Light For Your Path

Thursday, 2019-10-31

Bible Reference: John 8:12
Translation: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Bible Text:  12 Once again Jesus spoke to the people. This time he said, “I am the light for the world! Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.”

OBSERVATION: When stumbling down a dark path, we would welcome light to help prevent us from tripping and falling. The time ahead of us is dark, because we cannot see what’s ahead. However, God’s Word brings hope to us in this area, for it tells us that Jesus is the light of the world, and those who accept Him as Lord and Savior will be led into the glories of heaven. Let’s consider what it might be like having that Light available to us today!

APPLICATION:  After surgery a few years ago, the doctor was emphatic about making sure there was adequate light at night to make sure I didn’t trip on anything. Earlier this week I was working on a project that involved using a screwdriver. Once it got dark enough I could not continue, because without light I just could not find the screw-head. I believe that you are probably getting the point, that without sufficient light you just cannot do a whole lot. But what about in other aspects of life where we don’t necessarily depend on natural light, nor become despondent about the absence of light? There are times when we need to make decisions, and we feel totally blinded because we just don’t know what impact our decision will have on us. For example, retirement. We may want to begin retirement at age 50, so we could enjoy our dream vacations and destinations while we still have fairly good health. However, we worry about there being enough money in our retirement fund to keep us out of poverty, because who knows how long we will live into retirement? There seems to always be a part of decision making that is impacted by the unknown, so we stumble around in the dark, hoping that we will make good decisions, or trusting God to do the right thing. For those who read their Bibles, we know that there are two final destinations that awaits us after death from this world. If we have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, then Jesus has shown us His light, and showed us what our eternal kingdom will look like, and who will be in charge there. God created this universe, so we know He is there, and His Son, Jesus, is already there waiting for us. For those who have not made a decision like this, then the Bible is also clear about your final destination, and who will be in charge there, for Satan and his angels await those who have deliberately chosen to walk in darkness. Unfortunately folk, if you are like many that you know, you may have already had your share of earthly sufferings. But please allow me to gently break the bad news to you: ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’. Friends, I would like to invite you to consider being obedient to the Light of this world – today, friend! Jesus suffered, even to the point of dying on a cruel cross, just to prove His love for us. He wants us to have the keys to heaven, or know the pathway to heaven, and there is no earthly means that would help us to achieve that. But He has provided light to the dark path that we are traveling, for He is the Light of the world. Why go on blindly as if in total darkness, when we know who the Light is? Jesus loves us way too much to see us plunder around in darkness and lose our battle to Satan, but He loved us enough to provide the means of us seeing He and the Father one day in Heaven. We are left with the choice of whether we will invite Light into our dark pathway of life. The choice seems plain, and obvious to me. Will you please consider making the most important decisions of your life – the right choice? Although not considered selfish by my friends, I am extremely selfish in asking God to tender the hearts of all my family and friends. I truly believe that Jesus heard my prayer, and that He is already working on each of you. Listen to His voice my friend, and surrender your life to Him today, won’t you?

PRAYER: The picture is clear dear God, for You have provided the Light that this world needs. Not only to prevent our stumbling around in the dark here on earth, but also for providing a clear, lighted path to heaven, where we are told that no light will be necessary there for You are the light. Praise God forever and forever! Please touch the lives of the unsaved today dear God. Please light their path so brightly that they will recognize their need for the Savior. Thank You for so adequately providing the Light of the world Heavenly Father, to be my Savior from Hell and damnation. My deepest desire is to see my family and friends do the same, so I am humbly placing this request at Your feet, praying that Your perfect will might be accomplished today. I ask these things in the precious name of Jesus, THE Light, THE Truth and THE Way, AMEN!

Here’s Why One May not Listen To God

Tuesday, 2019-10-29

Bible Reference: John 8:44-47
Translation: Good News Translation (GNT)

Bible Text: 44 You are the children of your father, the Devil, and you want to follow your father’s desires. From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies. 45 But I tell the truth, and that is why you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you can prove that I am guilty of sin? If I tell the truth, then why do you not believe me? 47 He who comes from God listens to God’s words. You, however, are not from God, and that is why you will not listen.”

OBSERVATION: Jesus explains why one may sit under His teaching and not understand what is being said. I believe the same scenario is true with those who attend church and say that they got nothing from the service. Notice in the last verse above, Jesus said that if one is not of God, they will not listen to Him. I hope that you will read all the way to the end of today’s devotional as we allow God’s Word to take root in our lives and clear the cobwebs from our eyes of sin and the world, today.

APPLICATION: If I had a talk on hunting, and you were not into sports, or if your parents never liked hunting, you would probably have no interest in attending my talk. Plus, if you got stuck in the room where I had my lecture, you would probably argue with almost everything I said. In our society today, we have parents who have no connection to God, so He is not spoken of around the house, nor do they make any attempt to take their children to church. But what if Jesus came to your town, and what if He was speaking at a local church, don’t you think that many people from your town would make a special effort to go out and see Him? They may want to settle their curiosity that this Jesus, that their coworker or neighbor is always talking about, and that He really does exists. But how do you think they would react when He speaks on matters that really hits close to home? Why Jesus may even say the same thing to our people as He said to the Jewish leaders – you are challenged to believe me, and to visit your local church, because your personal leader does everything he could to discourage you from learning about Jesus, and to hear His message of love, faith, peace and forgiveness. Friends, as you read today’s verses, you may assume that this does not apply to you because you never gave Satan control of your life. Please allow me to clear that up for you. When you are born into this world you are a natural being controlled by the leader of the natural world. And it’s not until you are introduced to Jesus, that you ever know that there is another, and a better leader. But the path to Jesus is one where each individual has to make a personal decision to accept the gift of salvation that He offers. So if a pastor, or as in our story today, Jesus, was there speaking, and He called you a child of Satan, it’s because He knows that you have not accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior yet. But I’m sure that you may be full of questions as to what difference does it make. The difference is huge, for if you maintain your natural stance and keep Satan as your ruler, you wind up spending eternity in the place he has prepared for you – hell, with all of its terror and total damnation. Conversely, Jesus has also given us a glimpse of what His eternal home looks like, and it is detailed in His very own written Word – the Bible. There we learn that His home is free from sorrow, heartache, pain and disappointment, and filled with the glorious light of His Father (God), which prompts endless praise and rejoicing from His people (us). So my dear friend, I pray that you will make the best decision, based on what I have shared with you. I pray that you will listen to the voice of God as He calls your name, and that you will surrender your life to Him. As this occurs, you will clearly understand what Jesus meant in the last verse above – now you will hear His voice and obey His commands, for you are His! If you have not made the decision I mentioned above, please read on to my Footnote below and click on the links referenced. You will receive more Biblical help on making that very important decision.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please hear our cry today for we are Your children looking forward to spending eternity with You. Some may read this devotional today and are undecided about changing their allegiance from Satan, to you. Please tender their hearts today and draw them unto yourself, so that they may tear down the barriers that are preventing their decision. Oh that they will know You today, is my humble plea. Thank You Jesus for loving us enough to pave the way for our eternal peace with the Father. AMEN!

True Followers of Christ

Monday, 2019-10-28

Bible Reference: John 8:31
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 31 Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “When you continue to embrace all that I teach, you prove that you are my true followers. 

OBSERVATION: I’m sure that you can easily deduce that if Jesus considered certain individuals to be His ‘True’ followers, then obviously there must be certain conditions that would cause Him to consider some to be unfaithful, uncommitted or even false followers. Let’s pray that God will lead us into the right understanding of what He said to the Jewish followers that day, and that we may always strive to be ‘True’ followers of our Lord and Savior.

APPLICATION: Jesus made it clear that when we embrace ALL that He taught us, and continue to teach us each day, we are considered His true followers. I believe that right from the very beginning, many did not live up to all that came through their lips, and of course today is no better. In ever country represented in my readership, I believe that you could easily acknowledge that there are a multitude of denominations represented in the ‘religious’ communities of each country. This came about primarily because of two reasons: (1) There are differences of opinion about the interpretation of God’s Word; and (2) In every team setting, there are multiple individuals who feel like they could lead better than the person currently leading, so troubles arise and a split off results, so that leaders could have their way. But, based on the first point, how could followers possibly think that they are willing to follow ALL that God teaches in His Word, when there are so many variances on how these things are interpreted? Among the community of churches there are known differences in things such as: the day selected for worship services; divorcees serving in leadership roles in the church; those with gender uncertainties serving in the church; etc, etc. But how can we honestly say that we (all followers collectively) are following ALL that Jesus teaches? Some believers may be looked on as ‘Christian fanatics’ when we become very stringent in following the teachings of our Lord, because there becomes such a divide between their belief and that of the world at large. friends, I would recommend that we closely examine ourselves to see where we stand with Jesus. Would He consider us a ‘True Follower’? To the world, it might seem acceptable based on how often we attend church; or how much we give to the church; or like many might say about their love for their spouse: I told you when I married you that I loved you and unless that changes, please know that I love you! Is that what we apply to our relationship with our Lord also? I believe that Jesus is telling us today that He agreed to follow through with the crucifixion because He loved and respected His father enough to obey ALL of His commands, even if it led to the cross. As followers of this same awesome Savior, why would we decide to do anything short of that same ideal? Are you bold enough to ask Jesus if you are considered a True Follower of His? Perhaps an accountability partner might help you tear down the doors of fake; false; and make-believe, so that you may honestly stand before the King of kings and Lord of lords with one simple song: ‘Just as I Am Without One Plea‘, knowing that in and of ourselves we are nothing worthy of the love of Jesus Christ. Where do you stand today dear one?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You are my strength when I am weak. When trials come and life itself seems to overwhelm me, I need You more than ever to be my deliverer, my peace and my strength. Lord, living in this sinful world is challenging at best, so it is very easy for us to feel like we are not where we need to be in our walk with You. Thank You Lord for sacrificing Your very life, so that I might have forgiveness of my sin and peace about my future with You. Oh that my readers and I might be in such communion with You each and every day, that our lives will exemplify You in every way. May someone experience Jesus today in conversation with Your children and through our expressions of love in all that we do. AMEN!

How To Get From Here to There

Saturday, 2019-10-26

Bible Reference: John 6:43-44
Translation: Easy-To-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text:  43 But Jesus said, “Stop complaining to each other. 44 The Father is the one who sent me, and he is the one who brings people to me. I will raise them up on the last day. Anyone the Father does not bring to me cannot come to me.

OBSERVATION: For someone asking for directions to a friends house on the other side of town, you might tell them from personal experience, you might write down turn by turn directions, or you might give them the proper physical address so they could use their GPS. There may be some who, after being inspired by the Holy Spirit, may ask for directions on how to become a follower of Christ. Can you give them the same detailed instructions?

APPLICATION:  Many who were following Jesus and listening to His teaching just didn’t get it. In fact, in this very chapter we read about many turning away because they just wasn’t sure that Jesus was the ‘real thing’. Friends, are either of these first two statements any different than what we see today? I don’t think so. Just imagine, there are folk that attend our churches today that are there because mom or dad insisted that they attend; or perhaps a man is attending because his wife came from a church background and insisted that he come to church with her. But let me encourage you by saying much like Jesus described and announced to His followers in this scripture, there are many ‘true’ or ‘real’ Christians that we know and fellowship with, who have been touched by the mighty hand of God – the same God that sent Jesus – our Redeemer, Mediator and Savior. These folk have committed their lives to the lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ in total surrender. To better understand the imagery of what Jesus is teaching here, I want you to think for a moment of the number of folk that you walk up to, or work/play alongside each day. Are you committed to them? No, you happened to have entered into their space because of normal circumstances. Now, let’s imagine that you have been invited by the White House staff to appear before the president of the United States. Would there be a difference in how you prepare yourself with how you will appear in his space? I’m sure there will be! Now think for a moment that something has occurred in your life where you feel certain that the Holy Spirit of God is urging you to accept an invitation to attend church this weekend, or perhaps to accept that luncheon request from an old Christian friend who’s been inviting you for a while now. Let’s assume that at either of these meetings the truth of God’s Word is shared and an invitation given to you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Having been urged by the Holy Spirit, do you suppose that you would have a very strong desire to accept, based on how everything came together? Friend, may I suggest to you that you look beyond situations that many might call coincidences, or mere luck? May I suggest that you recognize the hand of God when He touches your life; penetrates your heart with His divine presence; and calls you to a decision to follow Him? To all who surrender; to all who believes on Him; to all who commits to His invitation and call; to them He offers life eternal, just like He said in verse 44 – “He will raise you up” to be with Him and the Father on Resurrection Day! I am anxiously looking forward to that day friend, I hope that you will be obedient to His call today and prepare yourself for the awesome meeting with Jesus. The promise of Heaven is reserved for those who know and have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Others will be presented with quite the opposite experience – hell and damnation. The choice we make today, in response to the call of the Father, determines our final destination. Please don’t disappoint me, nor my heavenly Father.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your invitation to to one day join You in heaven. Who is man that You should care enough for us to make such a provision? Thank You for loving Your children enough to speak with us one-on-one and for providing us the sacrificial means for the forgiveness of our sin and our subsequent entry into heaven. Thank You for Jesus! I have friends and family who have rejected Your call on their life, or they are perhaps of the wrong impression that their sinful lives are ‘good enough’ to see them into heaven. Lord, have mercy on them. Please tender the hearts of the stubborn and unconcerned today. May they recognize Your voice and adhere to Your calling today, before it is eternally too late for them to do so. All these things I ask humbly, and in the powerful name of Jesus, my Savior, AMEN!

Those Who Are Guilty Should Not Condemn Others

Friday, 2019-10-25

Bible Reference: John 8:3-5
Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought a woman they had caught in bed with a man who was not her husband. They forced her to stand in front of the people. They said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses commands us to stone to death any such woman. What do you say we should do?”

OBSERVATION: Remove the plank from your own eye before condemning a friend with a speck of dirt in their eye. That’s another time that Jesus warned us to clean up our own act before judging another of very similar sins that they might be committing. I believe that this is such a prevalent issue, that God has chosen to warn us yet again in our Scripture today. Although you may not be guilty of this (ha), it may be great to to meditate with me on this thought, so that we could help someone else challenged with this problem!

APPLICATION: At one time in my career I found myself talking to a coworker about the shortcomings of a fellow employee in another department. It was nothing terrible, or at least I thought so, until the coworker turned around and told me that it was odd for me to mention the issue, because that’s exactly what the other party says about me!! Whoa! Was that ever an eyeopener for me! Another personal example of how God slapped me into reality: Being heavily involved in church, there was a time when I looked around and questioned (judged) why others were not doing as much as I was. A very honest pastor reminded me that there were things that individual was doing behind the scenes that I would never know about, but he was way more dedicated to the Lord’s work than most people would know about. Whoa – again! Friends, I’m not sure that there is any person on earth that God would delegate His authority to judge, condemn and destroy the will of another believer. Let me remind all of us that we have a full-time job trying to keep self aligned with the teachings, commands and ordinances of our Master. You see, He is perfect, and we are so far from perfect that it would take us a lifetime of daily persistence, and undiluted dedication to our Savior in order for us to truly follow His commands, and live a life that resembles Christ. Our obligation is to love and pray for our fellow believers, not judge and condemn them. God assures us in His Word that He will hold each of us accountable for our own sins. Let’s never lose sight of the incredible job that is ours to watch over self, while loving and caring enough for others with hopes that they too will do the same as they prepare for that glorious day when we will all see Jesus face-to-face!

PRAYER: It is so easy to get caught up in condemning others, oh Lord, and that’s not our job. Please help us to spend our time looking at You, imitating You, and studying about You so that we will understand what You desire from us. Perhaps at that point others may see enough of Christ in us, that our witness might be effective in helping them also see the Master. As you told the Pharisees, let the one without sin throw the first stone. We have no room condemning others, while we also have sin in our lives. Lord, we want to be just like You, and You are the only One without sin. Please complete Your work in us daily, oh Lord. AMEN!

Will You Know Him?

Thursday, 2019-10-24

Bible Reference: John 7:40-44
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 40 When the crowd heard Jesus’ words, some said, “This man really is a prophet!” 41 Others said, “He’s the Messiah!” But others said, “How could he be the Anointed One since he’s from Galilee? 42 Don’t the Scriptures say that he will be one of David’s descendants and be born in Bethlehem, the city of David?” 43 So the crowd was divided over Jesus, 44 some wanted him arrested but no one dared to lay a hand on him.

OBSERVATION: In our Scripture verses today, you could tell that there was confusion around who the crowd thought it was who just spoke to them. Some thought he was a prophet, others thought perhaps the Messiah, while some thought he was the Anointed One, but some were sure that none of these could be right, since they understood the Scriptures to say He was born in Bethlehem. I wonder how you will identify Jesus, for Scriptures assure us that He is coming again!

APPLICATION: I once had an appointment with the CEO of a fairly large corporation. After parking my car, I walked into the building expecting to be directed to the secretary of the CEO. Upon entering the building, I was greeted by this fairly laid back individual in a casual shirt, without a tie, who I thought would direct me to my appointment. Instead I was told that he was the CEO! I was totally blown away, for he did not meet my expected image of a recognized CEO! I recently read the account of an undertaker in a small town who had no remaining family members, and was somewhat of a loner. It came time when he realized that he was dying, and he sat down to evaluate how he would distribute his net worth. He was so alone that he knew for sure that no one would attend his funeral, but he thought that would be one way of directing some of his assets. So he instructed his attorney to divide $500,000 among all those who attended his funeral. Surprisingly some 270 people attended from around the small town, even though they didn’t know this man very well. To their amazement, they received a check of over $1,800 just days later! We can see from our Scripture today that the crowd gathered who had heard Jesus speak, was in a real dilemma as to who this man could possibly be, and I expanded on that in my Observation above. Please note that some were sure that this was a nobody, as they always knew that nothing good came from Bethlehem. But friend of God, how then will you recognize Jesus when He returns? Will He look like the picture in your mind? Will He be as tall, or wide or thick as you expect? Will you think to look into His hands? Will you discount Him for ‘a nobody’ if He does not fit the mold you have developed in your mind? Have you seen Him today and walked on by Him because you thought that He would beg you for food or money? Remember the Scripture where Jesus said: for as much as we have helped on of the least of His kids, we have done it unto Him? May I suggest that you dig into your Bible each and every day? It is the living Word of God! Not only will you learn the character and mind of Christ, but You will also learn Biblical truths that will help you Know Jesus today, and in His second coming. Be ready for the return of our Lord and Savior, for He could return today. Only those who are ready for His return will He take on to live with He and His Father in heaven for ever and ever. No, that does not give you another chance to ready yourself for a third coming, for the Bible has nothing to say about that. However, your alternative will be eternal damnation in Hell with Satan. Be sure you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior my friend, for He will only return for His own.

PRAYER: Lord, we know You will return one day soon, and we know that You will only take those who have made the advanced choice of going with You when You return. I pray that no one reading this devotional will make a bad choice, for I would be extremely saddened to know that they chose to ignore my advice, and Your call on their life. Oh that today may be the day of salvation for all who read this and are without Christ. Praise God I live in a state of waiting for Your return. May today be the day! AMEN!

Let The Holy Spirit Flow Thru You

Wednesday, 2019-10-23

Bible Reference: John 7:37-39
Translation: New Century Version (NCV)

Bible Text: 37 On the last and most important day of the feast Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 If anyone believes in me, rivers of living water will flow out from that person’s heart, as the Scripture says.” 39 Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been raised to glory. But later, those who believed in Jesus would receive the Spirit.

OBSERVATION: There are certain individuals that we can see so much of their parent bursting forth through them, that it seems almost impossible to believe. While we may have our own ideas of why that happens, I believe Jesus is telling us in our Scripture today that if we have His Spirit living inside of us, it will be evident to others who come into contact with us, because that Spirit will burst forth from us! Meditate with me on this word from the Lord so that we might discern what He needs us to concentrate on today.

APPLICATION: Often in the Bible we will find where water is synonymous with the Holy Spirit. But just as Jesus used the word ‘Water’ in His example, we could also do the same in our discussion of this topic. Notice how Jesus invited those who were thirsty, and did not just give a blanket invitation to the whole crowd. Why do you suppose this might be important? I believe that for those walking in the marketplace, they probably had a desire for anything but God, so it would have been useless to invite them to come and partake of a godly gift. So Jesus went to the heart of the matter – He invited those who were thirsty, or hungry for Him. Would you say that everyone at your church service is thirsty for the Living God? Or are they there in fulfillment of their habitual church attendance? Also notice that Jesus said that in accepting His gift, that others will not just recognize a resemblance of the Holy Spirit, but that it will flow from them like a river! I thought it extremely interesting to see that He chose the words ‘flowing from them like living water’. Ever walked by an active river and see the water still, or going in the opposite direction? That tells me that Jesus is teaching that the Holy Spirit will actively flow from us not only while we are on the church grounds, but everywhere that we go! It will never stop! Friends, when something flows from our heart, it is a vital, and a natural part of our being. It’s not just a passing fancy, or something that occurs when we feel like it. I believe that God directed me to this Scripture today so that I might share with you how important it is that we build a relationship with our awesome God. I also believe that God is reminding us that when we invite Him into our heart, we are asking Him to place His Holy Spirit right plum into the middle of our very being so that we may not only live according to His teachings, but that His Spirit might flow through us to touch the lives of those that we come into touch with, so that they might experience the King of all kings. It’s no longer you, my friend, but God – who lives inside of you and who will be exposed through you in everything you do or say.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, it’s no longer I, but the wonderful and powerful love of Jesus that expresses Himself through the Holy Spirit living inside of me. I’m just a nobody here to tell everybody about somebody who saved my soul. But Lord, what words shall I use? Please teach me Lord, to step aside and allow your Holy Spirit to have His perfect way in me, and to flow through me like rivers of living water, so that others might experience the Living God! Thank You Father, Son and Holy Spirit! AMEN!

We Have Enough!

Tuesday, 2019-10-22

Bible Reference: Exodus 36:4-7
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:  4 Finally the craftsmen who were working on the sanctuary left their work. 5 They went to Moses and reported, “The people have given more than enough materials to complete the job the Lord has commanded us to do!” 6 So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: “Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough!” So the people stopped bringing their sacred offerings. 7 Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project.

OBSERVATION: In your minds, I would like for you to imagine that you are looking at your neighbor in church when the pastor announces that he wants the congregation to STOP GIVING, because the building fund is fully funded and there is no need for additional funds! Can you imagine the shock? Yet in our time together today we will see where Moses did exactly that – he told the people that there was no need of additional gifts, for there was enough given already! Let’s dig in to learn more about this strange idea!!

APPLICATION:  I wonder why things may have changed? Whether we talk to an individual or a well established church, there always seems to be a cry for help in their financial needs. First of all in our Scripture today, it is clear that not all of the people freely gave to the cause. In 2:21 we are told that those whose hearts were stirred by the message from God through Moses, responded to the plea for help in providing material for the building project. This sounds pretty much like our churches today, don’t you think? As a result of surveys, we are told that less than 20% of the people do more than 80% of the giving! So why have the others ignored the plea? Friends, I believe that the Word of God is clear on this. Just as the Word tells us that if we humble ourselves and pray, then God would save our nation, I believe that many of us need to humble ourselves to recognize that we have nothing personally to brag about. It is because of God’s grace that we have the health to work, the job to go to, and the income to survive. If we truly acknowledge that fact, why would we withhold giving to God in proportion to what He has blessed us with? The Word gives us guidance – at least 10%. Because there are other biblical references to ‘first fruits’, I believe that the guidance actually refers to 10% of your gross income. Now because our relationship is one built around love, I don’t believe that we would dare use this as a legalistic demand. People ‘in love’ will generally give freely, and way more than might be expected of them. In a love relationship, there is no such thing as excuses why we can’t give 110% of ourselves to our mate. Should there be an excuse, or a reason, when it comes to giving to our Lord and His earthly work? Don’t you know that if each person in our congregations gave like this, that our pastors would frequently be faced with an overflow of income, where pastors and church leaders could decide to expand the ministry after meeting all the needs that they are aware of? We are told that more than 70% of our county have no church affiliation, or relationship with Jesus Christ, so is there a need to to expand our ministries? God may hold us accountable for not giving as we should to reach the lost. Furthermore, I believe that the stress level on our pastors will be drastically reduced, when they don’t have to worry about funding the projects that God has shown them might be necessary to grow the ministry. When we receive our paycheck, there is no negotiating on amounts taken out for government taxes, why should there be constant decision making on how much to give towards God’s work? Determine in your own heart how much you will give and stick to the plan Brother and Sister. We are promised that we will receive more than we could ever imagine or expect. Furthermore, we will receive in proportion to what we have given. May I encourage you to always expect more from God, knowing that you have given in abundance towards His work? Furthermore, rejoice, knowing your loving and all powerful God will abundantly bless you and meet your needs!

PRAYER: Father, it is exciting to see how You work. We give to bless others, yet You wind up also blessing us in return! There just isn’t a way that we can out-give You! Thank You for being so generous, loving and kind to us! I would say that we are so undeserving, but then I am reminded that even while we were undeserving, You sent Your only Son as a sacrifice for us, so that we might have a chance at eternal life in heaven with You. Thank You Father! Thank You Jesus, Son of God! Lord may we learn to give in similar fashion – regardless of whether we feel the receiver or the project is worthy of our love, may we react in obedience to Your will for us. Please bless us as we give, so that our own needs may be met each and every day. May souls be touched for You because of our obedience in giving. I ask these things humbly, although undeserving, but in the powerful name of our all-giving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, AMEN!

God Provides in Unimaginable Ways!

Monday, 2019-10-21

Bible Reference: 1 Samuel 26:9-12
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text: David: No. Don’t kill him. Who can legitimately strike the Eternal’s anointed king without consequences? 10 As the Eternal One lives, his time will come. The Eternal will strike him down; either he will die, or he will go into battle one day and be slain. 11 God forbid that I would be the one to harm the Eternal’s anointed king. But please, take his spear next to his head and that water jug, and let’s go.
12 So David took the spear and the water jug from right beside Saul’s head and crept back through the camp. No one saw or knew they were there. No one woke up because the Eternal had caused the entire camp to fall into a deep sleep.

OBSERVATION: David, a man after God’s own heart – according to the Word of God, demonstrated to his soldiers and continues to demonstrate to us what it means to be totally sold out to God. Because of David’s relationship with God, we are blessed to witness how God provided for him in some amazing ways. This provides encouragement to us that our God, the same awesome God of David, will provide for those of us that are totally sold out to Him! Meditate with me as we think deeper about this today!

APPLICATION: To truly understand the depth of this study today, let me remind you that David attacked towns and totally wiped out its inhabitants, including men, women, children, and livestock in some cases. So he had no fear of human life when he knew that God had ordered total eradication. After just defeating a few towns, that Joshua spared when he first brought the Israelites into the Promised Land, we can see where David got the news of his primary advisory being nearby as Saul continued pursuit after David. So many times already David communicated with Saul that he had done nothing to harm the king, and that he could have killed him on several occasions, if he wanted to. I believe that David’s men could easily have concluded that David may have been afraid of Saul, or like we would say today, perhaps Saul was holding something over David. But for those men who learned from David’s Godly obedience, surely they must have seen time after time that David always chose to do God’s will above his own. So yes, I believe that we could learn an awful lot from David about His faithfulness to God. But in our verses today, I want to particularly draw your attention to the words that I bolded, for there we are reminded that God will work miraculously for the good of His people. David was bold enough to take a volunteer from his camp with him, to enter into the middle of Saul’s best 3,000 men who accompanied him for protection. Many of us might conclude that the move was more of a ‘stupid’ one, versus a brave one, but I found it so amazing to read how God took David into this daring picture, and He took a very vital part in protecting Him while he was there. For He caused a deep sleep to come over this first-class army, so that David and his assistant could actually get right up to the head of Saul. I recently read about Jesus preparing to feed the 5,000 and He tested Philip by asking him where would they find food enough to feed the crowd. Could God have been testing David to see if he would humanly go to the head of Saul and remove his sword, without using it on Saul? What about us, are we strong enough in our faith to truly trust God, even when situations are presented right at our fingertips where we could seemingly take care of the situation ourselves? However, imagine the testimony to Abishai when David trusted God as he chose peace and a Godly witness versus the murder a man called by God to lead a nation. Now notice how God took care of David and his partner while in Saul’s camp – He caused a deep sleep to come over them so that they never even knew that David and Abishai entered their midst! Wow! Perhaps you are facing ‘giants’ in your life today where the obvious solution, or the world’s way of doing things, are totally different to what you feel God would have you do. How will you respond? Doing it God’s way may sound almost foolish to the world’s way of thinking, but is your faith in God strong enough to believe that if He brought you to it, He will lead, and protect you through it? God’s ways are not our ways, so we will never understand why His ways are ordered so differently to our simple humanly thinking ways. Please be encouraged to always follow God, my friend, for He has promised to take care of us right to the very end. If you believe in God, trust in Him alone in every circumstance of life, no matter what others may say. Be boldly about His work dear one, for He cares for His own and will protect us to the end.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, we are mere mortals here in this land where men of God are looked down on, and discounted as nobodies. This turns out to be more truthful than any man will realize, for we are nothing, and we are powerless without our awesome God. Help us Lord to stand firm in our faith and to always look to You for all things. Oh that we may be so sold out to You, that others will see and hear nothing but Jesus when they look on us. May You be glorified in everything that we attempt to do in Your name, and may we always walk in faith knowing that You are all-powerful and all-knowing. AMEN!

Get Your Priorities Straight

Thursday, 2019-10-17

Bible Reference: John 6:27-29
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 27 Why would you strive for food that is perishable and not be passionate to seek the food of eternal life, which never spoils? I, the Son of Man, am ready to give you what matters most, for God the Father has destined me for this purpose.”
28 They replied, “So what should we do if we want to do God’s work?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work you can do for God starts with believing in the One he has sent.”

OBSERVATION: I believe that the very thing that Jesus saw as most important for the crowd following Him, is still the most important thing for us to concentrate on today – Believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger]. Meditate with me today on what seems to be the top priority in our lives.

APPLICATION: It is a real challenge for us to think outside of our ‘box’ that we have built around ourselves. Because of that we find it challenging to see things in the way it is presented to us by someone else, for we try to cram their ideas into our little box. Imagine this crowd that Jesus had just fed, and who had also witnessed His miracles. Don’t you know that they wanted to stay close to Him so that their every little ache could be attended to, and that there would never be a shortage of food again? But Jesus challenged them with what He knew to be the most important thing that they should give attention to. Notice how He told the crowd what His Father would expect from those that desire to follow Him. I find that so intriguing, because way too often we find it necessary to share what we think is best for an individual. Friends, the world needs more of Jesus, not more of us. For we are mere sinners looking to the Master ourselves for what we could learn from Him, and discern from Him for our daily path. Oh that the world might find Jesus, even when they are trying to get the attention and ideas of His children. In our focal verses today, Jesus showed us the importance of having God first in our lives, of striving to get guidance of God more than any advice that we could get from our pastor, our teacher, elder or friend. As a student of the Word of God, I believe it is safe to say that seeking God first will lead to us each day to live more like Him and to allow others to see Jesus in the way we live and in the things that we say. Let’s do our very best to seek the Lord while He may be found, and then rejoice in the way that He is magnified in and through us to bring more honor and praise to Himself. I believe that when we make these types of commitments and set this type of priority, the praises of our King will be manifested in and through us each and every day.

PRAYER: Lord, we life Your name on high, and we exalt Your name above every other name. AMEN!