Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Daily Devotional October 27 - You Have To Believe It To Receive It

"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What Paul is trying to say and has been saying in his ministry throughout the scripture is for us to realize and experience the world, but to think about and respond to our spiritual calling from Christ. Along with the many blessings, the good times, superior health, financial stability, job stability, family love, answered prayers and miracles from God, there will be times:
  • You will have pain.
  • You will experience mistreatment by others.
  • You will get sick.
  • You will be disappointed.
  • You will be lied to.
  • You will coerced.
  • You will robbed by satan of whatever is available.
  • You will feel discouraged.
  • You will feel beaten.
  • You will slip from your plan.
  • You will make mistakes.
  • You might even sin.
In these things, rejoice that God is still on your side.
In these things, pray that you will overcome.
Give thanks that God has not abandoned you, but is with you through it all.

That's the part that so many Christians don't like or maybe don't understand about God. They want to go around the fire instead of through the fire. You really can't blame them. Through the fire is when you experience these negative things I mentioned above. Of course we are not going to choose any of them and we certainly don't desire the valley experiences, but you will go through them at different points in time in your life. What are you going to do about it?

Well, ShadrachMeshach and Abednigo had an answer to this question. They said, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Daniel 3:17-18

It isn't a question of whether or not bad things are going to happen to good people, because they are. The question shouldn't be "why do does God allow bad things to happen to good people?" The question should be, "what are you going to do with what God allows to happen."

Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks.
For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Can you believe this and make it a part of your relationship with God?

Daily Devotional October 31 - Listen Carefully And Act Swiftly

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. But as He which has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, be ye holy because I am holy." 1 Peter 1:13-16

Gird up the loins of your mind. To paraphrase: "Strengthen, through use and constant communication with God, the center of your mind; the inner most part of your thinking; the root of all your thought life." We do this because as born again believers, we have a new nature that can be trained in the things of God. We have a living spirit that makes the direct connect with God through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We strengthen our minds by exercising them.
Be sober. In your thinking be sensible and use the wisdom that has been imputed into you by God. Don't let yourself be caught under the influence of anything that can blur your inner vision. It's not just alcohol and drugs. There are other vices that can keep you from sober thinking.

And hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Hope, look toward the end, but in the meantime you are living under the auspices of grace. Christ has already been revealed to you and you have already received the blessing of living under grace. You are not waiting until the end to receive the grace. You are currently actively involved in living under the rule of grace, the dispensation of grace, the time prior to the end of the end of man. Your hope must be in the finished work of Christ. You need to know that God's grace is to be fully understood, activated, and utilized now, on this side of heaven. All that God has is available to you right now under grace. If you are waiting to cross over to the other side so you can really experience Christ, you will be disappointed. Grace and peace with God are for this life we live , fully activated for use and complete in every way. Of course this is not heaven, it was never meant to be. This is life in Christ, for the now. Heaven is meant for another time and when we get to heaven we will no longer be under the dispensation of grace. We will be in the dispensation of the kingdom of God.

As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. Obedience to God only means good things. Obedience brings blessings. Obedience saves us from ourselves. Obedience to God is so much better than anything this world has to offer for our allegiance. If you claim Christ, fight your mind and your body to fashion itself to be like minded with Christ. You didn't have the power to do that before you were born again, but you do now. Use it wisely.

But as He which has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.
Conversation means lifestyle. Jesus is calling us to a holy lifestyle. And more than that, holiness is all about the direction you are in. Holiness is not a static position that you earned because you belong to the right church, because you are a pastor, because you are a priest, because you tithe, because you always make the right decisions or because of any other level of perfection that you think you might have reached. Holiness is fluid and part of the sub-structure of the Christian life. You are holy because of Christ, not because of you. You are holy because God sees you through the works of Jesus, not because you attended church and didn't miss a Sunday for six years. Of course it is wonderful that you or someone you know is faithful to do what they say they are going to do and follow the important tenants of faith of the church they attend. But don't get that kind of holiness mixed up with the holiness that God calls you to through Christ. The holiness we live through Christ, is Christ in us the hope of glory, and it is the indwelling Holy Spirit that lives in our inner man, but it is not from our good works that God looks upon and bestows blessings. It's always been about what Christ is doing in you and through you that makes you holy. Let God have His way with you.

Because it is written, be ye holy because I am holy. Because it is written. I won't belabour the point, but this is so important in how you view the scripture and God.
Because it is written it cannot be rescinded.
Because it is written God has proven Himself that He will not change his plan.
Because it is written, you have a contract with God that is immutable.
Because it is written you can stake your life on it.
Because it is written you don't have to worry about dysfunctional cult leaders taking you down the wrong road.
Because it is written you can find the truth for yourself and decide.
Because it is written it will come to pass the way it is written, because God promises that not one jot or tittle will be changed until all is fulfilled.

You might not like it. You might not agree with it. You might not do it this way if you were God. But because it is written, it will come to pass. My suggestion is to get on board with all that God is doing, pray about your part in this great move of God, listen carefully to what is written and act swiftly to fulfill it.

Daily Devotional October 30 - Will You Be found Thinking About God?

"And He spake a parable unto them, saying, the ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, what shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, this will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow my fruits and goods. And I will say to my soul, soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." Luke 12:16-21

There is noting wrong with getting rich. But success is found in the honest pursuit of wealth, not in the accumulation of things. The mistake that this man made was not that he was rich. God provided rich soil and the man worked the soil and it produced well. The mistake that this man made wasn't that he had become so rich that he needed new, bigger and better barns. Again God wants men and women to be diligent and produce goods and services to service the people.

So what was it that the man did that made him a fool?

He had not reconciled with God along the way. He was rich with goods, but poor with the things of God. Had he made a place for God in his life, this parable would have been written about another man. God did not take his soul because he worked hard and was rich and about to get richer. God didn't plan his death so he couldn't enjoy his harvest. God didn't take his life at all. But God did know when his earthly life would end and this man was not ready to pass over.

That's the point. You are working hard and making a life for yourself and your family. Maybe you have been successful and maybe things are going really well for you. Don't wait until you think you have it all together to get right with God. Do it now. Do it today. You can't be sure about tomorrow, but you can be sure about right now. Bow your knee and let God know that you do want the things of God to be pertinent in your life.

Become a steward of everything instead of an owner of a few things. Were the man in the story a steward, it would mean that he had already reconciled himself to God and he was now using his mind and his hands to produce goods for the betterment of mankind, sharing his wealth and sharing his smart business acumen. He would have had no less wealth, but an even greater wealth in having the satisfaction that he was doing business God's way. It does matter. Time is fleeting and as each day passes, your collective opportunity to follow God's leading and change the way you think is diminishing. On your last day, let it be that you were thinking like God.

Daily Devotional October 29 - The Truth Within The Truth

"And He said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity (insistence and persistence) he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

There are some great truths here.
The first truth is the reference to midnight. Midnight is after the last minute. If you were going to go to someone who could help you with your need, you usually wouldn't go to them after hours, probably not after 7:00 or 8:00 pm. Even if you were almost desperate you would still not go to them that late, but midnight, that's out of the question. It's just too late. But notice the inference here. Even if you come to the Lord past the last minute, it's not too late.

The second truth is the reference to the 'story.' The story being the man's story who is knocking on the door. He starts by telling the man with the bread why he needs the bread and the urgency of the matter. His friend needs the bread, but he doesn't have the bread to give him. In other words he has someone coming to him with a need and he is not prepared to meet the need. Of the thousands of Christians I have interviewed, it seems to be normal to be under-supplied; to not have more than the bare minimum; to be living from paycheck to paycheck. There is a tone of embarrassment in his voice as well. Maybe he feels embarrassed that he can't offer his friend even the bare minimum. Either way, he tells his story to the man who has the bread. It is imperative that we follow Jesus in His leading about how to approach these kind of situations. And giving our story is a way of communicating where we are and why we are in need.

The third truth is the reference to the lender. The bottom line is that the man with the bread tells the man asking several important messages:
It's after hours. You should have come to me hours ago.
There was many previous opportunities for you to come and get the bread.
My children and my family are down for the night and it will be quite an inconvenience to them for me to get up and take care of your need.
I'm already up now, come on in and I will get the bread.

God has made a way for you and me to get our needs met, even though we might come to Him late, maybe ask for the wrong thing, maybe ask at the wrong time, and maybe not even ask in the right way. But if we ask seems to be the real message here. God has what you need, for your friend and for yourself. Even if you wait too long to go to God with your problem/need, God will assist you simply because you asked. And from experience, I have found it true that God has answered some of my prayers because I was importunate, not because I asked the right way or at the right time or ended my prayer with the right title; not because I was properly prepared, not because I had made provisions for future events, not because I was warned in advance; simply because God is that great and that good, that God can overlook our insufficiency when He sees our sufficiency, i. e., Christ in us.

Daily Devotional October 28 - Lawyers Are People Too

"Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them." Titus 3:13
This is a remarkable statement. Let me paraphrase. When you bring Zenas, the lawyer and Apollos the preacher to see me, make sure that:
  • the plans for their departure and arrival are well thought out
  • everything they need is properly set up
  • someone helps with the baggage
  • their family is taken care of while they are gone away from home
  • they have enough food and drink for the whole trip
  • that all their bills are paid before bringing them
  • and that the trip is completely paid for
That's the Christian way. This notion that lawyers don't need anything because they make so much money is foolishness and most of the time not true at all. Let me tell you a story. Hurricane Andrew hit SW Florida and I was living in Florida at the time. I had a small construction company with about 10 workers. One week prior to the disaster of hurricane Andrew I was praying and I said, Lord I will go anywhere you send me, willingly, except Miami.

Well hurricane Andrew goes through the Miami, Homestead area the end of that same week. God said go. I said you've got to be kidding and then God changed my heart. I took my truck and a few men with me the day after the hurricane had gone through. I ended up at a place called Quail Roost, an area South and West of Miami. I did not know I was in Quail Roost for weeks. Anyway, I went down to help people, except I didn't know what they needed until I got there and saw the destruction.

So went went back and forth from Mid Florida to Quail Roost for weeks, gathering supplies in Mid Florida and taking them to Quail Roost. We brought mostly plywood and tar paper just to help people have a dry spot in their home. Many people stayed and wouldn't even leave their property, even though there was almost nothing left, especially any roof shingles or plywood. During the next three months we dried in 43 homes, not completely, but enough where they could have a place to sleep and eat, out of the weather. (All at no cost to anyone receiving our help). It would be months and in some cases more than a year until some of these people could rebuild their homes. Anyway, keep in mind, I didn't know anyone and there was no Red Cross or National Guard yet and even when they did come it was not nearly enough.

here was this one home; two story, beautiful home, completely ruined, missing most of its second floor and most of its roof. There was a woman outside in a fuzzy nightgown with a glazed look in her eyes, staring off into the sky as if a bomb had hit their home, and this was a few days after the hurricane went through. As with all the help that we were offering we pulled over and the men and I took some plywood and tar paper and filled in a section of their roof so that they could have a dry area to live in. Wouldn't you know it, months later Christians back in Mid Florida and seven some of the local churches were angry at me for drying in the roof of this home. They said I should have only dried in the homes of the poor. They also said that this home wqas owned by a lawyer and he had plenty of money and didn't need help. Really?

The water was coming in their home just like everybody else's. You couldn't buy plywood or tar paper or anything else for that matter (in the area) at this point in time. All the money in the world had no value in their neighborhood. They couldn't get out and almost nobody could get in for weeks and months for many in that area. Any way, I am thankful to God that I didn't go down their with an agenda, taking my pride and arrogance and ignorance with me or I would have looked around to see who was worthy to have me fix their roof. God help us all. The point is that lawyers are people too.

Next Paul tells Titus to do the same for the preacher that he is doing for the lawyer. Our pastors work hard and they (almost all of them) are grossly underpaid. Not only that, too many parishioners actually resent pastor making anything, much less maybe having a nice car or wearing new clothes. Next time you are thinking of finding some old hand-me-down clothes for the pastors kids, you need to think again. They deserve for you to sacrifice and buy them something really nice, new and beautiful. Your pastor needs a new car. The pastor's wife is to be respected and honored and loved and cared for as a guest. You shouldn't even think of how little you and your church board can get away with paying your pastor. You should think of ways that you can double or triple their income. Don't bother writing me or trying to find scripture that supports not supporting your pastor. You won't find it.

Paul instructed Titus to bring Zenas and Apollos and that nothing should be wanting unto them. This is Bible truth. Find a way to bless your lawyer or pastor. Go the extra mile. Sacrifice some time or money and make their lives better. It is God's way.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Daily Devotional October 26 - Are You Tooled Up?

"Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but satan hindered us. " 1 Thessalonians 3:11

Wait a minute! What does Paul mean that satan hindered him? How could it be that satan had any influence on the Apostle Paul? Wasn't Paul immune to satan's ploys? If Paul wasn't protected against satan hindering his mission, what hope do we have? Aren't Christians protected against any power that satan might have had before we were saved?

satan is a real spiritual force in our world. And because satan has so many followers, some by choice, some by default, he uses people to perform his will. In the Christian realm it's like when we pray to God, we know that God wants us to put feet to our prayers. In other words, for us to do what we can toward the tasks at hand and relying on God to complete the task with His supernatural intervention. With satan and his followers it works much the same. satan relies on people to cause whatever havoc he can influence them to do and satan and his emissaries (demons) apply whatever spiritual initiative necessary to complete the (havoc, pain, death, sin, indescretion, turmoil, fraud, terrorism, castatrophe.)

What Christians through prayer accomplish to bring to pass the will of God, satan and his followers buffet by standing against the things of God, attempting to thwart the will of God. satan is successful where the power to overcome his influence is missing. In Paul's case it wasn't that he could not go here or there because there was some sort of invisible barrier like a forcefield keeping him from his mission, it was that satan and his emissaries had plotted and planned, using men and women to set up obstacles and barriers making it difficult and sometimes almost impossible for Paul to accomplish his goal. No matter how spiritual you are, you can only fight so many battles at one time. Mortals have a limit.

If you are a Christian you have probably been in a similar battle. You see with your spiritual eyes that you are doing the right thing, but you also see with your spiritual eyes that there is an enemy waiting, plotting and planning your demise. This is the spiritual battle that you are in. This is the battle that you need to be prepared for and tooled up to fight. This is where we are hindered. One thing to remember in the midst of the battle/s. "Submit yourselvs therefore to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:8. satan can't stay where he isn't invited or wanted, but don't think he can't come around on occasion to check on your progress. That's right, even for Christians.

Daily Devotional October 25 - God Is Light

"This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." 1 John 1:5

In the sense of light and darkness, God represents light. In the sense of good and evil, God represents good. There is no darkness, no evil in God. How then did evil get started? Good question.

When God created all creation, God embedded into humans the right to choose to do good or to do evil, i. e., the right to deny God and/or the right to step outside of the God ordained parameters of absolute perfection, i. e., free will. With this power given to mankind, mankind has the inherent ability to stand with God or stand against God, stand with the natural parameters applied to each creation or stand against each parameter applied to each creation.

God cannot do evil, but God created an environment where evil can be performed, in the natural world, i. e., the seen world and in the spiritual world, i. e., the unseen world. God is not subject to the parameters of the natural or spiritual world. God is the creator, not the created. God is God and man is man. Man will never be God. Man does have attributes of the likeness of God from birth, and after salvation man has the image and likeness of the Spirit of God, and after this natural life has ended more attributes of God-likeness will be imputed to us. But we will never attain to be God, nor will we ever attain to fully know all that there is to know of God. God is more than we can know, now, after we have been born again, after we have left this mortal body behind, and even after we have been in heaven with God ten thousand years.

Some people don't like that. That's because they have an ignoble view of God. Many people, even Christians want a God they can figure out. They are discontented that God has reserved full disclosure of Himself. Most of the problems we have within legitimate organized (Christian) religion is that each group thinks they have some corner on the "I know more than you do about God market." When the truth is, that even at best, if all the religions put in together and included all they know, their deepest theology, their highest thought, together it would not be of little stature against the greatness of God.

What am I trying to say? God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Do you believe it?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Daily Devotional October 24 - The Power Of God Is Found In The Gospel

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith." Romans 1:16-17

Paul is not ashamed and I am not ashamed either. The part about this verse that is often overlooked is that the gospel contains the power of God. The implications are that the power of God provides to the believer :
  • power through prayer (healing, salvations, miracles)
  • prophesy and interpretation of prophesy
  • words of knowledge
  • communication with God
  • forgiveness of sins
  • short term and long term blessings
  • visions and dreams of things to come
  • interventions by God into your daily affairs
Add some items to the list from your personal experience.

The point is that those who do not believe the gospel do not have access to any of these spiritual components. Some people think they do. There are people all over the world who call themselves spiritual without accepting the Lordship of Jesus Christ. And from one perspective those who do not believe the gospel can dabble in spiritual things. Because every human was made in the image and likeness of God there is an inherent internal desire to know God and to operate in the spiritual realm. However, without the power of the gospel, there is no direct connect with God. There is however direct connect to the demon world.

That's really the big difference in the ability of believers to ward off evil influences. Believers have the power of God to use against the wiles of the wicked, non-believers do not have this power. That doesn't mean that there are not good people who do not believe the gospel. There are many good people who do not believe in or trust in Jesus. There are even good people who do not acknowledge the existence of God. But don't think for one minute that they enjoy the benefits of having personal relationship with God, nor do they inherit the benefits of the afterlife.

All the power of God is in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 23, 2017

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.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Daily Devotional October 22 - Father Abraham By Faith

"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.

Daily Devotional October 21 - Be Careful About Judging Others

"Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than His Maker?" Job 4:17

Mortal man is quite the complicated subject. Mortal man has been trying to take the place of God since the beginning. We should be incorporating God's invisible, spiritual component in our everyday decisions. We are not God, nor do we possess every attribute that God possesses, like: omniscience, omnipotence, immutability. Finding our true place is understanding what attributes we do have that we are in charge of and knowing our parameters/limitations and understanding what will require the hand of God to be completed.

We are not more just than God, but some discernment of justice is given to us to apportion.
We are not more pure than God, but purity of life/lifestyle is for us to seek and find, apprehend, acknowledge and implement.

Justice is only ours to divvy out according to our laws, but the reference here is about a different kind of justice. We do not know other peoples hearts and therefore we need to be careful when making accusations to or about people with whom we have no personal contact. Our justice is to be limited to known events. When we start making judgement on those whom we don't know or have ever met, we have crossed the bounds of our God given rights. This is God's area of expertise and we must refrain as Christians from making judgements beyond our understanding.

Sometimes we think we have the right to cut somebody down or act like we are better than they are, but again this should not be in our job duties. God knows how pure someone is and what their intent is/was and what to do about it. Let's stick to examining ourselves and following God's lead as to what to do about our own behavior.

Friday, October 20, 2017

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.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Daily Devotional Ocrtober 18 - What Part Of The Bible Do You Believe?

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed." Genesis 2:7-8

These events make the roots of your faith. This is what happened at the beginning of creation of earth and mankind. Of course the entire story reveals how God made the stars, galaxies, animals, light, plants and all other known and unknown creations. It is these beginning scriptures about the beginnings of mankind that make the roots of our faith.

If you don't believe these simple words about creation, then how can you expect that further revelation will be given to you , whether it is spiritual or scientific.
Spiritual in the sense that revelation is built upon revelation, truth upon truth, the root of this foundation must be secure and strong or even what we do receive will not get properly processed.

Scientific in the sense, that if in the quest for discovery in any science discipline, creation in its truth is not recognized, evaluations will be skewed. A good example is Darwin's theory of evolution. This theory has no roots, therefore the truth presented is science fiction. All the sciences were created by God to work. They all have a beginning and if scientist believed the basics first, their foundation would be secure and their analysis would be scientifically sound.

Too many Christians don't really care how it all began. They are willing to buy into made up science in order to keep the peace with the so-called academics. They are willing to make light of the importance of the root of their belief system. Some are even embarrassed to say that the scriptures are an accurate representation of what really happened. Wait a minute! If you don't believe the simple, easy to understand truths that are clearly revealed, how can you expect to understand the more complex and more difficult to discern truths?

The Bible is true. The stories are true. The time lines are correct. God did create man and woman. God did put it all in order with a Word. The Israelites did cross the desert for 40 years with the same shoes. Moses did part the Red Sea. Elijah did raise the dead. Mary was a virgin when she had Jesus. Jesus did die on the cross. Jesus did raise from the dead. Jesus is alive.

Believe the whole Bible and the whole Bible will become applicable to you.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Daily Devotional October 17 - Read The Bible and 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 parts from the true meaning of a verse. As the church 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.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Daily Devotional October 16 - God Without Jesus?

"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.... He that hateth Me hateth My Father also." John 15:18-19 and 23

Maybe you haven't experienced the world hating you yet. Maybe you haven't seen the results of living a sold out to Jesus life and trying to fit in with those around you that don't believe. But in time, if you are faithful to God, you will see the hand of the world come down on you. You will also see the hand of God lift you up and protect you.

I like being chosen by God. I like the fact that Jesus has called me out of the world. But you already know that Jesus didn't call you of out of living in the world. There's a difference. Jesus calls us out of living worldly to living godly. It's not the arduous struggle that has no end like some purport. It is a simple giving over of our will to the will of God. I know this, to be loved by the world is awfully shallow. It is hardly ever sincere and if the world loves you it's just because it wants something from you.

People hated Jesus because he was Jesus. Think about it. Jesus never sinned nor did he do anything to anyone that was disrespectful or wrong and yet they hated Him. If you follow Jesus you will be ostracized by those who hate Jesus, not because you are you, but because Jesus is Jesus and you are willing to be associated with Him.

Jesus sets the record straight. If they hate Jesus, they hate the Father also. If they hate Jesus they hate God. It's that simple. There are a lot of people that want God without Jesus. It can't be. There is no loving God without loving Jesus. You might think that that is unfair, but it is God's way. Jesus is God. Why is it that so many people don't like Jesus anyway? What has Jesus ever done to anyone to bring on this hapless attitude against Jesus? Nothing. People judge God by the company He keeps and God keeps company with Christians and Christians are imperfect, sometimes inappropriate, definitely not sinless and quite often either ignorant or even offensive. Non-believers judge holy God by sinful man. It's all mixed up.

If mankind were to judge Jesus on His own merits there could be nothing except acceptance. That's how much God loves you, that He is willing to be despised for the likes of you and me. By keeping company with you, Jesus's message is tainted. But in the end the Bible tells us that every living soul will be without excuse. God has revealed Himself through Jesus and Jesus reveals Himself through you and me. That's how it is. I would hope that we would at least attempt to be His ambassador with some resemblance.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Daily Devotional October 15 - How Much Evidence 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 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. If the evidence that is available isn't enough, well, think about it.

Daily Devotional October 14 - Life Can Be A Little Complicated

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, satan hath desired to sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:31-32

Are you doing a good work? Do you believe that Jesus is Lord? Have you decided to follow Jesus? Are you a member of a church? Do you teach Sunday School or have a ministry? Are you trying to do the right thing in your family life and your business life?

If you have said yes to any of these questions, then listen carefully.
satan will try to take away all the progress you have made.
satan intends to take back from you all that you have gained; money, friends, responsibilities, integrity, land, houses, children, parents, spouse, anything and everything that you are steward over.
satan will use trickery, advertisement, people, money, lies, family, friends, church friends, anything to make you change your mind about God.
satan will entice you, try to crush you, tickle your ears, divide you from those you love, break your spirit, take your things, plant weeds, make you think your something you are not, buy you, and try to make you into a fake.
satan is real and satan is smart, cunning, crafty, calculating, sneaky, scheming, treacherous, deceitful, duplicitous, deceptive, misleading, conniving, hateful, vile, relentless, repulsive, wicked, malevolent and foul.

When Jesus says he (satan) will sift you as wheat, Jesus knows what you are up against. Jesus knows that satan will attack you without reason, without cause, without consideration, without fear of reprisal, without any consideration for you, your family, your business, your friends, your church, your anything. If satan decides to sift you as wheat it is because you exist. You don't have to be doing a good work, living a holy life, nor do you have to be messing up, having fallen to the bottom, losing the battle or thoroughly ruined, having fallen away from what you know is right.

satan comes to sift you as wheat because you exist.

Jesus understands the whole dilemma. That's why Jesus tells Peter he is going to pray for him. That's why Jesus prays for you. That's why you need to be praying for others. Prayer provides a disconnect that thwarts satans ploys. Prayer has the power to step in between a situation and sever satans hold/stronghold/s. Prayer contains the power to overpower satan.
Ignorance does not have the power to overpower satans projects.
Denial doesn't work either.
Only prayer was designed to pull the plug on satan's activities.

Jesus prayed that Peter would hold fast to his faith. Jesus knew that there was a storm coming unlike anything that Peter had ever experienced. The only way to survive was to implement his faith. It is the only way you will overcome the wiles of the wicked one also, simple faith. If the faith you have is only in yourself, you are faced with having to fight against a powerful enemy with no weapons, naked and vulnerable, unable to stand against, fight against or even run from the evil one. No faith means no protection and no weapons to fight back.

Next Jesus says something rather disconcerting. Jesus says to Peter, who had been with him for three years, side by side, watching all the miracles and seeing results from his own hands, "when thou art converted, strengthen the brethren."
I will just say this.
Playing with God like he doesn't exist, or he is your toy or genie in a bottle will not be enough when you are tested in battle.
Playing church because it is apropos will not help you in the time of need.
Acting like you have faith while you are living out another life provides no protection against the evil forces of this world.
You have to have faith and it must in God, through Christ.

Jesus told Peter what Peter didn't want to hear. Jesus dressed him down to save his soul. Peter believed he was as strong as Jesus. Peter believed he would be protecting Jesus. Peter was wrong about Jesus and many today are wrong about who they think Jesus is too. Go ahead and read verse 33-34 and verses 54-62 and see how easy it is to think something different than what Jesus says. I would rather believe what Jesus is telling me than to create my own version and hope I am right.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Daily Devotional October 13 - Why Don't Most People Believe In Hell?

"For what profiteth a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:" Mark 8:36 and 1 Peter 1:24

Can you lose your soul? Yes. You can lose it in this sense; You are alive and you have the power to feed and nurture your soul with the Word of God. You can commune with God and you can hear from the Holy Spirit all things pertaining to building up and filling the soul with God things. Your soul can be enlightened with the things of God. You can decide today to enhance your soul by praying or worshipping or praising or thanking God. But there will come a time when you will no longer have that power. When you die, if you are born again, you will still have power over your soul. You will not lose control of you. What good is it to gain all the material wealth that the world has to offer and then lose control of your living soul for eternity.

By losing control I am saying that in hell (the place where non-believers will reside for all eternity) their soul remains alive and they are conscious of their surroundings, but no longer will anyone who goes to hell have any control over anything, not even their existence. They cannot even die or become unconscious. Maybe it is important to believe and to reveal the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the only way to avert a terrifying destiny.

Just one more note: Modern man doesn't fear hell. We can thank our preachers for that. Modern man doesn't believe hell is the place that Jesus says it is. I think everyone should re-evaluate what they believe. If the scriptures are true about salvation and true about the benefits of knowing Jesus and you recognize the truth of this by the evidence of experience, shouldn't we also believe what the Bible says about hell?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Daily Devotional October 12 - Tolerance

"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.

Daily Devotional October 11 - The Spiritual Mind, The Carnal Mind

"And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Carnal is referring to the mindset of (in this case) believers who have not matured. Why is it that so many people want to stay in the state of carnal minded? Is it possible that they are afraid that if they cave in to following the precepts of God that they will not be able to do some things? Maybe it is because they are afraid that they might become like the people they make fun of. Maybe it's because they have never really tasted of true Christianity. Whatever the reason, if you are reading this, it is time to make up your mind that you are going to step out in faith and try to experience a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God.

Becoming spiritual minded is a requirement for becoming a mature Christian. But this kind of spiritually minded is not the kind that your non-believing friends have made up in their minds that you would be like if you were spiritually minded. Even shallow Christians (carnal minded Christians) have a negative view of becoming spiritual, as if becoming spiritual made you forget what it is to be a man or a woman with needs and wants and desires. Nothing could be further from the truth. Becoming spiritual opens your eyes and your ears to higher thinking. Closer to God becomes your mantra and with closer comes wisdom. You will start to make wiser decisions and handle more issues with less effort than ever before. Becoming spiritual puts you in touch with your inner man, that part of your whole self that is the home of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Having access to the power of God is far more interesting, adventuresome and exciting than sitting around watching TV, hoping that you will be enlightened by Hollywood's finest playwrights.

The only way to get free from the doldrums of apathy and following the continuous drain of the rudimentary lifestyle is to make up your mind that you are not going to just 'tolerate' life anymore. You have got to make up your mind that you are going to receive the best that God has to offer and then do something with it. God is liberal with His gifts, blessings, money, love, mercy and forgiveness. God will enhance your life in direct proportion to the measure you give it. If you give it little you will grow little. If you give it much you will get much. If you give it more, you will receive more than imaginable. If you give it your all you will receive God's all. God set it up this way so that you would learn to co-create with God.

The carnal mind is the enemy of God-thinking. The carnal mind will keep you trapped for years and provide the ammunition to continue blaming others for your own unwillingness to cooperate with the plan of God for your life. The carnal mind doesn't serve you, you serve it. Your passions and desires are not ever met while nurturing the carnal mind. That's why you have to go back again and again to get the same things over and over again without ever being fulfilled. The carnal mind promotes the art of repeating the same mistake over and over again. The carnal mind is the enemy of God.

Being spiritually minded is about participating in what God is doing in His kingdom, here, on this side of heaven, now, with what you have. Nothing more and nothing less.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Daily Devotional October 10 - The Dispensation Of The Fullness Of Times

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which he hath purposed in Himself. That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:" Ephesians 1:3-10

The dispensation of the fullness of times. All that God did from even before the creation of the world/s and all that is within them, God did knowing the end from the beginning. You should be ecstatic that God, in His wisdom, found a place for you in eternity with Him. That God would even consider you to be His child and that God wants to spend all eternity with you is a blessing immeasurable. The dispensation of the fullness of times is the culmination of the last generation of man, also known as the dispensation of grace. This is the final dispensation before things are wrapped up here as we know it. You might be wondering if there is any clue to when the end of the last dispensation is. Of course no one knows the time or date, but we do know the season.
The dispensation of the fullness of times is the seventh dispensation of time also called the kingdom covenant
The first is the dispensation of innocency or the Edenic Covenant
The second is the dispensation of conscience
The third is the dispensation of human government or the Noahic covenant
The fourth is the dispensation of promise or the Abrahamic covenant
The fifth is the dispensation of law
The sixth is the dispensation of grace (You are living in the dispensation of grace)
The seventh is the dispensation of kingdom

The first five dispensations have passed. In the book of Matthew and Luke you will find genealogies going back to Adam; every generation from Adam to Christ accounted for, about four thousand years. From the time of Christ to now about 2,000 + years. That is nearly 6,000 years divided by six dispensations. According to Christ we are living in the last times. The dispensation of grace started with the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. For those who are skeptical about prophesy, let's just say that we are closer to the end of the dispensation of grace than we were two thousand years ago. The next dispensation starts when the body of Christ is raptured. The next dispensation lasts seven years plus 1,000 years plus a little while according to scripture. Whether the dispensation of grace goes on for another ten thousand years or it comes to a close tomorrow is of no consequence if you are in love with Jesus.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Daily Devotional October 9 - Oh Boy, Theology, Hold On To Your Seat

"And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever." John 14:16

For how long? Forever. Good theology: Believe what God says before you believe what someone says about what God says. The Godhead; the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit abides with us from the moment we accept Christ as our Saviour. I know that many religions have different rules about salvation, but clear uninterpreted truth direct from scripture should not be quickly dismissed.

There are a few reasons I am making this point.
First: Jesus is praying the Father that the Father will give you the Holy Spirit. If Jesus prayed that for me, I would know for certainty that it was for all eternity. I don't believe that God the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit makes mistakes, or qualifies someone for salvation that they have to later rescind, or change their mind about how secure salvation is for the believer. Jesus prayed the Father, the Father sent the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit resides within the believer.

Secondly: All that being said, everything to do with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are eternal things. Do you really think that the one most important thought of all, the salvation of believers (the joining to God of fallen man to become joint heirs with Christ by adoption) is ill conceived? Do you really believe that Christ died for your sins and when you were born again that what Christ did through the atoning sacrifice was not quite good enough to last? Are you of the persuasion that in order to be fully saved you have to jump through hoop number two or three or that being saved is just temporary as long as you don't do or say something wrong? If that were the case none of us would have a chance.

Thirdly: Salvation is a finished work of God for all eternity. Sanctification is the ongoing process of being purified in word and deed. But being sanctified makes you no more saved than you were before you were sanctified. Being sanctified makes you no more holy either. Being sanctified does make you more cognizant of your spiritual responsibilities, but standing before God there are not two lines, the saved line on the left and the sanctified line on the right. Just the thought of it reduces the possibility of the sanctified having a better place before God, because God lifts up the humble and abases the proud.

Those of you who treat salvation as a lesser gift should be ashamed. And you need to get your theology straight. Salvation is the All in All work of God that all other things spiritual come under. Sanctification, holiness, purification, spiritual gifting, fruit of the Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, measure of faith, all fall under salvation. None of these things exist unless a person is saved. And when a person is saved all of these things become part of the process of being with God forever.

Daily Devotional October 8 - Don't Be Afraid To Be Holy

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:14

"Wait? You've got to be kidding. There's no more time to wait.
I need to do this and I need to do it now.
I want this thing and I want it now.
I need to marry this person and I need to do it now.
I need to do this business venture and I need to do it now.
I need to buy this thing and I need to buy it now."

"Why would God instruct us to wait on the LORD?
If God is all seeing and full of power, why can't God work around it for my sake?
What difference will it make if I wait? I will probably lose the opportunity and then what?
If I don't marry this person they will find someone else."

Are you sure?

God doesn't ask to wait for all eternity, it might not even be for a day, but to wait until you hear from the Lord is wise. God does want you to wait until all of you questions have been answered before making important decisions. Don't purposely heighten the risk of whatever you have in mind by moving forward too quickly. Most of the time the only thing that requires immediate attention is response to a disaster and moving too quickly on other things can make a disaster. There is a best way to handle making decisions so that they turn out well:
  • Don't pin yourself against the wall in the first place.
  • Pray about your situation and see if you get a leading from the Holy Spirit concerning the matter.
  • Make sure you look at whatever it is that you want from three distances; short term, along the way and long term. All three distances away from now have to fit or don't make the decision yet.
  • Make sure you measure what it is that you think you have to have right now three ways;
I. Have I fully vetted the situation to make sure that what I think I am getting is what I am getting? It takes a little time to figure this out.
2. Do I know enough about what I am getting to know that it will be sufficient along the way for beginning to end, to meet my needs (financialemotional, spiritual)? If not take some time and find out.
3. Is this thing I have to have right now going to end well? Are there other considerations that need my attention before I give it over to destiny? Do I really know what the outcome will be?

The best way to tell the outcome is to measure it carefully in the beginning to make sure it meets these next three criteria:
  1. Can what you want be sanctioned by God?
  2. Is what you want able to follow godly criteria? Can you use godly principles in the business you want to buy? Is the person you chose a godly man or woman? Is your business venture, idea, sound and fair or is it a gimmick, an MLM or other type of scheme? Is where you want to go full of enticements that might steer you off the track?
  3. Can you talk to God and listen to God with a clean conscience along the way if you choose this thing/person you want?
If you are thinking that all of this is just poppycock, you really do need to take some time, take a sabbatical from the pressure of the moment and wait. It will be the best decision you ever made.

Daily Devotional October 7 - Wait

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:14

"Wait? You've got to be kidding. There's no more time to wait.
I need to do this and I need to do it now.
I want this thing and I want it now.
I need to marry this person and I need to do it now.
I need to do this business venture and I need to do it now.
I need to buy this thing and I need to buy it now."

"Why would God instruct us to wait on the LORD?
If God is all seeing and full of power, why can't God work around it for my sake?
What difference will it make if I wait? I will probably lose the opportunity and then what?
If I don't marry this person they will find someone else."

Are you sure?

God doesn't ask to wait for all eternity, it might not even be for a day, but to wait until you hear from the Lord is wise. God does want you to wait until all of you questions have been answered before making important decisions. Don't purposely heighten the risk of whatever you have in mind by moving forward too quickly. Most of the time the only thing that requires immediate attention is response to a disaster and moving too quickly on other things can make a disaster. There is a best way to handle making decisions so that they turn out well:
  • Don't pin yourself against the wall in the first place.
  • Pray about your situation and see if you get a leading from the Holy Spirit concerning the matter.
  • Make sure you look at whatever it is that you want from three distances; short term, along the way and long term. All three distances away from now have to fit or don't make the decision yet.
  • Make sure you measure what it is that you think you have to have right now three ways;
I. Have I fully vetted the situation to make sure that what I think I am getting is what I am getting? It takes a little time to figure this out.
2. Do I know enough about what I am getting to know that it will be sufficient along the way for beginning to end, to meet my needs (financialemotional, spiritual)? If not take some time and find out.
3. Is this thing I have to have right now going to end well? Are there other considerations that need my attention before I give it over to destiny? Do I really know what the outcome will be?

The best way to tell the outcome is to measure it carefully in the beginning to make sure it meets these next three criteria:
  1. Can what you want be sanctioned by God?
  2. Is what you want able to follow godly criteria? Can you use godly principles in the business you want to buy? Is the person you chose a godly man or woman? Is your business venture, idea, sound and fair or is it a gimmick, an MLM or other type of scheme? Is where you want to go full of enticements that might steer you off the track?
  3. Can you talk to God and listen to God with a clean conscience along the way if you choose this thing/person you want?
If you are thinking that all of this is just poppycock, you really do need to take some time, take a sabbatical from the pressure of the moment and wait. It will be the best decision you ever made.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Daily Devotional October 6 - What Is Your Legaqcy?

"Go to now, ye that say, today of tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." James 4:13-14

Pray before you move. Is it God guiding you to move here or there because He has a plan for your life, or is it that you think you will make a killing if you go to such and such a place? You can have both, but just to move to get gain is foolish. You might get rich. You might lose it all. But to move to get gain doesn't give God the honor nor does it follow the biblical prescription of bringing your plans to God for approval before setting out on a venture.

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow." A lot can happen in one day and we really don't know about tomorrow, but to go into tomorrow on our own fuel, so to speak, doesn't make sense to James and it doesn't make sense to me either. You need spiritual fuel and that comes from the Spirit of God. When God has been invited in to what you are doing, in advance, before you move for gain, you will get understanding. Whether things go right or if they go wrong, if you succeed or if you fail, there is understanding when God is involved. The Spirit of God communes with your Spirit to help you to get out of the experience necessary components that make a godly life.

James goes on to remind of us of the brevity of our life. A moment with God is better than a lifetime without. Life is short and God wants us to dispose our time wisely. Wisely is when we bring God into our situation early; early in the morning, early in the decision making process, early in the business start-up, early in the relationship, early in our decision to move. When you do this, you are inviting God to supernaturally intervene in your natural world. Time is spent wisely when you are following the lead of the Holy Spirit in your life/lifestyle. If my life is a vapor, when it is over, I want it to have left more behind than I took with me. I think that is what James is trying to tell us.

Daily Devotional October 5 - Pastor Bashing Is Out

"And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour over you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves." 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

In no way does it make light of your personal relationship with God to admire and support your pastor. We all develop at different times in our life. Your pastor has the job of trying to speak to people of all different levels of understanding and levels of commitment to God. It is a difficult job. Your pastor isn't perfect. Paul knew that about the pastors, teachers, apostles, priests and ministry leaders of his day and yet he still admonishes us to esteem them very highly.

You and I both know that there are pastors that do not deserve to be esteemed. They have lost their way. They are confused an they have misaligned loyalties. They are carnal minded and in some cases they have run amuck and shipwrecked. Of course these individuals are not to be esteemed highly as pastors, but even these who once were devoted and doing the work of God need to be loved, rehabilitated and forgiven.

But for the most part Paul is speaking about the majority of pastors that are devoted to seeking and finding the gems that God has strewn through His Word. Most pastors plead with God for wisdom and enlightenment. They have found God in Christ and now they are desiring to be filled with the presence of God. They are not satisfied to follow the status quo. They are emboldened to step out in faith and believe God for everything. They follow God and they are teaching, to the best of their ability, that which they have learned. They can't wait to share some nugget of truth that moved them.

Mature pastors who are serving the Lord in a day by day relationship are even willing to admonish their flock with hard truths, truths that hurt a little, truths that cause one to step out of their comfort zone, truths that step on toes, truths that edify but sometimes crush the ego of those living an un-devoted life/lifestyle. All of these pastors are marrying and burying, dedicating and educating people day in and day out. They deserve whatever good thing you can bring them.

But we have a sickness in the church today. I hope you are no part of it, but if you are, please consider these things:
Your pastor should be paid at least twice what they are getting. How can you esteem someone very highly and at the same time ask them to work for minimum wage or worse? Quit thinking that you are more spiritual than your pastor or that you know more than he does. Your pastor is more likely to play down his true connection with God and the plethora of knowledge that he has so that no one will feel offended. Don't ever say anything about your pastor or any pastor that you didn't see with your own eyes. There is a sickness today with people bashing pastors that they have never even met. That's ungodly. It's one thing to have an opinion about a politician that you don't know anything about, but politicians bring it on themselves. They like the negative banter as well as the positive and in most cases they deserve it, but your pastor is not a politician. He or she is a man or woman chosen by God to be infused with God's wisdom to be shared with others. Be the first to never say anything or report anything about your pastor or any pastor that you didn't see with your own eyes. You will change the world.

Your pastor's wife is off limits. Nothing should be said or reported about the pastor's wife unless it is good. God doesn't need you to help Him keep her straight (in your eyes). Every time you see the pastor's wife you should have the same respect and love for her as for the pastor. She is not to be used to get to the pastor. That's ungodly. She is not to be told how to live or instructed by those who think that the pastor's wife should do everything the way their grandma did it. She is to be esteemed highly because the two are twain. Shower her with gifts; money, things, vacations, time away, gift certificates to the mall, all the things that would bring a smile to someones face are the things you should bring to her. Say good things about her or don't speak at all. Be there like a good friend. The pastor's wife is not your enemy just because the pastor reached your heart with a truth that hurt a little. Get off your high horse and get things in perspective. Be the one in your church that starts a new policy. The 'I will only say and do good things about and toward my pastor's wife policy'. Your pastor's wife has so much responsibility and over so many people. Give her a break and rebuild your relationship with her or move on. Nobody deserves deprecation from a self imposed critic.

Your pastor's kids are off limits. What kind of person would do something harmful or say something harmful about the pastor or his wife in front of their kids? What kind of person would rebuke a child for something they thought their father or mother did? Jesus talks about those kinds of people and he said it would be better if they had never been born.

Even worse what kind of person would let a child suffer in any way to get at their pastor or his wife? I've seen it happen. It's as if they were possessed with an obsession to get at the pastor and the children are simply a stepping stone to climb over or even crush without cause to get their revenge ya yas. These are the people that should be kicked out of the church. Your pastor won't do it. He is entirely too tolerant for his own good, but you on the other hand can put a stop to this kind of evil behavior. Never participate in any conversation about the pastor's kids unless it is to bless them. They are kids and they aren't going to be perfect, nor are they going to be as spiritual as your grandma. Get over it. This is a new generation and these kids must find themselves in this generation. You can't tell them into it. Your story isn't their story. Simply love them unconditionally and you will be following Christ. Nothing else will do.