Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Daily Devotional July 10 - You've Been Invited. What Say Ye?

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink." John 7:37

This is a plea from Jesus to give something to you that you cannot get unless you receive it by invitation. This plea was after the great celebration of the feast of tabernacles, eight days or celebration where food, wine was plentiful and a rather good time was had by all. At the end of the part, when everyone had been celebrating for eight days, Jesus offers something to drink for all those whose thirst was not quenched.

I. e., when you have run the gamut of trying to be filled with what the world offers and you have tried it out for quite a while, you will still be parched and thirsty for something more fulfilling and long lasting. Even if you filled up on this world's provisions, it would not be enough to satisfy your soul. Jesus offers what you cannot get by whipping out your credit card. If after you have partied down and filled yourself with this world's wares and you still feel like something is missing, Jesus offers you something to quench your thirst. Not only does what Jesus offer quench your thirst, it lasts and lasts.

You've been invited. What say ye?

Daily Devotional July 9 - Are You A Christian?

""For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

The Bible is clear about this. If you don't believe the preaching of the cross, what is your guarantee that you are on the right track? Have you believed or contrived another way to God? There isn't one and there will never be one. Many American unbelievers have made up their own version of the gospel of Jesus Christ and there are many from other countries that have varying philosophies that include Jesus as a good man or do not include Jesus at all. But the preaching and believing of the cross is the power of God. There is no spiritual power under the authority of God, given to those who have not accepted His Son. ("He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18)

Note: I know that this concept really irks the wishy-washy Christian; you know, the ones that like it when everything goes their way; they go to church but have high expectations that it will start and finish according to a prescribed, very short and unassuming timeline and that the pastor will reserve himself/herself to speak only of a very narrow and fully denominational, un-offensive message. As a matter of fact this group is insulted if they are told anything that they don't already know. They don't like new light peering in to their home-grown version of Christianity. They are all-inclusive and consider Christianity as just one of ,many paths to God. This group doesn't need to read the Bible, because the Bible has become archaic; good for denomination building only, but never to enhance a personal and vibrant relationship with Jesus.   

What really gets me is that many believers today, Christians that have already have been saved, have a propensity to be casual, indifferent and even apathetic concerning this issue. Many modern Christians seem to have no real roots that cause them to look back and recognize where they were and how gracious God has been in setting them free. There is a tendency in our society to accept any philosophy as valid as long as someone before them believed it, like in the case of Buddhism, and Islam. There is no doubt that we should and must be respectful with those of other faiths and wholly understanding of their position, but never confirming the validity of their beliefs or standing in agreement with them concerning their beliefs, as if these alternate philosophies were sister religions to Christianity, or that there must be some validity to their belief in another god, simply because they believe it.

'Recognition of' and 'respect for' everyone of another faith is the right thing to do. But acknowledgement of the premise that "All paths lead to God" is not the right thing to do.

I've heard the argument that "it just isn't any of our business what others believe. I'll believe what I want to and you believe what you want to." That's fine, but in no way and at no time should a Christian be in agreement or act like they are in agreement with those who deny Jesus.

If you aren't sure about the cross and you are not sure if Jesus died for your sins and if you aren't sure that Jesus is the only way to God, so be it. But don't call yourself a Christian. Anybody can believe any philosophy, but the power of God rests in the hands of those who have placed their faith and allegiance to Jesus.

Daily Devotional July 8 - Quit throwing Fellow Christians Under The Bus

"And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law (circumcision), then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."  Luke 2:25-32

The Holy Spirit did and still does move among God's servants and communicate with them. You should be careful before you condemn those who claim to have a word from the Lord. You should also be careful before you adhere to anyone's claim. God does speak to His people in the voice of the indwelling Holy Spirit. God does give a word and many prophesies are for real.

Discernment is required. But the way some people of certain denominations discern is to deny. Discernment is the separating of the real from the false by inspecting the fruit. Blanket denial is not discernment. Just as blanket acceptance is for the silly laden. Here's the key. First, you must have the Holy Spirit living within you in order to hear the voice of God. If you have been born again you have been endowed with the ability to hear and obey the voice of God. Whether you do or not is up to you, but you have been empowered, your spirit has been activated and you can hear God and you can follow God and you can obey God and you can overcome anything, you can.

Once you have the indwelling Holy Spirit, you are much more receptive to others who are following Christ, those whom are using their relationship with God to benefit those around them. Sometimes God speaks through others to reach you. Sometimes God speaks to you for others. Sometimes God speaks to you for you, but God speaks.

Your enemy speaks too, and nothing pleases your enemy more than a good dose of confusion. If your enemy can cause you to doubt, he can go about his way while you are wallowing in the mire of indecision. Doubt negates the efficacy of Holy information taking root.

All that being said: Don't be afraid to hear from those who may have a different gift than you or that might have a different word than you have heard; test the spirits to see if they are from God. Check out the fruit of the pastor, prophet, minister, teacher, evangelist, apostle, but don't throw them under the bus without proper identification. There's too much of that going around and God is not pleased with His people bashing His people without cause. I have found that most people that don't believe that so and so is for real, don't know a thing about so and so except what they heard from someone who doesn't know a thing about so and so. That's not the honorable way to discern.

Daily Devotional July 7 - giving back

"And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul."  2 Samuel 22:1

You can read the song which is 2 Samuel 2-51

The Lord speaks to us and we speak to the Lord. But more than that, I think this verse shows that there are many ways you can give back to the Lord. Singing was David's talent, but what about art or carpentry and through being a physician or a nurse or a computer programmer or a film maker? Giving your talent to the Lord is a great way to give back and to come into a closer relationship with God. Doing something you do anyway, but doing it with excellence and in direct acknowledgement of what God has done for you.

You can't have been a Christian very long and worked at a trade and not seen the Lord at work on your behalf. If you follow your career carefully and look back, you can easily see the hand of the Lord at every turn. It's not that you always made the right decision or that you always enjoyed a positive outcome, but if you look, you can see the hand of God, invested in you, guiding you and sometimes carrying you. This being said, look unto heaven and give of yourself to God. Find a way to do something for the Lord with your talent. Think hard and find a way. Whatever you do will bless the Lord and benefit others.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Daily Devotional July 6 - Quit Whining

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings:" Philippians 2:12-14

It's just plain good advice. If you made a promise to someone, keep it. If you owe someone money, pay it. If you can't keep up with your bills, call and make arrangements, don't just ignore it. If you said you are going to go to the park with the kids, go. Keep your word. God is in you and directing you to do the right thing. Do it. Quit riding the fence trying to juggle what you know is right with your current situation. There might not be a way to have the best of both worlds, but during the process of living and at the end, what will really matter is what you know to do that is right.

If you told your pastor that you aren't living with someone, then don't. If you have a wife, be faithful. If you don't like your current situation, pray about it; hear from God and then start making decisions.

Do the right thing and keep your mouth shut about it. Quit whining. Get on with it. If it's not working out just right for you, but you know you are doing the right thing, do it. You don't have to make a profit in everything. If you said you are going to go do something for someone, do it. Let your mouth speak out not just your intent, but what the will of God is concerning you. Speak it and do it. Quit arguing about it. Pick up the slack and be the bigger person. If God is in you what is your excuse for not doing the right thing? What does it mean to you to be saved from your sins and sanctified in your lifestyle?

What I have found is that most of the people that are not committed to God are the same ones living a double life. They want God, but they serve the world. It's cute for a season, but it gets old for those around you and eventually for yourself. Nip it in the bud and let God have His way with you for a season. You will be pleasantly surprised. His will for you is perfect and will produce favorable results, every time."

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Daily Devotional April 17 - Filled With The Spirit

""And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." Ephesians 5:18-19

In the minds of men and women, good men and women there are too many interpretations of the scriptures. Ask a Baptist about being filled with the Spirit and you get a different answer than if you ask someone from a Pentecostal church. Ask a Catholic and you will find a much different view of the Spirit of God than if you ask a modern Non-denominational member. Even inside of any given church body you might find more than one version of what it means to be filled with the Spirit.

I'm not taking sides here, nor did I mention any of these denominations to set them apart as being more wrong or more right than any other. The point is that there are huge differences in philosophy among the churches. It is my point to clear something up about being filled with the Spirit.

The Bible speaks clearly and carefully lays out truths so that you can not only believe it but grasp it also. The Bible is the Word of God and therefore it will be profound, but God knowing our limitations has made it all understandable. The Bible defines the Bible. Truth upon truth is laid out for those who are seeking to be led by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is the most beautiful thing in all creation. This experience was not meant to be used as a tool for any church to separate one group from another. I've heard one person say to another that they have not been born again if they do not do this or do that. Foolish men and women and church leaders have built rules and regulations around this experience that are not in the Bible. That sounds a little like in the days when Jesus was visiting Jerusalem and met up with the religious folk of the times. I've heard men yell at others as if they were infidels simply because they did not posses a particular gift of the Holy Spirit.

My point is that being filled with the Holy Spirit is, was and will always be a beautiful thing.
It will not be beat into you by those who think they are better than you.
It will not come to you in the form of anything that others say should happen, but you don't sense in your heart.
Being filled with the Spirit of God is gentle and wonderful and gracious.
Being filled with the Spirit of God makes you humble and kind, wise and forgiving, consoling and gentle, patient and loving.
Being filled with the Spirit of God is an inner work that God does to the faithful. It is best seen in the inner man and not by outward signs. It is a work of God that transcends our religious or denominational bents. God chooses the man, woman, teen or child that will represent Him.
Being filled with the Spirit of God is not a game for leaders to play as if they could get a written tally and if everyone in their church possessed a certain gift of the spirit they would be elevated above others.
If anything you will find those who have been filled with the Spirit, speaking to themselves "in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in (their/your) heart to the Lord."

Daily Devotional April 16 - Personal Therapy

""Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." 1 Timothy 6:17

The key here is that God gives to all liberally and God has designed us to enjoy life. There are many ways that you could advance your joy meter.  Be friendly to other people. You might find out that not everyone is like those who have misused you or mistreated you.

Take a walk every day (if you can) and just enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you. That's what it was made for.

Sit back in total silence and let God speak to you. There is no enjoyment quite like hearing the voice of God. (Wait, don't say you can't hear the voice of God. You might have to get away from all the other voices around you for a moment, like; TV, radio, your spouse, the Internet, your ipod or blackberry, but you can hear the voice of God)

Create a hobby or re-start where you left off in that hobby you really enjoyed. Even if time has gotten in the way and years have passed, most of the time you can pick up where you left off. If not, it's time to begin anew.

Give something to someone. That's right, just start giving things away (and I don't mean ripped up and torn things or old junk that barely works; that's not giving) give something of value to someone; maybe a grandson or granddaughter, maybe give something to someone you have never met. Last week I met a young black man at the grocery store. He is a business major at the local college. I sensed that he was a reading young man and he is. I brought him three of my favorite books 2 hardbacks and one soft cover, all in great shape. These were books I had been planning to keep in my collection, but God was tugging on my heart and I gave them away.

Plan a scheduled event for yourself. Do something you really want to do for yourself. I know money is tight, but you can't always use that as an excuse. Maybe you will have to work hard, plan and save, but to just keep making excuses why you can't do it is not good for your soul. Maybe you have worked all your life and you are on a fixed income and it just looks impossible. Maybe it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Pray about it and see the mighty hand of God minister to your personal needs and desires. Of course God wants you to be happy and enjoy life. Who has been telling you differently? They are mistaken. It is not selfish to do something for yourself.

It amazes me at how mixed up Christians are today. I blame the watered down preaching coming from men and women who haven't seen the fun-side of God. So many preachers have been taught by stiff-necked, callous, letter of the law professors that they haven't taken time to build a relationship with God and get to know more of God's perfection, which includes: laughter, joy, peace, enjoyment, fulfillment, enlightenment, happiness, pleasure and fulfillment of desire.

God richly gave us all things to enjoy. Let's get on with it."