Thursday, July 31, 2014

Daily Devotional July 31 - Truth

"Then saith Pilate unto Him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivereth me unto thee hath the greater sin." John 19:10-11

The men and women in power (government leadership) have a special duty to uphold the laws and to protect the people against those who would mistreat them or wrongfully use them and this is a great responsibility given to them by God. But that doesn't mean that they will provide justice, nor does it mean that they will make wise decisions. You can be given a great responsibility by God and misuse it or mishandle it. God instituted the position of leadership but mankind wields it. The case is here that Pilate made a wrong decision, but those who brought Jesus to trial had the greater sin, because they deceived Pilate.

I wish that our politicians today would ask themselves how they got to where they are at and bowed the knee to God for such a high and important responsibility. The same thing is happening today, special groups are soliciting for judgement to benefit their cause and at the peril of someone else. It seems like there is always someone behind the scenes pulling the strings to the marionette politicians. I also acknowledge that many politicians and those in powerful positions love the Lord and follow their conscience and make wise decisions.

Jesus was in no way letting Pilate off the hook for his crime of arrogance, ignorance and blatant disregard for the life of a Jew. He was simply pointing out that those who brought him there were more responsible than Pilate because they brought Jesus under false pretense. I think this is a good lesson for us as well. We must be careful to gather the facts before we throw someone under the bus. It is a greater sin to falsely accuse someone than for the judge to sentence them for something that they did not do.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Daily Devotional July 30 - Operate In The Truth You Already Know

"Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in present truth." 2 Peter 1:12

As you already know from experience, some truths are eternal and stay the same throughout all generations and some truths which seem to be true at the time are found to be erroneous in due time. Think of it this way. If you never changed out what you previously believed for what you believe today, you would still have the mind of a child. We do change out what we thought was true to what we know is true today. And that is the message in this verse. Peter, a Jew, was talking to Jews and Gentiles. He himself had to change what he thought was true before Jesus to everything he learned and is continuing to learn after he met Jesus. This was true of all the Apostles and it is true for you also.

Peter wanted to edify those whom he was speaking to by reminding them of the new found truths that were introduced by Jesus, even though he knew that most of the people he was writing to knew what he was talking about, but he also wanted to remind them that non-eternal truths change and/or what we once thought was a truth may not have been a truth at all and we need to operate in present truth.

If you try to fight today's battles with yesterday's armor, you will not be successful. Every time you read your Bible it is likely that you will learn something that when added to the truths that have already been confirmed, advance your knowledge and understanding of God's economy.

God is pouring out His Spirit on mankind and sending a message 24/7 to all who will hear His voice. If you are listening to God, you will be receiving truth that can and will alter your current understanding of life. That is present truth. Operating in present truth means that if you are practicing what you already know to be the truth (Philippians 3:16), you are operating in the will of God.

The consequences of not operating in present truth is revealed in churches that are living in the past, no growth, no life, no joy and no power.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Daily Devotional July 28 - The Perfecting Of The Saints

"How long, LORD? Wilt Thou hide Thyself forever? Shall Thy wrath burn like fire? Psalm 89:46

If you have ever had any real trouble, or real pain, calamity or serious altercation, you've felt what it is like to think the Lord has abandoned you or that God doesn't exist at all. When the bottom fell out at your business you probably shouted, where are you Lord? Or when you had to go through a painful experience, surely you cried out to the Lord and asked, why me? Tragedy may have struck a family member and doubt swirled through your head and lodged in your heart. The person you trusted the most did the most harm to you and believes a lie and you look to heaven and say, How can you let this happen? Where are you God? I thought you protected your people? How can you let this injustice take place? "Wilt Thou hide Thyself forever?"

I don't know you and most people deny having ever doubted God or ever questioning God's wisdom. But part of the human frailty is to go through times of doubt and to question God. It is not blasphemy to question God? God doesn't look down on you for having doubted that God was in the situation. God remembers that you were made of dust. God has not abandoned you, nor has God ever left your side. The troubles, sickness, calamity or personal attack that you went through or are currently going through was not from God, but neither is it true that God left you to fall on your own. It is not true that God didn't care or that somehow you just aren't worth saving from the situation. God has never let you hang out on a string to test your meddle, nor have you been tempted or tested by God to see if you would break.
All of your troubles or pain, suffering or loss is from the fall of man. There are three sources that contribute to life's woes:
1 The fall of man where sin was passed on from generation to generation;
2 from satan, your enemy who is out to destroy you;
3 from your own personal choices, when you went against what you knew was right in your heart.

God was there. God never let you alone. God only brings good things to His people.

If you are still in the middle of trouble, sickness, pain of suffering, God is in the middle with you. God loves you and God is doing what is necessary to bring it to an end. But there is more to the whole picture. The real reason David cried out to God and the real reason that you have felt abandoned or unprotected is due to the frailty of your faith. Pray that God will give your eyes faith to see it through. You may never know the why's of it all, but you must, by faith, understand that if you are in it, God is in it with you and God will take you through it. It is part of the perfecting of the saints.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

aily Devotional July 27 - Are You A Lazy Christian?

"And the Father Himself, which hath sent Me, hath borne witness of Me. Ye (The Jews Jesus was speaking to) have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape. And ye have not His word abiding in you: for whom He hath sent, Him ye believed not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life. I receive not honor from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me not: if another come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not His writings, how shall ye believe my words?" John 5:37-47

Jesus makes it clear on more than one occasion that if you believe in the Father, you will believe in the Son. The reason that you will believe in the Son is that the Father testifies of the Son and His word is sure. If you believe the Old Testament scriptures then you surely will believe in the Son because Jesus says it is so. You do not have the Father if you do not have the Son, because God the Father spoke it and it is so. These Jews thought they believed in the Father, because they believed in the religious system that was based around the Father, but Jesus was speaking to their heart, not their mental ascent. Jesus could see that they indeed had much religion, with its rules and regulations, ordinances and trappings, but the spirit of the law was void and empty.

They even claimed to trust Moses, they just didn't trust what Moses said. It's easy to get trapped into thinking that going to church or listening to your favorite preacher is the same as listening to and communing with God. Of course there is nothing wrong with listening to your favorite preacher or going to church, but neither is a substitute for personal relationship. If your pastor is doing his job, he is directing you to get to know Jesus better. He is discussing the importance of a personal relationship with God. He is giving you the tools and teaching you how to use them, but you will have to do the digging yourself if you are to uncover the gems of truth from God. It has always been that way and it will always be that way.

Lazy Christians want someone else to do their bidding for them. They want someone else to gather the information, distribute the information, process the information and then send them a check in the mail (so to speak). Lazy Christians want the pastor to do all the work while they receive all the harvest and they want the pastor to do it for nothing. Lazy Christians make up the majority of church boards, so they make lazy Christian rules and lazy Christian programs.

What's the point? Lazy Christians are teaching lazy Christians how to be lazy Christians. It was the same in Jesus' time. Jesus was hard on the Jewish leadership because they had fallen away from a relationship driven life/lifestyle like that of David or ShadrachMeshach and Abednego and fallen prey to a legalistic, rule oriented, dogma driven relationship clouded by men who would go to extreme measures to keep you from a personal relationship with God, because they made their money off of the ignorance of the people. If they had taught the people to have a personal relationship with God and that was the only kind acceptable to God, they would not have been able to take so much for offering so little.

I hope you read your Bible and I hope that you have the expectation that God will teach you and talk to you and wants to hear from you, personally. If you really want to go deep with God, get to know Jesus better. He is willing and available all the time.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Daily Devotional July 26 - Newness Of Life

"Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4

We should walk in newness of life just like Jesus walks in newness having been raised from the dead. Walking in newness of life is an indicator of our level of personal relationship with Jesus. This verse is for you for today. Don't look back at all. Just ask yourself if you are getting all you can out of your relationship with God today. Newness of life is offered. Will you take it? Yes it will take some effort. It takes effort to get out of bed in the morning.

Newness of life is when the events of the day are seen through the eyes of active relationship with Jesus. Can you have newness of life and still have problems? Yes. Can you have newness of life and still get sick? Yes. Can you have newness of life and still make mistakes? Yes. Newness of life does not take you out of the world, but it does affect your view of the circumstances. You are just as responsible to assist yourself to get through the day in newness of life as you are to get to work in the morning or evening.

Don't overlook the importance of this verse. You died with Christ (symbolically by water baptism) and (experientially by self will) and you have been raised with Christ (symbolically by water baptism) and (experientially by newness of life). Jesus makes it clear that in and through your life's experiences there will be a trail of suffering and pain, disappointments and eventually physical death. But Jesus also made it just as clear that during this life and these disappointments He would be with you, providing for you, answering prayer, supporting you, side by side and sometimes carrying you through. You may have to go through the fire once in a while, but you are just as protected as ShadrachMeshach and Abednego. Do you believe it?

If you don't believe that newness of life is available, you won't recognize it while you are living in it. If you think that once you were saved you were left on your own to trod through life with weighted boots and that at the end of life God will be waiting there to release you from your prison here, it's not likely that there's much newness of life going on in your life. But if you can reach out right now and take hold of the Word of God and say, "I believe it" newness of life will come over you like a cool breeze. Jesus wants whatever moment you are in to be in with Him; whatever you are going through to be going through with Him; whatever you want to make of your life to make it with Him. You can start a new life right now.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Daily Devotional July 25 - God Is Greater...

"And they cried unto the LORD, and said, we have sinned because we have forsaken the LORD, and have served Baalim and Ashtaroth: but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee." 1 Samuel 12:10

Things haven't changed much. This happened around 1100 B.C. They lived any ole way and served false teachers and even worshiped false gods, but when they were in trouble, who did they call out to? It's the same today. We go about our business doing as we please, the way we please,with whom we please, where we please, when we please, but when our enemies, i. e., troubles, obstacles, barriers press in, we call upon God.

"Oh God, please help me out of this situation.

My troubles are encompassing me.

Help me out of this one and I will go to church.

Help me out of this one and I will never cheat again.

Help me out of this one and I will tithe.

Help me out of this one and I will read my Bible.

Help me out of this one and I will change my ways."

I'm not saying that you shouldn't go to God and plead your case and ask forgiveness and rectify the situation and reconcile the situation and get help from God. What I am saying is, why wait until you are covered up with troubles to get God's help? You need to stop for a minute and get a handle on this problem. You know you have issues, and you know that some of your current trouble is self induced. Why not go to God before things get out of hand and get His help?

Those who wait until they are backed against the wall to call on God miss out on so many blessings, so many gifts from God, so much peace in their heart. If you are not currently serving God in your heart and in your mind to the best of your ability, nothing more, you are robbing yourself and those around you of receiving the bounty prepared for you from the foundation of the world. God only will bless you when you come to Him. Get it out of your mind that you can't reconcile to God because of this or that. It's not true. You can and God will assist you in any matter where you come to Him and ask. Even if you have not served God in any capacity, when you call out on God, God shows up and works it out on your behalf, every time.

That's right, even when you have failed miserably and you have shunned God and you have not given God any of your time and attention, God extends a hand to lift you up. God is good and greatly to be praised.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Daily Devotional July 24 - Don't Be Too Quick To Pastor Bash

"But Jesus called them to Him, and saith unto them, ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever shall be great among you, shall be your minister." Mark 10:42-43

It might not be like this in all countries, but in America our ministers are subject to entirely too much criticism and ridicule. I believe Jesus and I believe that it is mandatory to respect your pastor. And I don't mean tolerate, but genuinely look to them with esteem, thinking good thoughts toward them and making provisions to support them with some of your time, energy, talent, skills and finances.

If you do not have this kind of relationship with your pastor, you are missing out on a blessing and you are not observing sound scriptural counsel. Giving respect to the pastor/minister is a God thing, whereas the mind-set that looks down on the pastor, finds fault at every occasion possible and looks for reasons not to support the pastor is worldly.

What if you just can't get behind your pastor, because you know that he/she hasn't been faithful to their calling? Then get together with some of the other parishioners and go to the pastor privately and ask what you can do to assist him/her in renouncing the sinful behavior and restoring him/her to a right position again. If you are genuine and really want to help, and not hurt, this will probably be the impetus the pastor needs to pull up his/her bootstraps and take care of business and make things right.

If you just can't stand behind your pastor, it's time to move on. You should be in a church where you are moved by the Holy Spirit during the service, during the prayer time, the music and the preaching. You should look forward with anticipation of the next great move of God in your life being kindled at church. You need a new outlook. In most cases, it's not the pastor at fault causing the apathy, indecision, irreverence and inconsistency of the parishioners. It's that people in America are not studied in the scriptures and they have made up their minds about how the process of spirituality should work, based on their own private interpretation. Many have developed their own religious system which puts themselves as the greatest among you and some even put themselves on the throne belonging to God. They have developed a callousness toward 'organized religion' and a mind-set of ridicule toward preachers that is irreverent and irresponsible. They do this so that they will not have to be accountable and take their family to church, after all if they are convinced that 'all pastors are a lessor sort than themselves,' why would they go.

Most pastor/evangelist/TV personality/prophet bashing doesn't have anything to do with the individual being bashed. Most people don't know enough about that person, in some cases never have even met them, to make any determination of value. Most pastor bashing is due to personal biases, prejudice and ignorance. A good rule of thumb is: Don't say anything about anybody that you cannot confirm personally.

Daily Devotional July 23 - Don't Get 'Bummed' Out

"Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." Matthew 5:42

This question comes up concerning bums asking for a hand out at a stop light or downtown at a stop sign or somewhere else where you have to pass by. Should I give to them or not? You ask yourself, if I give to them will they go and drink it up. If so I don't want to give them anything. I want to help people, but not this way. All of us have had these feelings and we have heard from many friends and family about the issue, but I'm not as concerned about what my sister of brother thinks about it as I am what God thinks about it. I find that God speaks to us clearly about getting in touch with the spirit within when making decisions like this. I have done both with beggars; I have given to them indiscreetly and I have not given to them because they didn't look worthy. But in the last ten years at least, when I am in this situation, I pray about it and then respond according to my inner unction. I don't really look at the person and try to analyze their true condition, which we can't do anyway, but I pray and then respond as lead by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was setting a precedence here by declaring a principle that is worthy of serious consideration. Jesus was setting the record straight on "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," a certain method of dealing with people in Old Testament times. Jesus was showing that mankind has the ability to do better than that and that we should be thinking with a mind-set of what can I do for you rather than a mind-set of what can I not do and still pass for righteous. Jesus was breaking down the rigid stand of the religious people of the day that had become so callous to the needs of others that even if they passed by a hurting or wounded stranger, they would turn their heads and act like they didn't exist. Jesus was calling out those who run their lives with precision when it comes to the letter of the law, but in cases where compassion or just plain common sense was needed they turned a blind eye. That's not the spirit of the law and that's not the mind of God.

First of all you haven't kept the law, so as far as being a sinner, you and I are in the same boat as the beggar. So, profiling the beggar in hopes that you can ascertain their true condition with a glance is not likely to be the test to determine their worthiness.

Secondly, you have no idea whether the person asking for something really needs it or not.

Thirdly, if you aren't willing to pray about it and expect an answer from the Holy Spirit within, then your mandate is to give. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Left on your own, without the aid of God within, the new law is to give.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Daily Devotional July 22 - It Is Time To Make A Melody

"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; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;" Ephesians 5:19-20

When was the last time you sang a song to God? I don't mean at Church, but in private where you lifted up your voice and sang a song from your heart directly to God. What has happened to Christians today is that they are taught a lot of religion, but much of the 'relationship with Jesus' teaching has gone by the wayside. Above is scripture admonishing you to make melody in your heart and to thank God for everything. This should be a regular practice. If it isn't, maybe you can inquire into your heart and find out why. You don't want to miss out on the many wonderful moments with God that are available.

I know it's hard to thank God for everything. How can we thank God when troubles blow our way or when a loved one dies? Only by faith. You have got to know that what has happened, what you are going through or what lies ahead, is not out of God's reach. God uses all of your experiences, good and bad, and carries you through them. God did not cause the bad things that happened to you, you can count on friends and enemies for that, but God does use the experience as a stepping stone to protect you and enlighten you so that you don't make the same mistake again.

Make a melody in your heart and thank God for everything. It is the Word of God and it will bring about much blessing and positive changes.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Daily Devotional July 21 - God Is At Peace With You. Do You Believe It?

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1

Do you have peace with God?
Do you believe that you have been fully restored to God through your faith in Jesus?
Having peace with God is no small thing. I know so many Christians that don't even entertain the thought of having peace with God, like "it's not possible" or "wouldn't God be mad at me if I tried to act like I wasn't afraid."

If you are saved you are at peace with God positionally, whether you feel like it or not. God is at peace with you, because God is working on your behalf to assist you in becoming like His Son, no exceptions. God is answering your prayers and going before you in time and working out the details of life that threaten your final decisions, so that when you come to crossroads, you are empowered to make the right decisions.

God loves you so much and works on your behalf 24 hours a day to enhance your life/lifestyle and to provide for your needs, to give you hope for the future and to repair/restore those areas of life that you may have messed up. Our God is a healing God and will not let anything stand in the way of you receiving your full bounty as a child of God. It is not truth that God is looking over your shoulder disappointed that you haven't done this or that to please Him. God knows that you are made of dust and He has made provisions for your inadequacies, indiscretions and even your sins. It's not that God approves your sins or that somehow you have been granted a waiver to sin as it pleases you, but through the experiences and pain of past sinful decisions God can and will create in you the likeness of His Son. It is God's job to finish what He started in you and you can rest assured, be at peace with God, that God can and will accomplish His goal.

So many Christians are looking at God as an overseer that dishes out punishments in the form of consequences for every little indiscretion. It is not true. God is in you, living in your body as His abode, empowering you to resist evil, giving you authority over powers and principalities, benefiting you and your family in every way, allowing you access to the throne of God, answering your prayers, showering you with gifts, both physical and spiritual, all while you are here on earth. Even though life might seem as a struggle, there's no reason to be struggling with God. If you are struggling with God, you have been conditioned to do so. It's time to take charge of your life in Christ and start to believe God. You are at peace with God and God is at peace with you. If you can believe this your entire perspective about who God is in your life will change.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Daily Devotional July 20 - What Have You Been Taught?

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
  • Have you been taught that you must obey the ten commandments in order to be accepted by God?
  • Have you been taught that only those who tithe are blessed financially?
  • Have you been taught that you must never sin in order to go to heaven and if you do sin that you must ask for forgiveness for that sin before you die or you will go to hell?
  • Have you been taught that after you are saved your salvation is kept sure by your works?
  • Have you been taught that you must be baptized in water or you won't be saved?
  • Have you been taught that you must speak in tongues or you aren't saved yet?
  • Have you been taught that you must receive a second blessing in order to be saved?
  • Have you been taught that if you eat meat you are a lessor sort of Christian than those who do not?
  • Have you been taught that Jesus was the Lord, but is not God?
  • Have you been taught that the Holy Spirit is the power of God, but not God Himself?
  • Have you been taught that you should only read from the Old Testament?
  • Have you been taught that you should only read from the New Testament?
  • Have you been taught that Paul's teaching supersedes other books of scripture?
  • Have you been taught that what Paul taught is not to be considered as divinely inspired?
  • Have you been taught that crossing the Red Sea was just an allegory?
  • Have you been taught that there are many ways to heaven and Jesus is only one?
  • Have you been taught that you must be a member of the one true church to be saved?
  • Have you been taught that if you take the wafer unworthily, you have to re-earn your salvation?
  • Have you been taught that you need a human mediator between you and God?
These are false teachings and God is not pleased that many of His dear children are being led by those who would use you as exploits. Many things are taught to keep people in line and to create in them a sense of duty, but causing in you a sense of guilt by coercion is not a godly motivator, nor will it produce godly fruit. Pastors are so afraid to preach the truth, for loss of numbers, that they start reaching out with extra biblical teaching to pacify newcomers and placate parishioners. What a waste of good talent. The Holy Spirit operates through truth, only.

"Faithful is He who calleth you, who also will do it." If you are going to worry about something, worry about something that is true; something that can really cause you grief, but don't worry about God being able to finish what He started in you, "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith."  (Hebrews 12:2a)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Daily Devotional July 18 - Oh Well! I Don't Think So

"O how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than all the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts." Psalm 119:97-100

A good understanding of the spirit of God's law/laws is good medicine for the prospering soul. David remembered what he had done. David knew about his affair with Bathsheba and many other foolish and sinful mistakes he had made. But David is growing up. It's like that with us too. It's not that we haven't sinned or that we haven't made many foolish choices. It's that we come to our senses and do something about it. It is better to chastise yourself and make the necessary adjustments to follow the ways of God than to come to an abrupt end caused by your unfortunate circumstances.

Clean it up. Clean up your mind, your mouth, your behavior, your propensities, your ways. David found that following the ways of God was far better than anything he had previously considered. You will find that to be true too. The ways of God are not suppressing and boring, but exciting and full of adventure, life and goodness, blessings and gifts and pleasure of the God kind that out do those of the carnal kind. David understands.

To meditate on the law of God or the testimonies of God is to meditate on the thoughts of God, God-thinking. If you were to practice a little each day,you would find that God will keep His Word. I believe a good start is to read one verse a day, but everyday, no excuses. It is a good discipline. You might find that a verse a day is just not enough. That's a good thing. It's the discipline that counts not the number of verses you read. As time goes by you will be drawn by some of the verses to dig deeper and you will find that God knows what He is talking about. You will find that even a moment with God in understanding cannot be compared to anything that brings pleasure in this world. You will say with David, "O how love I Thy law!"

Don't be afraid to get to know God. The God of the Bible is perfect toward you. It is possible that what you learned about God in Sunday School was not all there is to know. You will not be disappointed if you take this advise and get closer to God than ever before, but you will be disappointed if you continue on the path of "Oh well."

Friday, July 18, 2014

Daily Devotional July 18 - 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.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Daily Devotional July 17 - Who Are You Listening To?

"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophesy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness."  Romans 12:4-8

This is a little different list of gifts than that of 1 Corinthians 12, but some are listed the same. The main point of this conversation is to reveal a truth about gifts from God. They didn't stop when Jesus ascended into heaven. This verse was written by Paul about 25-30 years after Jesus ascended into heaven. There is a particular mention of the gift of prophesy. There are entire denominations that deny the gift of prophesy as being in operation today. That is simply not true. The gift of prophecy is alive and well. Some of the prophets that prophesy are false and some just trying to operate in a gift they do not possess, but some prophesy is inspired by God. It is vogue in certain circles to be prophet so and so or apostle so and so. Many such prophets do not speak for God and we both know that, but my contention is that some do.

I am reluctant to deny a truth simply because people misuse it. There have been things done in the name of Christianity that can't even be spoken of, but there have been much more done to better mankind and to glorify God. Do we deny our faith simply because there are charlatans? Do we stop using currency because there are a few counterfeits going around? Of course not and the Word of God speaks sure about the gifts from God and these gifts should be understood and used to glorify God.

It's simple. Do what you do with integrity and honor and do it to the best of your ability. Do what you know and stay within the natural parameters of the skill set, characteristics, propensities and knowledge base that you have. Don't try to be something you are not. Reach high, but don't make stuff up to look good. It is vain and cannot be used by God to benefit others or to elevate you. God operates in truth, only. If you really want to be something that you are not, pray about it, study, get the proper training, reach out to others who have succeeded at what you dream of and move forward in truth to attain to a higher place.

Now touching on the "one body, and all members." If you are a Baptist, you are a member with the Methodist and with the Presbyterians and the Charismatics and the Full Gospel, as well as the Catholics and Pentecostals. No you are not a member of the cults or world religions that deny Christ, but Christianity is made of of many denominations, but only one body, i. e., the body of Christ. If you don't like this idea, you probably won't like heaven either, because all those who are in or will be in heaven are decided upon by God, not your denomination. As a matter of fact, your denomination won't even be mentioned. The body of Christ is made up of individuals from many denominations and non-denominations that love and honor and believe in Jesus.

It would do you well for you to reach out to others who love Jesus even if they don't love Jesus in the same style as you do. I'm not talking about trying to bridge some impossible gap, but much of the contention we have between believers is totally uncalled for, unscriptural, foolish, ungodly, irresponsible, damaging, ridiculous, unwarranted, not honored by God. Why, most of the things that one denomination says about another aren't even true. Most of it is based opinions of those who don't even know what the other group believes. They take loving believers and box them into tight, little boxes and set them out on the curb to be picked up as trash. There is nothing further from the truth. Jesus said, "every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation;" Maybe we should be listening to Jesus instead of those who are touting division.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Daily Devotional July 16 - You Are 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 of celebration where food and wine was plentiful and a rather good time was had by all. toward the end when everyone had been celebrating for eight days, Jesus offers something to drink for all those whose thirst was not quenched.

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?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Daily Devotional July 15 - Examine Your Self

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not you own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates." 2 Corinthians 13:5

It is good for you to examine yourself. I find that the best way is to examine myself in light of the scriptures. No other method will do. Of course we look to others for example and direction, as long as it is commensurate with godly living. But this kind of examination that is mentioned here is personal. The scriptures don't say examine others to see if they are in the faith. There's too much of that going on.

What are some of the steps we can take to examine our faith?
Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the very Son of God?
Do you have an interest in living a pure lifestyle?
Are you completely consumed by worldly matters?
How many minutes or hours to you spend reading your Bible?
Are you convinced that it is OK to mix a little sinful living with a little church and all is well?
How many minutes or hours do you pray each day?
Do you get into the presence of God, undisturbed without your cell phone on, for extended periods of time?
Do you tell your friends that you are not interested in their dirty jokes?
Do you support your pastor? I don't mean just putting a couple dollars in the offering plate either. Do you stand behind him and lift him up and bless him and shower him and his family with gifts of money, vacations, domestic pleasantries and assistance with caring for his household. Do you love him and talk only good things about him? Do you stop the conversation when others start complaining about the color of the carpet, the length of the service, the 'skewer the pastor' topic of the day?
Do you have a desire, however small to see others come to know about Jesus, even if it means that you have been designated to be the one to testify of Jesus?
Are you living two lives?
Are you turned off when someone wants to talk about Jesus?
Do you think you know it all and no one can teach you something new about God?
Are you incensed when someone tries to talk to you about your propensities?
Do you read godly literature with hopes of learning a new truth or expanding your horizons?

These things don't make you a Christian nor do some of them disqualify a person as a Christian. We are looking at some of the characteristics of examining ourselves. I believe it is very important to examine our life/lifestyle in light of our calling. You are the best judge of what you might need to do to step it up a little or what you might want to eliminate in your life for it to better represent a right relationship with God. This is one of those great gifts from God to mankind; to be able to see ourselves as we really are and make changes. That's real power.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Daily Devotional July 14 - 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.Q

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Daily Devotional July 2 - Raw Faith

"By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days." Hebrews 11:30

This is the kind of faith available to the Christian and this is the kind of power available within the parameters of prayer. If you know the story, the priests walked around the city for seven days blowing their trumpets and on the seventh day they walked around the city walls seven times, but they did not use battering rams nor did they use and other physical method in accomplishing the task at hand. They followed the Lord's leading and stayed faithful to their course and they won the battle.

Does your faith include the miraculous? Does your faith include the unbelievable? Does your faith include the supernatural? If you have the kind of faith that doubts this story and the many others like it, don't expect the miraculous to show up in your life, because this event and others like it in Bible times and today are seething in raw faith. What I mean by raw faith is the kind of faith that knows that God will do what He says He will do without question, before the intellect kicks in and starts rationalizing away the possibilities; before someone throws water on your wick; before a lukewarm believer convinces you otherwise.

I tell you this because sometimes you are up against a situation that you will not win without the mighty hand of the living God involved in your situation. But the mighty hand of the living God is available only to those with raw faith. One more note: Some things take time, even seven days is not an instant. There's a reason behind the 'waiting on God thing.' Learn to trust God and the time line will become less important.