Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Daily Devotional October 23 - Grow Up And Move Forward

"The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust Him." Nahum 1:7

What does it mean to trust God or to put trust in God?
It means that you have received the Holy Spirit in your life and you now connect to God via the power of the Holy Spirit within. You believe what the Bible says, every Word. You desire to be with other believers. You find time to pray and not just at dinner. You apply your faith with expectations. You grasp the concept that God made you in His image and likeness and that emulating anything other than Jesus is a encumbrance to fulfilling your purpose and finding yourself. Trust is the muscle of belief. God says it, you believe it.

Is there a difference in trusting God and believing in God?
Yes. Believing is the first step to getting understanding from God. Once you believe God you are able to trust God, but not the other way around. You believe God from the moment you are saved, but you don't start trusting God until you see your faith in action and start to measure the results. Once you see that with God everything is different and that there is no reason to go about life under your own power, you start to trust God.
You learn to trust God whether the answer is yes, no, or wait.
You learn to trust God even if the answer to a prayer was not the answer you were anticipating. You learn to trust God with more than the superfluous.

Does it make a difference in which God I put my trust?
It is sad that this question even needs to be asked or answered. Yes it matters. It matters so much that those who put their trust in any god other than the God whose Son is Jesus has put their trust in no one, nothing. They don't exist. The way you know if you have believed in the only living God is by the connection of Jesus Christ. If you are trying to find a way to believe God, but not believe what He says then what's the point. If you are trying to make a god for yourself, that you like what that god thinks more than the way that God discloses Himself in the Bible, then you are trusting in nothing, no one. There is only one God and God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

How do I know if I am trusting God or just playing church?
How much time do you devote out of your day/week to search the scriptures or to commune with God in the cool of the day?
What interests you most?
Do you have a propensity to find ways to help others or lift others up?
Is the only experience you have with God on Sunday morning, or Friday or Saturday?
When someone asks you about God do you first tell them what denomination you are from/with?
When you are at church are you in a hurry to get out?
Are you faking your relationship with Jesus so no one will know that you don't have a clue?

Life is short and God deserves an answer from you. Are you going to trust Him with your life and everything in it, or not? You know, sometimes it's just time to grow up and move forward.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Daily Devotional October 22 - By Faith Not Bloodline

"Then said he (John the Baptist) to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, Oh generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring for therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." Luke 3:7-8

It's not just Jews and Christians that look to Abraham as the father of their nation. It is many Muslims also. It goes all the way back to Genesis 12. Abraham is the father of nations in this way. Abraham was called to be the father of many nations. Abraham begat Isaac and Isaac begat Jacob and Esau. Esau sold his birthright and Jacob received the blessing. There is also the birth of Ishmael from Abraham and the Egyptian woman, handmaiden of Sarah. Ishmael represents one nation of people and Isaac represents another, Jacob and Esau also representing many people as well as the twelve tribes of Israel from the sons of Isaac.

All of the offspring of these men claim Abraham as their father. Many are Jews and many are Muslims. They claim sonship by birthright. And children of Abraham they are. But true children of Abraham are made children of Abraham by faith not blood. It is true that Jews and Muslims can call Abraham their father by blood, but it is by faith that they/we receive the promise of Abraham.

Christians (Muslims and Jews) are adopted into the promise of Abraham by faith, not blood. "For the promise, that he (Abraham) should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith." Please read the entire chapter four of Romans for a deeper look at justification by faith.

I think it is a wonderful thing to be born from the bloodline of Abraham. Every person, whether Jew or Muslim or other should be proud of their heritage. There is so much history and tradition handed down through many generations. But salvation comes by faith in Jesus, not a birthright through Abraham. Yes Jesus overshadows father Abraham. John the Baptist was simply telling those who placed their faith in their bloodline that it would not carry them over into the heavenlies. There are still many people today who can claim father Abraham as their progenitor that have not placed their faith in Jesus, the Father of their progenitor.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Daily Devotional October 21 - What Is Enough Evidence?

"He saved others; Himself he cannot save. If He be king of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him." Matthew 27:42 "There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst they good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Luke 16:19-31 Also read John 5:39-47

Isn't it ironic that those who don't believe are always trying to tell those who do believe, what to tell those who don't believe, to convince those that do believe, not to believe?

Had Jesus walked off the cross, whomever didn't believe that Jesus was the Son of God believed, would still not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. God designed man to believe in God through several methods, all of which non-believers deny.
1 God designed each person to have, in their soul, a desire to know their creator. It is inherent.
2 God designed all creation to speak of Him through the experience of the sciences.
3 God designed each person to have a need to connect with the source of their existence.
4 God designed every person to respond to the inner call from God.
5 God confirmed His existence through the writing of the scriptures, where he used men, to confirm in writing God's self disclosure, throughout the ages. The Bible is the only book that reveals the actual genealogies of man from Jesus backward to Adam.
6 The Bible verifies and codifies the history of man from Adam to Jesus by having the Bible span about 4,000 years from Adam to Jesus with multiple writers from differing cultures and milleniums, cohesively joining together the only credible source for historically accurate anthropology. And then from Jesus until now and beyond the Bible prophesies unquestionable events that have taken place and that will take place in the future.

Even if Jesus had come down from the cross or if someone went back from heaven to earth to notify those on earth that God is real, heaven is real and hell is real, those who don't believe wouldn't believe. The non-believer is always looking for more evidence to not believe. If the evidence that is available isn't enough, well, think about it.

Daily Devotional October 20 - Get To Know Your Inner Man

"Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 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 3:13-16

I want you to get to know your inner man better. It is the inner man that holds the key to all right decisions, wisdom, knowledge, godly actions. Your mind and your body will both fight you all the way. Oh, you think I'm exaggerating. Tell me that you have not believed one way and yet did something another way. Tell me that you haven't made up your mind about something but your body wanted something different and your mind could not stave it off. Tell me that you didn't know what to do, but did something else anyway. Your body is at war with your mind and they are both at war with your spirit and your soul is suffering the consequences.

I said I want you to get to know your inner man better. Think of your inner man as the inner court; that place called the holy of holies, the inner most chamber of the tabernacle, the place where only purity and heart consecration can survive, that place where God resides, and you enter. That's the inner man. Get to know your inner man better and you will get to know God better, because that is where the Holy Spirit resides.

If you are really trying to figure out where to attend church, or who to marry, or who to go into business with or how to respond when your daughter comes home telling you about her boyfriend, any real issue in life, go to the inner man; the depths of your soul, all the way to that part of you that has not been conditioned by the world or spoiled by philosophy or damaged by unhealthy habits or destroyed by drugs or alcohol. You are more than the results of your life/lifestyle.
  • You are more than the outcome of a particular event like bankruptcy or business failure, divorce, misjudgments or even willful acts of disobedience. 
  • You are greater than the sum of your thoughts. 
  • You are more beautiful than your body, even if you have abused it for years and it looks like there is no hope, inside the inner man is a rejuvenated perspective, driven by the power of God within. 
  • You are more spiritual than you allow yourself to be on the outside. 
  • You are probably still stroking your ego, trying to make light of the things you do against God and not taking very seriously the things you do for God.
The inner man is that part of you that:
  • Can get the job done
  • Will make necessary adjustments, even if they are not popular, even if they require discipline
  • Is able to stop taking in what is killing you
  • Won't be bullied by satan or anyone and just roll over when approached to compromise principal
  • Does seek higher ground
  • Will take back lost territory
  • Won't continue blaming others
  • Will draw closer to God
  • Can live life in the will of God
Get to know your inner man and you will be very pleased. That's where God meets you to strengthen you and fit you to be in His image and likeness. Re-read the verse above and see if you agree that God is speaking to your inner man right now.

Daily Devotional October 19 - Do You Believe It?

"Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before Thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on Thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day. Howbeit Thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for Thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly:" Nehemiah 9:32-33

It is refreshing to hear from someone that gets it. Nehemiah understands that God is just. He understands that God is great and mighty. He understands that troubles quite often come from disobedience to the ways of God. He is not going before God making excuses. He is going before God in recognition of God's place. He is going to God with understanding. He is going to God knowing that it is the people that have wronged God, not God that have wronged the people. Nehemiah understands that troubles need to be dealt with and he asks God not to overlook his troubles, and the troubles of others, the troubles of those who have stepped out of the will of God.

Nehemiah understands that what you reap is what you sow, but he also knows to go to God as an imperfect believer and seek the will of God and get answers to their petitions, solutions for their dilemmas and provisions for their needs. I like that about Nehemiah.

It is the same for you and me. We are imperfect believers. I hope you go to God like Nehemiah and list your troubles, seek answers and look to God with expectation for your provisions. God has not changed. God made a way for us to come to Him and find Him and praise Him and Worship Him and ask Him and get from Him. I hope you are OK with this.

The whole universe was created so that you could have your needs and desires met. Of course God is not going to honor silly, irresponsible desires that would keep you away form His presence, but the internal hopes and desires that you have that are in alignment with the purpose of creation and the will of God, are available.

Don't be afraid to go to God, like Nehemiah, and speak the raw truth about yourself and ask for God to intervene. God will intervene and you will get the answer, your needs will be met and you will receive provision. Do you believe it?

Friday, October 18, 2019

Daily Devotional October 18 - Is There A Place In Your Heart For Differing Views?

""And it came to pass, that He (Jesus) went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto Him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And He (Jesus) said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungered, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: There the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath." Mark 2:23-28

It's not just the sabbath issue, but the naysayers and the legalists push their rules on others and many of the rules are not from God. So often the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are worlds apart. The fact that Jesus addressed this issue is real important as we look at the mind-set that promotes things like punishing or ostracizing those who don't follow some unknown strict code of conduct. The body of Christ is made up of a variety of differing cultural and ethnic proclivities, many that don't have anything to do with heart purity of godly living. You can dress different than someone else and still be living just as holy a lifestyle. You can have differing interests and still follow Jesus. You can even believe a little differently than your Baptist/Methodist/Presbyterian/Non-denominational/Holiness/Apostolic/Missionary of other named group of believers and still follow Jesus.

That's the point. The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. David ate the shewbread, in today's vernacular, the host, the Eucharist, the wafer, holy bread, sanctified for use. The disciples picked corn on the sabbath day. What is the spirit of the law of God? Of course it is appropriate to have rules and follow them, but there is room for irregularities within those rules, circumstances of exception.

The question becomes, is there a place in your heart for differing views if those views do not threaten true Christianity; If those views are not corrupt or misleading or sinful or inappropriate? Can you make room for the occasional foible or unforeseen circumstance that might require that you are merciful and forgiving? I hope so. I'm not advocating giving up or compromising any of the cardinal doctrines that are clearly outlined in the scriptures. But I have seen much majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors as if you were hired as God's watchdog to make sure everyone does it the way you do.

You are to become like Christ. Religion is for finding the grace and mercy and love and forgiveness of God, not for the binding together of like-minded men and women who are following some rigid and unforgiving set of rules, rules that God has not written, in order to appear to others to be holier or better than those around them. Religion should steer you to become a servant to others and to make special places for the less fortunate and to lift others up and encourage them, not to shun and despise those who have been brought up differently or those who may have learned a different, less perfect theology. In other words, Get off your high horse.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Daily Devotional October 17 - Read The Bible And Then Make Up Your Mind

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Romans 4:5

Not everyone is friendly to this verse. I've heard many pastors say that "that's not what it means." That's what's wrong with stale and un-renewed theologies. Once a group has made a doctrine of faith or a church resolution or a church polity, in many cases that stays the rule for decades or centuries, leaving no room for new light from God; growth in the inner man that dissuades one from believing something that departs from the true meaning of a verse. As the Church (body of Christ) grows, so does our understanding and with understanding comes enlightenment, a bigger view of God and a better view of God.

Verses like this one strike at the heart of religious philosophies that teach that Christianity is a performance based religion. requiring its members to follow a set of rules that were not imparted to us by God. That's the way it was when Jesus came. Jesus wasn't angry at those who were living a holy life or trusting in God or even following tradition as long as they were not making up rules and traditions that would nullify the truth from God. It is the same today.

I hear more extra-biblical teaching than I do worthy biblical teaching. It seems that too many pastors, preachers, ministers are willing to preach church doctrine or 'get something quick schemes' instead of Biblical truth. It appears that those in leadership are more worried about bringing in enough income to build an empire, than they are in teaching the infallible truths of God's Word. Sometimes if you were to tell the people the truth, they would not like to hear it. It goes against what they have believed for forty years.

Jesus did all the work that you need to be accepted into the kingdom of God. You are not accepted because you said the right things or because you did something or because you gave a certain amount every week. You are accepted because God called and you answered. You were made righteous (by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation) you didn't become righteous over time. You were made righteous by God because of what Jesus did for you on the cross. You can't add to that. Quit trying. Accepting the work of Christ in its truest sense is the Biblical way. Remember we are following Jesus, not your denomination.

(Just to set the record straight; in no way am I saying that being a part of a main-line denomination is bad or less desirable than any other way of serving God. Denominations are for people to have organized and prosperous groups to join together to serve God and man. The rules for the denomination are a good thing and those who are members should follow the rules of the denomination, but the rules of a denomination are not scripture. Scripture truths supersede church doctrine.)

What I am saying is, too many church members don't read or know the scriptures as well as they should and they rely on being told what the scriptures say, too often. If you have a Bible, read it and then make up your mind if certain religious traditions are true or not.