Sunday, July 30, 2017

Daily Devotional July 30 - The Secret Place

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1

Note: Reminds me of a great book written by Bob Sorge, The Secret of the Secret Place.  Don't hesitate to buy it and read it.  It is on my top ten list.

Where is God's dwelling place so we can dwell with Him? It is the tabernacle of our body. God indwells the believer. "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry (workers), ye are God's building." 1 Corinthians 3:9

God indwells the believer and to dwell in the secret place of the most High, we need to be in the presence of God that dwells in us. We do that by listening to the inner man, the one that God lives in.
Your inner man is in touch with the Holy Spirit.
Your inner man is saturated with the presence of God.
Your inner man has been taught all things by direct communication with the Holy Spirit.
Your inner man is the secret place.

You are body, mind, spirit and soul. You are a whole being, but you are able to operate independently one of the other to a degree. The Bible talks about carnal Christians, because God knows that you can be born again, have a spirit that has been made alive by faith in Jesus and still do things contrary to the perfect will of God. You can also, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, fight against the propensities of the flesh, using your mind as the tool to bring your flesh into subjection to your spirit.

If you want to be in the secret place with God and benefit from it, you will have to obey the laws of God while in His presence, in the inner man.

In the presence of God in the secret place, you will have to enter without an agenda. What God has to say to you when you are listening, is not what you are thinking of. What God has to reveal to you might even be foreign to your thinking, unless you have been following Jesus faithfully for some time; unless you have been on the mountaintop and also the deep valley; unless you have been through the fire, not just skirting around it; unless you have suffered a little and not just ridden comfortably in the pew; unless you have been reading your Bible and not just hearing it interpreted.

In the presence of God in the secret place, you will have to listen. I would say without a doubt that listening carefully is not the average Americans most distinguishing characteristic. Too often we want to speak so badly that we don't even hear what someone is saying. It's that way with God too. If you are more interested in railing on God about all that is missing in your life, you will not be able to hear God speak to you. God might say something to you that you don't want to hear. God is not man. God does not speak fluffy, candy coated, sayings that resemble a reading from Confucius. God is going to speak to you what brings you into alignment with His perfect design for your life. I can say without any doubt, that what God will speak to you will surprise you. If all you are hearing from God are platitudes about how you are going to get everything you want, you haven't been in the presence of God.

In the presence of God in the secret place, you will be changed. If you were to get into the presence of God, (no in the inner man) but in the flesh, you would burn up; no questions asked. When you are in the presence of God you come away changed, not a little. God is conforming you into the likeness of Himself and if you consider just how far we have drifted from the original idea, it should be clear that change, and a lot of it, is eminent. You can't help but be changed in the presence of God, because designed for you to grow in grace and to grow in faith, both of which are increased in the presence of God.

If you don't want to change your agenda, and if you don't want to hear a better idea than your own and you don't want to change what is familiar to you, don't get in the presence of God in the inner man. "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man." Ephesians 3:14-16

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Daily Devotional July 29 - What Are You leaving On The Table?

"And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city. And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins have been forgiven thee."  Matthew 9:1-2

I want to talk about faith. There is so much to gain from the scripture. The men who were carrying the man with the palsy is whose faith was recognized. The men who were carrying the man with the palsy had faith that if they could get to Jesus, their friend would be healed. Jesus not only forgave the man with the palsy his sins, but he healed him and sent him home also.

This is one of many examples where we see a direct correlation between faith of man and action from Jesus. What is your faith capable of? I'm serious. What is your faith made of? Here's why I'm asking. If your faith is made of going to church and reading a little bit of Bible there, you faith is probably commensurate with your attendance. In today's society you need faith that can move mountains.

  • You need faith that you can speak and the heavens move things. 
  • You need the kind of faith that can pray against terrorism and at the same time pray for the terrorist. 
  • You need the kind of faith that can do battle against the world. 

This world's system is designed to take everything you have and even more. You need faith to come against that mind-set and take back lost territory.

You need the kind of faith that can say to your neighbor:
"I pray in the name of Jesus that you will be healed."
"I pray that your financial situation will turn around."
"I pray that your daughter will call you and make amends."
"I pray that your son will come to Jesus."

You need the kind of faith that Jesus gives liberally to all who ask. If you don't ask you won't grow in faith. You can go to church until you die and stay stagnant if you haven't started a personal relationship with Jesus. Faith grows like a tree. The root needs to be watered. The trunk needs to be protected. The branches need to be pruned. The leaves need Son-light. The flowers need to blossom and the fruit needs to flourish and be picked and used.

Evaluate yourself. What is your faith made of? Could it be that you are leaving on the table much that could and should be yours? Learn to apply your faith and get results. God designed us this way. Having faith, and a lot of it, is the way of God for man. Don't find yourself under-faithed when you might really need a miracle. Get serious and let God fill you up. Then, you can take a few friends and someone you know who can't fend for themselves and take them to a Jesus meeting and let them down through the roof and have their sins forgiven.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Daily Devotional July 28 - Quit Judging Others

"And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased, and said unto Him (Jesus) Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yes; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" Matthew 21:15-16

We condemn the way that the chief priests and scribes treated Jesus. We abhor that they marvelled at their own pride, while they spurned Jesus at every opportunity. It kind of sickens us that the same people that Jesus came to be with, not only denied Him His rightful place among them, but they created a plan to kill Jesus. Doesn't it amaze you that the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that Jesus did and they hated Him even more?

We still have some of that kind of thinking going on today. A man or a woman can work diligently for the Lord and do great things for the kingdom, even just be present when God heals the sick, and Christians, (not non-believers) want to spurn them. Christians talk down other Christians who don't do church like they do on Sunday or Saturday or Saturday night, or the Sabbath day or whatever day. Christians are telling other Christians:
that God doesn't heal today
that prayer is an allegory
that you must do this or that to please God
that you have to give this amount or that amount to get God's blessing
that you have to do it their way with their instruments, their lighting, their media

Christians are judging other Christians:

  • Because they believe a little differently
  • Because they worship on the wrong day
  • Because they use the wrong kind of pulpit
  • Because they use the wrong instruments
  • Because their choir is too old
  • Because their choir is too young
  • Because they keep the children in for the worship
  • Because they don't keep the children in for the worship
  • Because the preacher wears a tie
  • Because the preacher dresses too casual
  • Because the preacher let's his kids sing on the praise team
  • Because the preacher let's His wife teach
  • Because the preacher doesn't let His wife teach
  • Because they don't come to service on Wednesday night
  • Because they live in a nice home
  • Because they don't live in a nice home
  • Because they drive a new Mercedes
  • Because they drive a junker

No wonder Jesus turned to the babes and sucklings and said, "out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise."

Jesus heard enough trash talk from adults then and He is hearing too much trash talk from adults now. Learn to mind your own business. You are not an expert on so and so, so quit bashing them as if you ever met them or knew anything about them. What's wrong with admiring those who work diligently for Jesus and get something done? What's wrong with the way they do it over there anyway? What's the big deal if someone goes to a different church than you. Neither church has the license to talk down the other. Neither church has cause to defame the other. Your church denomination isn't infallible and neither is the other church down the road. God is infallible.

You should be proud of your church or your denomination, but not at the expense of cutting others down. You don't have to 'get" what they are doing, but you don't have to act like you do it better either. The chief priests and the scribes were sore displeased with the children and the way they were crying out loud to Jesus and Jesus was sore displeased with the chief priests and scribes. Which side do you want to be on?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Daily Devotional July 27 - Behind The Scenes

"Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive Him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven."  Matthew 18:21-22

The kingdom of God is made up of people who believe what Jesus says and does it. This was a little thing for Peter to ask and I'm sure Peter was trying to be spiritual and come up with a good answer to show Jesus how spiritual he was. Peter was trying to impress Jesus with his spiritual prowess. Jesus didn't rebuke him or make him feel like a fool or belittle him in any way, but Jesus did set him straight. I want Jesus to set me straight on all the things I believe that are from my own vision/version of what God desires of me. I hope you do to.

Not knowing something and making this mistake that Peter made is a normal part of learning and neither Peter or you are going to be chastised for testing the waters and trying to be spiritual, but once you get the answer, you have a different set of parameters to live by. Sometimes when we are reading the Bible or listening to our pastor we learn something that we don't like, something we don't want to live by, something we have rationalized just doesn't fit our current life/lifestyle. That's not kingdom living. Kingdom living is when we look for opportunity to observe, follow and abide in the things of God. Religious living is when we look for loopholes that fit our current perspective on the issues of our life/lifestyle.

You will always be able to find a church or denomination that fits your agenda, but adhering to a system, any system, to fit what what you desire into a religious or non-religious system is wrong.
Kingdom living is for you to fit into what God designed for you. Kingdom living is for you to read the Word of God or hear the Word preached and to find solace in the many changes you will have to make to conform to the image of Christ. After a season of kingdom living you will start to look for changes you can make in your life/lifestyle that better suit your relationship with God in the pursuit of fulfilling your purpose in life.

You look for what God purposed for you and you look for what you were purposed for and when the two meet, you find your place and you understand your commission. Being godly is not following a complex set of rules, or following a specific program or formula. Being godly is more about abandoning a great may rules and human notions and allowing God to work in you and through you without any aids, than it is following some predetermined school of thought. Listening to and following God is the goal. Trying to act spiritual so that everyone can uh and ah at your magnificence is not part of God's great design for your life. More often than not, true spiritual work is done behind the scenes, without personal recognition and without formal reward.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Daily Devotional July 26 - Therapy For Apathy

"This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."  2 Peter 3:1-4

You might know someone that simply doesn't believe or acknowledge that God is real and that our Saviour is alive and well and is working on a daily basis on our behalf. For all those who say, "all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation" I say, The only thing that has stayed the same is your thinking.

God inhabits the praises of His people.
God answers prayer.
God speaks to His people.
God call out to every living soul (those who have not been saved) to come to His Son for salvation.
God intervenes in the affairs of mankind.
God answers prayer.
God changes the minds and hearts of men and women.
God alters outcomes through His supernatural intervention.
God heals.
God blesses people through others and personally.

Those who deny that God exists or that God stopped interacting after creation are mistaken. I'm unwilling to use harsher language than mistaken, because we have all been there at one time. I don't wish any hardships on the unsaved more than any of us have faced, but I also don't want the Christian community to think that silence on the issues concerning God is acceptable. Even Paul said, "and how shall they believe on Him of whom they have not heard?" Romans 10:14

Many people deny God His rightful place in their life. It could be your spouse or one of your parents or one of your children or a friend or co-worker. If you aren't outgoing and wish not to speak about God to others, that's your business, but if the opportunity comes up through conversation and you don't stand up for what you know to be the truth, it's possible that you never really believed the truth, i. e., the truth about Jesus.

You have been elected as God's spokesman/woman for Jesus. You can't stop others from railing on God or speaking their pitiful excuses about why they don't believe in God, but you can stand up for God. You were once lost and destined for hell and now you are saved and your residency is reserved for you in heaven and during this life you have the power of the Holy Spirit within, and in you lives the creator and in you is all the knowledge necessary to become a child of the living God and through you, prayers are answered and by your own words God moves and makes earthly alterations. Just tell them what you know. And if there is nothing to tell them, I would be praying about that.

No Christian should be ignorant of the basic truths that have set us free. If you are the kind of person that goes to church, but you have no real interest in the things of God, you always let someone else do the lion's share of the work and you complain all the time, you should be ashamed. That's not Christianity, that's religion.

It's not your age that has made you apathetic. Moses led the Israelites away from bondage starting at age 85. Why don't you take back some lost ground, claim it for Jesus and plant something, water it, cultivate it and then give away the fruits of it. That's good therapy for apathy.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Daily Devotional July 25 - 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.

Daily Devotional July 24 - Operate In The Truth That 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.

Daily Devotional July 23 - Have You Supplicated Lately?

"And said (Solomon) O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto Thy servants, that walk before Thee with all their hearts. Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which Thy servant prayeth before Thee:" 2 Chronicles 6:14 and 19

It is my observation as a senior pastor for 5 years and an assistant pastor for 16 years that the art of praying (as seen in these verses in Chronicles) has been reduced (at least in the majority of modern church goers) to brief moments of solicitation for things. Over the years I've talked with hundreds of well informed Christians that don't know what supplication is or what it means. Their prayer time is a few brief moments of time (not prime time, but leftover time or pre-scheduled church service time). The depth of many prayers wouldn't give a seedling enough water to survive. And the thought of praying through and spending hours or an entire evening into the wee hours supplicating (specifying with deep conviction that what you desire is ordained by God and for the betterment of mankind) doesn't get much press.

More than that, today's Christian and a non-believer can hardly be discerned/differentiated one from anotherWorldly non-believers might not be going to church, but Christians are going everywhere the world goes and doing what the world does, saying what the world says, selling what the world sells and teaching and training those of the next generation more of the same. No wonder there is no depth in prayer. First of all you have to believe that what you are praying for, God can do. There's so much prayer void of any power and hardly recognizable as communication with God that it's no wonder people are complaining that God is not answering their prayers. And further, so many prayers are uttered (without any sense of urgency or conviction) that the person praying goes on about their life and forgets what they prayed for altogether.

How can you expect to hear from God and to recognize that God has answered your prayers if you can't remember what you prayed for? How can you expect God to take your prayer seriously if one eye is on the TV while you are supposedly pouring out your heart to God. How can you know what to pray for if you aren't listening to the Holy Spirit within? How can you listen to the Holy Spirit within if you've allowed the din of this world to be your guide? It's not that God doesn't hear silly prayers or hear foolish and unwarranted requests, but the idea of prayer is to pray in God's will and what is in God's will will be fulfilled through prayer.
The depths of blessing from God are equal to the depths of communication with (not to) God..

Daily Devotional July 22 - 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.

Daily Devotional July 21 - Get Serious About Your Relationship With God

"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.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Daily Devotional July 20 - 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.

Daily Devotional July 19 - 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 worshipped 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.

Daily Devotional July 18 - 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.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Daily Devotional July 17 - 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.

Daily Devotional July 16 - 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.

Daily Devotional July 15 - 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.

Daily Devotional July 14 - 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)

Daily Devotional July 13 - 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."

Daily Devotional July 12 - 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.

Daily Devotional July 11 - 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.

Daily Devotional July 10 - 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 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 - Examine Yourself

"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.

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.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

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.

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.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Daily Devotional July 4 - Go up and posses 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.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Daily Devotional July 3 - 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.

Daily Devotional July 2 - The Bible Is Clear

"I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Saviour." Isaiah 43:11
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."  Revelation 1:8

Just for the record: Jesus is God. That's right. The trinity and all that it stands for can easily be understood when you see God as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. There are not three Gods, but One. The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. Through centuries of misinterpretations we have become callous to the concept of the trinity, so we make excuses for it, rather than attempt to grasp it with our mind. We make light of it rather than try to seek agreement with God on the issue.

A good understanding of how God interacts with man is essential in having and maintaining a proper relationship with God. Can I say this without hurting anyone's feelings: Most of the reasons for our inadequacies concerning our relationship with God and our lack of understanding of how God operates among mankind is solely due to our lack of real interest. We have found other pursuits that consume our time and energy that we place higher on the priority list.

I've found that most people that want to argue about the trinity, the second coming of Christ, the Millennial reign of Christ, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the transfiguration on the mount, the indwelling Holy Spirit, angelology and a host of other so-called sensitive subjects, are not studied in the subject of discussion and therefore ignorant of the apparent and simple Bible exposed answers. There are times when two loving, studied and devoted Christians disagree and that is fine. It makes neither a heretic nor does either have preference with God in the matter. But most arguments come from a lack of personal commitment to the things of God and a lack of Bible study, not a deep devotion to the truth.

In my opinion the only sensitive subject we should have with God or each other is our own level of devotion and loyalty to God. All other disagreements or differing theologies can be made agreeably if the Spirit of God is present.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Daily Devotional July 1 - Are You /willing To Learn A Great many Things?

"O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker."  Psalm 95:6

There are many thoughts about how worship should be performed. Different denominations have a different school of thought concerning how worship should be approached.

  • There's the "we must be silent and respectful (children not allowed)" group.
  • The "we must be shouting out loud group (children must be present)" group.
  • The "Come unto me and confess in my booth" group.
  • The "We worship (on time)" group.
  • The "We believe one should worship in small groups in homes, but never in a church building" group.
  • The "We worship with music" group.
  • And of course the "We don't allow music during worship" group.
  • The "righteous go to the front and kneel while sinners stay in their seats" group.
  • The "righteous stay in their seats and quietly worship while those seeking attention go to the front" group.
  • The "you must speak in tongues to really worship" group.
  • The "if you speak in tongues, you aren't worshipping" group.
  • The "you must have the second blessing to worship" group.
  • The "you must possess certain gifts of the spirit to worship" group.
  • There are the "there are no more gifts of the spirit still in operation, but you must be baptized to worship"group.

God must really be sickened with all of our man-made rules. All of them (as rules to get into the presence of God) hinder the process of worship. All of the man-made rules are man's idea of how someone else should act in the presence of God. None of the man-made rules are bad, in and of themselves, but to miss the spirit of the act of worship is to miss worship. If we weren't so worried that someone else might see what we are doing and not approve, we might find that worship is the letting go of the "what man thinks" and becoming real and true and empty long enough to find out what God thinks. Outward appearance for the sake of trying to act out a part sickens God, whether in one of these settings above or not.

Only the letting go of this world's standards and coming before God in pure simplicity and reverence and love could ever truly be called worship. You don't have to change denominations to worship God, but you do have to get real and vulnerable before God to worship Him. You will have to unlearn a great many things if you want to give God His due.