God Forbid!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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Guilty But Pronounced Innocent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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What Makes You Happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Three Steps To A Solid Christian Life – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passages – Acts 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 101 – 105Proverbs 21)

Read the “1121 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” (Acts 17:10-12)

Good morning. We can learn a lot from the Berean people, who were more noble than those in Thessalonica. First of all…

1) They received the Word with all readiness of mind.

They were ready to study the Scriptures about all that Paul and Silas were teaching them. They wanted what Romans 12:2 offered: the perfect will of God…

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

2) They searched the Scriptures daily.

They read their Bible every day. Sometimes we get too busy, and don’t have time to read. Make time. I can’t remember what day our Walking With God pages were due in college, but you could see on that day, in the library, many “running with God:” filling all their pages for the week. But the Berean people searched the Scriptures daily. They made the time to walk with God.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2Timothy 2:15)

3) They believed.

They strengthened their faith. You are saved by grace through faith…

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

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

One of the saddest verses in the Bible is about belief…

“And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13:57-58)

We should be more like the Berean people in receiving the Word with all readiness of mind, searching the Scriptures daily, and believing what God says in His Word.

Amen! And Peace!


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Is Your Cup Half Empty Or Half Full? – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passages – John 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 –Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

Read the “1114 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do ? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.” (John 21:15-22)

After filling in Peter on what he would go through, Peter asks what shall this man (John) do? Jesus basically told him, it shouldn’t matter to you, you follow Me. There are way too many critics in this world, we need more Christians to pick up their crosses and follow Jesus. Take the new Christmas cup from Starbuck’s. You can yell an scream because there’s nothing about Jesus on it. But look at the rest of the cup, it’s red. Just like the shed blood of Jesus.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:8-9)

Or you can show someone, see this emblem? It’s green just like money…

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)

I guess some people just can’t see the good in anything. Instead of tearing down, maybe we should be building up. Jesus told us, “You follow Me.”

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalm 1:1)

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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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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Great Joy and Great Glory Sometimes Come from Great Suffering

Today’s Passages – John 10 – 11 (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 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)

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

Read the “1110 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Door”

“When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. … 45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.” (John 11:4, 45 KJV)

Our church has been studying 1st Peter on Sunday mornings for a couple of months now, and we have been paying close attention to the subject of suffering. The believers in Peter’s day were going through much tribulation because of their identification with the Lord Jesus Christ. In that study of 1st Peter we have considered the possible reasons that God would allow a person or church to experience trials or suffering. We have concluded that there are three reasons that stand out: the glory of God; the furtherance of the gospel or edification of believers (others are watching); and the instruction or correction of the person (or people) suffering. In the account of the sickness, death, and resurrection of Lazarus here in John 11, we see all three.

In the story of Lazarus several thoughts come to mind. Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. However, Jesus allowed the people He loved dearly to suffer. Lazarus was sick unto death and Jesus did not go to heal him. Lazarus suffered through his sickness, and though his sisters were not ill themselves, they suffered along with him because they loved him dearly. They also had to endure the suffering of grief for four long days while they mourned for their brother after he had died. By the way, we sometimes forget that none of these folks knew what Jesus was going to do. In their minds, Lazarus was gone forever. Even Jesus suffered somewhat. He “wept;” he “groaned in the spirit,” which is very interesting because He knew that Lazarus’ death was only temporary. Perhaps, He wept because He knew that He was removing Lazarus from the place of comfort that he was then in (after he died and went to Paradise), and was bringing him back into a sin-cursed, Christ-rejecting world.

We can see from this account that the suffering of Lazarus and his sisters accomplished all three of the purposes mentioned above:

  1. Christ was glorified in that Mary and Martha, though struggling, maintained their testimony of faith in Christ. He was also glorified because of the fact that the many folks who were present had the chance to witness a great miracle, and Christ was magnified in their eyes.
  2. The believers present were also edified and strengthened in their faith, and many unbelievers believed as a result of what they saw and heard.
  3. Mary, Martha, and all of the people present learned a great lesson about trusting in God. Though their suffering was not a consequence of some action on their part, they were corrected in their thinking nonetheless.

How about you? What is your attitude regarding the suffering that God has allowed to come your way? We need to learn to accept the fact that the God who we love and serve also loves us. He is well aware of what we are enduring, and He is working in us, and in those around us, through our trials. We need to believe that God truly will “work all things together for good” in our lives (Romans 8:28), and trust that the suffering that we may go through today will produce a greater joy sometime in the future. We simply need to trust Him.

See the handwritten notes from this passage – John 11 – 4


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Who Did Sin?

Today’s Passages – John 8 – 9; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 41 – 45Proverbs 9)

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

Read the “1109 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Put Down Your Stones

“And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:2-3)

In John 9, we have the familiar account of Jesus healing the man who was born blind. Jesus disciples inquired as to why this man was born blind. Often in Bible times, human suffering was attributed to some type of sin. They must have reasoned that since the man was born with the condition, it must have been caused by the sin of his parents. It has to be somebody’s fault, right? You may recall the Old Testament story of Job. Job’s friends thought the same thing about all of his problems. “It must be your fault Job! You must have done something to cause it.” Jesus refutes this argument and states that in this case, the man’s blindness was not caused by any particular sin, but rather that this blind man’s condition and subsequent healing would be used to glorify God. 

This story does bring up some interesting questions regarding human suffering. Did God create it? And, if He is a loving and powerful God, why would He allow it to continue? The disciples in John 9 thought that this man’s suffering was specifically caused as the result of a particular person’s sin. Though Jesus corrects their logic regarding this particular case of blindness, He does not here address the subject of the root causes of human suffering in general. The fact is that human suffering  is cause by sin. The curse of sin upon the world is behind all of the pain and misery that we are experiencing. Had sin not came into the world, there would be no disease or death. The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23a) We live in a sin cursed world, and the evidences of the decay are everywhere. And, to complicate matters further, man continues to make more sinful choices that adds to problem and accelerates the decline. So, in answer to the question: who did sin? The answer is “Adam,” but the answer is also “me.” I didn’t cause all of the problems with the sinful world around me, but unfortunately, I have at times, contributed to it because of my own sinful actions.However, even in the midst of a sin-cursed world, God can be greatly glorified, and his marvelous works will be manifested for the world to see.

For many years, we had a man who was born blind attending our church. He was a great guy, and though he was blind, he was also extremely gifted. He could play the piano and organ beautifully, and he also had literally hundreds of Bible passages committed to memory. When people saw this man, their attention may at first have been drawn to his blindness, but eventually they could not miss the fact that God was using him in an awesome way. This man’s life glorified the Lord greatly. God’s works were made manifest in his life. 

You and I can do the same thing in this imperfect and sometimes painful world that we live in. Don’t let the results of sin keep you from finding ways to manifest God’s grace and glory. We can glorify God and show the world his amazing and supernatural grace even through our times of suffering. 


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To Whom Shall I Go?

To-whom-shall-we-go-Today’s Passages – John 6 – 7; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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