Glory in the Lord

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

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

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

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

Read through the following verses from chapters one through four in today’s reading and look for a recurring theme.

“18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

“1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

“18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. 21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;” (1 Corinthians 3:18-21)

“7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? … 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; 12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: 13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” (1 Corinthians 4:7, 10-13)

Did you notice in these chapters that God drives home the point that He does not need our natural talents, abilities, strength, wisdom, wealth, charisma, or anything else that we might possess in order to fulfill His will and accomplish His plan. If God’s work was accomplished through our human effort and ability then we would not need God, and we could claim all of the credit for ourselves. However, if anything is going to be done for the Lord it will have to be done through His working in and through us. This does not mean that we are not participants. To be sure, God uses willing servants who are yielded to Him, but He is not dependent upon our abilities, wisdom, wealth, or charisma to do what He wants to do.

If God is going to be glorified, our fleshly “attributes” are going to have to be minimized. He does not need talented orators to speak for Him. What He needs are Spirit-filled men and women who will boldly speak the truth with liberty as well as love. He needs people who are wholly yielded to Him, and are not pushing some agenda of their own or are seeking the attention that belongs only to Him.

This is very encouraging to me as a pastor in our church and a preacher of the gospel. I am well aware of my human limitations. Sometimes I wonder why God would call me into His ministry, but then I am reminded by verses like these that it has nothing to do with what I can or cannot do; the work must be done by the Lord through me. I am simply not smart enough or talented enough to do what God has called me to do. It must be done by Him through me. That way, I will have nothing to brag about and He alone will get the glory.


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If the Lord Will

Today’s Passages – Romans 14 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Compassion for People

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

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

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

“1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises; 5 Whose [are] the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ [came], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 9:1 – 5)

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” (Romans 10:1)

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

Paul had a burden to reach all people with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He wanted to see them saved from their sins and on their way to Heaven. He loved all people and preached Christ to everyone, but he especially had a concern for the people of Israel. In chapter nine above, he made an incredible statement. He said that he was willing, if it were possible, to be “accursed from Christ,” if it could somehow save the Jewish people. Of course, it was not possible for Paul to exchange his salvation for theirs, but I think we see his heart concerning the people that he loves here.

I must confess that I have often had a more cavalier attitude toward those who are lost. I don’t ever remembering consciously wishing that I could go to Hell in the place of someone else. However, at the heart of the gospel there should be a willingness to sacrifice, because that is the nature of Christ. In Matthew 9:36 (above) we see Jesus’ compassion on Israel because of their lost condition. To be “moved with compassion” means that He wept over them. Christ is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9), and “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 1:4). Jesus, however, was the only One who could actually take our place, and He did so by dying on the Cross for our sins. 

As we begin to think about the coming New Year, let us ask the Lord to help us be more compassionate, and have more of a burden for the lost world around us. There are so many people out there who need Christ and so little time left to reach them. I once heard a missionary say that everything we do as Christians we could do better in Christ’s presence in Heaven. However, the one thing that we cannot do after the Lord brings us home to Heaven is reach lost people with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. That we can only do while we are still here. We need to get busy.


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Are You Glorying? – The Saturday Morning Post

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

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 126 – 130; Proverbs 26)

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

“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. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:1-5)

Good Morning! Are you glorying this morning? Do you have Jesus as your own personal Saviour? Then you have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. And you also have access by faith to His grace. But what I really want to focus on is verses 3 through 5: we can glory in tribulations. From tribulation we get patience, from patience comes experience. From experience we get hope. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Are you glorying yet?

If you want to see a good illustration of how we glory in tribulation, go to www.lancasterbaptist.org and look for a video sermon called ‘Stewarding Trials.’ What it boils down to is that we keep God’s good gifts, and throw away those we perceive as being bad. But according to this passage, what we believe to be bad things are actually good: we can glory in tribulations. We get patience, experience, and hope.

Let me give you the three points I gave on Wednesday night. The first was what Bro. Gerald always says: “God is good all the time and all the time God is good.” God is perfect, so His goodness is perfect. And that brings us to the second point. James 1:17 tells us that:

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

The gifts, or blessings we get from Him are good and perfect. The third point came from Romans 8:28:

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

So, God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.

God’s gifts are good and perfect.

And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

And adding Romans 5:3 to this list: we can glory in our tribulations: they are good and perfect gifts from God.

When we get to a point where we fully understand the sovereignty of God, that He is in control of everything, it will motivate us to look for God’s purpose in everything. It will be easier for us to submit to His will. These “good” gifts will remind us of our dependence on God. They will get our focus back on the Lord and off our circumstances. Remember Peter walking on the water: he took his eyes off Jesus, and started to sink. But the Lord was there to keep him from drowning. All our anxiety, and worry can be placed on the Lord. Just know that…

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.

God’s gifts are good and perfect.

And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Are you glorying yet?

Whatever you are going through, God knows about it. Maybe He is just waiting for you to tell Him about it. Start glorying!

Peace.


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Not Thankful?

Today’s Passages – Romans 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 120 – 125; Proverbs 25)

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

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

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. (Romans 1:18-23)

America has just celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, which originated as a time where gratitude was expressed for all that God has blessed us with. Contrary to what you may have heard by those who are revising our history, the first Thanksgiving was established here on American soil by Governor William Bradford and the Pilgrims:

“To All Ye Pilgrims: Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.”  (William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony.)

The holiday of Thanksgiving has been a tradition in just about every culture thought throughout history. It originated as a celebration of the fall harvest, but before the civil war it was celebrated on various dates depending upon which state you lived in. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday, and affixed a permanent date – the final Thursday in November. Franklin Roosevelt changed the date to the fourth Thursday in November.

Thanksgiving for the Christian should not be just a one day remembrance; it should be an everyday occurrence. Our lives should be continual expressions of a heart of thanksgiving for the gift of salvation as well as for all of the other bonus blessings that God has bestowed on us. The Thanksgiving holiday for Christians should be the time that we remind ourselves to be thankful all the time, not only to the Lord, but also to the many people in our lives who have been a help to us.

Mankind, by nature, does not tend to be thankful, however. When we consider our reading from Romans 1 – 3, we see the Apostle Paul proving exhaustively the depravity of mankind, which seems to be increasing every day. Our world is becoming more and more evil as time moves forward. But notice how it all started. Way back in the beginning of the process mankind became unappreciative of all that God had done for them. “They glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.” To give glory to God means to shine light upon His goodness; it literally has the idea of making Him look good. He is always good, but we often fail to represent or manifest His goodness in our lives. And because we fail to see God as the Source of all goodness and blessing, we fail to appreciate Him for all that He is and all that He has done. We begin to take credit for things that were given to us. We are quick to complain when things are not going the way we want them to and we are quick to blame God for every tragedy that takes place in our lives, but when something good happens to us, we want to steal God’s glory, and claim it for ourselves. Once God is off the throne and man has replaced Him, it only goes downhill from there. Men become fools, and begin to do very foolish and wicked things. 

I know that Thanksgiving, as a holiday, has passed, but let me encourage you to remember where your bread is buttered. Give credit where it is due. Thank God today, after the holiday, and be sure to continue to be thankful everyday. 


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To Be Continued

Today’s Passages – Acts 26 – 28 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 116 – 118Proverbs 24)

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

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

“23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. 25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, 26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. 30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, 31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” (Acts 28:23-31)

There are many things that we can discuss from the reading this morning, but as I was contemplating the passage the Lord brought to my mind three main thoughts. First, I was encouraged by the fact that Paul kept moving forward even though he faced many obstacles, some of which were cause by his own mistakes. Paul was warned twice by the Lord not to go to Jerusalem (Acts 21:4; 11), and then when he arrived there Jesus personally appeared to him in a vision and told him to leave (Acts 22:18). Paul should not have gone to Jerusalem even though he was going for good reasons. As a result he ended up arrested by the chief captain, Claudius Lysius. He was then sent to Caesarea where he was detained for two years under Governor Felix and then Governor Festus. He then appealed his case to Caesar, which meant that he was going to have to travel to Rome where he would face many dangerous circumstances including a shipwreck and a bite from a poisonous snake. All throughout these journeys Paul is witnessing with both his words and his works about the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Eventually, he makes it to Rome where he has the opportunity to witness to many more people and also write many letters to the churches, including the four Prison Epistles that we have in our Bible. Paul never quit telling people about Jesus, even when things were going horribly for him.

My second thought from today’s reading comes from vs. 25 – 27 (above). Paul is quoting from Isaiah:

“9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:9-10)

“10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.” (Isaiah 29:10)

Jesus also quoted from this Old Testament prophet:

“15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matthew 13:15)

Notice that Paul and Jesus both state it a little differently than Isaiah. Jesus and Paul explains that the people are the ones who have closed their eyes. Isaiah words it in such a way that it almost appears that the blame for the people’s rejection is on God. However, Jesus and Paul both make it clear that it is the people who have closed their own eyes to the Truth of the Gospel.

My final thought from this wonderful Book of Acts has to do with the abrupt ending of it. It stops at Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. We know that Paul will live on a few more years and will be imprisoned at least one more time, and will finally be put to death by Nero. Why does this Book seemingly end prematurely. I believe it is because the Book of Acts when never intended to give us a complete history of the New Testament church, nor even a complete history of Paul or any of the other Apostles. It only gives us the beginning of the story, but the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the world through believers was “To Be Continued.” It is continuing today through you, and through me.


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Envy – The Saturday Morning Post

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

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

“Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you. And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.” (Acts 13:40-49)

Good morning. I remember reading an article, this was over 10 years ago, about a man in Chicago who was beaten by a bunch of thugs because he voted for Trump. And I also read about Hillary uncontrollably crying over the phone because she did not win the election. It is one thing to cry because your feelings are hurt, but when those feelings turn to lashing out and physically hurting someone, that is envy. That’s what happened to Paul and Barnabas, if you read the next verse: they raised up persecutions against Paul and Barnabas…

“But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.” (Acts 13:50)

This would happen to them again in Acts 17…

“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.” (Acts 17:1-5)

Proverbs 14:30 tells us that envy is as rottenness to the bones. And Proverbs 27:4 asks who can stand against envy? Able could not…

“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 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. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Genesis 4:3-8)

Jesus faced envy from the priests…

“But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him.” (Mark 15:9-13)

Romans 1:28-32 shows us that envy is part of a reprobate mind…

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:28-32)

Envy is a part of being carnal…

“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1Corinthians 3:3)

Envy is a part of the works of the flesh…

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

We are warned ourselves, in both Proverbs and Psalms, not to be envious of the wicked…

“…Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” (Psalm 37:1-2)

“For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:3)

“Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.” (Proverbs 3:31)

“Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.” (Proverbs 24:1-2)

One thing we can do to combat envy: to keep it from welling up inside us is to walk honestly: do that which is right…

“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” (Romans 13:13)

Another thing we can do is love…

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…” (1Corinthians 13:1-8)

Peace!


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In Complete Control

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

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

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121

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

3 Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5 They him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.” (John 18:3-6)

Sometimes when we reflect upon the arrest and crucifixion of the Lord we mistakenly think that He was a victim of circumstances that were completely out His control. However, every event surrounding His death was ordered by Him. He did not cause sinful men to act as they did toward him, but he did allow them to do what He knew what was already in their hearts, and He controlled every aspect of their actions to the extent that everything that happened to Him was exactly as He planned. He stated in Matthew’s gospel that He could have called down twelve legions of angels and put a stop to the whole thing, but that was not what He had planned (Matthew 26:53).

In the text above, we see the band of soldiers (σπεῖρα – speira – a tenth of a legion or 600 men) falling to the ground after Jesus spoke three words: “I am he.” Interestingly, in the Greek the word “he” is understood, but is not stated. It literally says, “I am”  (Ἐγώ εἰμι). This phrase is very important for us to understand. It is recorded often in the Gospel of John, and is a direct reference to His deity. When Moses asked the Lord at the burning bush what His name was, God said: “I AM” ((Exodus 3:13 – 14). Someone once described “I am” as pertaining to God in “the eternal present tense.” God is not “I was” or “I will be,” but always, “I AM.” He dwells outside of time. 

In John’s Gospel we see this phrase many times. Here are some of them.

  • “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
  • “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
  • “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
  • “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28)
  • “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
  • “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. (John 10:7)
  • I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
  • “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (John 10:36)
  • “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (John 11:25)
  • “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
  • I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1)

Notice also that Jesus commands his captors to let his disciples go. The word, “let” (ἄφετε from ἀφίημι – aphiēmi) is in the imperative mood, which “expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding” (BLB). We know that this order was completely obeyed as all of the disciples retained their freedom. Even Peter, who took a sword and attacked one of the soldier was permitted to leave without any punishment. Jesus was calling the shots.

Not to belabor the point, but I also noticed in chapter nineteen that Jesus was even in control of the exact timing of His death. The soldiers came to break His legs so that Jesus would die more quickly, but when they arrived on the scene, they had discovered that he was already dead. Just to be sure, one of them took a spear and pierced His side, These events were in direct fulfillment of what was prophesied regarding Him in the Old Testament (Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20; Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10). Consider also the following verses:

“14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:14-18)

“Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12:27)

Nobody took Jesus’ life away from Him, He freely gave it. He came to die. He “set [his] face like a flint” to the Cross (Isaiah 50:7). He was doing exactly what He willed to do, and He did it for you and me.

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

He was in complete control of His circumstances the entire time. He is also in complete control of all of your circumstances. You need not fear what men can do to you; just fear God and yield to His will for your life.


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These Things – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passages – John 14 – 16; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

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

“Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:22-26)

Good morning. Jesus said if a man love me, he will keep my words. These things He has spoken to us about, and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, will remind us of these things when they are needed.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 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.” (John 16:1-7)

These things, the things that Jesus said are to be kept and remembered by us.

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165)

We should not be offended when tribulation and persecution come upon us.

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.” (John 15:18-22)

But be of good cheer, that’s what Jesus said…

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

We can have peace, and good cheer; and we can also have love, and joy…

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)

But it all starts with love…

“These things I command you, that ye love one another.” (John 15:17)

The reason we love Jesus is because He first loved us. And the love that we show should extend to everyone: from those weeping at the feet of Jesus to the soldier who nailed the spikes through His hands and feet…

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

The world is full of unsaved people: as a matter of fact – everybody has sinned. They may not know the Lord, but they can learn if someone tells them. God has given us a chance to tell others of the Love that Jesus has for them. Tell them. The only way you can know if a person maybe saved is to ask. Let’s not drop the ball this time.

Peace!


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We Would See Jesus

Today’s Passages – John 12 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 51 – 55Proverbs 11)

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

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

Read previous posts from this passage – “Closet Christians,” “Servant Leadership,” and “Mad About the Money.

“And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:20-21)

In our passage today we read about the Triumphal Entry of the Lord Jesus, just a few days prior to His crucifixion. At this point Jesus has many admirers; some of the people were crying out: “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13). Of course, we know that the vast majority of these folks will be crying, “Crucify him,” in just a few days (John 19:6; 15). The Pharisees were also there on that day, watching Jesus carefully, and looking for an opportunity to get rid of him.

Among the people that were there in Jerusalem for the Passover were “Greeks” who apparently were converts to Judaism because they were there “to worship.” They were observing the events that were taking place and desired to learn a little bit more about Jesus who was the center of all the attention. They came to Philip and “desired him,” meaning they begged him to let them see Jesus. Philip was perhaps unsure about bringing these Gentiles to Jesus so he checked with Andrew. Together, however, they decide to tell the Master. Though we cannot be sure specifically what happens to these Greeks, it seems that Jesus may have been referring to people like them when he said: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). The “all men” in this verse certainly applies to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Jesus also previously told his disciples: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16) This, too, is likely a reference to Gentiles. In His Great Commission, He commanded that “all nations” (ἔθνος – ethnos) be taught, baptized, and discipled (Matthew 28:18 – 19). I for one am very glad that Jesus did not exclude us Gentiles.

The point of my thought this morning is that there are people out there in our world that desire to know Jesus. They may not be people who we would expect to be interested, and they may not be the people who we normally would hang around with, but they are the very people who Jesus died for, and who he came “to seek and to save” (Luke 19:10). We need to be like Philip and Andrew who were willing to take a risk to bring  these folks to Christ. By the way, Philip and Andrew both were known for pointing people to Christ. Philip told Nathanael about Jesus (John 1:45 – 48), and Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus (John 1:40 – 42). Who have you introduced to Jesus? Who have I brought to Jesus lately? In these perilous last days, we need to get out of our comfort zones and look for people who are looking for Jesus. 

See the handwritten notes from this passage – John 12 – 20 – 21


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