November 26, 2023 – Counts Your Blessings
As we are entering the holiday season, we have so many things to be thankful for. We are blessed! This old gospel song written by Johnson Oatman in 1897 says it all. We just need to count our blessings every morning we wake up that God has given us another day. It will surprise you what the Lord has done. Be thankful!
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
November 19, 2023 – In His Image
Genesis 1:26: Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
We are made in the image of God. Man is different from every other created being. There is a difference between human life and animal life. We are distinct in our moral, intellectual, and spiritual capabilities.
There is also a difference between human life and angelic life. Nowhere are we told the angels are made in the image of God. Angels can’t have the same kind of relationship of love and fellowship with God we can have.
Humans possess personality: knowledge, feelings, and a will. This sets man apart from all animals and plants. Humans possess morality: we can make moral judgments and have a conscience. We possess spirituality: man is made to communicate with God.
In Our image doesn’t mean that God has a physical or human body. God is Spirit. John 4:24 says, God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. Though God doesn’t have a physical body, He designed man so his physical body could do many of the things God does: see, hear, smell, touch, speak, think, and so forth.
Before God ever created man, He decreed that man would have dominion over the earth. Man’s superiority of the created order and his ability to affect his environment is no accident; it is part of God’s plan for man and the earth.
November 12, 2023 – Wise Fools
Romans 1:22: Professing to be wise, they became fools
Once a man rejects the truth of God in Jesus Christ, he will fall for anything foolish, and trust far more things and ideas than what he rejects from God. The ways that seem wise and right to most people in the world are typically just the opposite of what God says is right. Those who oppose God are often so proud of their views that they refuse to even consider the truth. Because they haven’t surrendered to the authority of God or His Word, they are blinded to the truth by Satan.
2 Corinthians 4:4 says: whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. As a result, their concepts of good and evil, right and wrong are twisted. We see this many times in those who are highly educated and intelligent. 1 Corinthians 1:20 says: Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? And Isaiah 55:8 says, for My thoughts are not your thoughts.
Those who continue in their own ideas and defy God’s truth really show their ignorance and foolishness; but one day all will stand before God’s righteous judgment.
November 5, 2023 – The Way of The Righteous
Psalms 1:1: Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
Blessed is the man speaks of the happiness and the contentment in the life of the man or woman who is right with God. The righteous man will be a blessed man, a happy man. The righteous man and the ungodly man are different in how they think, how they behave, and to whom they belong.
Adam Clarke said: “The great lesson to be learned from the whole is, sin is progressive; one evil propensity or act leads to another. He who acts by bad counsel may soon do evil deeds; and he who abandons himself to evil doings may end his life in total apostasy from God.”
The righteous man knows how to discern the counsel, or advice, of the ungodly. Many don’t even consider if advice is godly or ungodly. They often hear advice about their problems, and they find themselves agreeing or disagreeing without considering, “Is this godly or ungodly counsel?”
The righteous man also knows the counsel of the ungodly can come from one’s own self. Our own conscience, our mind, our heart, can give us ungodly advice. The righteous man knows where to find completely godly counsel. God’s word is always the best counselor.
Sinners have a path upon which they stand. The righteous man knows he doesn’t belong on that path. Path can be a way, a road, a direction – and the righteous man isn’t traveling in the same direction as sinners.
Matthew 7:13: Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. The righteous can have the confidence of Psalm 16:11: You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. God has a path, and it’s a good road to take.
October 29, 2023 – How Long O Lord
King David said in Psalms 13:1 How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
All of us have asked God this question at one time or another and all of us have probably felt neglected by God – or at least felt that He has waited a long time to do what needs to be done.
Many of us have serious needs at times and we feel we could handle them if we knew when it would end. Sometimes, like Daved those problems make us cry out, “How long?”
David felt that God had forgotten him, and that God was distancing Himself from him. He had probably faced worse circumstances but had been able to face them better when he had sensed the presence of God with him. Yet now, feeling distant from God, it didn’t take much for David to despair.
God will never forget us. Isaiah 49:14-16: But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.
2 Thessalonians 1:9 says, These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. John Trapp said, “The final absence of God is hell itself. ‘Depart from me, ye cursed,’ is worse than ‘into everlasting fire.’ To be punished from the presence of the Lord is the hell of hells.”
God didn’t forget David and He didn’t hide His face from him – but David felt like it. When we have such strong feelings, then the feelings become reality. David felt God had forgotten him, and felt God was hiding. So, in a sense, it was true for David – but true according to feelings, not according to fact
Some people ignore feelings and think that feelings should have nothing to do with our relationship with God. But God has given us feelings as an expression of His image in us. We can feel anger, love, care, sorrow, and many other feelings because God feels those feelings. Feelings are a gift from God and a sign that we are made in His image.
But some live their lives ruled by feelings. They believe whatever their feelings tell them. The problem with this is that we can’t trust our feelings. It was all right for David to feel these feelings, and to take them to God, but he should never accept the reality of feelings as “real” reality.
October 22, 2023 – Flee sexual immorality.
1 Corinthians 3:18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
Paul doesn’t tell us to be brave and resist the lustful passion of sexual immorality. He said to flee from its very presence. We should follow the example of Joseph, who fled from sexual immorality with Potipher’s wife – even when it cost him something. Just as sexual immorality existed in Joseph’s time, we live in a society today where “anything goes”. Nike’s ad once said: If it feels good, do it!
God gave sex as a precious gift to mankind and uses it powerfully to bond husband and wife together in a true one-flesh relationship. The sexual relationship between husband and wife is pure, holy, and good before God.
The word Paul used refers to a broad range of sexual sin. To flee sexual immorality also means to flee sexual gratification or thrills one might find from pornographic videos, movies, magazines, books, or Internet sites.
Verse 19 says Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. A temple is a place sacred to God and pure from immorality. If it’s true we are filled with the Spirit, this truth must influence our sexual behavior. If we commit sexual immorality as Christians, we pollute God’s temple. Because our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, our bodies belong to God, and not to ourselves. You are not your own… for you were bought with a price.
Most people will take better care of something that doesn’t belong to them. Our bodies belong to God because He bought them. We don’t have the right to pollute and abuse God’s property! He is the owner of our body.
Because our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, God Himself lives within us. This means we have the strength and the power over the sins of the flesh living within us.
October 15, 2023 – As For Me and My House
Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Near the end of his life, Joshua called all the people together to lead them in a ceremony to renew the covenant. Joshua gave a strong exhortation to serve the Lord in verse 14. There were some among them that didn’t want to serve the Lord.
If they chose not to serve the Lord, they were then responsible to choose which god they would serve. They had to make a choice. Everyone serves some kind of god or, God. Unfortunately, some feel a life lived for God is a bad choice, but what do they compare it to? When many of Jesus’s disciples turned away and no longer followed Him, Peter said in John 6:68 Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Joshua offered an alternative for those who didn’t want to serve the Lord as he encouraged in Joshua 24:14. His course was clear – he chose to serve the Lord. He could make this statement because he had lived a life that continuously chose to serve the Lord.
He understood that he, as the head of his family, was charged with the responsibility of seeing that his whole house served the Lord. He had the job of representing his whole house before God. Joshua would do whatever was right and godly to make sure that his household did serve the Lord.
His relationship with God was not based on any man, but on the Lord alone, and he would serve God no matter what anyone else did. He would not serve the Lord and someone or something else. There was one God in his life, and that God was the Lord.
October 8, 2023 – God is For Us
Romans 8-31 If God be for us, who can be against us?
If God is for us, who can be against us? If all we had were the first few chapters of the Book of Romans, some might believe that God was against us. Now that Paul has shown the lengths that God went to save man from His wrath and equip him for victory over sin and death, who can doubt that God is for us?
William Newell said, “Our weak hearts, prone to legalism and unbelief, receive these words with great difficulty: God is for us… They have failed Him; but He is for them. They are ignorant; but He is for them. They have not yet brought forth much fruit; but He is for them.”
Most all men say or think that God is for them, terrorists commit horrible crimes thinking that God is for them. However, the Holy Spirit guards this statement with an “if.” Just because a man thinks God is with him doesn’t make it so. God is only for us if we are reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ.
Who can be against us? Despite the suffering Christians face, if God is for them, what does it matter if others are against them? One person plus God makes an unbeatable majority.
We can be deceived into thinking that God is for us when He actually isn’t. Yet it cannot be denied that for those who are in Jesus Christ, God is for them!
October 1, 2023 – Feelings
In the mid-1970’s, there was a hit song that said: “feelings, nothing more than feelings”. Many people base their faith on feelings when it should be based on God’s Word. Most of us are familiar with the doubt that Thomas had concerning Jesus’ resurrection. He said unless he could see and put his fingers in the nail prints in His hands and thrust his hand into His side he wouldn’t believe. In John 20:29, Jesus said: Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
Thomas based his faith on his feelings. He wouldn’t believe unless he could see with his own eyes the prints in His hands and the wound in His side. He relied on what he could see and feel.
Many Christians today believe only what they can feel, see, hear, or touch. However, believing God is believing what is written in His Word. If God says it’s true, it is true! If God’s Word says He hears me, I know He does, because His Word can’t lie.
Because we live in the physical realm, we walk by sight. Anyone can believe what they feel, hear, or see. But when it comes to spiritual things, we don’t walk by sight, we walk by faith.
September 24, 2023 – No Plagues
Psalms 91:9-10 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.
Nothing can happen to a faithful believer unless God allows it. Verses 7-10 says: A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look and see the reward of the wicked. This doesn’t mean there will never be difficult times.
Romans 8:35 says: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Life’s sufferings don’t separate believers from Christ. In fact, trials can bring us closer to Him. If we obey and depend on God as the source of refuge in our lives, He will work through everything that happens to us for our good. He will bring good out of difficulties, troubles, persecution, and suffering.
Christ’s presence is always with us. Verse 11 tells us that angels watch over us and guard us physically and spiritually. These messengers from God can help protect us from anything and everything if we trust God and follow His purposes. They lift us up and support us as we face spiritual enemies.
September 17, 2023 – Judge Not
Matthew 7:1-2 Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He dealt with attitudes in giving, prayer, fasting, materialism, and worry over material things. In the verses above, He touches on the way we think of and treat others.
Jesus called for a righteousness that was greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees. Some think the way to make oneself more righteous is to be more judgmental of others. Jesus here rebuked that kind of thinking. Judge not, that you be not judged. With this command Jesus warned against passing judgment upon others, because when we do, we will be in a similar manner.
This is one of the most quoted, but often misunderstood and abused Bible passage. It is a popular passage among those who know nothing of the Bible. Many who quote this verse don’t understand what Jesus said. It’s often abused and taken out of context to defend behavior that is immoral and contradictory to God’s Word. They seem to think that Jesus commanded acceptance of any lifestyle or teaching.
A Christian is called to show unconditional love, but we are not called to unconditional approval. Although we may not approve of their actions, we can love people who do things that should not be approved of. The Bible tells us to exercise discernment with respect to sin in others to avoid sin ourselves. The Word also tells us to avoid associating with people who lack integrity and could influence us to disobey God. God doesn’t expect us to tolerate continual sin in our own lives or in the lives of others – in or outside the church.
Jesus didn’t prohibit the judgment of others. He only requires that our judgment be completely fair, and that we only judge others by a standard we would also like to be judged. When our judgment regarding others is wrong, it’s often not because we judge according to a standard, but because we are hypocritical in the application of that standard in our own life. It’s common to judge others by one standard and ourselves by another – being far more generous to ourselves than others.
God will measure unto us according to the same measure we use for others. If we want more of those things from God, we should give more of them to others. We should only judge another’s behavior when we are mindful of the fact that we ourselves will be judged, and we should consider how we would want to be judged.
September 10, 2023 – The Judgment of Believers
The Bible teaches that we will someday have to give an account for our lives at the judgment seat of Christ. We’re not saved or made right with God by our own works or actions. We are saved by God’s grace and our faith in Jesus Christ. Titus 3:5 says: not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. We can’t be saved by good works. One can only be saved by God’s grace.
We will be judged according to what we did or didn’t do in our lives on earth. All of us will be subject to judgment. There will be no exceptions. Our sins, when repented of are forgiven as they relate to eternal punishment, but they are still taken into account when being judged. Ephesians 6:8 says whatever good thing any man does, he will receive the same from the Lord.
God will take into account our knowledge of His truth at the time. As Christians, none of this is for the sake of punishment. Nothing is being recalled against us in the sense of being condemned for wrongdoing. Hebrews 8:12 says: For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.
At the point of final judgment for believers, it is giving an account of faithfulness to determine the degree of eternal reward. Judgment will be based on what we did with what we were given in life, such as our time, abilities, and the opportunities and resources that could have been used to serve God and accomplish His purposes. Our reward in heaven will be in proportion to our present commitment to God and our faithfulness to use what we have been given.
September 3, 2023 – Need Wisdom?
James 1:5-8: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
In trials, we need wisdom more than we need knowledge. Knowledge is raw information, but wisdom knows how to use it. Someone once said that knowledge is the ability to take things apart, but wisdom is the ability to put things together.
To receive wisdom, we simply ask of God – who gives wisdom liberally.
John Trapp said Alexander the Great once gave a poor man a city; and when he modestly refused it as too great for him, Alexander answered, “The business is not what thou are fit to receive, but what it becometh me to give.”
Knowing that God never resents us for asking for wisdom should encourage us to ask Him often. When we want wisdom, the place to begin and end is the Bible. True wisdom will always be consistent with God’s word.
Our request for wisdom must be made like any other request – in faith, without doubting God’s ability or desire to give us His wisdom. Not only must we come in faith, but we must also ask in faith; and this is where the prayers of many fail. Spurgeon said: “You know, dear friends, that there is a way of praying in which you ask for nothing and get it.”
If we doubt and lack faith we shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord. This lack of faith and trust in God also shows us to being unstable in all our ways.
Adam Clarke said: “The man who is not thoroughly persuaded that if he ask of God he shall receive, resembles a wave of the sea; he is in a state of continual agitation; driven by the wind, and tossed: now rising by hope, then sinking by despair.”
August 27, 2023 – As History Draws to a Close
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Paul told Timothy he needed to keep focused on the Word of God because man, by his natural instinct, doesn’t want God’s revelation. He would rather hear what he wants to hear – something to scratch his itching ears.
The most popular teachers are not necessarily the most faithful teachers. Just because he is popular, we should not assume that he is faithful to God’s Word. Once people leave the Word of God they often turn to myths or fables. When a man rejects God’s truth, it isn’t that he believes in nothing; he will believe in anything.
As history draws to a close, people will not endure sound doctrine. They will become more selfish and accepting of ungodly behavior. Many will attend churches and proclaim to be Christians, but they will not accept true New Testament faith with its emphasis on moral purity and separation from the ungodly practices that are common in the world. They will turn their ears away from the truth.
Those who turn from the truth will want preaching that gives approval to their lifestyles and does not question their behavior, even though their lifestyle is contrary to God’s Word. We have already seen some large church denominations turn from God’s word and allow gays and lesbians to participate in church leadership, even though God’s word tells us that lifestyle is an abomination.
They will not look for churches with pastors who live by and preach the standards of God’s Word. Instead, they will choose preachers who are eloquent and whose messages reassure them that they can remain a follower of Christ though their behavior clearly contradicts God’s Word.
We must separate ourselves from churches and people who claim to follow Christs but who deny any aspect of God’s power or His Word or who support preaching that compromises the true message of Christ as found in the Bible.
August 20, 2023 – Pressures of the World
1 Peter 1:14: As obedient children do not conduct yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. Fulfilling God’s call to holiness requires that we, as obedient children, turn away from the lifestyle of the world, which is characterized by lusts and ignorance.
Romans 12:2 says, And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
There is real pressure to conform to the world and the things of the world. Christians must resist the temptation to accept and imitate the world’s ways of thinking and behaving. Although the things of this world may seem exciting and entertaining, they are only temporary. They are hostile to God and His people and are built on human wisdom and values.
A Christian should be different from what he was before he accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We have to realize that the present world system is evil and under the rule of Satan. We have to stand strong and not give in to the various types of worldliness that constantly come against us, such as greed, selfishness, humanistic thinking, envy, hate, immorality, etc.
What was once wrong has now become right! The deviant culture of homosexualism and transgenderism is now in the mainstream of our culture and now viewed as normal by many in our society. If a man now says he is a woman, society doesn’t question. It simply accepts it. To question such a thing would be bigoted and cruel!
We have to conform our minds to God’s way of thinking by getting into His word and prayer. This will allow our values, behaviors and plans to be directed by God’s eternal truth, rather than by the world’s temporary and deceptive pattern.
August 13, 2023 – When Tempted (a devotion by David Jeremiah)
James 1:14-15 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
All of us are tempted all the time, but not always at the same time, by the same things, or to the same degrees. Temptation is like a virus. It is always reinventing itself and mutating. It looks for our weaknesses. Some people reading these words are battling addiction to pornography. Others are seldom bothered by that, but they’re buying too many clothes, eating too many calories, or missing too many church services. Yet others are upright and faithful, but the joy is missing because of a bitter attitude toward something or someone!
How do we fight this ever-evolving virus of temptation? Stay close to the Great Physician!
The book of James has a lot to say about temptation. But the bottom line is this: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8). Immerse yourself in God’s Word, talk to Him in prayer, confess your sins, consider Satan an enemy, and let Jesus Christ live His life through you by His Spirit more and more each day!
Temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole. Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in. – Billy Sunday
August 6, 2023 – Generosity
Jesus teaches us about the principle of generosity. It’s a powerful reminder that we shall reap what we sow.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.
Jesus calls us to give freely, expecting nothing in return. When we give with a generous heart, it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
In a world that often encourages us to accumulate for ourselves, Jesus presents to us a life of selfless giving. Jesus knows the power of generosity and its impact on our lives. We are reminded of His love poured out through the gift of His Son, Jesus.
As His children, we are called to reflect His character in our lives, including our willingness to give. We should be aware of the needs around us and respond with compassion and grace, even when it may require personal sacrifice at times.
When we give, God sees our hearts and our intentions. He knows the measure by which we give, whether it’s with stinginess or generosity and He blesses us accordingly.
Generosity isn’t limited to our finances alone. We can give our time, our talents, and our love to others. We can give a kind word, a helping hand, or a listening ear. The amount doesn’t determine the measure of our giving but the sincerity and selflessness we offer.
As we accept the call to give, we must realize that our generosity is not solely about meeting the needs of others but also about transforming our hearts. Through giving, we experience the joy of making a difference in the life of someone, and we become more like Jesus in the process.
July 30, 2023 – Destruction of the Ungodly
Joshua 6:21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.
Before Israel entered the promised land, God gave instructions about what they should do to the people there. In the world in which we live today, it may seem extreme or cruel. God ordered the complete destruction of the people of that land because they had become so morally corrupt that they would never turn to Him. They had to be destroyed before their evil influence spread any farther. The Canaanites were involved in all kinds of wicked practices: idolatry, cult prostitution, violence, child sacrifices and attempts to communicate with the dead.
God knew that if those nations had been allowed to remain in the land, they would have influenced Israel to adopt the immoral practices of the Canaanites and commit all kinds of sins that were common to the people of Canaan. We are to separate ourselves from ungodly behavior and the evil influence of worldly cultures. Deuteronomy 20:18 says, lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God.
The destruction of that generation of Canaanites is a prophetic symbol, representing God’s final judgment on the unrighteous who continue in their own way and have not accepted God’s forgiveness and surrendered to His leadership. Jesus is returning soon to judge and wage war against the ungodly. All who have rejected Him and continued in sin will be destroyed, just like the Canaanites.
July 23, 2023 – Tell Me the Old, Old Story
Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
In our society today, too many children are no longer taught the Word of God. Fewer and fewer are brought to church by their parents who find too many things in the world to distract them. Many churches no longer sing the old hymns that tugged at the heart and brought tears to worshippers. I was thinking about that this morning and I was led to an old hymn that was sung regularly when I was younger. I miss the old hymns!
Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,
of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
for I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.
Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in
that wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin.
Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon;
the early dew of morning has passed away at noon.
Tell me the story softly, with earnest tones and grave;
remember I’m the sinner whom Jesus came to save.
Tell me story always, if you would really be,
in any time of trouble, a comforter to me.
Tell me the same old story, when you have cause to fear
that this world’s empty glory is costing me too dear.
Yes, and when that world’s glory is dawning on my soul,
tell me the old, old story; Christ Jesus makes thee whole.
July 16, 2023 – “I’ll Do it My Way”
Sin is selfishness – going after our own interests and pleasures and ignoring the commands of God and the wellbeing of others. This leads to rebellion against God and His law and often, cruelty to others. It is going our own way independent of God (“I’ll Do it My Way” – old pop tune). Isaiah 53:6 All of us like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way, but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Part of man’s stubborn and rebellious nature includes the pull toward things that dishonor God.
Sin corrupts our morals and causes us to do what is not right and to take pleasure in the evil actions of others. Romans 1:32 who know the righteous requirement of God, that those who commit such things are worthy of death. They not only do them, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. Sin is rooted in human desires. It was brought upon us through the first man, Adam, and it affects everyone and brings spiritual death. Romans 5:12 Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, so death has spread to all men, because all have sinned.
Only by faith in Christ and by acceptance of His sacrifice on the cross for our sins and His forgiveness, is the power of sin broken. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
July 9, 2023 – The Truth Shall Make You Free
Do you feel free? Or do you feel trapped by the things of this world? Do you seem to fall into the same destructive cycle of sin over and again? The good news is that in Jesus, there’s hope. He promised in John 8:32 “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Christ has the power to break the chains holding us captive. Many people are in bondage due to error or false teaching. Some of those include:
- There is more than one way to get to heaven.
- We can be saved through good works.
- God accepts or rejects us based on how well we perform.
- God is love, so everyone will go to heaven.
No one ever intends to be trapped in sin but little by little it takes hold of one’s life. While no one is without sin, God wants us to deal with our wrongs honestly and quickly. Some of us might be in emotional bondage. Several types of emotions that can enslave us are fear, guilt, jealousy, bitterness and unforgiveness. In spiritual bondage our relationship with Jesus Christ suffers. Spiritual enslavement hurts our testimony. It grieves the heart of God, and the Lord can’t use us to our full potential.
What’s the cure?
- If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ and you repent and ask for forgiveness, all your sins are forgiven and forgotten.
- As His child, you have the privilege of approaching His throne at any time for grace to handle any situation. Heb. 4:16 says: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
- The Holy Spirit lives within you and provides power for every circumstance.
- God gives everything you need to lead a godly life.
We can be free through the power of Jesus Christ. Once we have accepted God’s gift of salvation, we are His children. We then have access to God’s presence where we can find grace and mercy to overcome any struggle. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can walk in righteousness. As children of God, we already have our freedom—we just need to receive it by faith.
July 2, 2023 – What of those who have never heard of Christ?
The question is often asked, “If faith in Jesus is the only way to have eternal life with God, what about all of the people who have never heard of Jesus?”
Sometimes this question is asked by people who only want to throw up a smoke-screen and who really don’t care about the answer. We need to understand that on the day of judgment, the issue will not be about the unbeliever in general, but each person in particular. He will be held accountable for his own personal knowledge of Jesus and what he did with that knowledge.
The question of what happens to those who have never heard of Christ is an interesting one, but the more important question is, what will you do with the information about Jesus that you have? As C. S. Lewis said, “If you are worried about the people outside [of faith in Christ], the most unreasonable thing you can do is to remain outside yourself.”
If we assume that those who never hear the gospel are granted mercy from God, we run into a problem. If people who never hear the gospel are automatically saved, then it makes sense that we make sure no one ever hears the gospel—because there’s a chance they will reject it and be condemned.
The Bible is clear that those who perish without Christ will face an eternity in hell. Jesus’ mandate to evangelize the whole world is still in force. People need to call on the name of the Lord, but Romans 10:14–15 says, how . . . can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? Those who have never heard about Jesus Christ desperately need to hear, and that caused Paul to exclaim in 1 Corinthians 9:16. “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”
June 25, 2023 – We Must Stay Grounded
It seems we cant get through a day without the major news outlets covering a gay and lesbian parade, a “drag queen” entertainment program in one of our public schools, or Christians being condemned because they are bigoted in their view of the LBGTQ group.
In our society today, many like the promises of God but few like the sacrifices a Christian must make. John 3:16 emphasizes believing and Luke 9:23 focuses on following. They go together. We can’t believe without following. We also can’t pick and choose which verses or Books of the Bible we agree with. All 66 books were written by men under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and they are as alive today as the day they were written. As Jesus said – Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away!
Jesus said He didn’t come to bring peace on earth. Faith in Christ separates the believer from the sinner and the world. God’s Word and its truth will bring opposition, division, and persecution. Many, mostly the young who have drifted from God’s truth, say that Christians are hateful because they don’t share their views about gay rights, reproductive rights or many other liberal issues, The church (the believers) need to welcome those who are lost, but what it cannot do is welcome the sin.
No one gets a special exemption from the repentance requirement – not liberals, not conservatives, not homosexuals, not heterosexuals, you, or me. Ephesians 5:5-6: For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
My concern for young people is that they are surrounded by so many “false teachers” in our society. We see them on national news, college classrooms, friends they associate with, even some Christian groups. If they aren’t strongly grounded in God’s word, the stronger personality will usually win out. They have to get into God’s Word!!
June 18, 2023 – Not of Works
One cannot be “saved” and have a right relationship with God by good works or religious routines. We can be saved only by God’s grace. The unsaved are spiritually dead. Ephesians 2:1 says you were dead in your trespasses and sins. The unsaved are under Satan’s influence and control and enslaved to sin.
In order to be saved, one must accept God’s provision of mercy through His son, Jesus Christ, be forgiven of sin, and be made a new creation. This is a gift made possible through Christ’s death on the cross. No individual can be saved through their own efforts. If salvation and a right relationship with God came by good works, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross would have been pointless. However, without the cross, no one would be saved. Salvation comes to one only by God’s gift of grace – His unearned favor.
Those who respond in faith and accept Christ as Lord and Savior, receive additional grace. They are spiritually renewed by accepting God’s forgiveness and yielding their lives to Jesus Christ. They are born again and completely renewed from the inside out.
June 11, 2023 – Covetousness
We live in a world today in which many are not satisfied with what they have. Although they live in a house, have a car to get around in, have food to eat and a little money in the bank, etc., they are always wanting more.
Luke 12:15 says: Take heed and beware of covetousness. For a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. To make riches a primary goal in life can lead to eternal loss. Luke 12:20-21 says: But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Man, it seems, always wants more. We spend a large part of our lives working to provide for our needs and those of our families, but a wrong desire for more doesn’t necessarily provide for one’s needs or for those of the family. Jesus said in verses 22-23: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.
Verse 31 says: But seek [a]the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Each of us should pay attention to Jesus’ warning and examine whether selfishness and greed live in our own hearts.
June 4, 2023 – Follow Me
Chances are that if anyone has memorized a verse of the Bible, it would be John 3:16. In that verse we read that God loves us, Jesus died for us, and we can have eternal life through Him. But Luke 9:23 also records the words of Jesus. These words of Jesus in Luke 9:23 are recorded in three of the four gospels: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. We all like the idea that Jesus died for us, and we can have eternal life through Him.
In our society today, many like the promises, but few like the sacrifices a Christian must make. John 3:16 emphasizes believing and Luke 9:23 focuses on following. They go together. We can’t believe without following. Luke’s verse spells out Jesus’ terms so we know exactly what we are agreeing to when we make a decision to follow.
Luke 9:23 makes it clear whom Jesus is inviting. He’s inviting anyone. Some may feel that with the life they have lived, Jesus wouldn’t want them to follow Him. They may think they would never make the cut. If we look at one of Jesus’ closest followers, Matthew, instead of serving the Lord, he decided to serve himself and turned his back on his own people and became a tax collector for the Romans. Tax collectors cheated the people to line their own pockets. They were religious and social outcasts. I’m sure Matthew no longer imagined that God would want him. But one day Jesus stopped and spoke to him. He said two words: “follow me”. Matthew 9:9 simply says: and Matthew got up and followed Him.
When Jesus called Matthew, it was an invitation to all who have lived a sin- stained life. He gave an open invitation – If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. That same invitation is still out there for all who will take up their cross and follow. Anyone means me and you.
May 28, 2023 – He Cares for Us
God is deeply concerned for all the troubles we face each day.1 Peter 4:7 says, cast all your care upon Him, because He cares for you. We too often get caught up in the negative news and the disturbing things around us over which we have no control. God never meant for us to handle all the problems that come against us. He wants us to depend upon Him.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:31-32,34, Therefor take no thought, saying what shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or what shall we wear? For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. Therefore, take no thought about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take thought about the things of itself.
Psalms 37:5 tells us to Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will bring it to pass. All the energy we waste in worrying about what may happen accomplishes nothing except creating more worries. Worry is the opposite of faith. God never intended for us to worry. We must cast all our cares upon Him, knowing that He cares for us and will take care of our needs.
May 21, 2023 – We Don’t Have to Sin
Although John believed that born-again Christians are still capable of sinning, he didn’t teach that they must sin. He challenged them to rely on God’s power so they could live without sin. For those who do, on occasion, give in to sin, the remedy is to confess and turn away from that sin.
In 1 John 2, John was contending with some who were teaching that since salvation came by God’s grace and not our efforts, Christians were not obligated to any rules, including the commands of God’s moral law. They, like some today, taught that following the moral principles of God’s law was a choice that believers could make for themselves. They claimed that people could “know” God and be in a saving relationship with him and at the same time ignore God’s standards and disobey His commands. John states in
1 John 2: that those who make such a claim are liars and do not have God’s truth in them.
The evidence of someone knowing God, and in fellowship with Him is that he keeps His commandments. 1 John 2:3 says: By this we know Him, if we keep His commandments. A simple, loving obedience is a natural result of fellowship with God. We have a gracious Advocate with Jesus Christ in heaven, and we have an open invitation to restoration through confession. Yet these things should not make a Christian careless about the commandments. God changes our heart when we accept Him as our Savior and writes His law upon our heart. Any person attempting to be justified through faith in Christ without a commitment to follow Him is doomed to failure.
May 14, 2023 – When Two Agree
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
We usually apply Matthew 18:20 to gathering in Jesus’ name for a church service. But Jesus is saying that whenever two people agree in prayer, He is right there to make it happen. Verse 19 says, Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. Jesus said, it will be done! He said in John 14: 14, if you ask anything in my name, I will do it. One Greek scholar said a more literal rendering of John 14:14 is “If you shall ask anything in My name and I don’t have it, I will make it for you”.
Heaven will back us up in what we pray on earth as long as our prayer is in line with God’s Word.
Many people let the devil bind them. They say they can’t help it. They seem to think they can’t do anything about the devil’s attacks. However, every believer has authority over the devil in Jesus’ Name. Jesus didn’t say there was a possibility that what was asked would be done. He said it would be done. We have authority over the devil. If we don’t feel strong enough, then we need to get in agreement with another believer and bind the devil from harassing us.
May 7, 2023 – Lust
King David began life as a simple shepherd boy to become king over Judah and then all Israel for 40 years. Today, his life would make an exciting action/adventure TV movie. He was referred to as a man after God’s own heart. However, the turning point in David’s life was his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah. 2 Samuel 5:13 tells us that David took many concubines and wives, although God prohibited Israel’s kings from taking many wives in Deuteronomy 17:15-17. David’s lust for women was the source of much sin, sorrow and suffering for him later in life.
David, for most of his reign, represented many of the ideals of a godly king. 2 Samuel 5:10 says under God’s anointing, David became great, because the Lord, the god of Hosts, was with him. However, after David’s tragic sins of adultery and murder, moral decline and rebellion plagued his family and the entire nation for years to come.
Although David repented and experienced god’s mercy and forgiveness, the results of his sin followed him for the rest of his life. Even though we sometimes think what we do in secret will never be found out, David’s sin was done in secret, but God judged those sins openly. Every level of David’s life was affected. Is lust of the flesh and lust of the eye worth the price that may be required?
A lasting principle of leadership in God’s kingdom is the more favor, power, responsibility, and opportunity God places within a leader’s life, the more harshly God will judge that leader if he or she morally or ethically violates God’ trust.
April 30, 2023 – Blessed is the Man
Psalms 1:1 “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”
To be blessed of God means that we are walking in the salvation that Jesus purchased for us with His blood. We are walking in the righteousness of Christ. Although many today have decided to walk in the counsel of the worldly and will be found lacking in the day of judgement, there are those who make a deliberate decision not to do so. As darkness becomes more prevalent in this world, they may find themselves walking alone.
Galtians 2:20 describes the walk of the person who decides not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. The word walks means to continually walk. We must continually walk in the counsel of the godly.
We must not fellowship with those of unbelief. The scornful can be either someone who professes belief and feels he is so much better than the average, or it could be those who totally reject Jesus Christ as savior.
A believer in Christ is cautioned to not fellowship with those of unbelief. Light and darkness cannot prevail in the same place. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” True happiness comes from fellowship with God, not with the world.
April 23, 2023 – The Will of God
Ephesians 5:15-17 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
In some Biblical passages, “the will of God” is another way of saying “the law of God”. Since God’s law instructs us how we should live, the law may be called “the will of God”. “Law” basically means instruction and includes the entire written Word of God. Therefore, God’s will refers to His plans and purposes for us and the world.
The Bible’s teaching about God’s will is more than doctrine. His will relates to our lives in practical everyday living. In order to learn what God’s perfect will is, we must study His Word so that we know what is revealed to us in the Bible. Because we live in evil times we must understand what the will of the Lord is. Nothing He has planned for us will contradict what He has already revealed in His Word.
Christ calls His followers to pray for God’s will to be done. We must desire for God’s perfect plans to be accomplished in our lives and in the world. We do that by doing what we know God wants us to do. If we hold on to sin or rebellion in our lives, then God will not answer our prayers. We can’t expect God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven unless we are trying to do His will in our own lives.
April 16, 2023 – Death
Job 19:25-26 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,
All humans, no matter what they believe, will face death. The Bible tells us that apart from Jesus Christ, all people are separated from God and from the ultimate life He offers. This is what it means to be spiritually dead.
Though Christians have the assurance of resurrection life, they may still go through the experience of physical death. But those who know Christ as their savior approach death differently than those who haven’t received Him. Death for Christians isn’t the end of life, but a new beginning. Rather than something to be feared, death offers the Christian a fuller, more complete life. It releases us from the troubles of this world and from an earthly body in order to be clothed with a heavenly life.
Death is a rest from earthly suffering. John 14:2 tells us we are going to our Father’s house where there are many dwelling places. 2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us that at the time of death, we are immediately present with the Lord. Even though we can look past death with hope and joy, we still grieve when loved ones die. But we will be reunited with those loved ones who believed and who have already gone on before us. Heaven is like a godly home – a place of rest and security and a place of companionship with other believers.
April 9, 2023 – Riches
Luke 18:24-25 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
We must always keep in mind that earthly riches won’t last; they will fail us, and they will do us no good on judgment day. Proverbs 27:24 says, for riches are not forever, nor does the crown endure to every generation. The truly rich are those who have gained freedom from an attachment to worldly things because they trust God to provide for them, knowing that he will not abandon them.
Everything we have belongs to God and we must manage it wisely. Possessions should not be a means of status or security. Instead, we must seek the Lord for His guidance in handling what wealth and resources we do have so they can be used for His purpose. This means that Christians who possess wealth and material goods must see themselves as no longer rich, but as managers of God’s resources. Luke 12:34 says, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Because of the evil and corruption associated with dependance on material possessions, the desire for and pursuit of wealth often leads to spiritual slavery. Matthew 6:24 says, No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Every Christian should examine his or her own heart and desires by asking themselves questions such as: Am I a greedy person? Am I a selfish person? Do I always want more? Do I have a desire for the honor, prestige and power that often comes from being rich? No Christian should be driven by a desire to get rich.
April 2, 2023 – God’s promise and blessing over the one who loves Him.
Psalms 91:14-16 Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.
In these last three verses God speaks in the first person of His promise and blessing over His people; specifically, over those who set their love upon Him. The last words of this psalm are not spoken by God’s people, but to God’s people.
To set one’s love upon God means to do it by choice. Our culture today often thinks of love as something that happens to people, not something chosen. The phrase because he has set his love on Me reminds us that a significant aspect of love is a choice, and this describes the love we should give unto God.
God said He will protect us and set us on high – and do it because we have known His name, having a real relationship with Him. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him. God promises to answer the prayer of those who love Him, and those who genuinely know Him.
In the last lines of the psalm, God spoke personal and wonderful blessings over the ones who love and know Him:
- The blessing of His presence: I will be with him in trouble.
- His protection: I will deliver him.
- The blessing of His promotion: I will…honor him.
- The blessing of His prosperity: With long life I will satisfy him.
- And the blessing of His preservation: And show him My salvation.
March 26, 2023 – The World
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
The world and the church are two distinct groups of people. The world is under Satan’s authority and the church belongs to God. To get an idea of how the world works, think of the advertising commercials you see. They mostly appeal to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or to the pride of life. Many successful ads appeal to all three.
In listing these aspects of the world, John may have had in mind Eve in the Garden of Eden. It’s said that she took of the forbidden fruit when she saw that the tree was good for food. She thought about how good the fruit would taste and how it would satisfy her flesh. She went after the lust of the flesh.
She took of the forbidden fruit when she saw that the fruit was pleasant to the eyes. She saw how pretty and desirable it was, and it pleased her senses. She went after the lust of the eyes.
it is said that she took of the forbidden fruit when she believed that it was desirable to make one wise. How smart the fruit would make her! How her husband would admire her! She went after the pride of life.
This explains why the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are sin even though they feel good and satisfy something in us. God knows we have a fleshly nature and physical needs that feel good when satisfied. Yet it’s not in God’s nature to influence us through the lust of the flesh.
God knows we have eyes, and that appearance means a lot to us. But God always looks beyond the outward appearance, and it’s not in His nature to influence us through the lust of the eyes. He knows we are social creatures and we have emotional and psychological needs to be wanted and to accomplish things. He made us this way! But it’s not in God’s nature to influence us through the pride of life.
We often don’t realize how much the world dominates our thinking and how often our thoughts are more of the world than of the Father. Many of us probably believe that we think more Biblically than we really do. We should measure our habits of thinking and see if they follow more the world or God our Father.
March 19, 2023 – Neither Filthiness nor Foolish Talking
Ephesians 5:3-4 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
The theme of Paul’s appeal in these verses isn’t “avoid these things so that you can be a saint.” Rather, it’s “you are a saint; now live in a manner fitting for a saint.” The constant moral appeal of the New Testament is simply this: be who you are in Jesus.
The culture of Paul’s day was given over to sexual immorality (especially in the city of Ephesus). The sort of behavior Paul says is not fitting for saints was pretty much completely approved by the culture of his day (and unfortunately, our own).
In this sinful, rebellious world, there are many activities, behaviors and practices that are common for many in the world but totally unacceptable and improper for God’s people. This applies to our actions and conversations as well as the behaviors of those with whom we associate. Verse 7 says do not be partakers with them. There are many things that we are bombarded with today that can affect our spirituality – worldly music, T.V. programs, movies, and other forms of entertainment.
Verse 4 says that as Christians, we’re to keep ourselves from obscenity, foolish talk and vulgar joking, even when it’s completely accepted by our culture or popular entertainment.
Although we can’t completely escape all these things in our society, we don’t need to be deliberately exposed to them, take part in them, or approve of such things.
March 12, 2023 – God is Patient
Things don’t always happen just the way we want them to and sometimes we have doubts and even try to control things on our own when we don’t see God at work in our time frame. Peter 3:8 tells us The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Time is very different for God, and He isn’t limited by hours in a day and by the number of days in a week. Peter goes on to say in verse 9 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. It may seem like it’s taking a long time for God to act, but He may be working behind the scenes that we can’t see from our perspective. God is patient and He will always keep His promises in His timing.
March 5, 2023 – God is Faithful
I Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Some who claim to be Christians say they are simply human and imperfect, and no one can go without sinning. It’s not a sin to be tempted, but giving in to temptation is sin. The mistake is often made when a person chooses to put himself in a situation where temptation is present. God provides us with the needed strength to overcome every temptation we face. He gives us power to resist sin. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can manage with His help. He will provide a way for us to endure the temptation and overcome sin.
If Christians give in to temptation and sin, it’s not because Christ’s power and provision are inadequate, it’s because they fail to rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to help them resist their own ungodly desires. Colossians 1:10-11 says, that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
We can overcome every temptation if we sincerely desire to please God and if we depend on His power and faithfulness.
February 26, 2023 – Revival
Most are aware of the revival that began a couple of weeks ago at Asbury College, a small Christian college in Kentucky. It began in an evening chapel service. The Vice President of enrollment said, “I believe that this will absolutely grow, and I believe where it will grow from is our college students and our high school-age students. That generation is truly leading this. I believe God has something super special for Generation Z, and I believe he’s moving them into a place to be leaders. Jesus calls us to go out, so now that we have come in and received amazing filling up, it’s truly time to go out and share the Gospel and carry the light and fire into our local communities, our local homes, our local churches, schools and workplaces.”
II Chronicles 15:2 says, The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. Those who seek the Lord experience His peace and protection. God promises that those who seek Him will find Him.
II Chronicles 7:14 says, If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
History as we know it is coming to a close. We need to pray!
February 19, 2023 – The Ten Commandments
God wrote the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets and gave them to Moses, who delivered them to the Israelite people. They summarize God’s moral law for Israel and describe the people’s obligations both to God and others. According to Matthew 22:37-39, Christians obey all of the Commandments when they show a complete love for God and an unselfish love for others. Obeying these two commandments is more than just following rules. We must demonstrate right desires, motives, and attitudes, which will be shown in outward acts of moral character and holiness.
Most of the laws of the Old Testament that guided Israel’s worship and socials life no longer apply to the New Testament believer. The Bible describes them as a sign of better things to come. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament Law but He didn’t come to abolish the Law or make it meaningless. Matthew 5:17 says: Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish but to fulfill.
The Law and the Prophets include the old covenant. God’s intention is that the spiritual requirements of God’s law – the truths and principles behind His first covenant – will also be fulfilled in the lives of His followers. We are to keep the ethical and moral principles of the Old Testament as well as the teachings of Christ and the apostles. Old Testament laws that applied directly to the nation of Israel, such as the sacrificial, ceremonial, social or civil law, are no longer binding on New Testament Christians.
February 12, 2023 – THE GOLDEN RULE
This is one of the most popular sayings in the world today, started by Jesus, and is the most accepted within our society as well.
Matthew 7:12: Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
The meaning of the Golden Rule is simple: treat others the same way you would like to be treated. It seems easy to follow, but the biggest challenge is deciding how we would like to be treated by other people and what that means in our daily lives.
We all welcome words of praise spoken about us, but are we just as excited to hear words of judgment, even if they are spoken in love and for our benefit? Too often we welcome praise yet judge others instead of looking for their strong points.
To do this requires a shift in our thinking to make the Golden Rule more than a principle. There are many examples in the Bible that challenge us to value judgment and accountability and improve our character instead of puffing up our pride and ego.
Proverbs 27:5: Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed.
If we want to receive respect, we must first give respect. If we like being served, we must be willing to get our hands dirty and serve others. These are the same examples that Jesus gave His disciples during the Last Supper when He assumed the role of a servant.
The Golden Rule was never intended to be a nice practice when we feel like it. The key is not settling for what you think benefits you the most in order to be motivated to help others. If you’re content to give and take without consideration for others, you’ve missed the entire point Jesus made for you.
February 5, 2023 – Turn Away from Evil
Those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ will love what God loves and hate what He hates. They will be tested by how much they reject and work against evil while living on earth. We should be angry about the wickedness and ungodliness in the world and how evil is destroying lives. We should be bothered when sin and immorality are tolerated in God’s house and among those who claim to be God’s children.
It isn’t enough for God’s people to love what is right; they must also hate evil. A basic characteristic of the wicked is that they love darkness. John 3:19 says: This is the verdict, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. A born again Christian loves what is right and takes pleasure in doing what pleases God.
Paul said that love rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices in the truth. A child of God should not take pleasure in those things that encourage ungodly behavior that is common in our society today. Psalms34:14 says: Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
January 29, 2023 – A Troubled Heart
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
Jesus had just told His disciples that one of them was a traitor, that they would deny Him, and that He would be leaving them. Yet Jesus told them, let not your heart be troubled. Jesus never told us we would have a life without trouble, but He promised that we could be untroubled even in a troubled life.
He said, you believe in God, believe also in Me. Instead of giving in to a troubled heart, Jesus told them to put their trust in God and in Jesus Himself. This was a drastic call to trust in Jesus just as one would trust in God the Father, and a radical promise that doing so would bring comfort and peace to a troubled heart. His call to the world was, believe in Me.
He was telling His disciples, you have it in your power to not be troubled, now don’t do it. We also have the power to not be troubled in our heart. Faith is the opposite of fear. If we trust God, we know that everything that happens to us is for our good.
Jesus’ concern was that the disciple’s faith in Him would be shaken when He was crucified. He was saying to them: Remember, I am God the Word, and God the Son. He was saying, don’t let this apparent defeat cause you to doubt Who I Am. It should be the same with us today. Hebrews 13:8 says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
Frederick Meyer said, “One who seems a man asks all men to give Him precisely the same faith and confidence that they give to God.”
January 22, 2023 – Pleasing Others
Pleasing others is something most of us try to do throughout our lives. No matter how complicated our relationship with others might be, we desire to please other people.
Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
Seeking approval by following others will never give us salvation or a right relationship with God. Only faith in Jesus Christ can give us eternal life in heaven. It’s hard to serve God when it goes against our friends and family. Jesus knows this better than anyone. We are social creatures and we want people to like us.
Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.
Jesus’ trust in His Father produced obedience that resulted in our salvation. Jesus asked God to spare Him the pain to come, but He placed His faith in God. Jesus could have pleased others and made His life less painful by denying God. He could have called twelve legions of angels and come down off the cross but His trust in His Father produced obedience which resulted in our salvation.
We are God’s children. Every day we face the hard choice of where to put our trust. In those moments, we have to stop and ask the same question Paul did: Am I trying to please God or men?
January 15, 2023 – Who Can Be Against Us
Romans 8:31 If God be for us, who can be against us?
The things of life can quickly get us down and day-to-day life can often feel overwhelming. How we deal with problems makes a difference in our lives. If God is for us, then who can be against us? That’s great news for a Christian.
Despite the suffering Christians face, if God is for us, what does it matter if others are against us? One person plus God makes an unconquerable majority. We may have failed Him; but He is for us.
We must keep reminding ourselves that we will never be short of problems and always have issues to deal with in our lives. But just because we might think God is with us doesn’t make it so. God is only for us if we are reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ.
No matter how big the problem you face today, you can know that God is for you. He is on your side right now through the middle of the problem, ready to help you.
January 8, 2023 – New Year, New Start
It’s that time of year again when many of us start making resolutions to change certain areas in our lives.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
We may have some extra pounds to lose and even be committed to changes to our life-style. The New Year’s resolutions range from simple desires to some pretty involved ones. But what we all have is hope that something will change and life will get better in the year ahead.
Every year many people ring in the New Year with goals to live differently on some level. However, a few short weeks later, many of these people end up discouraged over their failed attempts. This year can be filled with hope for a better future. We don’t have to do it alone. Whatever our desires might be, we can turn it over to the ultimate Life
Changer: Jesus Christ.
We have the perfect example to follow when we desire to change: Jesus. When we are ready to implement change, we have the perfect guidebook: The Bible. Finally, we have the perfect companion to strengthen our resolve: the Holy Spirit.
With Jesus, we don’t have to wait for another New Year to roll around or for the ball to drop in Times Square. We can pursue our new beginning right now.
January 1, 2023 – Peace of God
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The Bible describes three great attributes of peace that relate to God.
- Peace from God:Paul continually used this as an introduction to his letters;
it reminds us that our peace comes to us as a gift from God.
- Peace with God: This describes a relationship that we enter into with God
through the finished work of Jesus Christ.
- The peace of God: This is the peace spoken of here in Philippians 4:7. It is
beyond “all mind”; that is, beyond our power of thinking.
Charles Spurgeon said: “What is God’s peace? The unruffled serenity of the infinitely-happy God, the eternal composure of the absolutely well-contented God.”
It isn’t that it’s senseless and therefore impossible to understand, but that it is beyond our ability to understand and to explain – it has to be experienced.
This peace doesn’t just surpass the understanding of the worldly man; it surpasses all understanding. Even the godly man can’t comprehend this peace.
This verse tells us to guard your hearts and minds. The word guard speaks of a military action. This is something that the peace of God does for us; it’s a peace that is on guard over our heart and mind.
When people seem to “lose” their heart or mind, it often is connected to an absence of the peace of God in their life. The peace of God then doesn’t act as a guard for their hearts and minds.
December 25, 2022 – GOD SENT JESUS TO REDEEM US
Even before the events that shaped what Christmas means today for most of us, a bright star lit the night thousands of years ago, letting the world know that Jesus was born.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
When Jesus was born, shepherds came to Him, wise men brought Him gifts, and the earth rejoiced at Jesus’ birth. These people had no idea what Jesus would accomplish, but they were right in traveling to worship Him because His birth was the most remarkable event in human history.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Wise men and women today worship Jesus. Because whoever believes in Jesus shall have everlasting life. Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving, and the Gift of Salvation is the only gift with life-changing effects.
As we approach the holiday season again this year, we face yet another opportunity to pause in the middle of all the excitement, decorations, and the pandemic, to consider again the origin of Christmas, the One whose birth we celebrate.
Remember the true meaning of why we celebrate during this time of year. We celebrate the baby Jesus’ birth and trust Him as our Savior today. Thank God for sending His Son to be born, live a perfect life, die for our sins, and rise from the dead to give us eternal life through Him.
This is what Christmas is all about. Who will you share the Gift of Salvation with today?
December 18, 2022 – So Great a Sin
Before you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, did you ever think your sins were so great that you could never be forgiven? I once had a cousin who was dying of cancer and told me that God could never forgive him of the terrible sins that he had committed. His father was a preacher, but my cousin had been enticed by the things of the world when he was a young man and had drifted away from God. He had lived for the things of the world and, as he had stated, committed terrible sins. I told him that if he truly believed that Jesus Christ was the son of God and had died on the cross for our sins, God would forgive him of those sins. He would be a new creature in Christ, washed in His cleansing blood.
King David had an innocent man killed so he could marry his wife, Yet God later called David a man after His own heart. Although David had committed a terrible sin, Jesus’ death on the cross paid for all sin. When He sacrificed His blood, He didn’t leave any sin out.
Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, was a murderer. Before he accepted Jesus as his Savior and Lord he had Christians killed and thrown in jail. Isaiah talked about this kind of changed life. He said in Isaiah 1:18 Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.
Are you or were you like my cousin? Do you feel that God could never forgive you for what you’ve done? Romans 10:9 says, If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
My cousin, Billy, did pray for forgiveness and he did accept Jesus Christ as Lord before he passed away!
December 11, 2022 – The Thoughts of Man
Genesis 6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Genesis 5:24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
Enoch walked with God! He lived by faith and made every effort to live a holy life and he enjoyed a deep relationship with God. Jude 1:14-15 tells us that he spoke out against ungodliness and immorality. Enoch pleased God so much that that God took him directly into His presence without experiencing death.
In Enoch’s time, sexual lust and violence was so great that God said He would destroy man whom I have created. Man’s wickedness and corruption hasn’t changed. Evil that we once could not have imagined, including sexual sins of all kinds as well as violence, is evident throughout the world.
Paul, in Romans chapter 1 was grieved over the reality that some had been supporting and encouraging evil by taking pleasure in the immoral actions of others and showing their approval of these acts.
Today, our society saturates itself with all kinds of crude and godless examples of entertainment, such as, movies, books, magazines, and television. Many, young and old, approve of and take pleasure in what will destroy them in the end.
Just as Enoch lived in a corrupt environment, we should consider his life as an example of how to live when surrounded by ungodliness. We should boldly stand against sin and live our lives as an example to those in the world.
December 4, 2022 – Harsh Words
No matter how we’ve been treated, God wants us to use our words to build people up, not tear them down. Ephesians 4:29 says Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
We all remember when someone said something bad to us. Even as a child, we still remember how we felt when someone treated us badly.
That is how powerful our words are to each other. Words leave a lasting impact on our lives. When it comes to our mouth, it can be a powerful tool. All power tools come with warning labels, and everybody needs to read the warning label.
Showing forgiveness to people who hurt us doesn’t come easy, and often it’s easier to respond in anger than to turn the other cheek and forgive them.
Luke 6:36 says Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Sometimes we even try to justify our lack of forgiveness and harsh actions because of how the other person has treated us. God makes it clear in the Bible that we must be merciful and forgive. There are no exceptions. God has forgiven us and shown us mercy, and now we’re to do the same for others who have wronged us.
November 27, 2022 – Live by Faith
Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith but if anyone draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
This foundational principle guides and directs our relationship with God and our salvation provided through Jesus Christ. The person who continues to rely on God, take him at his word, and follow him faithfully through all circumstances will receive what God promises and will be saved eternally. Verse 36 says, For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. Those believers are not afraid to approach God with sincere hearts. Verse 22 says, Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. Faith and drawing near to God are inseparable. God adds if anyone draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. The person who draws back is one who stops relying on God and abandons his or her faith by deliberately and continually sinning against God. Such a person is headed for spiritual destruction. But verse 39 tells us, we are not of those who draw back to destruction, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
November 20, 2022 – Grace and Truth
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Before Jesus came to earth to die for our sins, God’s people in the Old Testament had to maintain their relationship with him based on the Old Testament law given through Moses. True faith in Him was still the most basic requirement. That was evident in the lives of Enoch, Noah and Abraham. Their faith and God’s promises were evidence of God’s undeserved favor and love.
Now, through Christ, God’s grace and truth are available to all in full measure. John 1:14 tells us, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Spiritual salvation doesn’t come by our own efforts to keep the law, but by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth and comes into the lives of those who receive Christ as Lord and Savior. We are now in His image. This means that we can respond to Him, have a personal relationship with Him and start to reflect His love and other characteristics.
November 13, 2022 – Do Not Let These Be Named
Ephesians 5:3-4 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
Paul groups together these ideas of sexual sin and bad behavior, indicating that none of these are fitting for saints and should not even be named among God’s people.
Paul used a broad list of sexual sins:
- Fornication (porneia), a broad word describing sexual sin.
- Uncleanness, another broad word for “dirty” moral behavior, especially in a sexual sense.
- Filthiness, which has much the same idea as uncleanness.
- Coarse jesting, which has the idea of inappropriate, impure sexual humor.
He isn’t saying “avoid these things so that you can be a saint.” Rather, he is saying “you are a saint; now live in a manner fitting for a saint.” The constant moral appeal of the New Testament is simply this: be who you are in Jesus.
This emphasis on sexual sin was appropriate. The culture of Paul’s day (and in the city of Ephesus especially) was given over to sexual immorality. The sort of behavior Paul says is not fitting for saints was pretty much completely approved by the culture of his day (and our own).
Paul also included covetousness and foolish talking in this list because of their close association with sexual sin. The desire to have something that doesn’t belong to us, and foolish speaking have both led many people into sexual sin.
Foolish talking is literally “an easy turn of speech.” In the context, the idea is of the one who can turn every conversation into a joking comment on sexual matters, usually with a double-entendre.
November 6, 2022
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if through the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Because sin is always trying to gain control over us, we are continually in a spiritual conflict. As Christians, we must continually decide whether we will surrender to sinful desires or to God’s character in which we now take part. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to resist and overcome temptations. But we must also replace ungodly desires with godly interests, practices, and purposes rather than allowing our minds to be consumed with evil and impure thoughts. We must think about things that are true, honorable, pure, and praiseworthy in God’s view. If we want our sinful desires to die, we must refuse to feed those desires. Therefore, we must be careful about what we watch, listen to, think about, practice, and expose ourselves to in any way.
The spiritual discipline of spending time in prayer, God’s word, worship, and Christian service will help develop our spiritual strength to resist and overcome temptations. If we feed our sinful nature, it will be stronger; If we feed our spiritual nature, it will be stronger. Those who fail to “put to death the deeds of the body” will experience spiritual death and lose their part in God’s eternal Kingdom. The words “you will die” mean that a Christian can pass from spiritual life back into spiritual death. The spiritual life a person receives when he or she accepts Christ and is born again can be destroyed if a believer continues to pursue his or her own sinful desires.
October 30, 2022 – Be Angry but Do Not Sin
Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.
Some anger is sinful and offensive toward God and defies His law of love toward Him and others. But even in times when anger is justified and in touch with God’s own feelings, we must be careful not to act or respond in ways that could dishonor God. To do so allows anger to control us, giving Satan a prime opportunity to stir that anger into resentment, bitterness or hurtful actions that lead to greater evil, including divisions among Christians, family, or friends. That is why God’s Word says that we must never let our anger outlast the day.
Ephesians 4:31 says, let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you. The new man has control of his emotions (bitterness, wrath, anger) and he can deal with them in a manner glorifying to God. Aristotle defined bitterness as “the resentful spirit that refuses reconciliation.” Unger defines wrath (thumos) as the “boiling agitation of the feelings” and anger as the emotion of instant displeasure or indignation.”
Psalms 37:8 says Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret – it only causes harm. David wisely advised the man or woman of God to give up anger, wrath, and worry (fret). They accomplish nothing except harm.
October 23, 2022 – Enduring Temptation
James 1:13: Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James tells us we can be blessed as we endure temptation. It doesn’t say, “Blessed is the man who is never tempted.” It doesn’t say, “Blessed is the man who finds all temptation easy to overcome. There is a special blessing from God to the one who can say “no” to temptation, and saying “yes” to God. James states that the purpose of God in allowing temptation is to approve us; that through the testing we would be shown as genuine and strong in our faith.
Temptation is one of the various trials we face. James 1:2 says, my brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. As we persevere through temptation, we are approved, and will be rewarded as the work of God in us is evident through our resistance of temptation.
James reminds us that it really is worth it to endure under the temptations we face. Our faithfulness will be rewarded as we demonstrate our love for Jesus by resisting temptation. The motive for resisting temptation is because of our love for God. Sinful temptation can only really be overcome by our relationship with God.
Some resist temptation because of the fear of man. The thief suddenly becomes honest when he sees a policeman. The man or woman controls their lusts because they couldn’t bear to be found out and embarrassed. But the best motive for resisting temptation is to love Him with greater power and greater passion than your love for the sin.
Spurgeon said, “So that those who endure temptation rightly, endure it because they love God. They say to themselves, ‘How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ They cannot fall into sin because it would grieve him who loves them so well, and whom they love with all their hearts.”
October 16, 2022 – Judge Not
Matthew 7:1-2 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Jesus touches on an important theme related to the way we think of and treat others. In Matthew 5:20, Jesus called for a righteousness that was greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees. To some people, the way to make oneself more righteous is to be more judgmental of others. Jesus here rebuked that kind of thinking. With this command Jesus warned against passing judgment upon others, because when we do so, we will be judged in a similar manner.
Many people who quote this verse don’t understand what Jesus said. They seem to think (or hope) that Jesus commanded an acceptance of any lifestyle or teaching. Although The Christian is called to show unconditional love, the Christian isn’t called to unconditional approval. We really can love people who do things that we don’t approve of.
For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged. Jesus didn’t prohibit the judgment of others. He only requires that our judgment be completely fair and that we only judge others by a standard by which we would also like to be judged. It’s common to judge others by one standard and ourselves by another standard – being more generous to ourselves than others.
With the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. God will measure unto us according to the same measure we use for others. This is a powerful motivation for us to others. If we want God to be generous with love, forgiveness, and goodness to us, we should give more to others.
October 9, 2022 – What Are Some Modern Forms of Idolatry? Part 4
Excerpts from gotquestions.org: This is the fourth in a series of four.
First, we worship at the altar of materialism which feeds our need to build our egos through the acquisition of more “stuff
Second, we worship at the altar of our own pride and ego. This often takes the form of obsession with careers and jobs.
Third, we idolize mankind through naturalism and the power of science.
Finally, and perhaps most destructively, we worship at the altar of self-aggrandizement or the fulfillment of the self to the exclusion of all others and their needs and desires. This manifests itself in self-indulgence through alcohol, drugs, and food. Those in affluent countries have unlimited access to alcohol, drugs (prescription drug use is at an all-time high, even among children), and food. Obesity rates in the U.S. have skyrocketed, and childhood diabetes brought on by overeating is epidemic. The self-control we so desperately need is spurned in our insatiable desire to eat, drink, and medicate more and more. We resist any effort to get us to curb our appetites, and we are determined to make ourselves the god of our lives. This has its origin in the Garden of Eden where Satan tempted Eve to eat of the tree with the words “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). This has been man’s desire ever since—to be god and, as we have seen, the worship of self is the basis of all modern idolatry.
October 2, 2022 – What Are Some Modern Forms of Idolatry? Part 3
Excerpts from gotquestions.org: This is the third in a series of four.
First, we worship at the altar of materialism which feeds our need to build our egos through the acquisition of more “stuff
Second, we worship at the altar of our own pride and ego. This often takes the form of obsession with careers and jobs.
Third, we idolize mankind through naturalism and the power of science. We cling to the illusion that we are lords of our world and build our self-esteem to godlike proportions. We reject God’s Word and His description of how He created the heavens and the earth, and we accept the nonsense of atheistic evolution and naturalism. We embrace the goddess of environmentalism and fool ourselves into thinking we can preserve the earth indefinitely when God has declared that this current age will have an end: But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. Our focus should not be on worshiping the environment but on living holy lives as we wait eagerly for the return of our Lord and Savior. He alone deserves worship.
September 25, 2022 – What Are Some Modern Forms of Idolatry? Part 2
Excerpts from gotquestions.org
(Excerpts from this article were too long for one bulletin and I felt that each “form” of idolatry was too important to leave one out. This is the second of four.)
First, we worship at the altar of materialism which feeds our need to build our egos through the acquisition of more “stuff
Second, we worship at the altar of our own pride and ego. This often takes the form of obsession with careers and jobs. Millions of men—and increasingly more women—spend 60-80 hours a week working. Even on the weekends and during vacations, our laptops are humming, and our minds are whirling with thoughts of how to make our businesses more successful, how to get that promotion, how to get the next raise, how to close the next deal. In the meantime, our children are starving for attention and love. We fool ourselves into thinking we are doing it for them, to give them a better life. But the truth is we are doing it for ourselves, to increase our self-esteem by appearing more successful in the eyes of the world. This is folly. All our labors and accomplishments will be of no use to us after we die, nor will the admiration of the world, because these things have no eternal value. As King Solomon put it, in Ecclesiastes 2:21-23: “For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless”
September 18, 2022 – What Are Some Modern Forms of Idolatry? Part 1
Excerpts from gotquestions.org
(Excerpts from this article were too long for one bulletin and I felt that each “form” of idolatry was too important to leave one out. Therefore, this will be the first of four over the next four weeks.)
All the various forms of modern idolatry have one thing at their core: self. We no longer bow down to idols and images. Instead, we worship at the altar of the god of self. This brand of modern idolatry takes various forms.ER
First, we worship at the altar of materialism which feeds our need to build our egos through the acquisition of more “stuff.” Our homes are filled with all manner of possessions. We build bigger and bigger houses with more closets and storage space to house all the things we buy, much of which we haven’t even paid for yet. Most of our stuff has “planned obsolescence” built into it, making it useless in no time, and so we consign it to the garage or other storage space. Then we rush out to buy the newest item, garment or gadget and the whole process starts over. This insatiable desire for more, better, and newer stuff is nothing more than covetousness. The tenth commandment tells us not to fall victim to coveting: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17). God doesn’t just want to rain on our buying sprees. He knows we will never be happy indulging our materialistic desires because it is Satan’s trap to keep our focus on ourselves and not on Him.
(Next week: the idol of pride and ego.)
September 11, 2022 – To Thirst
Psalms 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.
Just as water is essential for our physical life, God’s presence is essential for wholeness of life. A believer will continue to hunger and thirst for God and His grace. We can’t allow anything to diminish our desire for the things of God. But, if we’re not careful, the worldly desires, the pursuit of earthly things and the pleasures of this world will choke out the thirst for God.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
This verse is one of the most important verses in the Sermon on the Mount. The foundation for godly living is to “hunger and thirst after righteousness”. The spiritual condition of a Christians life will depend on their hunger and thirst for the presence of God, His Word, and righteousness. However, this hunger can be destroyed by worldly pleasures and a failure to abide in Christ. When we stop thirsting for God and when this hunger for God and His righteousness is destroyed, the believer will die spiritually.
Those who thirst for God may not see immediate results in their thirsting, but the Lord promises to bless those who hunger and thirst rather than settle for less than His full blessing. We can’t grow weary and give up. Psalms 42:8 tells us, The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me—a prayer to the God of my life.
September 4, 2022 – Friendship With the World
When we embrace the world’s attitudes, values, practices, and ungodly pleasures, we show unfaithfulness to God. 1 John 2:15 says, do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Satan often uses the world’s ideas of morality, its philosophies, and its social customs to oppose God, His people, His Word, and His standards. Matthew 3:19 says, For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He catches the wise in their own craftiness.
For our behavior to please and glorify God, it must be based on right beliefs and grounded in a right relationship with God. Many issues we face each day are not evil in themselves, yet Satan will work through any or all of them to promote his purposes and cause spiritual deception.
We see the division that is taking place in our country today. This is none other than Satan leading those with no grounding in God’s word in the destruction of all that is good. 1 Peter 5:8 says Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. When man began to defy God, Satan rose up and took control over the earth and began to dominate the world with his evil purposes. He now walks around with a host of evil spirits and enslaves those who don’t have a personal relationship with Christ. 1 John 2:17 says the world and its desires are passing away, but the one who does the will of God lives forever, and 1 John 4:4 tells us that He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
August 28, 2022 – He Who Believes
John 3:18-19 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:16 tells us that God offers eternal life for all who believe. Yet for any who refuse to believe, their refusal brings condemnation. Here, the focus seems to be on those who deliberately reject the message. Jesus came to bring salvation, but those who reject that salvation condemn themselves. The responsibility is theirs alone.
John Trapp said, “Heaven is too hot to hold unregenerate persons; no such dirty dog ever trampled on that golden pavement, it is an undefiled inheritance.”
Verse 19 says, men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. Jesus explained what keeps people from faith and rescue in Him. It’s because they are drawn to darkness and love it more than the light. There is a moral element to unbelief that is often denied or ignored.
Those who consciously reject Jesus often see themselves as heroic characters who bravely put away superstition and deal honestly with deep philosophical problems. It’s more often true that there is a moral compromise at the source of their rejection.
Many adversaries of Christianity have a vested interested in fighting against the truth of Jesus, because they love their sin and don’t want to face it or face a God who will judge their sin.
When we think of the love of sin that sends people to hell, we often think of terrible sins. But the simple desire to be lord of my own life is enough of a sin to deserve condemnation before God.
August 21, 2022 – God Sees Jesus
God’s love for us doesn’t depend on our actions. When God looks at us, He sees Jesus! This is the same message God wants us to receive today. Many people believe God is ashamed of them because of their mistakes and failures in the past. They may have forgotten that the payment for their sins has already been paid in full by Jesus at the cross.
When God looks at us today, He doesn’t judge or keep track of our mistakes. He sees us in Jesus, and He sees the blood that Jesus shed for our sins.
John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
When God looks at us today, He sees Jesus. Because of this, God’s love toward us is of kindness, forgiveness, and blessings. Jesus paid a heavy price on the cross so that we can live life unconditionally loved by God.
No matter what we did yesterday or today or what we might do in the future, God loves us. 1 John 1:9 says, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
August 14, 2022 – Hypocrites
Psalms 50:16 But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to declare My statutes or take My covenant in your mouth.
In Psalms 50:16-23, God delivers a warning to hypocrites. These people pretend to be devoted to God and claim the promises of His Word but they ignore His commands and conform to worldly beliefs and behaviors of an ungodly society. God threatens to destroy them, and no one will be able to rescue them. Verse 22 says, Now consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Those people will be judged more severely and receive greater eternal punishment. Matthew 23:14 says, Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
In classical Greek, a hypocrite was an actor in a play. The actor wasn’t expected to live his life as the character he played on stage. Let us not be actors but let us have a sincere desire for love and devotion to our Lord and Savior who is always there to lift us up, provide our needs, and direct our paths.
August 7, 2022 – Whom He Foreknew
Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
God chose to show His love toward us before we came into being and before we knew God. God decided from eternity to love us, to rescue us from our own way and restore us to a relationship with Him through Christ. John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The recipient of His love refers to the church – all true believers in Christ. This church body includes believers only as they identify themselves with Christ through faith and devotion to him. All true believers will finally be glorified and reign forever with Him. Romans 8:30 says, Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Believers will lose this honor if they separate themselves from God’s purpose and fail to remain faithful to Christ.
July 31, 2022 – Small is the Gate
Matthew 7:14 narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Jesus taught that few would repent and turn from their own way and follow Him on the road that leads to eternal life with God. In His sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes benefits that go along with being His disciples, but He also taught that those who followed Him would face opposition and persecution. Following Him involves making difficult choices and going through some difficult times. We must turn away from evil (repent) and turn toward God through faith in Christ. Repentance is the opportunity for all sinners to make the choice to turn from sin and turn to God.
The initial step of surrendering to Christ and accepting His forgiveness for sin may not be difficult but trusting Him to make the necessary life changes and continuing to follow Him, no matter what, isn’t easy and will test our faith.
July 24, 2022 – Look to Jesus
Hebrews 12:1-2 …let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Just as a runner must focus on the finish line, we must focus on Jesus as the goal and object of our faith. He is the “author and finisher of our faith” means our faith begins in Him and is completed in Him. He is the start and finish of our race of faith. This race is a lifelong test of our while we are in this world. Our greatest danger in this race is the temptation is to give up and give in to sin. We have to put aside things that may not necessarily sinful, but they don’t help us move forward with Christ. Although the things of the world may be attractive to us for a season, they are simply dead weight that keep us from devoting more time and attention to time with God and they don’t help us grow spiritually. The finish line of eternity with Him must be our ultimate goal.
July 17, 2022 – The Race for Eternity
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
The race of faith takes discipline. We must put aside all the sins that have repeatedly gotten the best of us and kept us from growing as we should in our relationship with God. Our greatest danger is the temptation to give up and give in to sin. We must stop making the same choices that have led to these failures and determine to put aside things that aren’t necessarily sinful, but they’re not beneficial in helping jus move ahead with Christ. These things keep us from devoting more time and attention to time with God – they don’t help us grow spiritually. We must focus on Jesus and the example He has set for us. Verse 2 says looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Just as a runner must focus on the finish line, we must focus on Jesus as the goal or finish line of our faith. He is both the start and the finish of our race of faith and the finish line of eternity with Him must be our ultimate foal.
July 10, 2022 – Encourage One Another
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Paul said discouragement made believers avoid one another at the very time they needed it most. He spoke of a situation in which believers encourage one another, not one where leaders tell others what they are to do.
One commentator said, “Love needs stimulation and society.
Faith and hope can be practiced by a solitary, in a hermit’s cell or on a desert island. But the exercise of love is possible only in a community.”
Forsaking the assembling of ourselves together is a sure way to cause discouragement. Some only go to church if they feel they “need it” at the time. But our reason for fellowship must be to obey God and to give to others. We can and should gather with believers to encourage someone who needs to stand strong against some form of discouragement.
- We gather to receive something from God.
- We gather to give something to God.
- We gather to encourage each other by our shared faith and values.
- We gather to bless one another.
- We gather to work together.
Because it’s so important that Christians gather together, things that work against their gathering must be regarded as serious dangers.
A commentator said, “The words, not neglecting to meet together, presumably refer to worship meetings, although this is not stated. It may purposely be left ambiguous so as to include other gatherings of a more informal kind, but the Greek word suggests some official assembly.”
As the Day of Jesus’ return draws nearer, we should be more committed to the fellowship of God’s people, the assembling of ourselves together.
July 3, 2022 – Let Your Light Shine
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
As Christians, we should be a shining light in this spiritually dark world in which we currently live. 1 Peter 2:9 says, but you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Although we live in the world, we shouldn’t be of the world. Our faith should be evident to those around us. Those who are looking for direction and hope in their lives should see a difference in ours. This happens not only through words, but often more effectively through our actions. To show people who Jesus is and what He is like, we must follow His example and help others. By serving others, we reflect Christ’s humility. Philippians 2:7 says, but (Jesus) made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Many will not pay attention to the message unless it comes from someone who cares enough to meet their practical needs and we must always be ready to give an answer for the reason for our hope and the motivation behind our actions.
June 26, 2022 – Keep on Praying
Luke 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.
Instead of getting frustrated or discouraged when we go through difficult times, we need to pray and not lose heart by never giving up. Stop getting discouraged. Start being persistent and pray, and then pray some more.
Galatians 6:9 tells us: and let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. The Bible tells of a time to sow and a time to reap. God wants us to keep growing and sowing. If we do that, the harvest will come, although it might not be immediately.
James 4:3 says, you ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. We need to thank God as if He has already answered our prayers and is never giving up on us. He will hear us, and He will help. Keep on keeping on!
June 19, 2022 – Be a Watchman
Ezekiel 3:18-19 When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
God used the figure of the watchman to describe Ezekiel’s responsibility. He fulfilled his role as a watchman not by observing others, but by faithfully proclaiming God’s word and bringing God’s warning to the people.
There are many today who consider themselves watchmen. They watch carefully and look for signs of error or apostasy. Yet they focus on the error more than proclaiming God’s truth. Ezekiel was called to give them a warning.
Many so-called watchmen today may distort the Biblical idea by untruthful or unfair examination of others in search of error or apostasy. If a watchman alerts people to dangers but doesn’t give an honest and fair report, then he won’t be believed when he warns of a genuine danger.
God explained the sin and the penalty to Ezekiel for failing to be a faithful watchman. If God’s message wasn’t delivered, then his blood I will require at your hand. The focus of the watchman’s work isn’t on the examination of the wicked, but on the faithful declaration of God’s message.
If Ezekiel faithfully delivered God’s message, then he would bear no guilt if the message were rejected. The one who rejected the message would die in his iniquity, under the judgment of God. If Ezekiel faithfully delivered God’s message, it would be said, you have delivered your soul.
Death was part of God’s promised curse for disobedience to the Mosaic covenant.
False prophets gave false hope to the people and told them to resist the Babylonians and put their trust in the Egyptians to save them. Those who did this would die either in defeat or exile. The path of safety was an obedient trust in the judgments of God.
June 12, 2022 – I Am Who I Am
Exodus 3:14 And God said to Moses, I Am Who I Am.
In this verse, the Lord gave Himself the personal name “I Am Who I Am”. From this we get the Hebrew word, Yahweh, or Lord. God was telling Moses, “I want to be known as the God who is present and active.” The name Yahweh reflects the promise of God’s constant presence with His people. It’s God’s covenant-keeping name, which focuses on how he rescues people and brings them back into a personal relationship with Him. Elohim was God’s name given in Genesis 1:1. Elohim emphasizes God’s greatness and power, but Lord is the personal name God uses to reveal himself to His own covenant people. The words “Lord God” points to God as the all-powerful Creator who has entered into a loving covenant relationship with His created beings.
God didn’t make Himself known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the name “Lord” (Yahweh). He didn’t reveal the full implication, or meaning, of the character and power of that name to them. They had heard and used the name Yahweh, but they more often referred to him as “God Almighty,” a name that emphasizes his power to fulfill anything he has promised.
June 5, 2022 – Give us a King
1 Samuel 8:5 Install for us a king to govern us like all the nations
Kingship was part of God’s promise in his covenant with Abraham. When Jacob blessed his sons, he assigned the kingship to the tribe of Judah. Moses foretold of the day when Israel would no longer be content with God’s direct rule and under Samuel, the people demanded a human king. God told Samuel the people were not rejecting Samuel, but God as King of Israel. The people were willing to risk losing their role as God’s chosen people and asked for a human king so that they would be like all the other nations. Isn’t this so like people today who don’t want to be a unique and separate people, but want to be like, act like, and follow those of the world.
Up until this time, Israel’s government had been a theocracy. God Himself ruled Israel as their King. He led them through direct guidance, His written Word and through godly leaders.
They wanted a human king to govern them and go out before them and fight their battles the things God had done for them when they became His chosen people. The people were wrong in believing their troubles and defeats were due to Samuel’s poor governing. It was their sin – rebellion against God and defiance of His standards – that led to their downfall. Their choice made the way for them to adjust to and then adopt the ways of the wicked societies around them, instead of trusting God. At the end of history, God will resume direct reign over his people through Jesus Christ.
May 29, 2022 – God’s Protection
Psalms 91:10: No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.
Unless God allows it, nothing can happen to a faithful child of God. This doesn’t mean there will never be difficult times. But, if we obey and depend on God as the source of refuge in our lives, He will work through everything that happens to us for our good. Romans 8:35 says, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? We can never get beyond His love. This promise applies to those who have been justified through faith in Christ and who remain faithful and true to Him.
God has charged the angels to watch over the lives of people who are faithful to Him. They guard over us physically and spiritually. These angels can help protect us from anything and everything if we trust God and follow His purposes. Verse 12 says, They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone. They lift us up in our troubles and give us support as we face our spiritual enemies.
May 22, 2022 – The Wicked Shall Die
Ezekiel 3:18 When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.
God told Ezekiel that all who continued to live in sin would be punished with death. Also, if he failed to warn those living in sin, he would be held accountable for their deaths. Those in our churches today who are living in ungodly ways must be warned that they will not see the kingdom of God if they don’t repent. In Ephesians 5:5, Paul warned that those within or outside the church who were immoral, impure, or greedy would be excluded from Christ’s kingdom. Those people show that they love things more than they love God; they are more determined to do what pleases them than to do what pleases God.
God’s people must admit their sins and turn from their own selfish ways. Those who fail to warn the unfaithful will themselves be accountable for their coming judgment. God has given us the responsibility to warn of eternal death for all who refuse to give up their own way and accept Christ’s forgiveness in their lives.
May 15, 2022 – Count it All Joy
James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
James, like most of us, knew trials are inevitable. He said when, not if you fall into various trials. There was much persecution in the church during this time. James said, face the problems that arise and grow from those problems. He speaks to them as brothers in Christ. It’s difficult for us to see a lesson to be learned at the time we’re facing temptations, but in each of them there is an opportunity for us to grow.
Jesus faced every temptation when he went to the mountain and fasted forty days and nights. The main lesson to be learned in the temptation, is that God will help us face the problem. He’ll see us through if we’ll place our trust in Him. I Corinthians 10:13 says, No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. James said knowing that we are to grow through this temptation should bring us joy. The King James Version says, when ye fall into divers temptations; but the word trials in the New King James Version, I think is better. According to Adam Clarke, the word translated trials “signifies affliction, persecution, or trial of any kind; and in this sense it is used here, not intending diabolic suggestion, or what is generally understood by the word temptation.” William Oesterley said word patience described “the frame of mind which endures.” Most of us aren’t very patient. If we’re to take on the likeness of Christ, then we have to become patient. We see a good example of this in Job in the Old Testament. He faced great trials and patiently waited for an answer from God. The end of the trials was victory for him.
Faith is tested through trials; it’s not produced by trials. Trials show what faith we do have; not because God doesn’t know how much faith we have, but so that our faith will be evident to ourselves and to those around us.
May 8, 2022 – Peace of God
With the birth of Jesus, the angels proclaimed that God’s peace had now come to the earth. He came to destroy the devil’s work and to break down all barriers of conflict that prevent peace in our lives. With His death and resurrection, Colossians 2:15 says Jesus disarmed authorities and powers. Christ triumphed over all the demonic forces and satanic powers of the world, making peace possible. He stripped the demonic forces of their power to hold men and women captive to the control of evil against their will. Romans 5:1 tells us that when we believe in Jesus Christ and accept His message and sacrifice for us and entrust our lives to him, we are justified and have peace with God.
May 1, 2022 – Forgiveness
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
In the sermon on the mount, after Jesus taught those about Him How to pray (the Lord’s Prayer), He explained the importance of forgiveness. The Greek word for forgive sometimes means “to let go,” “to leave behind,” “to dismiss,” or “to cancel a debt.” It’s used for the forgiveness of sins by God. We are to forgive others in the same way God forgives us.
We are told in verse fifteen the consequences if we don’t forgive others. Jesus teaches us that we should have a forgiving heart and a willingness to forgive the wrongs others have done to us. Not forgiving others is a sin because of the bitterness it can bring to our own spirit and because it doesn’t reflect God’s character in our lives. If we don’t forgive others, Jesus said He wouldn’t forgive us. In Matthew 18:35 Jesus teaches that God’s forgiveness depends on our willingness to forgive others. A person may lose the chance to be forgiven of their sins by God if he holds on to a bitter, resentful, unforgiving heart. Bitterness, resentment, hostility and ill will have no place in the heart of a Christian.
April 24, 2022 – Nothing to Something
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
It’s easy to look at the world around us with all the hate, war, suffering and disease, and think, what’s going on. It can be upsetting if we dwell on all the bad things going on in the world. God created the heavens and the earth. After He did this, Adam sinned and with his sin we have the world we live in today.
The terrible things we see in the world around us are not what God intended when He created the world. It was perfect and good then. Now we live in a world that has caused by sin. The good news is that God promises that He will give us a new heaven and a new earth. 2 Peter 3:13 says, nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
When we see the hate, war, disease, and bad things going on in the world today, we can’t let ourselves become discouraged or doubt God. If God can create the universe from nothing, He can give us peace in our world. We have hope in Jesus Christ. He can take our weaknesses and failures and make them into something that will glorify God.
The Bible is full of people who had nothing to offer God, but when they surrendered themselves to God, He used them in powerful ways to change the outcome of the world. The next time you feel that you can’t make a difference, remember you are just the kind of person God is looking for to use.
By Larry Cobb
April 17, 2022 – My Father’s House
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
Just as Jesus went to heaven, he will return to take his followers to the place prepared for them. The place to which Jesus was returning to prepare a place for his followers is heaven. It is the hope of all Christians today. The ultimate purpose of the Lord’s return is that his faithful people may be with him forever. God’s eternal home has many rooms or dwelling places.
The words receive you to myself refers to the rapture, when all followers of Christ shall be caught up together… in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17). This will take place suddenly and at an unexpected time. When this occurs, we will move to our eternal home in heaven with God instead of our temporary one here on earth.
Christ’s coming for his followers will enable them to escape the future hour of trial and judgment that will come on the world in the end times
April 10, 2022 – I Am the Lord Your God
Exodus 6:7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
The Lord promised to rescue Israel from bondage, adopt them as His people and be their God. In return, the people promised to do the will of God. Only God could free them. The people of Israel belonged to God because He created them, chose them, and then redeemed them out of slavery.
Israel’s redemption from Egypt was a sign of how Jesus would provide redemption for the sinful human race through His death on the cross. All those who accept Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin and trust him to lead their lives are set free from the power of Satan, sin, and the world. They now belong to God.
April 3, 2022 – We Are One
1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
Each of God’s people fills a different role in His overall purpose. One may be used to deliver God’s message to a certain individual. Another believer may come along later and encourage that person by words or example to further consider God’s truth, or perhaps to grow in a relationship with Christ. In some cases, Christians may pray for years for family members who do not know Christ, then another believer has the privilege of praying with that person to receive Christ. All these efforts are aimed at the same purpose, and it is God who finally brings people into a relationship with Himself and develops them into what He wants them to be.
All who serve Christ must take comfort in the fact that whether they see the effects of their service for Christ immediately or not, they are expected simply to be faithful to the tasks and opportunities God has given them. They are not responsible to cause the spiritual results in people’s lives.
March 27, 2022 – Ask in Faith
James 21:6-8 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The one who doubts, and lacks faith shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord. It’s useless to pray and ask for something, if you don’t believe you’ll get an answer to that prayer. Faith is what causes the prayer to be answered. When Jesus healed the sick, He said, your faith has made you whole. Mark 11:24 says, Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Adam Clarke said, “The man who is not thoroughly persuaded that if he asks of God he shall receive, resembles a wave of the sea; he is in a state of continual agitation; driven by the wind, and tossed: now rising by hope, then sinking by despair.”
A wave of the sea is a fitting description of one who’s troubled by unbelief and doubts. A wave is unstable and driven by the wind, and so is the doubter. To ask God in a doubting way, shows that we are double-minded. If we had no faith, we wouldn’t ask at all. If we had no unbelief, we wouldn’t doubt. To straddle the fence between faith and unbelief is to be double-minded.
March 20, 2022 – Great in The Kingdom
Matthew 5:19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Our place in the kingdom of God will be determined by our attitude toward God’s law and by how we influence others in relation to his law. If we truly love God, we will not feel and act as if his commands are a burden on us.
1 John 5:3 says, For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. Those who love God will love His laws and commands. Psa.ms 119:47 says, I will delight in your commandments, which I have loved.
We must be careful that our example inspires others to live by god’s standards and that we don’t cause others to challenge or compromise God’s standards by acting as if they don’t matter in today’s world. Our degree of faithfulness will determine our degree of honor in Heaven.
Matthew 5:20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. The Pharisees and teachers lived by the law and still were not right with God because their “righteousness” was external only. Jesus said that to truly be right with God, one’s heart and spirit – not just outward actions – must conform to God’s standards and purposes because we love and trust Him.
March 13, 2022 – The Peace of God
Jeremiah 33:6 Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. It’s basic meaning is the presence of harmony, wholeness, well-being, and contentment in all areas of life. When God created the heavens and the earth, He created a world at peace. Genesis 1:31 said then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.
When Adam and Eve were deceived by Satan and ate from the forbidden tree, their disobedience introduced sin which broke the order of creation’s original harmony. When that happened, they experienced guilt and shame and lost their inner peace.
Though sin affected man’s existence by destroying peace and well-being, God has planned to restore shalom. God sent Jesus into the world to make a way for peace between people and God. Jesus came to provide forgiveness and freedom from sin and the hope of a personal and eternal relationship with God. Jesus came to destroy Satan’s work and to break down all barriers of conflict that prevent peace in our lives. For this reason, when we believe in Jesus Christ, we are justified and have peace with God. Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
March 6, 2022 – The Darkness and Light
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Jesus revealed the heart of God the Father in sending God the Son; to bring salvation – rescue, hope, healing – to the world through Him.
Although some men will, in fact, be condemned, as the result of Christ’s coming into the world that was not the purpose of His coming. John 3:16 offers eternal life for all who believe. Yet the offer has consequences for any who reject or refuse to believe. Their refusal makes their condemnation certain. Jesus came to bring salvation, but those who reject that salvation condemn themselves. The reason for anyone’s condemnation can’t be placed upon God. The responsibility is theirs alone.
John said men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Jesus explained what keeps people from faith in Him. It’s because they are drawn to darkness and love it more than the light. There is a critical
moral aspect to unbelief that is often denied or ignored. Many opponents of Christianity love their sin and don’t want to face it or face a God who will judge their sin.
When we think of the love of sin that sends people to hell, we often think of terrible sins. But to ignore the simple demand to be lord of our own life is enough of a sin to deserve condemnation before God.
Everyone practicing evil hates the light. Some express their hatred of the truth by actively fighting against it, and others express their hatred by ignoring God’s truth – by saying to Jesus “You are not worth my time.” In contrast, he who does the truth comes to the light.
February 27, 2022 – What Will a Man Trade For His Soul?
Mark 8:35-36 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
When Satan, the ruler of this world, tempted Jesus with the offer of rulership over all the kingdoms of the world in Luke 4:5-8, Jesus rejected it. Throughout His ministry, Jesus would refuse to seek a kingdom for himself by the worldly methods of compromise, earthly power, political maneuvering, violence, or personal popularity. Jesus found life and victory in obedience instead.
Giving our life to Jesus totally and living for others doesn’t take away from our life, it adds to it. It isn’t always easy to walk with Jesus. It means that we must associate ourselves with someone who was despised and executed on a cross. Yet if we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us. Adam Clarke said, “If Jesus Christ had come into the world as a mighty and opulent man, clothed with earthly glories and honors, he would have had a multitude of partisans, and most of them hypocrites.”
Jesus is coming again in glory, and if we will rebel against the world, the flesh, and the devil, we will share in the glory. Many think of following Jesus as conforming to the establishment. Jesus called us to rebel against the established order of this world. We are called to rebel against the tyranny of the flesh, against the fear and conformity of the world, against the traditions of man. Jesus encourages us to rebel against slavery, where the slaves of sin, Satan, and the world rebel against their masters. Walking with Jesus means a life of the power and glory of the kingdom of God.
February 20, 2022 – Refrain From Evil Desires
Psalms 141:4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies.
Christians should pray that God will help them refrain from evil desires, speech, or actions. The fact is that sin can be attractive and enjoyable for a time, which means that we must be careful regarding the influences we allow into our lives, including relationships or entertainment. We can’t compromise with wicked people and behaviors.
Hebrews 11:25 says choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. Every believer faces the recurring choice to be identified with Christ and God’s people, even though it may bring rejection and persecution, or to enjoy the momentary “pleasures of sin” and the feeling of freedom that may initially come from going our own. However, those temporary choices have eternal consequences.
The struggle is whether we will give in to our own sinful desires and yield to sin’s control, or whether we will surrender to the Holy Spirit and continue under Christ’s authority and control. By relying on the power of the Holy Spirit we can overcome our own desires and win the battle over sinful nature.
February 13, 2022 – Pride
Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction the heart of a person is haughty, but humility goes before honor.
Pride is an attitude of self-importance that involves putting too much trust in ourselves, our own ideas, and our own abilities. Boasting and thinking very highly of oneself because of one’s wealth, appearance, talents, or abilities are sins associated with pride. If not corrected, these traits will eventually destroy a person. Proverbs 16:18 says, Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling. Jeremiah 49:16 says the arrogance of your heart has deceived you.
Even when a proud person appears to be modest, his or her inner attitude makes it impossible to respond to God and others with true humility. God is against the proud but gives grace and honor to the humble. James 4: 6 says God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
February 6, 2022 – Guidance and Direction
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
If we trust completely in the Lord, there is no room for doubt or ignoring God and his Word. Trusting also involves turning all our worries and fears over to Him. Matthew 6:25 says, Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Complete trust is vital to our relationship with Him. As God’s children we can know that He loves us and will faithfully care for us.
Our own understanding is limited. We need God’s wisdom to guide all our decisions. In all our decisions and plans we must recognize and accept God’s authority and leadership above anything else. Rather than being anxious about anything, look to God for help and direction by prayer and supplication with gratitude. When we do this, God promises to make our paths straight. He will lead us in the right direction, helping us to be overcomers and make the right choices.
January 30, 2022 – Train Up a Child
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Parents must commit themselves to the godly training and discipline of their children. This requires helping then avoid the world’s evil influences and teaching them the benefits of living by the standards and principles of God’s Word. Parents must expose their children to experiences that will encourage them to discover God’s purposes for their lives.
The writer said if we do our part, he will not depart from it. The idea here is that a child who is lovingly trained to know God in love and respectful obedience will not reject the godly teachings and influence of his or her parents. However, this is not a guarantee that all children of godly parents will remain true to God and His Word when it comes time for them to make their own choices. The influence of the world, as well as the example of unfaithful followers, can cause them to give in to temptation, where God speaks of a spiritual rebellion so intense that even righteous men like Noah, Daniel and Job could not save their own sons or daughters. But children who have been trained at a young age with godly influences will be less likely to reject God and His ways.
January 23, 2022 – The Heart
When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God’s command and follow the serpent’s temptation to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, their decision was destructive to the human heart. Because of their choice, they became open to evil influences and selfish desires. That is the reason why the words “follow your heart” are not good advice, though the speaker may mean well.
The prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 17:9, the heart is more deceitful than all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it? Jesus said in Mark 7:21-22, For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.
Hearts that are turned toward evil are on a path that will harden them toward God. Those who keep refusing to accept God’s Word put themselves in a dangerous situation. They may not even realize it when God finally allows them to go their own way. Hebrews 3:8 says Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness. The Holy Spirit speaks to us concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. If we ignore his voice from within us, our hearts will increasingly grow hard and unresponsive until they are no longer sensitive to God’s Word, his guidance, or the desires of the Holy Spirit. Commitment to truth and right living will no longer be a priority, but we will increasingly look for satisfaction and pleasure in worldly ways rather than God’s ways. The Holy Spirit warns us that there is a limit to how long God will plead with us if we harden our hearts in rebellion. There is a point of no return.
January 16, 2022 – Warfare
Today, Christians are involved in a spiritual conflict with evil. This conflict is described as a warfare of faith and will continue until they pass from this present life and enter the life to come.
2 Corinthians 10:4 says, For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal
but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. 1 Timothy 6:12 says Fight the good fight of faith.
The church can be tempted to meet the challenges of life with the world’s tools, methods and weapons. This means Christians often rely on humanistic wisdom and philosophy. These things often become substitutes for the true spiritual power that comes from prayer, uncompromising devotion to God’s Word, God-centered worship, serving others for Jesus and delivering His message without shame.
Worldly weapons and strategies can’t bring spiritual victory or cause a spiritual revival. Only the effective spiritual weapons of truth, faith and the power of the Holy Spirit can destroy sin’s power in people’s lives, rescue them from Satan’s schemes or overthrow the evil passions in the world today.
Using the world’s weapons makes the church more like the world and robs the church of an effective Christian witness that reveals Jesus. The church that fails to use the spiritual weapons available through Christ will be overcome by the spiritual powers of darkness, and its families will be taken captive by the worldly forces of evil.
Satan is a master strategist who aims to hurt and destroy us by his schemes. Among his schemes is causing division in the church and unbelief in God’s promises. His strategies also include discouragement, temptation, unforgiveness, fear, accusation, giving in to our sinful desires, spiritual laziness, etc.
He will do whatever it takes to entice believers to compromise their conscience and distract them from devotion to Jesus. As believers, we have to take a stand against these schemes. Our victory has already been won by Christ through death on the cross to pay the price for our sins.
January 9, 2022 – Fellowship
The day of Christ’s return is quickly approaching. As it does, we will face difficulties, opposition, persecutions, and deception. We have already begun experiencing some of these trials. Coming together regularly with other believers for worship, Christian companionship and Biblical instruction will provide the necessary encouragement to help each of us hold firmly to faith in Christ.
It is the plan and expectation of Christ that believers grow in fellowship with each other as we grow deeper in our relationship with him. Time together with other Christians will be a blessing to God as we worship Him, a blessing to us through our deepened friendships and continued instruction and a blessing to others we encounter because we will be better encouraged and equipped to spread Christ’s message among them. Hebrews 10:25 says Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
The church is the body of Christ, a living, spiritual organism; through which Christ reveals himself and accomplishes his purposes in the world. This means that no true church exists without a living and active union between individual church members and Christ, who is the head of the body. The purpose of a Christian fellowship is to live out the witness of a common love and care for one another; to pray for one another; to lift one another in times of trials; and to be there in a time of need.
January 2, 2022 – I Did Not Come with Wisdom
1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.
Paul’s preaching was not based on eloquent speech, popular appeal, or the latest human “wisdom” either in the world or the Church. He was not concerned with who was in political power at the time. He didn’t preach a “feel good” message; instead, be concentrated on the central truth of the gospel – the “good news” of forgiveness, new life, and an eternal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
He was aware of his human limitations. For this reason, he didn’t rely on himself, but on the message of Christ and on the power of the Holy Spirit. He said in verse 4, and my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. By doing this, people’s attention was drawn to God so their faith would be based on his authority and power.
December 26, 2021 – The Wisdom of The World
1 Corinthians 1:19-20 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
Worldly wisdom excludes God because it emphasizes self-sufficiency. It makes human knowledge the highest authority and refuses to accept God’s revelation in Jesus Christ. God calls this wisdom foolishness because it has kept man from finding and believing the truth so that they may come to know their savior. 1 Corinthians 1:21 says, For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
A Christian’s worldview must be firmly based on God’s Word and its message of Christ, which will show the secular worldview as a rejection of God and His truth. The true message of “the cross of Christ” must never be compromised or twisted to accommodate worldly philosophy, science or any other wisdom the man proclaims as great. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5: And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Decemeber 19, 2021 – Temptation and Sin
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Christians have all the power and ability they need to fight and win battles against sin. Hebrews 7:25 says Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. This power is available through God’s grace. If we give in to temptation and sin, it’s not because Christ’s power is inadequate; it’s because we fail to rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to help us resist our own ungodly desires.
2 Peter 1:3 tells us that God’s power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. We can overcome every temptation and find a way out if we sincerely desire to please God and if we depend on His power and faithfulness.
December 12, 2021 – The Truth Will Set Us Free
Truth, according to Webster’s dictionary, is fidelity, constancy, sincerity in action, character, and utterance. Fidelity means the quality or state of being faithful. Our world and specifically our nation is short on truth and fidelity.
The Word is anointed by the Holy Spirit. When you know the God’s Word it will permanently bless you by setting you free. If we don’t know the Word, we are in trouble. It’s the knowledge of the Word that makes us free. Too many of us today – Christians included, are looking for someone or something else to make us free. Instead of trusting in Jesus, we trust in people. Instead of studying the Word, we read and study “self-help” books to provide us the answers we seek or for direction for ourselves and families.
God has given us the Bible to let us know what He has done for us and how we can be set free. Matthew 8:17 tells us that He took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. 1 Peter 2:24 says by his stripes you were healed. Often, we have the tendency to lose whatever faith we have when we don’t get an immediate, total healing. But healing that takes place over time is still a miracle. We must believe and trust God to deliver His promise.
My mother was once diagnosed with breast cancer. In the hospital room with my father and me the night before her scheduled surgery, she told the doctor that she wanted him to examine her again. She said she didn’t need surgery because she and her church had been praying for her and the cancer was gone. To appease her, the doctor told my father and me to step outside the room so he could re-examine her. A short time later the nurse stepped out and said she had to get the x-rays that were taken in preparation for the surgery. After she returned with the x-rays, the doctor stepped out of the room and said my mother was getting dressed. She didn’t need the surgery. He showed us the x-rays which indicated a cancer the size of a walnut. The cancer was no longer there.
My mother was set free. I believe doctors are given to us by God. However, God is the great physician. My mother was faithful and trusted in God and not in man. We can’t give up because in the natural our faith isn’t working. Believe that what God has spoken in His Word is true.
December 5, 2021 – No Longer Be Children
Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
Spiritually immature people are unstable in commitment, easily deceived by the false teaching and influence of others around them. These people will remain like children spiritually if their understanding of and commitment to Biblical truth remains so shallow or if they fail to learn Cod’s Word, apply the Word, and grow in their devotion and service to God. Hebrews 5:14 says, but solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Mature Christians respond to God’s Word and take an active role in building up the church and promoting love and unity amongst the church body. They don’t sit back and wait for others to serve them, but they seek out ways to serve and build others. They understand that the true message of Christ is to be held in love. Hebrews 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.
November 28, 2021 – How Shall They Hear The Message
Romans 11:13 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved
Although there is a cost in following Jesus in a world that rejects him and persecutes his followers, God has not made it difficult to receive forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life with him. If a person recognizes his need for God, acknowledges his need for God, confesses his sin and calls on God for mercy, he can receive forgiveness and spiritual salvation. However, it can’t happen unless we believe in Jesus Christ which won’t happen unless we hear the message. Verse 14 says how shall they hear without a preacher.
Verse 15 tells us that for people to hear and receive the message of Jesus, someone has to tell them about him – how shall they preach unless they are sent. In many cases the message won’t be spread fully enough to people in other lands and cultures unless Christians send and support those whom God has called to deliver his message to those people and places. We can all have a part in the effort “to bring good news of good things” to those who haven’t yet heard about Jesus by helping to send others to spread the Gospel.
November 21 – Be Angry but Don’t Sin
Ephesians 4:26 Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.
We live in an angry world. There is no trust and little compassion among the nations of the world. Our own nation is divided, and we see various factions fighting against others. Family’s members don’t speak to one another!
Paul tells us that some anger is sinful and offensive toward God and His law of love toward Him and others. Proverbs 29:11 says, A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back. How often have we said something in anger only wishing we could take it back?
Matthew 5:22 tells us, But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Jesus isn’t speaking of justified anger at those who are wicked and cruel, rather, he’s condemning the act of judging another out of anger and with the desire to cause harm to another person. Raca is a term of hatred and is much like calling a person “you fool.”
However, there is an anger that is justified because it’s based on devotion to God and His standards of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, justice, and injustice. But even when anger may be justified, we must be careful not to act or respond in ways that could dishonor God. We can’t allow anger to control us. To do so can lead to resentment, bitterness or actions that lead to greater evil.
November 14 – Hope
Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
The word translated as “hope” (elpis) is different than the meaning we connect with the word today. Hope generally means looking toward something that might happen, depending on certain circumstances. But true Biblical hope isn’t wishful thinking about something good that might happen in the future. It is a confidence from God concerning his promises, which makes it sure and leaves no room for doubt, because It’s based on God’s Word. We will experience the reality of this hope because God is “the God of hope” – Romans 15:13 says, Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. This means that He Himself is the object and assurance of our hope.
November 7 – Justification
The word “justified” means to be just before God, to be made righteous, or to set or put right. In a legal sense, it means to be acquitted or declared “not guilty.” It’s related to God’s forgiveness made available through Christ’s sacrifice. All people are sinners in rebellion against God. 1 John 1:8 says, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
As sinners, we are pronounced guilty and condemned to eternal death. But those who repent – who admit their sins, turn from their own way, surrender to Christ, and begin following him – enter a right relationship with God. 1 John 1:9 says If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
How often have we heard that somebody who has passed from this life is now in heaven because they were a “good” person or they attended church and volunteered regularly. We are heaven bound only if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, not because we lived a good life. From God’s perspective, when we accept Christ’s atoning sacrifice for ourselves, in that moment it is as if we had never sinned. Jesus said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. God credits Christ’s righteousness to those who receive and follow Him. This is what allows God to accept us into heaven, since no one could ever be good enough to merit or earn a place in heaven on their own.
October 31 – The Peace of God
Jeremiah 33:6: Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.
When Adam and Eve were deceived by Satan and ate from the forbidden tree, their disobedience introduced sin. In turn, sin broke the flow of creation’s original harmony. When that happened, Adam and Eve experienced guilt and shame for the first time in relation to God and they lost their inner peace.
Their sin destroyed their perfect relationship with God. Genesis 3:8 says they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. They traded their peace with God for the false and temporary pleasure of their own way. The peaceful and pleasant relationship between Adam and Eve as husband and wife was also disrupted. God said in Genesis 3: 16 that this sort of tension and conflict would continue between man and woman. This sort of tension in relationships accounts for much of the social conflict that is now part of the human existence, from arguments to violence in our homes.
Though sin affected human existence by destroying peace and well-being in the world, God has planned to restore peace. God sent His son into the world to make a way for peace between people and God. Jesus came to provide forgiveness and freedom from sin and the hope of a personal and eternal relationship with God.
When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are made right with God and have peace with God. Experiencing peace with God requires that we be united with Him by faith. When we surrender control of our life to Christ’s leadership, we are forgiven and justified, or made right with God. The Old Testament prophets declared over and over that there is no real peace for the wicked. We must surrender to Him completely to live in peace.
October 24 – Where Have All Our Freedoms Gone?
I have not seen, in my lifetime, such a drastic seizure of personal liberties and freedoms as we have seen within the last nine months in our own country. In the beginning, non-essential businesses were not allowed to conduct business. This caused thousands of small businesses to fail. Churches to a large degree could not open their doors for more than 10 worshippers. Although a vaccine was developed and approved at a speed never allowed by previous regulators, Americans are now or will be required to carry a proof of vaccination card with them to receive service at many businesses. Airlines are requiring “vax” cards to fly. Employees of the federal government are required to get vaccinated. The military has required all members to be vaccinated or face the consequences. Hospitals and other health care providers are requiring their employees to get vaccinated or lose their jobs. Those in private industry with over 100 employees will also be required to be vaccinated in order to keep their jobs.
I’m not saying people should avoid vaccines; I received a shot. I’m simply saying it should be an individual’s choice. Our constitution says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Revelation 13:16-17 tells us that the false prophet in conjunction with the anti-christ causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
We are swiftly approaching the end of this age. I believe the anti-christ is about to appear on the world stage. Many may look at the Book of Revelation as fantasy or don’t realize or believe it is Jesus’ own revelation to us of the soon coming end of this age.
Some might say people wouldn’t let something like what is described in the Book of Revelation to happen, but I have already described above how easy it is for man to accept whatever its leadership demands of him, whether he agrees or not!
October 17 – The Christians Relationship to The World
Loving the world defiles our relationship with God and leads to spiritual destruction. It’s impossible to love the world and God the Father at the same time. To love the world means to be closely related to and associated with its beliefs, behaviors, and customs. It means accepting its values, interests, practices, and pleasures. It involves taking pleasure in or enjoying what is common in the world but is offensive to God.
The terms “world” and “earth” are not synonymous. God doesn’t forbid us to appreciate and admire the beauty of the earth that He created, while we are to hate the corrupt ways of the world.
Great harm can come to a person when they saturate themselves with all kinds of crude entertainment, such as movies, books, theaters, and television. Yet, many people approve of and take pleasure in what will destroy them in the end. Being entertained by watching other people sin and engage in ungodly actions does not please God any more than those who are sinning directly.
This attitude allows the influence of evil to increase by encouraging people to keep doing what they are doing. There is no sense of guilt or shame, so there seems to be no reason to change or stop. However, the end result of such a path is spiritual and eternal destruction on the day of judgment.
October 10 – Deceit
Genesis 27:3-4 Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me. And make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.”
Before Jacob was born, God told Rebekah, his mother, that she would have twins and the older twin would serve the younger. The covenant God made with Abraham was not only unto Abraham, but unto his chosen descendants also. In this case, the chosen descendant was Jacob.
When Isaac, Jacob’s father was old, he called for Esau, his favorite. He told him to hunt some game and make him a meal that he loved, and then he would bless him with God’s covenant, going against God’s choice of Jacob.
Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite, and the two schemed against Isaac to make sure Jacob received the blessing instead of Esau. In the process, Jacob lied to his father, pretending to be Esau. Sometimes it’s difficult to know if someone is lying. Whether a statement is sin or not comes back to the question of intent; but other times it’s not difficult at all, and here Jacob clearly lied to his father.
If Jacob had trusted God, he would have received the blessing in God’s time. Instead, he lied twice and tried to do things his own way. He got what he wanted but it cost Rebekah and him a great deal. He had to leave everything behind and run for his life, and Rebekah never saw her son again. Along the way people treated Jacob dishonestly, just as he had done to others; and he spent many years serving in someone else’s household.
Jacob’s actions should be an example to anyone who considers misleading others and then claiming that it was for the sake of God’s work. Spiritual success comes by doing what’s right, not by deceptive actions or by hiding the truth. Since he knew that God wanted him to have the birthright, Jacob justified any lie or other sin he committed in the pursuit of the birthright. He likely did so telling himself that it was all for a righteous cause.
Jacob probably used the promise and calling of God as an excuse for sin; he justified it to himself by saying his sinful conduct acted towards the fulfillment of the promise of God.
James 1:18 tells us, each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
October 3 – The Second Coming
Matthew 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
When the disciples asked Jesus when He would come again. He pointed out that His disciples should be less concerned with knowing the exact date and more concerned with being prepared.
If we knew the exact date, we might be tempted to be lazy in our work for Christ. Worse yet, we might plan to keep sinning and then turn to God right at the end. Knowing that Christ’s return will be sudden and unexpected should motivate us always to be prepared.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.
Some people in the Thessalonian church were falsely teaching that because Christ would return any day, people should quit work, do nothing, and just wait on the Lord to return. Their laziness only led them into sin, and they became a burden to the church, which was supporting them. Paul told them to be responsible and return to work. Being ready for Christ means obeying Him in every area of life. Because we know that He is coming, we must live in such a way that our faith and daily practice will please Him when He arrives.
September 26 – Church Participation
The work of the church requires each member’s effort for the body of Christ to function effectively. The body needs you! Are you doing your part? Each of us needs to find a place to serve God and start contributing whenever our time, talent, tithes, and offerings are needed.
1 Corinthians 12:13: For by one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. Here Paul emphasizes the importance of each church member. Even if what seems insignificant to us is taken away, the whole body becomes less effective. Thinking that your gift is more important than someone else’s is spiritual pride. We shouldn’t look down on those who seem unimportant, and we shouldn’t be jealous of others who have impressive gifts. Instead, we should use the gifts we have been given and encourage others to use theirs. If we don’t, the body of believers will be less effective.
Hebrews 10:24-25: And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Believers encourage one another. To neglect Church attendance is to give up the encouragement and help of other Christians. We gather together to share our faith and to strengthen one another in the Lord. As we get closer to the Lord’s return, we will face many spiritual struggles and persecution. Difficulties should never be excuses for missing church services. Rather, as difficulties arise, we should make an even greater effort to be faithful in attendance.
September 19 – The Birthright
Genesis 25:33-34 Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Jacob knew that the birthright was valuable, and he wanted it. The son of the birthright received a double portion of the inheritance, and he also became the head of the family and the spiritual leader upon the passing of the father. The birthright determined who would inherit the covenant God made with Abraham; the covenant of a land, a nation, and the Messiah.
Jacob was guilty of scheming in the flesh to gain something God said was already his. Yet the greater blame was placed on Esau, who despised his birthright.
John Thain Davidson a Presbyterian minister who died in 1904 said, “The morsel may have been sweet; but what a price Esau paid for it! It is easy for us, as we read the story to cry “fool”, but this very folly is being committed every day. It is as old as our fallen humanity. For the sake of a piece of fruit, our first parents sacrificed their whole inheritance, “brought death into this world, and all our woe, with loss of Eden.” One look back upon Sodom, and Lot’s wife becomes a pillar of salt! Achan covets a Babylonish garment, and a wedge of gold, and forfeits his life in consequence. For the Sake of a woman’s caresses Samson loses his hair, his strength, his sight, his all. David, for the sake of Bathsheba, loses a year’s communion with God, and hands his name down with an ugly blot upon it to all posterity. Ahab coveting a pretty garden, commits murder, and brings down Heaven’s judgments on his head. Judas, for a few shillings, betrays his Master”.
Satan, left to his evil deceptions will tempt us to forsake the promises of God for a few moments of this world’s fleeting pleasures. We have a choice.
September 12 – Live Up to What You Have Attained
Philippians 3:15-16 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
As we continue in this pandemic, and Christians continue to absent themselves from their churches and fellowship with other Christians in large numbers, we need to live up to what we have attained. Christians who have made progress in terms of spiritual growth and stability, must not become unconcerned or allow a lack of dedication to be part of their lives. Mature followers of Christ continue to grow in their relationship with God – through good times and bad – continually living up to what they have already attained.
We must put into practice the Biblical knowledge we already have and the truth we already understand. We are responsible to apply to our life what God has already shown us. Christians often ask God to give them “more” spiritually; but why should God give us more when often we are not living up to and applying the Biblical principles we already know?
Circumstances may change and our feelings may go up and down, but we can still make constant and steady spiritual progress by growing closer to God and applying his Word through all.
September 5 – Lay Aside All Filthiness
James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
The Word of God, either preached or written, cannot effectively take hold of one’s life if they are not separated from moral filth or evil.
Trapp “The stinking filth of a pestilent ulcer. Sin is the devil’s vomit, the soul’s excrement, the superfluity or garbage of naughtiness… as it is here called by an allusion to the garbage of the sacrifices cast into the brook Kedron, that is, the town-ditch.”
All filthiness and overflow of wickedness. This has in mind an impure manner of living. Considering the nature of temptation and the goodness of God, we are to lay aside all impurity, putting them far from us. The King James Version translates the phrase overflow of wickedness as superfluity of naughtiness.
Scripture tells us what is proper for God’s people. We must not engage in any kind of impurity or obscenity, nor allow any kind of moral filth into our lives or homes.
Ephesians 5:4-6 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
In contrast to an impure manner of living, we should receive the implanted word of God with meekness. This word is able to save us, both in our current situation and eternally. The purity of God’s word can preserve us even in the impure age we live in. Here James alluded to the spiritual power of the word of God. When it is implanted in the human heart, it is able to save your souls. The word of God carries the power of God.
Charles Spurgeon said, “The first thing, then, is receive. That word ‘receive’ is a very instructive gospel word; it is the door through which God’s grace enters to us. We are not saved by working, but by receiving; not by what we give to God, but by what God gives to us, and we receive from him.”
August 29 – He That is Without Sin
John 8:7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus for judgement. The “religious police” had caught her involved with a man not her husband, in the very act of adultery. The guilty man wasn’t brought with the woman. Under the Law, there had to be two witnesses and they had to agree perfectly. They had to see the sexual act take place; it wasn’t enough to see the pair leaving the same room together. It also meant that there must have been pre-arranged spies sent to witness this affair, and they carefully noted the sordid details.
They wanted to make this as public as possible, to embarrass both the woman and Jesus. When confronted, Jesus stooped down, wrote on the ground, and acted as if He didn’t hear the accusers of the woman taken in adultery. The men who brought the woman continued asking Jesus what should be done with her. Finally, Jesus stood to make eye contact with them and said, he who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. Jesus really said, “We may execute her, but we must do it correctly. One of the witnesses must begin her execution. So, who among you is the one who witnessed this crime, and only brought to Me the woman, not the man? Who is responsible for the humiliation of this poor woman?”
Instead of passing a sentence upon the woman, Jesus passed a sentence upon His accusers. It wasn’t that these men had sinned before. It’s that they plotted her sin and her shame, using her as a weapon against Jesus. In this incident they had a greater sin and a greater guilt. Jesus exposed a common sin: a desire to punish the sins of others, while ignoring our own sin.
If we look at the sins of others, we must remember that we were also sinners. There is still a place for exposing and dealing with the sins of others in God’s family, but it must always be done with a heart that recognizes that we are forgiven sinners.
August 22 – Abide in Christ
John 15:4 Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, neither can you, unless you remain in Me.
Once we believe in Christ and are forgiven, we receive eternal life and the power to abide in Christ. Given that power, the believer must then accept that responsibility in salvation and abide in Christ. The Greek word for abide means to continue, remain, abide, or dwell.
Just as the branch has life only if the life of the vine flows into it, so the believer has Christ’s life only if Christ’s life flows into him through his abiding in Christ. We must keep God’s Word continually before us and make it our guide. We must obey his commandments.
Verse 6 says: If a man does not remain in Me, he is thrown out as a branch and withers. And they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
The parable of the vine and branches makes it clear that Christ didn’t believe “once in the vine, always in the vine.” Jesus gave us a warning that it is possible for true believers to abandon faith, turn their backs on Jesus, fail to abide in Him, and thus to be cast into the everlasting fire of hell.
August 15 – Free or Slave to Sin
John 8:33-36 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
When Jesus told the Jews the truth would make them free, the reaction of the religious leaders was “we don’t need this. We’re good”. This was an incredible statement. The Jewish people had been in bondage under Egypt, the Philistines; under Babylon, Persia, Syria, and Rome. One commentator said, “The power of self-deception in the unconverted man is infinite.”
Sin in this passage indicates a habitual, continual action. The person in habitual sin is a slave of sin. Frederick Bruce said, “Sin is a slave-master, and it is possible even for people who think of themselves as free to be enslaved in sin.”
Slavery to sin is the worst kind of slavery because there is no escape from our self. A Son must set us free, and the Son of God sets us free and brings us into the household of God. A slave may be turned away or sold.
If we are set free from our slavery to sin – set free by the Son, and set free by abiding in Jesus’ word and being His disciple then we are free indeed, contrasting with the “freedom” the Pharisees blindly claimed in verse 33. A slave of sin can’t by himself change his status. He can’t convert himself, nor can he be converted by another sinner.
An 82-year-old Christian woman from Hong Kong told of her life in China, using much of the vocabulary that the Communists used in describing their revolution – they called it “the liberation.” She was asked, “When you were back in China, were you free to gather together with other Christians to worship?” “Oh no,” she answered. “Since the liberation no one is permitted to gather together for Christian services.” “But surely you were able to get together in small groups and discuss the Christian faith?” “No, we were not,” the woman replied. “Since the liberation all such meetings are forbidden.” “Were you free to read the Bible?” “Since the liberation, no one is free to read the Bible.”
The point is clear: freedom doesn’t consist in the word “freedom,” or in words, but in relationship to Jesus Christ, through abiding in His Word, and being His disciple.
August 8 – Trials
James 1:2-4: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James, like most of us, knew trials are inevitable. He said when, not if you fall into various trials. He said, face the problems that arise and grow from those problems. The New Kings James Version uses the word trials in the place of temptations. Adam Clarke said the word translated trials “signifies affliction, persecution, or trial of any kind; and in this sense it is used here, not intending diabolic suggestion, or what is generally understood by the word temptation.”
It’s difficult for us to see at the time we’re facing trials or temptations, but there’s a lesson to be learned in each of them. The main lesson to be learned in the temptation, is that God will help us face the problem. He’ll see us through if we’ll place our trust in Him.
Faith is tested through trials; it’s not produced by trials. Trials show what faith we do have; not because God doesn’t know how much faith we have, but so that our faith will be evident to ourselves and to those around us.
Romans 10:17 tells us: faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Supernaturally, faith is built in us as we hear, understand, and trust in God’s word.
Trials don’t produce faith, but when trials are received with faith, it produces patience. It’s not inevitable that patience is produced in times of trial. If difficulties or trials are received in unbelief and grumbling, trials can produce bitterness and discouragement. That is why James exhorted us to count it all joy. Counting it all joy is faith’s response to a time of trial.
Verse 4 says, but let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. The work of patient endurance takes time. It’s a mark of the person who is perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
August 1 – Finish The Race
Jude, verse 5: But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
When Jude wrote: the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, he reminds us of what happened in Numbers 14. God delivered the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. They went out of Egypt and came to a place called Kadesh Barnea, on the edge of the Promised Land. But the people refused to trust God and go into the Promised Land of Canaan. If not for Moses’ intervention, God was going to destroy the people of Israel. However, God said only Joshua, Caleb, and those under 20 years of age would see the promised land.
Think of what God did for the people of Israel in this situation, and then how they responded to Him. They experienced God’s miraculous deliverance at the Red Sea. They heard the very voice of God at Mount Sinai. They received His daily care and provision of manna in the wilderness. Yet they still lapsed into unbelief, and never entered the place of blessing and rest God had for them.
He saved the people out of the land of Egypt and afterward destroyed those who did not believe. Those who doubted and rejected God at Kadesh Barnea paid a bigger price than just not entering the Promised Land. They also received the judgment of God.
The people of Israel started out from Egypt well enough, and they had many blessings from God along the way. But they didn’t endure to the end because they did not believe God’s promise of power and protection. Jude says, God afterward destroyed those who did not believe. We must follow Jesus to the end, and never be among those who do not believe. The final test of our Christianity is endurance. Some start the race but never finish it.
July 25 – Shall We Find Faith
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
This verse probably indicates that the time for Jesus’ return draws near, evil will become so dominant that many in the church will fall away from genuine faith. As the last begin to come to an end, false teachers and preachers will become more prevalent. Many Christians will be in an apostate condition and loyalty and commitment to the truth of God’s Word and righteousness will be lacking.
As we approach the end of history as we know it, the question for each believer is: Am I persevering in faith, continuing steadfast in prayer, and calling on God that justice may be done, or are we so preoccupied with this life that we are not looking forward to Christ’s return and His eternal kingdom.
Matthew 24:11-12 tells us many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Many believers will fall away from the faith because they will fail to love the truth and resist the sinful trends of the last days. The distorted gospel of compromise will find little resistance in many churches. However, in Acts 2:21, God has promised that during the “last days” He will save all who call upon His name.
July 18 – They That Wait
Isiah 40:29-31 He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah explains a benefit we can receive from our God – He gives us His great power. God gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Those who are proud and confident in their own wisdom and strength will receive no strength from God.
He said, even the youths shall faint and be weary. Those who thought they were strong find themselves weak. God’s strength is reserved for those who know they are weak, and know they have no might.
How do we receive this strength from the Lord? We receive it as we wait on the Lord. This doesn’t mean we sit around until the Lord does something. He brings it to us as we seek Him, and rely on Him, instead of our own strength. If we are weak, it’s because we don’t wait on the Lord.
We are also told that we renew our strength. It’s strength that we received when we first came to the Lord in weakness and no might. That strength is renewed as we wait on the Lord.
Isiah said, they shall mount up with wings like eagles. The Lord gives us strength to soar above everything else. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. It isn’t strength to show off, but strength in which to go forward. If we are tired and worn out, God is here to give us strength – if we will wait on Him.
July 11 – Walking In Darkness
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
In this verse, John deals with a false claim to fellowship. It’s possible for some to claim a relationship with God that they don’t have. It’s also possible for someone to think they have a relationship with God that they don’t have.
Many Christians aren’t aware of their true condition. They may know they’re saved and have experienced conversion and have repented at some time in their life. Yet they don’t live in true fellowship with God.
Walk, in this verse, is speaking of the life that we live every day indicating a pattern of living. It’s talking of a lifestyle of darkness. To fellowship with darkness, means we’re away from the Light. To be part of the dark side of life, makes us a part of the devil.
John said to say we’re a Christian, and live in darkness, makes us a liar. We’ve chosen Satan over God. Life in Christ leaves no room for fellowship with the devil.
We already know from verse 5 that God has no darkness at all. Therefore, if one claims to be in fellowship with God, yet walks in darkness, it’s not a truthful claim. John is speaking of fellowship here, not salvation. The Christian who temporarily walks in darkness is still saved, but not in fellowship with God.
John said, “it’s a lie.” He isn’t very politically correct! He’s too straight forward for our age, which doesn’t want to see anything in black or white, but everything in a shade of gray. We’re in an age of appeasement!!
In the thinking of the world today, I have my truth and you have your truth. But Jesus said, “I am the truth” and the Bible clearly tells us of a truth that is greater than any individuals feeling about it.
July 4 – Trust in the Lord
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Trusting in the Lord with all your heart is the opposite of doubting God and His word. Trusting in Him is fundamental in our relationship and is based on the premise that He is trustworthy. We can be assured that our heavenly Father loves us and will faithfully care for us, guide us, give us grace, and keep His promises. We are never away from His presence, care, and concern. No matter how difficult things in our life become, we can commit our way to the Lord and trust Him to work on our behalf.
In all things, we should acknowledge God as Lord and His will as our desire. We must live in a trusting relationship with Him, always looking to Him for direction. When we do this, God promises to direct our paths, remove all obstacles, and enable us to make the right choices. Proverbs 11:5 says, The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
June 27 – Wisdom
Wisdom, in the Book of Proverbs, means living and thinking according to God’s truth, ways, and design. It means we are to approach all of life from God’s point of view, believing that everything God says is right and true and the only standard by which to live.
Proverbs 3:13-14 tells us that gaining wisdom is far better than possessing silver and gold: Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. Wisdom comes only to those who seek it through a proper relationship with God. Proverbs 1:7 says, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
1 Corinthians 1:30 tells us that Christ is the ultimate wisdom of God: But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Jesus teaches us that we gain wisdom by abiding in His word, by allowing His words to abide in us, and by yielding our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit.
June 20 – Conversion and Repentance
Mark 4:15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus used the parable to tell how the gospel will be received in the world. Here, He speaks about an incomplete conversion – one where an individual seeks forgiveness of his sins but falls short of actual regeneration. Regeneration is a transformation of a person by God the Holy Spirit. The believer becomes a new person and no longer conforms to this world.
When a person is not truly born again, he doesn’t receive salvation and the new birth and never enters into fellowship with believers. If he does become a church member, he fails to show real commitment to Christ and separation from the world.
Some semi-conversions result when a church deals quickly with this situation without communicating to him a proper understanding of the gospel and its demands. The seeker may believe in Christ only with his mind, not his whole heart. He may fail to sincerely repent or turn from sin. The decision to turn from sin and to salvation in Christ involves accepting Christ not only as Savior from the penalty of sin, but also as Lord of one’s life. There are those who to accept Christ as Savior, but not as Lord. Some base their faith on influence of human words father than on the demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God.
June 6 – Persecution
2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Persecution in one form or another is inevitable for those who choose to live a godly life in Christ. Loyalty to Christ, His truth, and His righteous standards involve a constant determination not to compromise our faith or give in to the deluge of those calling for believers to conform to the world and to lay aside Scriptural truth. As we see more churches compromise their foundational beliefs and preach to “itching ears” who want “feel good” sermons and as we see more world governments, including ours, move toward a one world government, those who haven’t experienced persecution will.
Because of their biblical standards, the faithful will be deprived of privilege and advantage and be ridiculed; they will experience grief at seeing godliness rejected by the majority. We should all ask ourselves: have I suffered persecution because of my commitment to live in a godly manner? Or is my lack of suffering a sign that I haven’t stood firmly for the righteousness for which Christ died?
Acts 14:22 tells us that those who commit themselves to Jesus Christ and who will finally enter the kingdom of heaven must suffer “much tribulation” along the way. Living in a hostile world, they must engage in spiritual warfare against sin and the power of Satan. Matthew 10:22 says: And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. If we remain faithful to the Word of God and not compromise our faith, we may boldly say, the Lord is on my side; I will not fear. If God is on our side, what can man do to us? 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
May 30 – We Have Not Sinned
1 John 1:9-10: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Confess is a verb. It means that we should keep on confessing our sin instead of referring to a “once-for-all” confession of sin when we get saved.
We need to confess our sin in a straightforward way – by admitting to God that we’ve sinned and asking for His forgiveness. Our sins are not forgiven because we confess, but because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. We’re forgiven because our punishment was put upon Jesus and we are cleansed by His blood.
Because of Jesus’ work, the righteousness of God ensures that we’ll be forgiven, because Jesus paid the penalty of our sin. God is being faithful and just to forgive us in light of Jesus.
Charles Spurgeon said “The text means just this – Treat God truthfully, and he will treat you truthfully. Make no pretensions before God, but lay bare your soul, let him see it as it is, and then he will be faithful and just to forgive you your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.”
The promise of verse 9 shouldn’t lead us into sin, saying “Hey, I’ll go ahead and sin because God will forgive me.” It should lead us out of sin, knowing that God could only be faithful and just to forgive us our sins because Jesus bore our sins on the cross. There is a sense in which each sin we commit added to the agony of Jesus on the cross. A person is out of fellowship with God if they think about or commit sin with the idea, “I can just ask for forgiveness later.”
If we say that we have not sinned, as John said in verse 10, we deny the presence of sin and we’re self-deceived and deny God’s word. Sin is always present. Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. However, sin never needs to be a hindrance to our relationship with God.
If we refuse to see sin in us, His word is not in us. John Trapp said, “No man was ever kept out of God’s kingdom for his confessed badness; many are for their supposed goodness.”
May 23 – A Child of God?
In 1 John 3:7, John warned us to not be deceived about salvation. He said, Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. The believer must reject any teaching which alleges that one can be out of fellowship with God, continue to sin, love the world, or do the works of the devil, and yet be a child of God who is saved and on his way to heaven.
Contrary to this false teaching, John believed that anyone who continues in sin is of the devil. 1 John 3:8 says, the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
One who habitually practices sin and claims to be a child of God with eternal life is deceived and a liar according to 1 John 2:4: The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. A true child of God will keep His commandments and show concern for the spiritual needs of others. 1 John 5:2: By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and follow His commandments.
May 16 – Men Loved Darkness
John 3:19: And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
A fundamental characteristic of the wicked and evil of this world is that they love darkness; that is, they find their pleasure in sin and immorality.
Romans 1:24-25: Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator….
One reason for God abandoning any people to uncleanness is that they become obsessed with sexual immorality and perversion. The term “God gave them up to uncleanness” means that God abandoned these people to intensified lusts. The “lie” in verse 25 is the word of Satan, the father of lies. To believe the lie is to reject the truth of God.
The truly born-again person loves righteousness and hates wickedness and is troubled when he sees the unrighteous deeds of depraved people. He takes no pleasure in the sensual entertainment of today or the sinful conduct we see so openly in our present society and neither should we.
May 9 – Confess Our Sins
1 John 1:8 says, if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Sin has been with us since Adam. Some say that sin doesn’t exist as a power in human nature, and others say the evil actions they commit are not really sin. There are those who deny the fact of sin and describe evil in terms of psychological or social causes.
However, sin is real, and the essence of sin is selfishness. It’s rooted in human desire and many desire the pleasures of this world regardless of how others are impacted. This leads to cruelty to others and rebellion against God and His law. Ultimately sin becomes the refusal to be subject to God and His Word.
Sin is also a moral corruption in man that is against all man’s best intentions and causes us to commit unrighteousness and to take pleasure in the evil actions of others. Sin affects everyone and brings physical and spiritual death. It can be eliminated only by faith in Christ and His redemptive work for mankind. We don’t have to sin, and if we do, 1 John 1:9 gives us the answer: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
May 2 – Call Evil Good
Today, society often praises sin by calling depravity, immorality and perversion virtue and freedom. On the other hand, society opposes righteousness by calling it evil. Two examples of this are the acceptance of sexual perversion – homosexuality and lesbianism. They are referred to as legitimate alternative lifestyles that should be openly accepted, while opponents of such conduct who accept the Biblical standards of sexual morality are called bigots who perpetuate oppressive prejudice.
Pro-abortion advocates are called “sensitive” people with a deep commitment to the rights of women, while active pro-life supporters ae called “extremists” or “religious fanatics.” Adultery, fornication, and homosexuality are considered grave sins in the sight of God since they are a transgression of His law. Such sins are condemned in Scripture and those who indulge in those sinful acts will be excluded from the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says: Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Believers must commit themselves to God’s standards of good and evil as revealed in His Word, regardless of how the world has seen fit to redefine good and evil.
April 25 – Free
John 8:32 says the truth shall make you free. There is only one truth that will set people free from sin and Satan’s domination – the truth of Jesus Christ found in god’s Word. The Scriptures testify to the truth which frees one from sin, the world, and Satan’s deception.
John 8:34 says that whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. Jesus breaks the power and dominion of sin in the lives of those who are His true followers. Those who habitually sin are still slaves to sin and unrighteousness and therefore belong to Satan.
John 8:36 tells us that if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. The unsaved person is a slave to sin and lawlessness. Enslaved to sin and Satan, he must live according to the lusts of the flesh and desires of Satan. Ephesians 2:1-2 says: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
The one who has salvation in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, is set free from the power of sin. When we face temptation to sin, we now have the power to act according to god’s will. We are free to be enslaved to God and righteousness. This is not to say that believers are free from spiritual warfare against sin. Throughout our lives, we will have to constantly fight against the pressures of the world, the flesh, and the devil. However, Jesus offers us the sanctifying power of His life, whereby those who follow the Spirit are set free from the desires and passions of the flesh and enabled to live holy and blameless before Him.
April 18 – The Way, Truth, Life
John 14:5-6 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
I am the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus didn’t say that He would show us a way; He said that He is the way. He didn’t promise to teach us a truth; He said that He is the truth. Jesus didn’t offer us the secrets to life; He said that He is the life.
If we don’t know where we’re going, Jesus is the way. If we’re confused and don’t know what to think, Jesus is the truth. If we don’t know if we can go on, Jesus is the life.
Jesus’ way would be the cross. He would be unjustly convicted. Because He took that way, He is the way to God. Because He did not contest the lies of His accusers, we can believe He is the truth; and because He was willing to die for our sins, He becomes the resurrection – the life to us.
Thomas à Kempis, an Augustinian monk in the 1400s, cited by Frederick Bruce, said, “Without the way there is no going; without the truth there is no knowing; without the life there is no living. I am the way which thou must follow; the truth in which thou must believe; the life for which thou must hope.”
No one comes to the Father except through Me. Many people don’t mind saying that Jesus is one way to God, but other religions and individuals have their own ways to God. Many think it isn’t fair for God to make only one way.
The Bible consistently presents One True God, and Jesus is consistently presented as the only true way to the One True God.
No one comes to the Father except through Me. If there are many roads to God, then Jesus is not one of them, because He claimed there was only one road to God, and He was that road. If Jesus isn’t the only way to God, then He wasn’t an honest man.
If we can determine what Jesus said or didn’t say on our own whims – then we should reject the Gospels completely. It really is an all-or-nothing deal. Either we take the words of Jesus as recorded by His Word, or we reject them completely.
Christianity is the one religion to embrace other cultures. A Christian can keep their native language and culture and follow Jesus. An early criticism of Christianity was that they would take anybody! Slave or free; rich or poor; man or woman; Greek or Barbarian. All were accepted, but on the common ground of the truth as revealed in Jesus Christ.
Marcus Dods said The Christian faith will receive anyone who comes through Jesus. Jesus said, through Me: “It is not ‘through believing certain propositions regarding me’ nor ‘through some special kind of faith,’ but ‘through me’.”
April 11 – The Christian and The World
The world and the true church are two distinct groups of people. The world is under the dominion of Satan and the church belongs to God. Therefore, believers must separate themselves from the world. In John 17:15-16, Jesus prayed, do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. He prayed this the evening before his crucifixion. Jesus prayed that His disciples would be a holy people, separated from the world and sin for the purpose of worshiping and serving God.
Hebrews 11:13 tells us that in the world, believers are strangers and pilgrims. John 15:19 says we must come out of the world. In Romans 12:2, Paul tells us to not be conformed to the world. We must refuse to yield to the different types of worldiness that constantly surround the church and believer, such as greed, selfishness, humanistic thinking, desire for power, envy, hate, etc. Our plans, goals, and desires should be determined by eternal truths and not by this evil, worldly age.
1 John 2:15 says, Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. It’s impossible to love the world and God at the same time. To love the world means being in intimate fellowship with and devotion to its values and interests. It means taking pleasure in or enjoying what is offensive and opposed to God. Too many people today find pleasure and entertainment on television and other entertainment media as the watch human suffering, blood, violence and death. We are in danger of becoming insensitive to the world’s misery and suffering because of the entertainment media that constantly show immorality and violence for the sake of pleasure.
Jesus died to change this attitude and to bring love and care. He wants us to see and feel the impact of sin on human life. The values and standards of the faithful are in conflict with the unrighteous ways of as perverse world. They refuse to compromise with its ungodly standards and instead set their affection on things above, not on things on this earth.
Although we’re strangers and pilgrims on this earth, we are to stand on God’s Word and hold fast as overcomers and be examples until Jesus’ return.
April 4 – Get Out of Your Country
Genesis 12:1-3: The Lord had said to Abram: Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.
The call of Abram (later Abraham) begins a new chapter in the Old Testament revelation of God’s purpose to redeem and save humanity. God intended to have a man who would know and serve Him with devoted faith. From this man would come a family who would know, teach, and keep the ways of the Lord. From this family would come a chosen nation of people who would be separated from the ungodly ways of other nations to do God’s will – the Jewish nation. From this nation would come Jesus Christ.
Abram’s call involved separating himself from his country, kin, and his father’s house to become a stranger and pilgrim upon the earth. God was establishing the principle that His people were to separate themselves from all that hindered His purpose for their lives. He still expects that of us today. Abram would become a giant of faith, yet he didn’t start as a hero of faith.
God also promised Abram He would bless those who bless you and curse him who curses you. This is one reason the United States has been so blessed. The left now wants us to break ties with Israel. If this happens, how much longer will we blessed?
Abram obeyed the word of the Lord, in part; however, at first, he didn’t leave his family. He left Ur with his father and some kin and stopped for some time in Haran. When his father, Terah, died in Haran, he departed from Haran on to the land of Canaan as God had instructed him to do. God had commanded him to go out from your family in verse 1, yet he brought along his nephew, Lot. Lot would not be a blessing to Abram. He would be nothing but trouble and inconvenience. When we aren’t in god’s perfect will, we can’t expect things to go right.
Abram finally came to the land God promised. Verses 7 says: Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land. Abram never owned any of this land except the burial plot he bought in Genesis 23:14-20. Yet, God’s promise was enough evidence to assure Abram that he owned the whole country.
Even in the land God gave him, Abram never lived in a house – he always lived in a tent. Tents are the home of those just passing through and don’t put down permanent roots. We also are to live like tent-dwellers, as pilgrims on this earth. 1 Peter 2:11 says, Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. We should live as people who have their permanent home in heaven, not on earth.
Too many Christians want to build mansions on earth and think they would be happy with tents in heaven. A pilgrim is someone who leaves home and travels to a specific destination. A pilgrim isn’t a drifter; a pilgrim has a goal. Abram’s goal was God’s heavenly city, and this should also be our goal.
March 28 – Eat and Open Your Eyes
Genesis 3:4-5: Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The serpent, Satan, told Eve she wouldn’t die. He drew Eve into a discussion with him and planted the seed of doubt about God’s Word, and he exposed Eve’s incomplete understanding of God’s Word. Then he states an outright contradiction of what God said. Satan can only effectively work when he has established a foothold. With Eve, foundation was laid. Things haven’t changed much. Today, as then, we live in a world of untruths and deceit.
Man must have faith in God’s word as absolute truth. Because Satan knew this, he sought to destroy Eve’s faith in what God had said by raising doubts about that word. Satan suggested that God didn’t really mean what He said. One of the basic sins of man is unbelief in God’s word. It’s believing that somehow God doesn’t really mean what He says about salvation, righteousness, sin, judgment, and death. Satan’s most persistent lie is that unrepentant, deliberate sin against God won’t necessarily bring separation from god and eternal condemnation.
This is why we are called to never give place to the devil as it says in Ephesians 4:27. Satan wanted Eve to forget all about what God said about the consequences of sin. When we know and remember the consequences of sin, we’re more likely to give up the passing pleasures of sin as it says in Hebrews 11:25.
Satan was trying to get Eve to doubt the goodness of God. If God lied to her, how can He be good? In Satan’s direct challenge, he tried to get Eve to doubt the badness of sin. If the fruit was something good for her, why didn’t God want her to have it? Satan wants us to see sin as something good that God doesn’t want us to have. His main lie to us is sin is not bad.
Donald Barnhouse said, “Satan and the flesh will present a thousand reasons to show how good it would be to disobey His command.”
In the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened. Satan’s temptation was powerful because there was truth in it. Satan, from the beginning, has tempted humans to believe that they can be like God and decide for themselves what is good and what is evil. It was true her eyes would be opened, and this was fulfilled in Genesis 3:7 when she and Adam realized they were naked. Their eyes were instantly opened to their own sin and rebellion. Their eyes were opened, and they did know good and evil, but not as gods.
March 21 – Creation and Evolution
Unfortunately, in the scientific and educational community of today, evolution is the predominant view of the origin of life and the universe. Evolution is a naturalistic effort to account for the origin and development of the universe. Their view begins with the assumption that there is no personal, divine Creator who made the world. Rather, they claim, everything came into existence by a series of chance happenings that took place over billions of years. They claim scientific data to support their point of view. However, according to the scientific method, all conclusions must be based on indisputable evidence gathered from experiments that can be duplicated in any laboratory.
The teaching of evolution is not truly scientific! It is a theory! No experiments have been or can be devised to test and substantiate theories about the origin of matter. Evolution is a hypothesis without scientific evidence; therefore, to accept it one must have faith in a human theory. The faith of God’s people, on the other hand, is in the Lord and in His inspired revelation, which states that He is the one who made all things out of nothing. John 1:1 tells us, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. Hebrews 11:3 says, By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. God is the active creator of all things!
March 14 – Twelve Spies
When Moses sent the twelves spies to search the land of Canaan, Joshua and Caleb returned and were ready to take the promised land. Caleb said, in Numbers 13:30, We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it. Joshua and Caleb stood against the opinion of the other spies. The other ten spies said there were giants in the land and they and all the others were full of fear. They said it would have been better if they had died in Egypt.
Joshua and Caleb were committed to God and His promises to Israel and refused to accept the decision of the others – even at the risk of their own lives. Joshua said in Numbers 14:9, Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them. Verse 10 said, But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Because of their lack of faith, those who were over twenty years of age would never enter the promised land and they would wander for another 39 years.
We must never assume that the majority opinion, even of the church, is always right. We must stand on God’s word even if the majority are against us.
March 7 – God Created Man and Woman
Genesis 1:27: So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
In our day, many say there’s no real difference between men and women. This makes sense if we are the result of mindless evolution, but not if it’s true that male and female He created them. To God, the differences between men and women are not accidents. Since He created them, the differences are good and meaningful.
Men are not women, and women are not men. One of the saddest signs of our culture’s depravity is the amount and the degree of gender confusion today and the acceptance of homosexualism and transgenderism.
The Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments on homosexualism such as in Romans 1:24-32 are controversial and even considered offensive to many in today’s modern western culture. Nevertheless, it’s important to clearly understand and state what the Bible teaches on these matters, because it is part of God’s design and intention for mankind’s ultimate good.
The Bible says it’s an abomination. This is one of the strongest words of condemnation in the Bible. Several other Bible passages prohibit homosexual acts, as Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9, Revelation 22:15, and Romans 1:24-32 (which specifically speaks against lesbianism). The sin of homosexuality is described in passages such as Genesis 19:5 and Judges 19:22-25.
This prohibition is widely rejected and despised by many in modern western culture, and even considered hateful. One reason it’s considered hateful is because of a radical shift in thinking regarding homosexuality over the last few generations. For centuries, homosexuality was thought of something that people did. In the last few generations, western culture in general sees homosexuality as defining one’s identity.
There is no definitive scientific answer as if homosexual desire exists because of genetics, family dynamics in child raising, early abuse, learned behavior, or other factors or a combination of factors. However, the answer to that question is irrelevant. The Bible says we are all born sinners, and our sinful desires may be expressed in different ways from person to person. The Bible says no one can live for immoral gratification and inherit the kingdom of God!
February 28 – The Blood
Leviticus 17:11, For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
This passage gives the reason for the shedding of the blood of a sacrificial animal and its meaning for atonement under the Law. The blood of the animal was identified with its life. The blood atoned for the sin of man at the price of life. Mankind didn’t have to give their lives for sin because the animal’s life was payment in their place. This principle of substituting the blood of another helps us understand the importance of the blood of Christ in receiving our salvation under the new covenant. As Jesus shed His blood on the cross, He substituted His life for the sinner’s life.
His blood resulted in perfect salvation for all who accept and follow Him. He paid the full penalty for our sins. Colossians 1:14 says, in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. Since animal sacrifices were a type of Christ’s perfect sacrifice and found their fulfillment in Christ’s sacrifice of Himself, there is no more need for animal sacrifices after His death on Calvary.
February 21 – He Was Wounded
Isaiah 53:4-5: Surely, he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Jesus’ mission on earth involved great pain, suffering, disappointment, and grief because of the sins of man. All those who follow Jesus will likely experience some suffering and disappointment also. Once Paul surrendered to Christ as Lord and Savior of his life, he experienced numerous trials, persecutions, and sufferings.
In Jesus’ ministry of healing the sick, the word translated “griefs” in verse 4 is literally “sickness” or “infirmities”. Therefore, Jesus would endure punishment in order that we might be delivered from our diseases and sicknesses as well as from our sins. As He bore our sins, He also takes the sickness and grief that belong to us upon Himself.
As our substitute, He took the punishment due us and paid the penalty for our sins in order that we might be forgiven and have peace with God. Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith; we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
February 14 – Mystery of Lawlessness
2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
There has always been a battle going on with good and evil ever since the Garden of Eden. Man has a free will. He can follow Jesus, or he can follow Satan. The antichrist would not have to be the antichrist if he would follow Jesus. The antichrist has chosen to be an instrument of Satan. The flesh of mankind has always been opposed to the spirit of mankind. The temptations of the flesh are what causes mankind to sin. The free will of mankind chooses to follow the flesh, or the spirit. Mystery is often veiled around evil. We know that even Babylon is called, mystery Babylon.
It’s a mystery why anyone would follow evil instead of good. The only answer to that is they’ve fallen for a deception. All who oppose Christ are antichrist, but there is a person who personifies this in the end time, and he is the antichrist.
When the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit as teacher and guide is removed, then the antichrist will bring lawlessness and sin like the world has never known. Even now we see this influence is working in the children of disobedience.
We shouldn’t think that the Holy Spirit would leave the earth during the Great Tribulation. He will be present on the earth during this period because many are saved, sealed, and serve God during this time and this can’t happen without the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, as he said at the end of verse 7, not removed.
The mystery of lawlessness (or “iniquity” in the KJV), this great evil, is already present in the world.
It will ultimately be unveiled in the man of sin, but he doesn’t introduce a new wickedness into the world, only a greater intensity of existing wickedness. Right now, this lawlessness is a mystery. It can only be seen and understood by revelation.
A note in my Bible says “the mystery of lawlessness or ‘iniquity’ is a secret or behind the scenes activity of evil powers throughout the course of human history, preparing the way for the apostasy and the man of sin. It is an insidious process that entraps unbelievers and prepares many within the church to turn from true faith and to accept the lie embodied in the apostate church. It involves a spirit or movement against true Biblical faith and divine law; it seeks to gain freedom from moral restraint and to take pleasure in sin.”
With all that is going on in the world, is the Holy Spirit soon to be taken out of the way?
February 7 – Repent
Matthew 3:2, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The basic meaning of repentance is “to turn around”. It is turning from evil ways and turning to Christ and to God. The decision to turn from sin involves accepting Christ not only as Savior from the penalty of sin, but also as Lord of one’s life. John 14:6 says, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. Repentance is a free choice made possible by God’s grace.
Acts 26:18 says to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me. The lost are blinded by Satan to the reality of their lost condition and to the truth of the gospel. If one believes that they can be saved without turning from sin distorts the Biblical view of redemption. Faith which includes repentance is always a condition for salvation.
The one who is forgiven, delivered from sin, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is set apart from the world and now lives unto God in fellowship with all those save by faith in Christ.
January 31 – Prayer Without Ceasing
Acts12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
When Peter was put in prison, the believers prayed fervently for him. The New Testament believers faced persecution with intense prayer. James had already died, and Herod had Peter in custody. Yet the early church lived by the conviction as James stated in James 6:16; Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. They prayed intensely and steadily over Peter’s situation. That night, an angel appeared to him, loosed the chains from him, opened the prison door and set him free.
God intends His people to gather for meaningful, enduring prayer. Jesus said in Matthew 21:13, My house shall be called the house of prayer. Churches that follow the pattern set forth in the book of Acts and other New Testament writings should practice communal prayer that fervently cries out to God as a part of their worship and not just one or two minutes a service.
No amount of preaching, teaching, singing, or music will bring forth the power and presence of the Holy Spirit without prayer where believers continue with one accord in prayer and supplication (Acts 1:14).
January 24 – If You Seek Him
2 Chronicles 15:2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
Faithfully seeking the Lord brings wonderful results. Those who seek Him will experience the peace of God and forgiveness, and a clear conscience. 1 Timothy 3:9 says, they must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. There is also a sense of well-being from a right relationship with God.
Romans 5:1 says, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Justification through faith brings the believer peace with God, grace, hope and the love of God.
Those who seek the Lord will receive mercy, grace, and help in time of need. God promises that those who earnestly seek Him will find Him. Those who seek the Lord will be able to stand firm against their enemies. Believers will have strength to stand against Satan.
January 17 – A Healing Place (Author/source unknown)
If you left the church to get away from hypocritical people, you should also quit your job, drop out of school, and disconnect yourself from all your friends and family. There will be flaws wherever there are humans. We need to start seeing church for what it is: It’s a hospital with wounded and hurt people. You will find messed up, conniving, calculating, imperfect individuals, including yourself. As much as you want to deny it, we all go for healing. So, if you felt betrayed by a fellow church member, put your nursing cap on and think of them as your patients. Treat them with care, love, and kindness despite their flaws.
January 10 – God is Faithful
1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
A Christian can’t justify sinning with excuses that he is simply human and imperfect, or that in this life all believers continue sinning in word, thought, and deed. God provides us with adequate grace to overcome every temptation and the ability to resist sinning. He won’t allow us to be tempted by more than what we can bear, and He will provide a way by which we can endure the temptation and overcome sin. Without the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, we cannot overcome sin and temptation. However, God’s grace, His Word and the Holy Spirit are sufficient to stand against sin and the forces of evil.
If we yield to sin it isn’t because Christ’s provision of grace isn’t adequate, but it’s because we fail to resist our own sinful desires. We can bear every temptation if we sincerely desire to and depend upon the faithfulness and power of God.
January 3 – Life or Death
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
In this verse, Paul emphasizes the necessity for continual warfare against all that would limit the work of God in or lives. Sin is always trying to regain control over us. The spiritual conflict is basically against the desires of the flesh, or sinful human nature. Believers must continually decide whether we will surrender to the sinful human nature or to God’s saving grace.
The result of failing to put to death the sinful nature of the body is spiritual death. Romans 8:6 says, the mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The words “you will die” in verse 8 mean that a Christian can pass from spiritual life back into Spiritual death. We can lose the life of God that we receive at our new birth if we refuse to put to death the sinful deeds of the body. John 3:6 says, Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. If we consistently put to death the sinful deeds of the body, then we are being led by the Spirit. Those led by the Spirit are the sons of God.