Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Daily Devotional June 27 - The Eternal Wellspring

"Jesus answered and said unto her (the woman at the well), whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:13-14

Everlasting life, what an incredible idea. God is so gracious with us. Think about it: All that God has done to bring into existence all things and then to put it all in motion and then to sustain it, all while listening to and watching us whine and complain about it and literally billions of people even deny that God exists at all. That's the difference in God and man. We wouldn't be so gracious with all those who denied us if we were the creator, but God loves us so much and has mercy without end.

The internal well that springs up from within us is supplied by the Holy Spirit; a perpetual, endless supply of the spirit that testifies of God in us. It's like if you were in a desert place and there were men and women around you, parched and dreary from the heat and you had just taken a big drink of ice cold spring water and you were refreshed. The others would look at you and wonder how you could possibly be refreshed and they so parched. That's what you should look like to a lost and dying world.

Jesus' story at the well is our story also. You can lead people to the well and tell them about the endless supply of God's love and mercy and compassion and forgiveness. You can offer them this free gift. When others look at you are they seeing a refreshed soul in a desert place? Does your presence make them wonder where you get it?

Daily Devotional June 26 - The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand

"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:17

We tend to think of Jesus providing all the pretty, positive information that lifts us up and Jesus does, but Jesus also speaks to us about difficult decisions and hard to swallow truths. You don't have to be a Bible scholar to follow the simple requests/commands of Jesus. At some point in life and then again and again you need to repent, i. e., turn from the direction you are/were in (the direction of following after this world's system) and head the other way (toward a life filled with godliness and holiness.) Jesus doesn't let the disciples carry the hard messages while He carries the easy to assimilate messages. Jesus knows that for you to grow in grace, you will have to find new direction and a new path and stay on it. He also knows, that, if for whatever reason you drift from that path, in order for you to get back on the right path, it will take a reason or a word or a consequence for you to make the change. Jesus supplies that word, repent.

I know the though of repenting isn't treated with the utmost of respect in our generation. If you listen to enough diversified/alternate teaching you could almost fall into the trap of believing there are other ways of reconciliation to God. If you are looking for a loophole so that you can continue on the path that keeps you from a peaceful and approved relationship with God, you will have to make it up in your mind, because it doesn't exist. God already has in place every perfect response necessary for you to keep in line with the will of God for your life. It's real simple and it has always been real simple and it will always be real simple. Repent.

Daily Devotional June 25 - Turn And Don't Fight

"Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you." James 4:7, 8a

Two simple rules. Ever since I first read these words I have been drawn back to them to put them to use. I remember when I did not know this Word, I didn't have authority in it. I had some battle with satan and his emissaries and they didn't go well. In my youth I thought you were supposed to stand up against the devil, like a one on one boxing match, but when I would do that I would get beaten, sometimes severely. Then I read this verse and a light came on and I started to do battle with the enemy according to the scriptures and everything changed.

No more would I stand strong and rigid against the enemy when he would come lurking in my life. I would recognize the enemy and flee from His presence. It worked and it worked every time. Now when the enemy seeks territory, I simply put my hand up and say, "No way, you have no place here and there is nothing here for you to claim," I turn around and flee his presence. He turns and goes away. It's not magic, it's the power of the Word of God actualized by following God's precepts.

The second part of these verses is also simple and easily activated. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.
God calls you
You answer by inviting God into your life
God comes into you life in the person of the Holy Spirit to dwell in you.
God calls you out of some things and into other things.
As you are listening, because you have free will, you can follow or not.
If you choose to follow, then you invite God into your situation through prayer.
God intervenes. God does the part that you cannot do.
You benefit, receive the blessings.

The reason God wants you to draw nigh to Him is because you have free will and you must invite God, draw nigh, initiate the action. When you draw nigh to God, God will always reciprocate. I do want to mention that most Christians today think that drawing nigh to God is calling out to God when your ship is full of water or when you have completely messed things up on your own and you need bailed out. Don't get me wrong, God will be there for you in those times as well, but drawing nigh to God serves you best if you do it when all is well, and build a relationship. It not as likely that you will be frantically begging God to get you out of this or that situation if you have been including God in your decision making.

Two lessons:
Flee from the devil, don't stand and fight
Draw near to God day and night

Daily Devotional June 24 - The Fool Defined

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God..." Psalm 53:1a

This is the beginning of a Psalm of David. When reading the Psalms I think it would be fair to say that everyone would unanimously agree that the writers of the Psalms were sold out to their belief. You can just tell by the language that they use that they really believe what they are saying. David knew God by faith. His faith was such that he could and would call on God in many occasions to work with him on co-creating situations with a favorable end. David had already found out that God was real and that one minute in the presence of God is better than a lifetime of various mortal pleasures without.

When David says, "The fool said in his heart, There is no God," he was singing his heart out and making it clear that to even think there is no God shows how utterly ridiculous and ignorant some people are. Don't blame God. God has made it abundantly clear of His existence, through faith and through the things He created and sustains even today. You have to turn a blind eye to God to make the statement that there is no God. Quit worrying about other people with other faiths, that there must be something to their religion; after all God wouldn't let so many people just flounder in unbelief. The Bible makes it clear that all creation points to God and that it is God's will that all mankind are saved, but God also created in us free will; free will to not believe His record and free will to close our faith eyes. Many people exercise that free will to deny God. Focus on your own faith and let God permeate your being the way He permeated Davids.

It amazes me that we are so high minded to think that God isn't fair, because He made it so hard to believe the truth and those of other major world religions haven't been given a fair shake. It is presumptuous to think this way and not true at all. God calls every person at every age, all nationalities and all levels of intellect. The Resistance of man to recognize God is pompous pride and blind ignorance. It's your job to testify of what God has accomplished in your life, not to try to figure out why God did it this way or that way.

I've learned to be thankful for the way God designed it all. I've seen what man can do when man is in charge: Hate, prejudice, terrorism, lies, forced religion, false premises, unnatural affections; the list is so long and none of it is good.

Daily Devotional June 23 - How Bright Is Your Light?

"No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light."  Luke 11:33

The light that you have is of great importance. Whether you are a new Christian or you have been serving the Lord for decades, the light that emanates out from you represents the light within you. There are a few implications I would like to draw from this verse:
1 This is affirmative for all men and women. No one is exempt. Jesus says, "No man,..."

2 If you have the light of the Lord, i. e., you have been born again, you have the light of God within you. Jesus says we have the light of life, (John 8:12).

3 Those who have the light of life follow Jesus and they want the world to know of their relationship. They are exposed. They are vulnerable because the light that emanates from them is tangible and they cannot hide it. They don't want to hide it and they don't hide it. It is not secret. They let their light shine at home, at work, and with all friends.

4 This light was not meant to be put under a bushel, i. e., disguised as some sister religion or in cahoot's with other religious orders. This light is exposed as true Christianity and not to be confused with other religions where there might be a hidden agenda.

5 Your light is to be revealed for all to see. We are like an attractive beautiful light that draws others to the light so that they too can receive the light that is within us.

If you really believed that Jesus was the only way, wouldn't you take another look at just how important it is for your faith to be revealed to others?

Daily Devotional June 22 - Give Me A Good Reason

"And as Jesus passes forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow Me. And he arose, and followed him."  matthew 9:9

When Jesus walked by where you were living and saw you doing whatever you were doing and asked you to follow Him, what did you do? Not what did you say. What did you do? Because Matthew and many others in scripture did something at the call from Jesus, I believe that we too must do something when Jesus calls. It's part of our make-up. God made us and God breathed into us life. God made us and then God saves us from our sins. In that process, Go put in us free will and within that free will is the natural/supernatural ability to either accept or reject the call from God, the call from Jesus to follow Him.

I want to make the clarification that to follow Jesus is not the same as giving Him lip service. Too many of our society think they really have it going on because they are a member in good standing in a denomination. By the way, being in good standing in a denomination is a very good thing and rightly to be admired. What I am taking about is, within your denomination are you personally involved with a day to day relationship with Jesus where Jesus is real, you hear His voice and you attempt in your frailty to do what you are asked. That's the difference in following Him and just saying you will do something.

Anybody can say they are going to do something, but only those who accept the call and move forward are actually following. Let me ask you, if Jesus is alive and calling and saving and leading and blessing, what would be a good reason not to follow Him? I can't think of any reason at all.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Daily Devotional June 21 - Do You Like Instruction?

"Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish."  Proverbs 12:1

It's just an observation, but I do believe that today, people avoid instruction or they are adversely affected when the idea arises. Why is that. The best minds of all times were men and women who were instructed; by universities, colleges, institutes, seminaries, even living in natural surroundings and of course the school of hard knocks. But whether they were educated by man or nature, the beset minds seek out being instructed and absorb all they can to better themselves and the society at large.

The Bible instructs us about life in general, the sciences, nature and spirit. In this verse above the Bible is instructing us as to how things will go with you depending on your perspective. If you love instruction, you love knowledge and we know that knowledge increasing our chances of success, (of any kind). But he that hates to be told what to do or that what they did was not right or good, they become brutish, harsh, depressed, unrestrained, addicted.

Why even mention this? It's important that those of you that have an influence on others make an effort to assuage those who fit the "hateth reproof" category to start listening and taking advice. Over the last fifty years each generation has lost some of its will to reach to the top and bring others with them. It seems as if those who are reaching to the top are just wanting to elevate themselves and that is not the godly way.

Little by little we need to take back lost territory and find a new heart for instruction and be instructed and then get on with life mastering it; mastering the sciences, mastering our lifestyle, mastering our households, mastering our business practices, mastering the art of friendship, mastering the art of raising children with excellence, mastering our time. There's nothing wrong with working hard to achieve excellence. Is that what you are doing?