better. He saves her soul, and that will lead to a changed life. She did have worth, and it was in her changed life. She had to choose where she wanted to live: in the past, where all her defeats and pains were, or to walk in the newness of life and the value Christ had placed upon her; thus, she could look at herself in her mirror or see herself through the lens of scripture, where she is a justified, blood-bought child of God.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)

I do not doubt that this lady told her live-in boyfriend about Christ, and if he did not believe, he was looking for a new place to stay that night.

The Apostle Paul, who was once Saul of Tarsus, the killer of Christians, wrote through the Holy Spirit this way:

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Philippians 3:12-15)


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A Full End? – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 46 – 48 (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 – Romans 9 – 12; Psalms 120 – 125; Proverbs 26)

Read the “0826 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

(Jeremiah 46:27-28) “But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. (28) Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.

Good morning. Did you know there are over 5 million Jews living in the United States, driven here by God where they could be free for a while. In the verses above, God says He will make a full end of all the nations whither He has driven His people. America too? It would be nice to see all of America shoot for the sky at the rapture of the church, but after seeing all the rioting in places across our country, I just think that there are many unsaved living here. There is nothing about the United States in the end times: after the rapture. However, when Russia and it’s allies invade Israel, Ezekiel 38:13 tells us that Sheba, and Dedan (Saudi Arabia), and the merchants of Tarshish (Europe), with all the young lions (nations that came out of England: Australia, Canada, the United States?) thereof, are going to protest the invasion. In a weakened state, that may be all we can do. After the rapture, all hell will break loose. Tearing down a statue is not going to change history. A bunch of idiotic white supremacists are not going to erase the memory of the six-million Jews murdered by trying to re-institute the Nazi Party. Unfortunately, it is all part of the end times…

2Ti 3:1-13 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, (7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (8) Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. (9) But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. (10) But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, (11) Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. (12) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (13) But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

My friend Nick went home to be with the Lord on Aug. 12, 2017. His family and church had a memorial service for him on Aug. 17. I met his parents for the first time. His dad was black, and his mom was white. After seeing all the garbage in the news, it was great to see both blacks and whites gathered together to say goodbye to Nick. He influenced and affected many people because of the love of Jesus in him. And he showed, to all he met, that love. And that’s the way it should be…

(John 13:34-35) “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

People need the LORD before a full end.

Peace.


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