Friday, May 24, 2019

Daily Devotional May 24 - Solace In The Storm

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." 1 Peter 4:12-13

It's hard to look at the troubles that you go through with anything other than disdain. But part of maturing is to see the actions of this world through the eyes of God. Whether or not you are a Christian you are going to have troubles, complications, sickness, pain, obstacles, barriers, disappointments and for some even greater calamities.

While in the middle of troubles, your perspective determines much of the level of pain and disappointment. Those who have come to know God fair better in these situations because they understand that even the worst of situations, because of the universal work of God among mankind, God can be glorified in your situation and you can gain experience and perspective. And if you really want to you can find peace and even joy, knowing that nothing has come upon you that God is not going through with you.

Think of it this way. Why not squeeze life for all it has? God makes it clear that you are not in your problem alone. You will get through it. Being a partaker with Christ means a whole lot more than suffering with Christ.

Problems and turmoil is measurable. The benefits of being a child of God are immeasurable.

I would say that most people have a very short term view of their situation and life in general, but there are other perspectives that are godly and will provide much comfort. Seeing further out beyond your troubles with an understanding that what God has allowed has a bigger purpose than what you can see and that because God is thoroughly involved in your situation, you can have an expected end of hope and joy and peace.

If you can find a way to think that what you are going through has purpose and to believe in your heart that God is sovereign and that no matter what man does to you, God is bigger, you will find solace in the storm and peace in your heart and the power to get through it.

Daily Devotional May 23 - Prayer and Supplication

"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God." Phillipians 4:6

Don't get discouraged. Your prayers are working. The answer to your prayers are on the way. When you pray all of heaven moves forward to accomplish the results you need. God designed us to have a link to God through prayer. It is real and it works.

Now, you may have been praying about a specific situation in your life or that of another and it seems like heavens doors have been closed for the season. No way. The only reason you ever get the feeling that God is not listening or that God is not able to accomplish what you pray for is that you are unskilled in the art of waiting. Actually, if you were to not pray at all, God has already designed and provided sustenance and provision for your life. You pray because it is the modus operandi that God designed for you to have two way communication with God.

If you could unlearn the teachings about praying to get something, you could see that prayer is so much more. First and foremost our prayers should be directed to God as dialogue to get to know God better. Once you get to know God better you start to see that God is on your side and that your disruptions to a happy and blessed life are from other sources. As you go to God in prayer to get to know God, you start to get a clearer picture of what to pray for if you were to pray for something for yourself or others.

Prayer was never meant to be begging for something just because you want it.
Prayer was also never meant to be like having a genie in a bottle and when you want something you make a wish and it is granted.
Prayer was meant to be a real place you go to communicate with God about your life and to hear from God what you need to secure the best life possible.

If you were to spend time with God enough to hear what God is saying in your life and to see what direction He has ordained for you, then when you prayed your prayer would be in accordance with the express will of God and you would see results to your prayers manifested in your heart first and then in real time on earth.

Finally, don't be discouraged. Your prayers are being dealt with. Your inner desires and inclinations for yourself and others is taken very seriously by God. Pray believing and let God work it out in His perfect timing. Trust that God has not abandoned you just because you are not hearing His voice right now. God is deeply invested in your life and those that you love. He has not turned His back on you. He has heared your prayers. He is answering your prayers right now.

Want to test it? I am so confident that God has heard your prayers and that God has already initiated the answer that I can tell you that in just two days time (from the time you read this) God will reveal to you in your heart a change in thinking that gives you confidence that in due time your prayer will come to pass. Instead of wondering if..., you will know.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Daily Devotional May 22 - You Know The Father

"If ye had known Me, you should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye now Him, and have seen Him. Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto Him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, and how sayest then, shew us the Father?"  John 14:7-9

I want to make a few theological observations.

First, if we know Jesus we know the Father. God is not elusive or hard to find out or difficult to understand. The Father is known through the Son. Knowing Jesus is knowing God. There is no separation between God the Father and Jesus.

Secondly, Jesus said, "Have I been so long time with you , and thou hast not known Me,..." Jesus had only been with the disciples for three years and Jesus says that's a long time. I bring this up to settle some wrong thinking. I know people who have been a Christian for 20, 30, 40 years who have not grown in the faith, in some cases, not at all. They have hung on to a belief system that was developed years ago through their denomination and they never tested the waters or found out through personal Bible study if what they believe is scriptural. If three years with Jesus is a long time, what is forty years?

Jesus is revealing the Father here and the Father is revealing Jesus and we find out that when we see Jesus we see the Father. Why is it that we can't just accept the Word of God and believe what it says? I will say this. It is easier to believe the scripture than a whole lot of silly notions that religion has made up about God. When Jesus says, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father," I believe it. It settles many trinity questions for me. It settles my heart that I don;t need to get to know three Gods, the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Son. I get to know one God who has revealed Himself to me through Jesus, "for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." (Colossians 2:9)

And just one more thing. It's not blasphemy to question the/your church denomination's stand on a subject. It is wrong to take an oath or become a member of a denomination and then harbor differing theologies than that of your denomination, but to question certain doctrines through personal Bible study and prayer is of eternal importance. Then to take your differences to your pastor and discuss them is not only appropriate but wise. Give your pastor a chance to speak to the issue and maybe even do some research and then make up your mind, but don't sit under anyone's teaching for a long time if you harbor vast differences in theology.  It's not fair to your pastor or yourself.

First of all if you have differing views from your pastor you probably aren't much assistance in building up your congregation and if you have differing views than your pastor you are stagnating in your walk with Jesus. Get to know your Bible and become part of what God is doing with those who are following Him.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Daily Devotional May 21 - Solace In The Storm

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." 1 Peter 4:12-13

It's hard to look at the troubles that we go through with anything other than disdain. But part of maturing is to see the actions of this world through the eyes of God. Whether or not you are a Christian you are going to have troubles, complications, sickness, pain, obstacles, barriers, disappointments and for some even greater calamities.

While in the middle of troubles, your perspective determines much of the level of pain and disappointment. Those who have come to know God fair better in these situations because they understand that even the worst of situations, because of the universal work of God among mankind, God can be glorified in your situation and you can gain experience and perspective. And if you really want to you can find peace and even joy, knowing that nothing has come upon you that God is not going through with you.

Think of it this way. Why not squeeze life for all it has? God makes it clear that you are not in your problem alone. You will get through it. Being a partaker with Christ means a whole lot more than suffering with Christ. Problems and turmoil is measurable. The benefits of being a child of God are immeasurable.

I would say that most people have a very short term view of their situation and life in general, but there are other perspectives that are godly and will provide much comfort. Seeing further out beyond your troubles with an understanding that what God has allowed has a bigger purpose than what you can see and that because God is thoroughly involved in your situation, you can have an expected end of hope and joy and peace. If you can find a way to think that what you are going through has purpose and to believe in your heart that God is sovereign and that no matter what man does to you, God is bigger, you will find solace in the storm and peace in your heart and the power to get through it.

Daily Devotional May 20 - The Process

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding." Proverbs 9:10

A reverent grasp of holy God is a prerequisite to being given wisdom by God. Let's talk about this for a minute. Seeking God to get to know God is different than seeking God to get a need met or seeking God to fulfill a particular desire we have or even seeking God on behalf of others.

As you develop a relationship with God your eyes are opened to things that your eyes were not opened to prior. The understanding of how God operates among mankind is advanced as you grow closer to God. When God says "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom," God is letting us know about the depth of His holiness.

I wish we talked about getting to know God better for the sake of getting to know God better. When preaching is couched in terms of (what we are going to get in return for what we do for or with God) we have a skewed view of God, not caused by God, but caused by man interfering with God's interpretation of Himself, through the scriptures. If you were to read the scriptures and pray about the interpretation and set aside any preconceived notions about what so and so said God said, you would have a clearer understanding of what God has to say about Himself, about us and about how God operates among mankind.
Originally I began to fear the LORD because God said to.

Through following what God said to do I began to fear the LORD because I was able to see the great chasm between God's holiness and ours.
Then I feared the LORD because I was gaining wisdom from the experience which made it more understandable to me why I should fear the LORD.
Now I fear the LORD because I want to.

Daily Devotional May 19 - Bondage Or Freedom?

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1

Freedom/liberty in Christ has been so poorly represented most Christians don't know what it is. The key is freedom/liberty from, not freedom liberty to. The liberty that Jesus affords us is the liberty or the freedom from the sinful inclinations that, in prior times were impossible or very difficult to overcome.

Freedom in Christ is not freedom to do against God and then find some formula that allows for you to have the sin or indiscretion banished, as if you could do harm to another and then go and ask forgiveness and all is well. It also doesn't mean that if you have done something wrong or sinful and hurt others that you cannot be forgiven either. The line is drawn this way.

To knowingly set out to do damage, hurt others or hurt yourself or to do sinful things, knowing that those things are definitely not of God puts you in a position where you are at odds with God. When you are ready and you have come to your senses and you realize that you have sinned against man and against God and you are truly remorseful of your transgression and you turn from the way that you once acted and make a conscious decision to abstain from further engagement in such activity, you are then ready to ask for forgiveness and be forgiven.

Because grace is so great and God is so merciful there is always a time for everyone to get right with God and there is always an open door to do so. God never shuts the door, but you can.

True Liberty.
  • You are at liberty to follow Christ and to the best of your knowledge live according to the will of Go.
  • You are free from the bondage of not being able to say no and not being able to turn down those things that are hurting you or someone else.
  • You are at liberty to engage in righteous practices and to participate in the plan of God for His children.
  • You are at liberty to take from the bounty of all that is available to a son of God and joint heir with Christ.
  • You are at liberty to pray for healing and financial help and salvation for others and success for your business, knowing that your prayer will be met with the abundance of God who gets great pleasure in providing for you and those you pray for.
  • You are at liberty to come into the Holy of Hollies and sit at the feet of Jesus and talk and listen and be changed and find your way again.
  • You are at liberty to take charge of your life and put your feet forward to accomplish your calling.
  • You are at liberty to stand in the gap for others and make a way for them, by ministering to them with the power that God has given you by His dwelling in you.
When Paul says "be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage", he is talking about going back to the old ways, before you received power from God to overcome. There was a time for me and there is a time for you to draw a line in the sand and not cross over again. The bondage was before freedom, before your faith kicked in, before you had the power of God working in you and through you, before you made a confession of your faith, before you understood the consequences of sin.

Think of it this way. You have a choice, bondage to the world or freedom to access all that God has made for your good. Which one do you choose?

Daily Devotional May 18 - Beware Of The Times

"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Daniel 12:4

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. ...ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 7

I don't sit around and ponder how bad things are and get all upset over the events worldwide that point to this being the time towards the end. But I have been thoroughly warned in scripture of the conditions that represent fallen man at his worst. And I can see that the Bible has made quite a case for this era in time meeting scriptural criteria for the season of time called the 'end times.'

My point is to remind you that the times that we are in have been carefully understood by God and before each day passes, God sees what is about to take place and because God loves us so much, God told us about many events, times and season of life before they happened. I love that about God. Not only did God give us a road map to find our way, he told us about the hazards along the way, where each road would lead and what to start to look for when you were coming to your destination.

If you look at the verse in Daniel, "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased," before the time of the end. This was written about 2,500 years ago, when all that we know as technology did not exist in any form. If the Bible had said, 'many shall run to and fro and man shall increase in knowledge,' anybody could have said that. After all we predict things that we think are going to happen based on what we know all the time. Sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong. But this verse in Daniel says, "and knowledge shall be increased."

It is clear to me that Daniel didn't come up with this on his own, but he was instructed by the Lord through real visions and real meetings with real angels, just like he said. There is a huge difference in personally increasing in knowledge and increasing the knowledge that is available. No one can deny that we are in the most technologically advanced time in history, but more than that, because of the computer age, knowledge is being expanded at such a rapid rate that today we can only learn tidbits of a select field of study, and even in that the knowledge is expanding so fast that no one can keep up. "Knowledge shall be increased."

What does this mean? I believe that God prepares the way for each person in each generation to understand the times they are in so that they will live life to its fullest in the designed era of time that they are in. The Bible is full of opportunity to get to know about your own personal bents and characteristics better as well as see the world as a whole and to understand why things are the way they are, NOW.

I believe the scripture provides enlightenment to your current situation; answers to your questions and direction to move forward with success. But just as denying that you are sick when you have a sickness won't heal you , neither will denying the signs of times stop the clock. The balance of how to live in the end times and yet enjoy life is found in the scripture.

Note: I sure get a lot of rebuttal whenever the words 'end times' comes about. But I get a lot of rebuttal about Jesus, the cross, the Bible itself, the stories in the Bible, the parting of the Red Sea, the virgin birth, Jesus raising from the dead and just about every other significant event in the Bible. What do you think the results are going to be if generation after generation Christians believe less and less of what God has said? I can tell you for certainty that Christians will have no power of persuasion and non-Christians will create their own god. Look, if you don't believe the Bible and have no interest in following Christ, why not just admit it. If this is how you think, you are fulfilling scripture yourself. "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. ...ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."