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Thursday, July 9, 2020

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.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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 To God Your Way

"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.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Daily Devotional July 6 - 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)

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 of 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.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Daily Devotional July 5 - Awake Thou That Sleepest

"But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:13-17

Of all the things that you desire, seek after, and are driven to get, is one of them an understanding of the will of God for your life? I hope so. No thing is to be compared with an understanding of how God operates and how we are to operate in this world. Right now is the most important day in your life. Are you wallowing through life like walking through a quagmire or are you seizing the day to honor God, find personal solace and benefit others?

You probably already know from experience that at times you were in a slumber, a state of non-awareness of the things of God or what was expected of you. Or maybe you are there now, without a clue of what God has in mind for you or how to apprehend what is yours in Christ. You are sleeping through life, not that concerned about the things of God and not really involved in the life of others and maybe not even engaging in your own pursuits. You are sleeping and need an awakening. Don't think "if God were real He would do it for you." That's the mind of one who is sleeping. God has done it all and you wouldn't be and couldn't even breath without His presence. God is real. God has created everything and placed His signature on it as well as sustaining what He has created and also established guidelines for living.

Lack of knowledge about God or anything for that matter does not constitute it's non-existence. But lack of knowledge about God or science or any subject of life, does make you impotent to operate within it's parameters and expect desired results.

"Awake thou that sleepest" and become alive in Christ, where the real power is; where life has meaning, not just for you but for all those who come into contact with you. You are God's gift to others and to the world at large. You have been instructed to awaken so that you can enjoy a full life with God and offer that same fullness to others. Denying God His place in your life makes you a fool. Get understanding and then operate in it.

Daily Devotional July 4 - Go And Possess It

"Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged."  Deuteronomy 1:21

I know that this was a specific promise for a specific people at a specific time, but I also know that this is how God works.
You think you are at the end of your rope
You've prayed and it seems to have landed on deaf ears
There are times when the discouragement of the moment overwhelms you and you say something in disgust or do something not in character
You feel like you have lost the battle
You are almost certain of the outcome
You aren't happy and you feel abandoned and even unloved and overlooked

If you haven't been there before, I hope you never get that discouraged, but discouragement and disappointment are common to everyone, Christians not excluded. You can be in love with the Lord and feel totally helpless and powerless in some circumstances. You can serve the Lord with vigor and have things go wrong. You can follow Jesus and have problems.

But God has not abandoned you, nor has God overlooked you. God has set something before you and it is good. God has pre-arranged it and it will become available to you in due time/God's perfect timing. You may have lost some battles, but God has made a way for you and will take you there, in this life. Go and possess it. You may be discouraged and disappointed, but what God has prepared for you and what God has prepared you for is to be embraced with expectation.

Listen carefully: Things will not turn out the same as you have made up in your mind. We are wrong a lot. Go and posses it, whatever it is in your life that God has already set in your way. You can't help but run into it, but if your spiritual eyes are on, you can actually envision it from afar and start making provisions for yourself to receive it.

Everybody gets down or discouraged, disappointed, confused and even depressed at times, but where do you look for answers? That is the key to success. Look to God and let him know how you feel about it. That's right, just let it out, God can take it. If you have been faking and acting like all is well when it isn't, just go to God and let it all out. God approves of those who are honest with Him. Now, wait to hear from God and see the mighty hand of the Almighty work on your behalf. It's not that God wasn't always working on your behalf, the difference is, that when you are straight with God, God opens your eyes and you can see Him at work.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Daily Devotional July 3 - Do You Keep Your Word?

"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.