In Jesus’ Name

Friday, 2019-11-29

Bible Reference: John 16:23-24
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text: 23 ….. I tell you the truth, anything you ask of the Father in My name, He will give to you. 24 Until this moment, you have not sought after anything in My name. Ask and you will receive so that you will be filled with joy

OBSERVATION: Even today I believe that commands have more power when we can safely say that we are demanding something at the command of an authoritative figure. But none can compare with the power that Jesus spoke of in these verses we are looking at today. Jesus is assuring His disciples that those who have invited Him to be Lord of their lives – His disciples, can go before God in prayer and ask for anything in Jesus’ name and they would see their joy made complete because they will receive what they ask. Let’s think about this power some more today….

APPLICATION: One might ask why it is not possible for all men/women to ask God for something ‘in the name of Jesus’. I believe we can quickly evaluate this question and reasonably answer this question by saying that our all-knowing God knows exactly what His Son would approve of! I have a good example of this from my working experience. At one point during my working career, there was a manager who always used the name of the owner in order to throw some weight behind what they were asking their employees to do. It was funny to the employees, because after learning the heart of the owner, they knew exactly what may have come directly from the owner, and what may have been added by that manager! To further this thought, imagine if a total stranger decided to ask one of these employees to do something in the name of the owner, do you suppose they would quickly move to obey? The Holy Bible is filled with direct words from our Master, and with the remainder of things that were approved by our Master. So when we look for direction in what to do, we look to the Word of God. When we seek for God’s will on what we should say, we look to God’s Word. To align what we say or do with that of the One we love, adore, and aim to follow and obey, we must look to the Word of God and stay aligned with all that it teaches us. We should daily seek the face of Jesus to teach us, remind us, and direct us in the paths that we should follow. Therefore, when we seek the face of God in prayer, we should not be troubled about requesting things outside the will of God, because we have aligned our lives with everything Jesus taught us through His Life, and through His written Word. When children of God pray, we know that God will hear our prayer that we ask in the name of Jesus. Think about it friends, praying a selfish prayer and from hearts unattached to Jesus, will hit the ceiling, or against brick walls, because God knows full well if they are being asked in the name of His precious Son, or not. So let me encourage you today to know my Jesus. He loved you and I enough to forego the power within Himself, and destroy those attempting to crucify Him. But He went to the cross knowing that it would be through His sacrifice that we might have the means of salvation and access to the Father. This is a very key point my friend, for without asking Jesus into your heart, you cannot pray to God ‘in the name of Jesus‘. For God could easily come back to you and say that you are unqualified to ask such a prayer, since you don’t know His Son. There is great power in the name of Jesus our Lord! Know Him today and know about that power dear friend.

PRAYER: Jesus, the name above all names. Master, Savior, Deliverer and a wonderful Friend to sinners. This is the name in whom I place my faith and my trust, and this is the name in whom I pray today! Oh that You may melt hardened hearts today, oh that You may speak to hearts that have surrendered their allegiance to You, but have chosen to still follow their old earthly master. Lord, I believe that You will return soon to take Your bride home to heaven. May we be found faithful in all that You have commanded of us. May the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable to You in every way today, my Lord, my Savior and my Rock! AMEN!

Lord You Are …..

Wednesday, 2019-11-27

Bible Reference: Psalm 18:25-30
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text:  25 Lord, it is clear to me now that how we live will dictate how you deal with us.[j]
Good people will taste your goodness, Lord. And to those who are loyal to you, you love to prove that you are loyal and true.
26 And for those who are purified, they find you always pure. But you’ll outwit the crooked and cunning with your craftiness.
27 To the humble you bring heaven’s deliverance. But the proud and haughty you disregard.

OBSERVATION: In this translation, the writer has taken the liberty of summarizing what David felt about God’s response to our actions, as detailed in the verses that follow. As we meditate on the Word today, I thought it might be sobering for us to ponder, like David, what God must truly feel when we act in various ways in response to life’s circumstances. I’m afraid that we never give this a second thought because we may feel like God ignores our failures and our stupid actions at times. Please consider reading the whole chapter to fully understand where David was coming from with his thoughts in these verses.

APPLICATION: David had just gone through many verses praising God for His goodness and His care and protection. Based on his first-hand experience, David is now trying to help those of us who are struggling to comprehend exactly what we can expect from God, and why our experiences may differ, based on our relationship with God. In fact, let me challenge us with a sobering thought – based on our current relationship with God at the very moment you read these words, what aspect(s) of your life do you suppose God would challenge you on, if you were standing before Him? Note that this will apply to everyone – the Christian and the unbeliever. I believe that Christians may often get the false impression that their ticket to heaven is bought the day they say ‘Yes’ to Jesus, and they are just waiting on the flight. May I suggest to you, Christian Brother/Sister, that you never went to the altar to purchase a ticket, you went to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin and accept you into His family. You promised Him to leave the ugliness (sin) of this world behind and show love towards Him in every way possible, especially towards one another. Think about this, some may have stubbed a toe at one time or another. Thankfully it was not necessary for you to go to the hospital, so you returned to the acts that gave you the stubbed toe. This analogy shows how we treat sin, and wind up damaging our relationship with Jesus. Friends, can you possibly expect to receive anything from Jesus when you turn your back on Him? He has given us the freedom of choice, but read this chapter to be reminded of your consequences when you disobey. You don’t like it when your earthly child disobeys you, why do you suppose that it will be any different for the Savior who gave His life for your forgiveness of sin, when He sees you disobeying His commands? To the unbeliever: I am convinced that you are well aware of the Jesus to whom I have devoted this entire blog, because many of you will quickly look for Him, or someone who knows Him personally, and is willing to intercede for you, when something goes wrong in your life, or when things may not be going right for you. With all the love I can muster up today, I must tell you that our God is not a God of convenience, He is looking for a relationship with you. Just as you can’t purchase home insurance if a hurricane is already in route, God is looking for a relationship with you before you approach Him with your grocery list of needs. My Father takes care of His children, even if our earthly fathers may fail in this. Will He recognize you as His child when you call upon Him? I used today’s blog title based on a prayer conference I attended, where we were encouraged to use scripture in our prayer life. May I encourage you to complete the following sentence based on today’s scripture? “Lord, You are my __________ because _________, praise be to God”!

PRAYER: Lord you are loving because You saw my need for a Savior and sent angels to convict me of my sin and lead me to a wonderful, life-long relationship with You, praise be to God! Thank You Jesus for loving even me! Thank You dear Jesus for loving each one who reads this devotional today. I am convinced that You are standing with opened arms right now waiting to respond to our prayer, especially those praying for salvation. Lord You are worthy and we are so needy. We need You every minute of every day, and we long to draw closer to You each and every day. Please patiently lead us towards a more intimate and sincere relationship with You, so that we may have a godly impact on all that we come into contact with. I ask these things in the wonderful name of Jesus, AMEN!

The Reason Why

Tuesday, 2019-11-26

Bible Reference: John 15:18-19
Translation: The Message (MSG)

Bible Text: 18-19 “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.

OBSERVATION: We are somewhat blessed in the US to not have open persecution against Christians like we read about in Bible days, and hear about in other world countries. Speak with a missionary who has served in a difficult country. and in many cases you could hear of heart wrenching persecution. Why? Because the world notices that we have found peace and satisfaction in the Savior of the world, and we did that without having to fight or push our weight around to gain it. I Believe that in following the example of our Father, the world will see that we show ‘love’ in numerous ways, even in difficult situations, and they may wonder ’why’? Let’s meditate on the reason Jesus gave us in today’s Scripture about our peace, and about the thing that causes the world to hate us.

APPLICATION: When most might be looking for ways to attract the world’s attention, and to promote self, it seems strange that Jesus would draw our attention to the negative aspects of serving Him. However, in our attempt to follow Jesus and to imitate Him in every way, would we expect to do better than He achieved in His day? Remember, He went around healing; raising the dead; and bringing sight back to the blind, yet the religious leaders sought to trap Him in various ways, and kill Him. Surely we live in a different era and in a free country, so we have nothing to worry about, right? Friends, while I am not promoting the idea of Christians becoming rebels, and creating an uproar in our communities, I am convinced that many of us have escaped opposition, because the world fears no oppositions when dealing with us. Most of us are very vocal within the four walls, and safety of our churches, but when we leave that safe haven, like chameleons, we slither into our communities undetected by the world as being anything different to the worldly neighbor next door. Dear friend, just as the world looks at us and immediately discerns whether we are male or female, may they also sense and detect that the love of Jesus lives, and leads us in every aspect of life. Yes, that will sometimes cause individuals to hate us – but isn’t that what the Word of God is making us fully aware of today? This is what happened to our Savior, and if we are His replica, we should expect this, and not at all be surprised or disappointed by the world’s actions. Oh that they may see Jesus today!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I don’t believe that it was easy for you to deal with the opposition while here on earth, but thankfully You sent the Comforter to help us. Thankfully You provided Your Word to show us how You dealt with the world. May Your children yearn to follow in Your footsteps each and every day, knowing that we will face opposition, ridicule and hatred, but also knowing that we have an advocate who guides, protects and loves us in every circumstance of life. May You receive glory from our actions and our words today because we aim to please You and imitate You in every aspect of our lives. AMEN!

Fruit and More Fruit

Saturday, 2019-11-23

Bible Reference: John 15:1-2
Translation: Amplified Bible (AMP)

Bible Text: I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.

OBSERVATION: This is a passage that most have either read many times before, or have heard preached about. But I trust that, like me, your eyes might be opened to new truths as we meditate on the living Word of God again today. I was especially touched by the way that the Amplified Bible clarified some of the text, in parenthesis. Ask God to open your eyes, and your heart as we seek His guidance on this day.

APPLICATION: As God got my attention on this familiar Scripture today, I believe He pointed out the various conditions of natural man:
1). Down in verse 5, Jesus refers to the man who is apart from Him, and He said that such a man could do nothing. I am very troubled when I hear the unsaved tell a friend who is in trouble that they will pray for him/her. Without looking down my pious nose, I am thrilled that the idea of prayer before a holy and righteous God might be appealing on behalf of a friend, but please be careful in doing this while totally ignoring that same God in your own personal life. I am definitely not God, so I have no idea how God must handle requests like that, but humbly I would suggest to my friends that might be reading this blog today to please honor my God by respecting His holiness and therefore ask that He cleanse you personally before you consider asking Him for something on behalf of your friends. I don’t believe that this is an unreasonable request dear friend, because even to your parents would not afford the same privileges or recognition to strangers walking up to their door, like they did for you and your siblings;
2). In verse 2, Jesus tells us about the one who distances themselves from Him and stops displaying the character of God, and who no longer displays the fruit of the Spirit, as taught about earlier in His Word. To this believer, Jesus said that He would trim that branch off from the tree. Does that sound severe dear friend? What would you do when a spouse who lives in your home, yet dates someone else and spends more time with them than you? They have no respect for you or your home? Would you trim that individual off from your home? Do they really care about you or your home?
3). To the one who is honestly and sincerely displaying the fruit of the Spirit, I was excited that Jesus taught that He would seek to make this one even more fruitful! However, note that He said that He would still do some trimming and pruning, so that we might become even more fruitful. What does this mean? I believe it means that God will trim away those bad habits that we may have developed from the company we’ve kept, or the laxity that is trying to overcome us in not wanting to be around God’s kids as often as before, or perhaps distancing ourselves from those who need Jesus. Friends, when we think about being a saint, or a child of the one true God, and we therefore endeavor to act, speak and work like Jesus did, don’t you think that there might always be some rough edges that requires the miraculous hand of God to cleanse and redirect? I often feel powerless to overcome these inconsistencies, and I’m sure that you might also be the same. Oh for a closer walk with my Lord each and every day, is my humble plea. Think about what you may need of God today my friend!

PRAYER: Dear God, I pray that this devotional will reach the hearts of many, and that each will fit in one of the three categories that, I feel, you covered in Your Word that I studied today. Thank You for speaking to my heart as I read, and as I shared in my thoughts while writing this devotional. I believe that You desire representatives here on earth that need more of You in their lives each day. Please fill us anew, so that we may introduce or remind others of who you are. With great anticipation, we look forward to one day being at Your feet, with all our friends and family kneeling next to us! Oh what a glorious day that will be! AMEN!

Our Lives Reflect What We Ask God For

Friday, 2019-11-22

Bible Reference: 1 Kings 3:4-5
Translation: New International Version (NIV)

Bible Text: The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

OBSERVATION: This is a chapter well worth taking the time to read and meditate on. Solomon tried to pattern his life after his dad, David, so of course he followed many of God’s laws. However he still went to offer sacrifices to the gods of the local temples with his fellow citizens. But God had a plan for Solomon’s life, so He appeared to him in a dream, even while in Gibeon for the purpose of sacrificing to another god. The question asked by God in that dream is one that we should consider every time we approach God: ‘What do you want me to give you?’ How would you answer that?

APPLICATION: So often we bow the head to pray, and the words are automatic. We’ve heard the pastor, Sunday School teacher and friends pray, and always wished that we could pray that good, so we adopt certain points from their prayers so we might sound legitimate in the presence of our peers. But wait a minute, who are we praying to? What are we praying for? Do we have faith in the one to whom we are praying? Do we have a personal relationship with the one to whom we are praying, and have confidence that our deepest thoughts, expressions and requests will be safe in His hands? Do we know that He could do anything about all that is on my heart? Friends, I believe that when the God of all creation reaches down in love and shares His interest in us and simply asks us to share openly our needs with the only One who could do anything about them, suddenly our minds will turn away from memorized, written, or repetitious prayers, and the words from our heavy heart, or our joyous heart, or our pleading heart, will bubble forth as a heart longing for someone to understand us and our needs. Suddenly we realize that we are in the presence of the One who created us, the One who loved us even when we were so unlovable, the One who raised Lazarus from the dead, made the blind man see again and the crippled man walk – the only One who has the compassion to put up with our worry, heal our loved ones, encourage the broken hearted, get the attention of the lost, and fulfilled the promise of welcoming us home to glory when that day comes! Praise the Lord, Without the fear of retribution, we could freely, openly and in all honesty tell our Father exactly what we need and what we want. He is in control, and He knows before we do, what the best course of action is for our lives! Solomon was blessed with much more than he asked for. There is no telling what God has in store for us – His precious children! Oh that we will recognize Him the next time that we bow our heads in prayer, and may we always seek to ask Him for what He could do for us! Consider this: Our lives will reflect what we have asked God for! I don’t know about you precious friend, but I want to look so much like Christ, that others will be constantly reminded of who Jesus truly is.

PRAYER: Lord my prayer today is that others might see Jesus, and that they may hear the whisper of their Creator when He tells them ‘Ask for whatever you want’. Oh that Jesus will always be our greatest desire. AMEN!

A Love Test

Thursday, 2019-11-21

Bible Reference: John 14:15
Translation: Amplified Bible (AMP)

Bible Text: 15 “If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments.

OBSERVATION: Ever heard a parent say to a young child: ‘Now, if you really loved me you wouldn’t do that’? To another adult, that sounds funny, but in my reading in John 14 today, the words of Jesus, as shown in our Bible Text, really got my attention. Let this penetrate your heart also as we meditate on these words today. Join me, won’t you?

APPLICATION: I believe that each and every day many of us drift back into the ways of the world, and allow its principles to overrule our beliefs that we were convinced God had embedded into our hearts. Peer pressure and our deep desires to impress our spouse, or other loved ones, will often cause us to do or say those things that we feel will elevate us in their eyes. Take for example the idea of being the only one in a group of friends that feel an obligation to stay for church on a Sunday, instead of heading out to the beach. Deep within, you may feel a deep obligation to be at church to welcome those friends you invited to join you on a given Lord’s Day. But your other friends that you hang out with for games and fun times, are mindless to the things of Christ, and they want you to join them on a trip to the beach. It’s their only day off, and they need to unwind from their busy week. What will you do? Your coworkers brag about never having to purchase rubber bands, paperclips, pens and pencils at home, because there is an abundant supply at work that just sits in their desk drawer. You work for the same company, and you see the same availability of supplies, so what will you do? These are just a few simple examples, but for the man/woman of God, who knows God’s Word, your conscience is being severely impacted about doing what you feel God has commanded you to do. You remember Scripture around teh subject of: Assembling yourselves together with other believers; Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel; Those who know Christ will see heaven, vs those who don’t is headed to a dreadful Hell; Thou shalt not steal; etc, etc. In our Scripture today, Jesus said that if we love Him, we would honor His commands; be obedient to His Word; show our love for Him, or prove that we love Him, by doing what He says. These are just a few examples I used to help you think more about the things that you do and what God may say to you either directly or indirectly about your actions. But as His sons and daughters, I believe the question for our consideration today is: Do I truly love God? Would He know that I love Him, based on my actions and my words? Will the world, who I am trying to witness to, know that I love my Lord? As a son, is it evident to my Father that I really love Him? What choices would we truly make in the above scenarios, and the many other similar scenarios that are presented to us every day? If our love for Him will be judged based on our obedience to His Word, will God know that we truly love Him? Once again, the scripture today says: “If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments”.

PRAYER: With a guilty conscience, I can honestly come before the Master today and ask for forgiveness. Dear Lord, You know my weaknesses and You know my coward desire to please others, instead of always standing strong in my faith and truly committed to my Savior in all decisions. Please forgive me. As I recognize my weakness, I am humbled to once again ask for Your strength when I am weak; Your boldness when I am meek and cowardly in my approach to sharing my King with an impossible sinner; Your insight, when I approach situations awkwardly blinded by the desires of those whose aim is to please Satan alone. Lord, I need more of You each and every day, so that my love for You will be evident in the easy things of life and when the challenging times present themselves. In the event that my readers are similar in their personal analysis, I pray that You might humble their hearts to seek Your face and pray for a closer walk with You. Lord, please bless them with a deep desire to obey You, and that through this effort it will be very evident to You that their love for You is sincere and very determined. Please bless those who are carefree and choose to do their own thing. Draw them close to You, flood them with Your Word, and show them Your love in ways that will impress upon them a desire to please You. Oh that Your kingdom may be enriched today, because of our commitment to be better, and more dependable servants. AMEN!

Consequences for Criticizing God’s Servant

Wednesday, 2019-11-20

Bible Reference: Numbers 12:5-10
Translation: The New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:  5 …the Lord descended in the pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the Tabernacle. “Aaron and Miriam!” he called, and they stepped forward. 6 And the Lord said to them, “Now listen to what I say: If there were prophets among you, I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. 7 But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. 8 I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the Lord as he is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” The Lord was very angry with them, and he departed. 10 As the cloud moved from above the Tabernacle, there stood Miriam, her skin as white as snow from leprosy.

OBSERVATION: In today’s church environment, it seems like many will criticize the man of God for things like: his style of preaching; the volume he uses to deliver the Word of God; his dress code; if he looks at a particular section of the church while delivering his message; etc. Our Scripture today tells us that God questioned Miriam and Aaron about not being afraid to criticize His messenger, and He followed through by penalizing Miriam for her actions. As we meditate on this Scripture today, consider laying yourself honestly before God to examine you for similar actions as Miriam.

APPLICATION:  I would strongly encourage you to read the short chapter from which this scripture reference was taken, for it had a profound impact on me. Click on the scripture reference above and you will be taken to a place where you could read all 16 verses. You will get a better understanding in verse 3 why God took such a fierce stand against the sister and brother of Moses, for the Word declares that Moses was the most humble man on earth at the time. I believe this was included to help us understand that Moses would probably have loved his siblings regardless of what they may have said about him. What a humbling honor to be considered as the humblest man on earth, wow! Does that not automatically cause us to question ourselves and what we might do to be more humble in God’s eyes? However, this criticizing of God’s servant, truly angered God, and He dealt with it severely. He had Moses and his siblings go to the tabernacle, and there He called Miriam and Aaron to step forward as He was about to speak directly to them, and He wanted Moses to witness this. Friends, I want you to read verses 6 through 8 and imagine yourself in place of Miriam and Aaron for anything derogatory you may have spoken or thought about your Pastor or other called church leader. Don’t you know that these men have sacrificed their entire lives to Christ, instead of any possible worldly success? They have submitted themselves to God, and surrendered to the call of Christ to serve Him in the positions He has prepared just for them? Are we then not like Miriam and Aaron, where we are criticizing God for the man He has placed as His leader in our local assemblies? I would strongly caution you that we had better be very careful to pray for our leaders and their humbleness to closely obey God’s commands for His local church. Notice that there is no indication that Moses complained to God about the bad things his siblings were saying. God knew their hearts, He heard their words and saw their actions, and He subsequently reacted very harshly – not just with a tongue lashing, but actually imposed on the ringleader (Miriam) the horrible decease of leprosy. This caused her to be placed outside of the camp (city) for 7 days, even in spite of Moses’ plea with God to heal her. Friends, we must learn from this that we must respect God first of all and, in turn, those whom He chooses as His representatives among us – our pastors and church leaders. We must also learn that God loves His humble servants so much that He will stand in the gap for them. So if you are a called person of God and reading this devotional, please know that God has your back. Be committed to Him and serve Him faithfully, knowing that He will take care of the back-biting, gossip and ridicule. If God has truly placed you as His leader to His people, it is He who is more hurt by the backlash from His people, as they are really questioning His authority. Child of God, pray, pray, pray for the men of God that He places to serve you at your church. May we all be found faithful and true to our Master, until the day He calls us home to glory!

PRAYER: Lord God, Almighty Father, thank You for the picture of love for Your humble servant, and the reassurance that there is no reason why You would still not protect Your servants even today. It is so easy to get caught up in complaining or whining about our leaders, especially when they don’t pat our backs just right, or say the things that we like to hear. Please help us to stay focused on Your Word, for I believe that as we do, then we will appreciate the words from the leaders You have placed in charge of ministering to us. Please teach us to be humble like Your servant Moses, and also teach us to follow Your pattern of obedience when it comes to our spiritual leaders. As church leaders, we badly need encouragement for boldness before Your people, yet humbleness to always seek Your face so that we can seek Your favor for Your people. As followers of Christ, please help us to always pray for, and encourage our church leaders as they seek to obey You and follow Your commands for our respective churches. You are holy and deserving of our praise, worship and honor, and when we do this, perhaps we won’t have time to ridicule and/or gossip about our Brothers and Sisters! I love You lord for who You are, and I ask these things in faith and in the name of Jesus my Savior, AMEN!

An Imitation of the One You Adore

Tuesday, 2019-11-19

Bible Reference: John 13:34-35
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 34 “So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. 35 For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”

OBSERVATION: Jesus was about to end His earthly ministry, and I believe He was admonishing His disciples to carry on by demonstrating all that they saw in Him while working together, ministering together, and seeking after the heart of loved ones who had gone astray. Because I believe that Jesus still desires for His children to be imitators of their Master, I want us to contemplate what that might look like today.

APPLICATION: Ever notice the difference between a military enlistee and a regular civilian? One is determined to follow the orders of their commanding officer and defend their country, in spite of all the evil going on inside their homeland, while the other tries to follow the general idea of the local laws, but will not think twice about questioning those laws and or commands of those in charge of their safety and welfare. Similarly, you will often identify God’s children by their demeanor, their lifestyle, their honesty, their commitment and their love for one another. I believe that Jesus is teaching us in the Scripture today, just as He taught the disciples: ‘Let the world see so much of Jesus in you, that they will be convinced that He exists, and that they could easily follow you, as you follow Christ. I believe that Jesus wants us to not only desire to know Him in order to have our ticket punched for heaven, but especially so that the non-believer would turn their heads to this cruel, heart-breaking, mean and treacherous world, and be encouraged to see the character of Jesus in every fiber of our being. And that it would be inviting enough to convince them that there is a better way! Friends, I believe that many of you may have traveled down some of the same roads that I have. For we have seen the impact of this world on folk at our job site, in our neighborhoods, in our government, and even in our churches. I am so encouraged, and touched by the living Word of God, for Jesus knew that we would face these challenges and discouragements and we may sometimes want to just throw our hands up in disappointment and wonderment of whether it is worth the effort to try and be kind and loving every day. Often, when we ‘try’ to be good, loving and kind, we are polluting ourselves with so much self-effort, and self-taught principles, and selfish desires, that we sometimes make things worse. I believe that Jesus is teaching us, as He did His disciples, to just apply all that we have learned from Him to our lives, and look to His Book of Instruction (the Bible) when searching for answers, instead of the TV Talk Shows, or the internet sites of Palm Readers, and the like. Jesus has placed the Holy Spirit inside of us, believers in Christ, so that we might be led in the right direction; understand His precious Word, and love like He first loved us. Let’s learn to love like Jesus did – for He gave up His own life for us, even while we were still sinners. He loved Lazarus and his sisters enough that He cried in empathy for Mary and Martha who thought they would never see Lazarus alive again. Let’s learn to care for others like He did – for He stopped a whole parade so that He could chat with, and seek the desire of two cripples who could not fend for themselves. Instead of racing the children away, like His disciples, He called them to Himself, taught them and loved on them as a father would. To all my readers, I would plead with you today to seek God, read His Word, pray to Him, and be bold enough to love, talk and act like Him, even in a world that tends to be in total opposition to that. Don’t force these things upon your neighbor, but allow God to embed them into your hearts and upon your life. He wants to shine brightly through you, so that your neighbor will be convinced about the One who loves him/her in spite of their circumstances and their rotten attitudes. Be willing to let go, and let God have His way in you, my friend!

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You are more wonderful than all of creation! You loved me when I was totally unlovable by anyone. Why you even stood still under the barrage of whips, and You endured the cross, so that the world might know that we are loved more than life itself. Father, it seems like we are facing a world that is so evil and filled with hatred. I’m sure that this is no worse than what You faced, but Lord we need You. Every hour of every day we need You. Please fill us with Your power, so that we may not only overcome the temptations and trials of this world, but that we might shine with the glory of the Son, so that our dark world might be illuminated and convinced of Your love. While deserving nothing in return from this world, I pray that You may be glorified through us today in many wonderful ways. AMEN!

Is It I? or Is It You?

Monday, 2019-11-18

Bible Reference: John 13:18-21
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 18 “I don’t refer to all of you when I tell you these things, for I know the ones I’ve chosen—to fulfill the Scripture that says, ‘The one who shared supper with me treacherously betrays me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it happens, so that when the prophecy comes to pass you will be convinced that I AM. 20 “Listen to this timeless truth: whoever receives the messenger I send receives me, and the one who receives me receives the Father who sent me.” 21 Then Jesus was moved deeply in his spirit. Looking at his disciples, he announced, “I tell you the truth—one of you is about to betray me.

OBSERVATION: To consider this topic today, is like saying to a crowded room ‘Will the perfect one please stand up’! For who do you suppose has been ‘perfect’, or fully obedient in every way to the commands of Christ? Wouldn’t you be like the rest of the disciples should Jesus say to your group that one of you will betray Him. Let’s humble ourselves before God and consider this very challenge that the disciples faced. Is it I, Lord?

APPLICATION: We could very easily see a group of Christians get upset if someone walked into their meeting room and said that one of them will betray Jesus that day. In fact, they would probably shoo that critique out of their midst immediately, thinking that he meant to go next door where the non-Christians were hanging out. But how often do Christians take for granted the awesome love that Jesus extended to them?; how often do we think about the sacrifice Jesus made just for us at Calvary?; how often do we imitate Him in following His example to only say what the Master has ordered us to say?; and how often have we sold out to the world when it comes to representing Christ in action, deed or word? I know, the immediate response is often but. ‘we’re only human’. However, for what purpose have you given your heart to the Lord? Is it not to promise Jesus that you will leave these earthly desires and sin, so that you might live a holy, dedicated, life for Him? As you do this, are you not saying to the world, ‘follow me as I follow Christ’? So, when you choose to deliberately defy the commands of Christ, ignore the love of Christ, and totally destroy your witness to the unsaved, have you not betrayed the trust that Jesus placed in you when you promised Him that you would love and represent Him for as long as you live? Friends, I believe that if Jesus walked into a room filled with, who we might consider to be the most respected christian leaders, and He said that one of them would betray Him, I believe they all would stand in open guilt, knowing that it could be either one of them. Do we set out to be like that? No, I would never believe that. But let me remind us today that when we become unconcerned and uncommitted in our faith, we tend to start accepting more and more of the world back in. When that pollution reenters our lives, we are easily swayed into doing the former things of life. The hurtful thing about that, is that you are now subjecting the Holy Spirit to all of the filth, because you invited Him to come and live inside of you the day you gave your heart to the Lord. Do you suppose that the heart of Jesus was broken when He realized that one of His own disciples would betray Him? How do you suppose our risen Lord feels when He sees you and I betraying Him still today? Just living in this world, we will be tempted, but let me assure you today, based on the very Word of God, that greater is He that lives in you, greater is He that is available to you when you cry out to Him for help and guidance, than he that is in the world! For those who know Jesus personally, know that we serve an awesome God – one who is greater, stronger and always willing to empower us to overcome the struggles of this world! Know Him today my friend, and know peace everlasting!

PRAYER: Precious Lord, Your weak and sinful children need You each and every day. The temptations of this world are real, and they are often stronger than we can personally overcome. Please teach us to always lean on You for the strength to face the challenges of this world, and to live noble lives ordained by our perfect Savior. For those that may find this whole devotional unreal, I pray that You would please speak gently to them and melt their heart of stone so that they may see Jesus in all His glory. Lord, I know that Jesus is the answer to all of man’s challenges today. Oh that sinful man might see Him and accept Him as Lord and personal Savior, and may we commit ourselves fully to Your care, Your power and Your direction. We need You precious Lord, every hour of every day. AMEN!

Washing Ourselves Daily of The Effects of This World

Saturday, 2019-11-16

Bible Reference: John 13:6-8
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text:
Simon Peter (as Jesus approaches): Lord, are You going to wash my feet?
Jesus: Peter, you don’t realize what I am doing, but you will understand later.
Peter: You will not wash my feet, now or ever!
Jesus: If I don’t wash you, you will have nothing to do with Me.

OBSERVATION: Although foot washing is not widely practiced in today’s churches, every time I read this story I see humility symbolized in a very real way. However, Jesus not only teaches humility, but also the need for cleansing, especially as we are impacted daily by the filthy effects of Satan on his followers. Because we rub shoulders with these folk on a regular basis, we should consider how critical it is to plead with the Master daily for cleansing.

APPLICATION: My spiritual curiosity was peaked when I read verse 8, so I studied the meaning of these words deeper. I loved the way this is explained in the Matthew Henry Commentary and wanted to share it: All those, and those only who are spiritually washed by Christ, have a part in Christ. All whom Christ owns and saves, he justifies and sanctifies. Peter more than submits; he begs to be washed by Christ. Those who truly desire to be sanctified, desire to be sanctified throughout, to have the whole man, with all its parts and powers, made pure. The true believer is thoroughly washed when he receives Christ for his salvation. See then what ought to be the daily care of those who, through grace, are in a justified state, and that is, to wash their feet; to cleanse themselves from daily guilt; and to watch against everything defiling. This should make us the more cautious. From yesterday’s pardon, we should be strengthened against this day’s temptation. Within pain and filth, there is an opportunity to extend God’s kingdom through an expression of love, humility, and service. This simple act of washing feet is a metaphor for how the world looks through the lens of Jesus’ grace. He sees the people—the world He created—which He loves. He also sees the filthy corruption in the world that torments everyone. His mission is to cleanse those whom He loves from those horrors. This is His redemptive work with feet, families, disease, famine, and hearts. When Jesus sees disease, He sees the opportunity to heal. When He sees sin, He sees a chance to forgive and redeem. When He sees dirty feet, He sees a chance to wash them. Oh for wonderful grace of our Savior to cleanse ourselves daily. With sin in our lives, we are like Peter, guilty and embarrassed for Jesus to look inside and see our filth. With a regular cleansing from Jesus, we would feel honored and proud to be in the presence of our holy God, because we are happy to be living a holy life before Him. Christianity is not like some men say about their marriage – I told her at the altar that I loved her, and unless something changes, that word remains true without the need to repeat myself daily!! That is not true love, and it definitely does not define a true relationship with Jesus. He deserves our commitment to honor Him every day and to commune with Him daily to keep our relationship in good, fresh order. Dear friend, if you have not been to Jesus for cleansing yet today, may I encourage to keep your priority items first on your to-do list? He deserves our first, and our best!

PRAYER: Dear Lord, living in a world filled with the filth of Satan and his demons, it becomes increasingly challenging to allow my light to shine as a beacon for all that represents my loving Savior. Like Peter, I acknowledge that there is a strong need for me to be washed by You on a regular basis. You washed my sin away, when I asked you to, back on 1976. But Lord there is a daily influx of evil that fills my eyes, my mind and tempts me with evil thoughts. Please wash me Lord, so that my mind will remain fixed on You and that I may remain immersed in Your precious love, forgiveness and mercy. Lord, I plead also for my readers that they too may receive a word from You today, and that they may be drawn to You more closely than yesterday. Our wicked world needs You, dear Lord, and I believe it would really help if they could see You in every action by Your representatives her on earth. Use us Lord as Your loyal, honest and dedicated representatives before our family and friends who desperately need You. AMEN!