Are You Ready?

I’m sure that I’m not alone in wanting the very best for my life, right up to, and including my death/burial, or even beyond the grave. But what are we willing to do now, in order to achieve the very best for our lives after this point in time? Perhaps an insurance policy, or perhaps the right careperson, or perhaps if we take care of the preacher and our nearest family and friends, then they will look out for us? Surely the rich young ruler was thinking about such things when he questioned Jesus. Join me as we meditate on the response from Jesus.

Thursday, 2019-05-16

Bible Reference: Mark 10:17; 21
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text:
The Question: 17 As he was starting out on a trip, a man came running to him and knelt down and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get to heaven?”
The Answer: 21 Jesus felt genuine love for this man as he looked at him. “You lack only one thing,” he told him; “go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor—and you shall have treasure in heaven—and come, follow me.”

OBSERVATION: I’m sure that I’m not alone in wanting the very best for my life, right up to, and including my death/burial, or even beyond the grave. But what are we willing to do now, in order to achieve the very best for our lives after this point in time? Perhaps an insurance policy, or perhaps the right careperson, or perhaps if we take care of the preacher and our nearest family and friends, then they will look out for us? Surely the rich young ruler was thinking about such things when he questioned Jesus. Join me as we meditate on the response from Jesus.

APPLICATION: To the poor man, who might struggle to find daily food for he and his family here on earth, the thought of one day being with the Creator of this Universe might seem appealing enough to sacrifice anything that he has today. To the rich man, who must consider waking up in a place where money or riches is of no value, or the thought of giving up all earthly goods to follow Jesus – where value comes in relationships, love, commitment to serve Jesus, imitate Jesus in all aspects of life, etc. that might appear virtually impossible to consider. But friends, the challenge of this might become clear as you consider all that the rich man does today to protect himself and his net worth here on earth, while the poor man simply lives ‘from hand to mouth’. I feel like Jesus is telling us, dear friends, that at the foot of the cross all things are equal. The poor man will come as a beggar looking for food (mercy, forgiveness and the love of the Savior), and the rich man will come just as his poor Brother – nothing of earthly value, but as a sinner, or beggar, looking for mercy, forgiveness and the love of the Savior. The other important thing to consider here is that no one else can make that trip to the cross for you. It is something that you alone must do for you alone. Have you made that step yet my friend? Have you humbled yourself, forgetting all about what this world might attribute to your success, and approached the cross of Christ asking for forgiveness of your sin and acceptance into the Kingdom of God? We have no assurance of tomorrow. Do it today while you have the time and mental capacity to do so. The benefits of that decision are eternal, and ‘out of this world’!

PRAYER: Dear Lord, we are mere sinners looking into the face of a perfect Savior. Please help us to understand that there is no value in any worldly possessions or actions that will help us right our relationship with our Maker, but to seek a relationship with the Savior sent to us for that purpose. You are an awesome God! Oh what a wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord! Thank You Heavenly Father! Please touch the hearts of my readers today, and draw them to the cross. AMEN!

Just Like A Child

Jesus always welcomed children, however the disciples were challenged in wanting to keep the way cleared for Jesus to perform miracles and meet the needs of the adults. But Jesus saw, and He knew, how receptive children were in believing, without needing to know the how, what, when and where of everything that takes place, so He used His interaction with the children to teach a lesson to the adults present. We will meditate on the applicability of this to even us today.

Wednesday, 2019-05-15

Bible Reference: Mark 10:13-16
Translation: The Message (MSG)

Bible Text: 13-16 The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

OBSERVATION: Jesus always welcomed children, however the disciples were challenged in wanting to keep the way cleared for Jesus to perform miracles and meet the needs of the adults. But Jesus saw, and He knew, how receptive children were in believing, without needing to know the how, what, when and where of everything that takes place, so He used His interaction with the children to teach a lesson to the adults present. We will meditate on the applicability of this to even us today.

APPLICATION: Parents and adults are constantly searching for ways to teach children more, and also ways that would help them become a better person as they mature. But how often do we ever stop to learn from these dear ones? Jesus saw the value in these precious gifts given to mankind, for He never had a need to deal with their rejection, or their hatred, or their pride. In fact, they felt very appreciative just to sit on Jesus’ lap and listen to Him teach, or whisper kind and loving words into their ears. It didn’t matter which knee they sat on, nor did it matter if they sat at His feet, as long as they were near to Him. Friends, can you see from just those few examples how many complications sin has added to our adult minds? For how many arguments will erupt over who got to sit on His lap this week, vs last week; who got to ask questions last week vs this week; whose parents did Jesus go over and speak to; who got more attention from Jesus; etc, etc. When I think of the words of Jesus in comparing the attitudes of children to those who enter the kingdom, I tend to think of us coming to Jesus in total surrender – no one pulling us back; no worries about what we will lose by following Christ; truly coming with outstretched arms and saying to Jesus ‘here I am Lord, take me and do what you would like to’; and seeking full repentance of our sin and willing to go in a totally new and different way – God’s way. Let me suggest that you take a close look at the ways of your child and see how forgiving they are, and how appreciative they are to just receive a hand up and be satisfied that they are with someone who cares and loves them. Don’t always demand your own way, but instead trust in God – for He cares for you! He loves you, in spite of all that you have done contrary to His commands, and He has a place prepared for you when He sees fit for you to leave this world and join Him in heaven. Know Him, today dear friend, and know the peace of God that surpasses all human understanding!

PRAYER: Precious Lord, thank You for loving even us. As Your child, we are blown away with the love expressed to us daily in so many ways. Thank You for the children that You place in our lives to teach us lessons about our approach to You and to heaven. Please help us to use the actions and attitudes of our children to help us see You in a different, and innocent light, while all the while correcting us in all the negative ways we have been affected by this sinful world. We are Your children dear Lord. Please help us to act like that, and love like that. AMEN!

Mother’s Life-Giving Teaching

As we head into Mother’s Day tomorrow, let us be careful to honor our mother, not just in appreciation for all they have done for us, but also in honor and obedience to what God instructed us in His Word. Notice that God was well aware that we would run into times where we might wonder if we could truly make it through this challenging life on earth. So He reminds us that the teaching we received from our mom was ‘life-giving’. Let’s try reflecting back on that godly teaching and ensure that we are applying it to our lives today!

Saturday, 2019-05-11

Bible Reference: Proverbs 6:20-23
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text:
20 My son, obey your father’s godly instruction
and follow your mother’s life-giving teaching.
21 Fill your heart with their advice
and let your life be shaped by what they’ve taught you.
22 Their wisdom will guide you wherever you go
and keep you from bringing harm to yourself.
Their instruction will whisper to you at every sunrise
and direct you through a brand-new day.
23 For truth is a bright beam of light
shining into every area of your life,
instructing and correcting you to discover the ways to godly living.

OBSERVATION: As we head into Mother’s Day tomorrow, let us be careful to honor our mother, not just in appreciation for all they have done for us, but also in honor and obedience to what God instructed us in His Word. Notice that God was well aware that we would run into times where we might wonder if we could truly make it through this challenging life on earth. So He reminds us that the teaching we received from our mom was ‘life-giving’. Let’s try reflecting back on that godly teaching and ensure that we are applying it to our lives today!

APPLICATION: We are certainly going through some very challenging times right now, with crimes that we never thought possible during our lifetime. The church is also challenged to continue its mission through the discouragement of decreasing congregations, especially with our younger generation. Yes, I realize that this is a part of prophecy where the people will lose heart, and have no desire to worship God. But I believe this is also leaving our parents disheartened and disillusioned about what might they have done wrong in bringing their children up. Church leaders are constantly seeking God on what might they do differently to keep their ‘sheep’ interested in God, in the Bible, and in church ministries. Law enforcement is seeking answers on what might they do to stem the trend of increased crime and evil in our cities. Friends, I am convinced that the answers are all ‘in the Book’ – the Bible. Let’s be reminded that nothing catches God by surprise. It’s just us that always seem surprised. In addition to the wonderful, and timeless truth in our focal verses today, I was reminded in another Scripture that I read today, that when the disciples questioned Jesus on why they were not capable of ousting the evil spirit from the young man brought to them, Jesus responded that the issue was something that really required prayer and fasting. I wonder how often we manage to get over our little aches and pains at our prayer meetings, and instead go to prayer meeting after much fasting and prayer over the concerns of our young people who have chosen to ignore the teachings and leadership of their parents. Is it not serious enough for us to take such a drastic course of action? Friends, we the church, must be serious about our Father’s business, and make it a choice to attend our organized Prayer Meetings. We must be willing to make prayer a priority in our life – every day, and not just on Sundays and Wednesdays (or whatever days might be calendared by your church). To reiterate – tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I believe that there is no greater gift you can give to your mother than to hear her say ‘well done son/daughter, it is obvious to me that you are following my many years of teachings and instruction.’

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You showed us in many ways that Your love is beyond our comprehension. One of the ways that You have shown us love is by placing Your favorite daughter in our life, as our mother. I thank you for my mother – her love, her teachings and her dedication to make me the best that I could be. Please touch the heart of every son or daughter who reads this devotional, and help everyone to reflect on the godly teachings of our mother, and may we draw closer to You in ways that would make her proud and thankful that she had a part in our life. AMEN!

I Stand In Awe Of Him

A medical doctor will be recognized for his/her extraordinary study of a particular disease, and should he find a cure for that disease, he would be highly recognized and respected, in some cases, throughout the entire world. We are reminded in the Scripture that our world was without form and substance at one point, yet the Almighty God who created you and me, also created everything in this world. Let’s just meditate on, and soak in, the awesome power of our God, the very One that we call ‘Father’!

Friday, 2019-05-10

Bible Reference: Psalm 33:6-9
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:
The Lord merely spoke,
    and the heavens were created.
He breathed the word,
    and all the stars were born.
He assigned the sea its boundaries
    and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.
Let the whole world fear the Lord,
    and let everyone stand in awe of him.
For when he spoke, the world began!
    It appeared at his command.

OBSERVATION: A medical doctor will be recognized for his/her extraordinary study of a particular disease, and should he find a cure for that disease, he would be highly recognized and respected, in some cases, throughout the entire world. We are reminded in the Scripture that our world was without form and substance at one point, yet the Almighty God who created you and me, also created everything in this world. Let’s just meditate on, and soak in, the awesome power of our God, the very One that we call ‘Father’!

APPLICATION: There are a number of hymns written about the awesome power of God. Many of these were written from personal experiences where God’s power became very real to the songwriter through a personal encounter. My prayer today is that each reader of this devotional will not just read the Scripture verses, and/or my humble commentary, but that they may catch a glimpse of the enormous power of our God, and experience the love, compassion and power of the Creator of this earth in a very personal way today. Perhaps on your way to work, or to the store, or on the hunting/fishing grounds, you might see more than just trees and animals, or possibly fish jumping from the waters. But that you may be awed by the beauty of the forest; the purpose of the animals; the variety of the fish in size, color and taste; the vastness of the ocean; and the purpose of the sun, rain, moon, etc. I pray that you may imagine a world without these things, and then be reminded of the only way that they came into existence and the great purpose for which God created them. Now, may I suggest that you re-read the focal verses again? Notice carefully how the Psalmist reminds us that God didn’t just create water and allow it to flow all over the wonderful lands that He created, but instead He formed reservoirs to retain that water, so that everything else could survive! He didn’t just create you and I, and place us on land that He created, without first providing fruit, fish, animals, water, etc. that would provide food, milk, and everything else that we need to flourish! Friends, I trust that you will catch a glimpse of my awesome God today, and that you may be refreshed as you are reminded of all that He meticulously provided for His children. Also be reminded that God has everything covered right up to, and including, our eternal destination after we leave this wonderful world. To understand more about this, and how you might be a part of this type of eternity, please read my Footnote, and take time to click on the included links. God loves you more than anything you could imagine. Allow this miracle-working God to be a part of your life both now, and throughout eternity.

PRAYER: I stand in awe of You mighty God! Thank You for allowing me to participate in, and bask in, Your awesome goodness here on earth! I am also especially grateful that You have me covered right through eternity also, and I thank You for drawing me to Yourself. Lord, You are good and Your mercies are with me always. Please humble the hearts of my readers today, so that they too may be drawn to You and the everlasting hope that only You can provide. Please forgive us Lord when we take Your many gifts, and Your precious blood for granted. Life is meaningless without You Lord, for we need You every hour of every day. AMEN!

Who Is Jesus?

Think about the television show ‘You are live on public television’ – where someone walks up to you and catches you in a surprised and unexpected moment, saying ‘you are on live public television!’ Now imagine if that same TV host walked up to you at the mall, stuck a microphone in your face and asked “So who is this Jesus that you try to ‘sell’ to others”? Do you have any idea how you might answer that – knowing that you are now standing in front of a million television viewers? We could read what Peter’s response to a similar question from Jesus was, now let us meditate on what we might respond.

Thursday, 2019-05-09

Bible Reference: Mark 8:27-29
Translation: The Message (MSG)

Bible Text: 27 Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he asked, “Who do the people say I am?” 28 “Some say ‘John the Baptizer,’” they said. “Others say ‘Elijah.’ Still others say ‘one of the prophets.’” 29 He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?” Peter gave the answer: “You are the Christ, the Messiah.”

OBSERVATION: Think about the television show ‘You are live on public television’ – where someone walks up to you and catches you in a surprised and unexpected moment, saying ‘you are on live public television!’ Now imagine if that same TV host walked up to you at the mall, stuck a microphone in your face and asked “So who is this Jesus that you try to ‘sell’ to others”? Do you have any idea how you might answer that – knowing that you are now standing in front of a million television viewers? We could read what Peter’s response to a similar question from Jesus was, now let us meditate on what we might respond.

APPLICATION: It is interesting to note how a story might sound when we tell it to our spouse/child, vs when we tell it to a group at work, vs when we tell it at church. We tend to be more guarded in what we say outside of the home; more general when in the presence of work associates; and we tend to use more church or Bible lingo when at church. But think for a moment with me today as we ponder what we might say in response to a question posed to us by One who knows our innermost thoughts; has seen our every action/deed; and who not only knows every intricate detail about us, but is also responsible for designing and putting us altogether. To respond to this question today, I would suggest that we not respond with what the Bible says about Jesus, or what our pastor said about Jesus, or what we heard our favorite Christian Brother or Sister say about Jesus, but to actually respond directly, personally, and intimately about who Jesus is to you. For those who are . married, think about how you would respond if asked a similar question about your spouse! How would you respond if asked about your parents? Friends, I believe that this question by Jesus really boils down to the kind of relationship that you have with Him. Your response changes from who ‘they’ say Jesus is, to who is my Jesus to me! As a husband, I love to hear my wife say who she feels like I am. Don’t you think that Jesus would consider it praiseworthy to hear us openly express our feelings about the value of who He truly is to us? I’ve always been taught that it is right to praise and adore Jesus for who He is to me, before asking Him for any needs that may exist in my life. I don’t know that I do enough of that, do you? Will you consider joining me in committing to take every opportunity to praise God for who He is to us, and to never be bashful in sharing with everyone who knows us, the awesome news about who Jesus is to us?

PRAYER: Lord, You are my Creator and therefore You know every little thing about me. Thank you for putting me together, placing me with a wonderful wife, blessing me with an awesome daughter, providing me the best employment opportunity for 32 years of my life, challenging me with ministry opportunities in and through my church, and deliberately placing friends in my life that love, care and pray for me on a regular basis. I am totally blessed, and I thank You from the very bottom of my heart. You are amazing, and beyond comprehension in Your ability to love sinners – even me. Thank You for claiming me as Your son! Please challenge my readers with an inward look at who Jesus is to them. No matter what they might read in this devotional, may they walk away today having shared with You about Your place in their heart. May this be evident to all that we come into contact with today, precious Lord. AMEN!

Stay Away From Things That God Hates

Wouldn’t you think that it would be everyone’s goal to please the very One that created us; the One who loves us so much that He sacrificed his very life for our salvation; the One who looks out for our very best each and every day? Let’s meditate on the thought of why God may have led Solomon to warn us about those things that He abhors. Surely we are not that evil, right?

Wednesday, 2019-05-08

Bible Reference: Proverbs 6:16-19
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 16 There are six evils God truly hates
and a seventh that is an abomination to him:
17 Putting others down while considering yourself superior,
spreading lies and rumors,
spilling the blood of the innocent,
18 plotting evil in your heart toward another,
gloating over doing what’s plainly wrong,
19 spouting lies in false testimony,
and stirring up strife between friends.
These are entirely despicable to God!

OBSERVATION: Wouldn’t you think that it would be everyone’s goal to please the very One that created us; the One who loves us so much that He sacrificed his very life for our salvation; the One who looks out for our very best each and every day? Let’s meditate on the thought of why God may have led Solomon to warn us about those things that He abhors. Surely we are not that evil, right?

APPLICATION: Although everything could be going really well for us, it is extremely challenging to think that anyone would despise the God of all creation. However, here in our earthly minds, how many would ever have dreamed that we would hear about a son murdering his own parents, or a daughter who would abandon her parents with no intent to visit them ever again? Or a parent that would throw their child to its death from a tall bridge? Friends, when sin (that thing that causes us to perform certain acts, and say things that are contrary to God’s initial design, and in contrast to His teachings) but when sin entered this world, it’s main purpose was to redirect our hearts and our minds away from God’s original design. Satan is it’s master designer, so his job is to redirect, steal, and misguide God’s children away from Him. Satan’s lies and deception causes us to think that there is a better way – one where we might be more powerful and better off at the end of the day. When brought into subjection by Satan, we often do the things that God abhors, that He teaches against and tries to steer us away from, for God cannot be lifted up, magnified, glorified or praised by folk under the influence of the evil one. Solomon, the author of Proverbs, tried to forewarn us about the things that God really despises, because he didn’t want us to find ourselves headed in a direction away from God, that may be extremely challenging for us to reverse. I realize that each one could read the Scripture verses for themselves, but I want to add a few comments to each of the seven things, based on my studies. Here are the things we are warned about by Solomon, that God hates: (1) Haughty, or proud eyes, belonging to one who lifts up self, at the expense of others. Jesus practiced humility to an extreme, and He wants us to do the same; (2) Being untruthful, for we will never gain the trust of our fellow man. Plus we tend to falsely accuse others through our lies; (3) Killing innocent people. I know, you’re not a murderer, right? But are you a participant or promoter of abortion. Or are you one to do everything in your power to promote ‘life’ as God has given it to us? (4) Plotting evil towards another – the Word explains that this is devising wicked schemes in our heart. Perhaps it is best to quickly seek help, as it could lead to disastrous actions; (5) Gloating over the evil you’ve done – instead of placing your head between your knees in sorrow, shame and regret over what you’ve done; (6) False Testimony – being an untrusted witness – in court, or if questioned by authorities; and (7) Stirring up strife between others – This might be friends, family or coworkers, where you have chosen to help divide, instead of bringing peace between the affected parties. Friends, no doubt you could see yourself in one or more of these seven things. Let me suggest that you speak with the God of this universe, and ask for His help, strength and guidance in overcoming the temptations of the evil one. Please join me in a desire to be more like Jesus and to follow His teachings and His will for our lives. Jesus went about doing good in every walk of life, and so should we, God being our helper!

PRAYER: Precious Lord Jesus, we, your children, have allowed the world to sway our minds and lead us into actions that You despise. As Your child, we are embarrassed and sorrowful, so we seek Your forgiveness today and ask for invaluable strength to overcome our weaknesses. Please guide us into all truth, and remind us often of the One to whom we belong, and help us to live boldly in the light of Your teachings and Your example, so that others may see and believe in the God we serve. Please speak firmly to the unsaved today, so that they may surrender their lives to You and become one with You. AMEN!

Stress Relief Process

There are so many things that stress us out, and everyone we talk to will have a solution on how we should deal with that stress. So from the Word of God, let us meditate today on what it teaches us about relieving ourselves of stresses in our life.

Saturday, 2019-05-04

Bible Reference: Psalm 32:1-5
Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: It is a great blessing when people are forgiven for the wrongs they have done, when their sins are erased. It is a great blessing when the Lord says they are not guilty, when they don’t try to hide their sins. Lord, I prayed to you again and again, but I did not talk about my sins. So I only became weaker and more miserable. Every day you made life harder for me. I became like a dry land in the hot summertime. Selah But then I decided to confess my sins to the Lord. I stopped hiding my guilt and told you about my sins. And you forgave them all! Selah

OBSERVATION: There are so many things that stress us out, and everyone we talk to will have a solution on how we should deal with that stress. So from the Word of God, let us meditate today on what it teaches us about relieving ourselves of stresses in our life.

APPLICATION: I’m certainly not trained to deal professionally with how one should handle the stress in their lives (that’s my legal disclosure!!!!). However, from the Word of God we can see what David said about his weaknesses, his challenges, his sin; his forgiveness and his happiness. Today David is challenging us to consider how easy it is to try and cover up our sin and pretend it doesn’t exist. But also how miserable that makes us when we go around pretending all is well. Friends, I believe that is the first inhibitor for stress – when we know something is going on in our lives, but we pretend to those around us that all is well. Unfortunately I believe that we unconsciously show our pretense to God also, for we follow our own desires, knowing that often these things are contrary to the Word of God, and to what He desires of us. But we go on about our day pretending that all is well. In my opinion this is the source of stress, for we are covering up something that we know should be done or said differently. But praise be to God, the Psalmist showed us that there was excellent results for him when he followed the normal pattern designed by God. God has set the pattern for His children so that they might be pleasing to Him in every way. However, in all of our wisdom, we somehow figured that we could go our own way and do our own thing, and God would be just as happy with us. But I believe that God placed an uneasiness in us, that some may call ‘stress’, because He wanted us to know when we were doing something that isn’t right. Let me encourage you to re-read the last part of our focal verses today, and I believe that like me, you too might notice the loud sigh of relief by David as he concluded that God heard his cry for forgiveness and He forgave him. I pray that our goal today might be that we live as an open book before God – nothing to be worried about, holding nothing back, exposing everything to God that bothers us in the very least. God knows us friend, and He knows what we may be covering up. But I believe that He longs to see us reconcile our faults before Him, and seek His forgiveness, so that we may be one with Him. Consider making this the day that you relieve yourself of the stress in your life. Seek God while He may be found. Expose your heart to Him, so that He might cleanse it and make you whole. Be one with your Maker my friend!

PRAYER: Precious Lord Jesus, we approach You as Your loving children that are broken and filled with stress over trying to do ‘life’ on our own. Please speak directly to our inner most person today and help us to acknowledge our shortcomings, and our inability to handle this complex world on our own while thinking that we could still please You. Without You we are broken without any hope of repair. Please humble our hearts so that we might surrender our all to You and give You full reign in every aspect of our being, so that You may be honored and praised by all who may encounter us. AMEN!

Here’s What Really Counts

We all want to do our best, look our best and portray our best before our peers, family and friends. But in our focal passage today, it is obvious that there are some other things that are more important to our Maker – things that would impact our eternity with Him. This sounds important enough for us to spend some time on today dear friends, stay with me on this…

Friday, 2019-05-03

Bible Reference: Mark 7:20-23
Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: 20 And Jesus said, “The things that make people wrong are the things that come from the inside. 21 All these bad things begin inside a person, in the mind: bad thoughts, sexual sins, stealing, murder, 22 adultery, greed, doing bad things to people, lying, doing things that are morally wrong, jealousy, insulting people, proud talking, and foolish living.23 These evil things come from inside a person. And these are the things that make people unacceptable to God.”

OBSERVATION: We all want to do our best, look our best and portray our best before our peers, family and friends. But in our focal passage today, it is obvious that there are some other things that are more important to our Maker – things that would impact our eternity with Him. This sounds important enough for us to spend some time on today dear friends, stay with me on this…

APPLICATION: Going to the gym has become a high priority for many. Going to weight management classes reaches high on the priority list for many. Attending inspirational conferences and spending time with positive people is a must. Yes, we have become a people who have really dedicated ourselves to being a good impression on the rest of the world, and that’s a very positive thing! However, whether we are intentionally aware, or not, every day our lives are also impacted for eternity. But let us never forget that there are two options for where one might spend eternity. If you are intentional about making heaven your eternal home, then you will intentionally seek after Christ, and therefore closely desire to obey His Word. If you do nothing, or couldn’t care less, then obviously you have decided that you are content with Hell and the damnation that comes from its leader – Satan. So having laid the groundwork, I would like for us to think about the focal verses today. Jesus outlined some things that emanate from us that are detriment to the cause of Christ. These are attitudes and actions that result from what has been fed into our lives – by television; movies; the friends we hang out with; the absence of the teachings of Jesus Christ; etc. It is obvious that no matter how good the things are that make us healthy and put our bodies in shape, the really important things in life – the things that please God, truly comes from the inner man – from the things that touched our heart, soul and mind. Friends, let me be the first to tell you that the source of the things that please God, actually come from Him and His teachings in the first place. So my challenge for you and I today is that we carefully go to the Source of life, and the Source of eternal life, for inspiration and spiritual growth in ways that please our Master. That’s what really counts in this life! Remember, only what’s done for Jesus will last, and as we learned from these verses today, only lives that are impacted by Jesus will go on to eternity with Him in glory. Where are you headed dear friend? Where will you spend eternity? Have you surrendered your life to Jesus, and find yourself learning from Him daily, so that you may reflect Him in every aspect of your life? That’s my desire, and I pray that each reader will do likewise.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You have made it clear in Your Word what You demand of each of Your children. You’ve shown us how our lives will reflect the One to whom we are running to. Please touch each one that will read this devotional today. May we all know without a doubt where we are headed and where we will spend eternity. May our lives reflect that in everything we do and say, through Your strength and by Your power oh Lord. AMEN!

Obey God’s Laws or Else….

God led the Israelites to a place (Canaan) where they would encounter another culture. In our focal verses today, God is warning the Israelites that they are not to get caught up in the culture of the land, but to stay true to the teachings and commands of the Lord. Isn’t it easy to see the comparison between the challenge that the Israelites faced and the one that we face every day? Yet I believe that God still wants His people to stay true to Him! But are we?

Wednesday, 2019-05-01

Bible Reference: Leviticus 18:29-30
Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: 29 Whoever does any of these terrible sins must be separated from their people! 30 Other people have done these terrible sins, but you must obey my laws. You must not do any of these terrible sins. Do not make yourself filthy with these terrible sins. I am the Lord your God.”

OBSERVATION: God led the Israelites to a place (Canaan) where they would encounter another culture. In our focal verses today, God is warning the Israelites that they are not to get caught up in the culture of the land, but to stay true to the teachings and commands of the Lord. Isn’t it easy to see the comparison between the challenge that the Israelites faced and the one that we face every day? Yet I believe that God still wants His people to stay true to Him! But are we?

APPLICATION: “When in Rome, you do as the Romans do”, isn’t that one of the popular sayings that we hear, and may have even spoken? But that’s not what God told the Israelites. He reminded them of their Master, and how important it was for them not to be discolored by the sin of those they would meet in their new land. He reminded them of whose they were. Fellow Christians, this is exactly the dilemma that we face each and every day. We enter into a world filled with the same sins mentioned in the preceding verses of Leviticus 18, and we decide whether we will go with the flow and be like the locals, or will we stand for God – no matter what environment we find ourselves in. Isn’t it challenging to think that if we go with the flow, we will fit right in and not even be noticed as being different in our inner man? Isn’t it even more challenging to consider that if we speak out against the wrong in our land, or practiced by our friends, that we will be looked at in contempt and perhaps even ridiculed for standing out like a ‘sore thumb’. We may be looked on as a ‘goody two shoe’ or as one thinking more proudly of self rather than anyone else. But does it matter more what others might say, or what God demands, and how He will respond in disappointment to His very own child speaking and/or acting just like the rest? Friends, I believe that the very last words were placed in verse 30 as a reminder for all of us when we face good times, or very challenging times, so that we might always consider that whatever we decide to do, we should always remember ‘For I am the Lord Your God’! That will either result in you praising God for His strength in helping you do, or say, the right thing under extremely challenging situations, or those words might impact our very soul in shame about the way we acted or spoke while knowing deep inside to whom we belong. Oh that we may keep a clear conscience by representing God well in every circumstance of life, with Him as our helper and guide.

PRAYER: Lord, You know how You created us to desire pleasing others in all that we say or do. It therefore becomes extremely challenging for us to speak out against the wrong that we see in our society, where many of the same sins mentioned in Leviticus are still being performed. Yet we are reminded that we are to represent You in all that we say and do, so that You may be glorified in our lives. Please help us to manage the complexities of this challenge so that we will always honor You, and that we may correct or speak out in ways that will allow us to witness to the unbeliever about the awesome God that we serve. Please help us to be a light of hope to the unsaved. and not a hammer that will destroy all hope of sharing Christ with them. We need You heavenly Father, even today we do! AMEN!

The Unfortunate Results of Unbelief

You may have heard it before, where an old saint may say that he, or she, will not go out to hear that person preach, because he’s just one of the locals who grew up with them. So to read our focal verses today and see that Jesus faced this same dilemma, really opens our minds to ponder why do we humans choose to take this stand. Jesus said that these choices lead to unbelief in the power of God, and can really prevent His work in our midst. Let’s open our hearts to God’s Word as we meditate some more on this.

Monday, 2019-04-29

Bible Reference:  Mark 6:2-6 
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: …the people were astonished at his wisdom and his miracles because he was just a local man like themselves. “He’s no better than we are,” they said. “He’s just a carpenter, Mary’s boy, and a brother of James and Joseph, Judas and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” And they were offended! Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his hometown and among his relatives and by his own family.” And because of their unbelief he couldn’t do any mighty miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he could hardly accept the fact that they wouldn’t believe in him. Then he went out among the villages, teaching.

OBSERVATION: You may have heard it before, where an old saint may say that he, or she, will not go out to hear that person preach, because he’s just one of the locals who grew up with them. So to read our focal verses today and see that Jesus faced this same dilemma, really opens our minds to ponder why do we humans choose to take this stand. Jesus said that these choices lead to unbelief in the power of God, and can really prevent His work in our midst. Let’s open our hearts to God’s Word as we meditate some more on this.

APPLICATION: From personal experience, I can tell you that it is very natural for us to look at the faults in others and judge them accordingly, while overlooking the plank in our own eye – the shortcomings of our own life. I recall a group meeting of church workers, and one gentleman suggested that a Brother was falling short of his responsibilities. However, the pastor commented that the complainant may be out of order, because there was lots of ministry being done by the person behind the scenes, and unannounced to the rest of the workers. Friends, it is times like that when we are made to understand that keeping ourselves straight, and in alignment with the commands of Jesus, is a fulltime job, that leaves no time for us to judge another! Similarly, when a teacher or preacher is presented to us, our responsibility is to pray that God would use them as His messenger to speak His words that we need in our lives. Friends, that’s a miraculous work of God, when you consider the many temptations, trials and challenges that each of us face daily here on this old sinful earth. It is so easy for us to be distracted by the known, or assumed sin/faults of the person standing before us, rather than the miraculous working God who is using that earthen vessel to deliver His message to us. But how does that affect, or impact us? Notice in verse 5 that the Word of God says that because of unbelief, God is unwilling to release His work, and work miracles in our midst. So when we sin by tearing down the messenger, what blessings do you assume that we are blocking? Is it not time for God’s children to act as His children and to seek His face while He may be found. Listen closely to the message that He has entrusted to His messenger to deliver to us, so that His blessings and miracles may flow freely, and uninterrupted by our selfishness and sinfulness? Friends, let us make every effort to enhance the work of the Lord in our own life, and that of our churches, instead of being a stumbling block. May God be glorified, even if we might be humbled in the effort.

PRAYER: Precious Lord Jesus, I don’t know that a whole lot has changed from the time that You were provoked to leave the people of Nazareth and move on to other towns that were ready to listen to Your word, and receive Your blessings. We desperately need You dear Lord, please humble us to set aside our personal preferences and our warped ideals, so that our ears may be primed to listen to Your Word. May our lives be opened and ready to obey Your teachings. We need You and we need to be open to Your Word. Please help us to do just that today and every day, so that You might be glorified in our lives. AMEN!