Monday, August 31, 2015
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you." Matthew 24:4. There have always been deceivers in the world. A deceiver seeks to lead one in the wrong direction. This can be done either by intent or because the deceiver is deceived. The apostle John stated, "For many deceivers are entered into the world..." II John 7. We must guard ourselves against deception. Error will cause us to be in opposition to God and Christ. One who believes error and teaches error has no relationship with God. God abides in truth. The words of Christ are truth. Every word heard should always be tested by the hearer. We have a responsibility laid upon us by Jesus to keep ourselves away from deceit. If we are deceived, we are to blame. The words of Jesus are to be studied with diligence so that we are not deceived. Deception will lead us into blindness. Deception will give birth to a false hope. Deception offers no freedom from sin and guilt. Deception bars the door of fellowship with God and Christ. Deception will condemn the soul. Let us be diligent in our quest for truth lest we be deceived.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
"The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous." Proverbs 15:29. God has no relationship with wickedness. Wickedness violates the character of God. The wicked may cry, but their voice is not heard. Righteousness establishes our fellowship with God. God is righteous, and therefore, God loves the righteous. The righteous cry, and God hears. His ear is bent toward the righteous. The righteous listen to God, and thus, God listens to the righteous. The righteous are directed in their walk by the sayings of God. The righteous seek God, and honor His will for their lives. We need God to hear us for we find ourselves in need of His help and guidance. We are without strength and wisdom. We are helpless and fearful. We know God to be of great pity and tender mercy. We need for Him to hear our trials and troubles. We want Him to know our pain and helplessness. The assurance that guards our hearts is the sure knowledge that God hears the prayers of the righteous. The Almighty hears the prayer of the frail. The All Wise hears the cry of the foolish. The God of heaven and earth wants to hear the prayer of the righteous. Pray any time, at all time. Let our voice on earth be heard in heaven. The throne where God reigns is always available.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
In Matthew chapter five, Jesus goes into the mountain. When He is set, Jesus teaches His disciples. Jesus used various settings to teach. He taught in the synagogue, from a boat, in a house, and in deserted places. Always, He spoke with authority. Jesus came to fulfill one law and institute another law. He came to take one law out of place, and put another law in place. "But I say unto you." Matthew 5:22. The teachings of Jesus recorded in Matthew five are teachings that connect us to God and to the kingdom of heaven. We are to hear Jesus in all of His will. Not only do His teachings prepare us for the life to come, but also, His law places us on a higher plane while living in this world. Jesus taught us how to live with others. He taught us how to live with ourselves. His teachings bring us blessings and peace. Hearing the words of Christ bring us into the presence of God and give us a seat in His kingdom. We seek higher pursuits that the mere material things of the present life. The words of Jesus change the heart. The words of Jesus affect the future of our life. The words of Jesus place us on a heavenly journey. The words of Christ invite us into His service. The words of Jesus is the law of life that offer eternal benefits. Listen! Jesus is speaking.
Monday, August 24, 2015
"The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; for the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever." II John 1-2. The members of the Lord's church are to be loved by one another. Each member is love every other member. We dwell in the truth. Truth brings our hearts together in God. The truth is God's revelation to humanity. The truth is known by those who desire an understanding. Study and meditation is essential to the knowledge of the truth. The truth provides us with God's commandments for our lives. As we walk in the truth and conduct our lives according to the truth, we dwell in the truth. The truth provides us with a shelter from the storms of life. The truth provides us with a shield against the temptations of evil. The truth brings God's love into our hearts. The truth gives us hope and assurance. The truth cannot be taken from us. The indwelling of truth is to be forever. We must guard ourselves that we do not remove the truth from our lives. Our life here and in the world to come is insured by the truth which we know and that dwells within us.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
"Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Proverbs 27:1. Man should make no boast of anything. He has no power over the events of his life. Plans can be made. Appointments can be made. But, we have no promise of another breath of life. An accident can occur. An interruption can come. Life has no guarantees. Tomorrow is uncertain. It is a breath that has not yet been breathed. But, as a vapor, it can vanish. Our life should be entrusted unto the One who has tomorrow in His hand. Our life should always be prepared for the unexpected. We are to live with a trust and a commitment unto He who made us. Tomorrow is a day that may never come. Tomorrow may be an appointment on the date book of time that may never be opened. All plans should be made in consideration and attention unto the "will of God." Life is a journey that is taken into the unknown. We can not know what the day may bring forth. But, whatever may come and whatever may happen, if life is lived in the trust of God, all will be well.
Friday, August 21, 2015
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4. Baptism is a burial in water. Baptism is a resurrection. Jesus was buried and was resurrected. Baptism is a death to an old life, and a resurrection to a new life. The old man of sin is crucified and is buried. The new man, created in true holiness, is resurrected. The baptized believer has become "dead to sin, and alive unto God." Romans 6:11. The new man seeks the way of God. The new man seeks the way of righteousness. The new man rejoices in his new life. Baptism is a rebirth to a life of godliness and purity. Baptism frees one from the bondage of sin, and places him on a course toward heaven. The new man now lives in hope of eternal life, which is God's free gift. Romans 6:23. The new life seeks to grow like Christ, and become like Him. The new life looks not to the past, but rather, looks to the future. The new life is filled with excitement and expectation. The new life enjoys comfort and peace. The new life is not lived in loneliness, but in fellowship. The new life is not lived in emptiness, but in fullness. The new life is not lived in despair, but in promise.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of one another." Romans 12:5. There is power in the unity of the many. Many can do what one cannot do. A wall is built by single stones. A cake is made by the mixing of single ingredients. The body of Christ is constructed by single members. These members unite their hearts and lives and become one. Each stone in the wall is vital. Each ingredient in the cake is necessary. Each member in the body of Christ is essential. Without the many members, the body does not exist. The work of God would fail. Each member brings an individual personality and a single talent to the work of the church. Each single church makes up the larger body of Jesus Christ. Together with all of our individual devotion and commitment, we do the Lord's will. Jesus did not built single churches, but rather did He build a united body to make a difference in the world. The conversion of individual souls become one in the body of Jesus, and together, we confront the world. Many have become one. This togetherness creates a power that is unstoppable.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Colossians 3:23. Our concern as the church is to please God and glorify Him in all things. We, as the church, do not seek to please men. What men want stands at the opposite end of what God wants. Men seek to please and honor themselves. The writer of this passage says that whatever we do is to be done unto the Lord. The whole of our life and our every act is to be to the pleasure of God. We must think before we act. We must know what God desires before we commit. We are to serve God with all of our being. Men will change as to what pleases them, but God never changes. We also are to bring an energy and an enthusiasm to our service of God. We are to be excited for the opportunity to serve God. God's people are to possess a fervency of spirit. "Fervent in spirit." Romans 12:11. Service unto God is not about convenience, but willingness. God wants willing, devoted, and happy servants. His kingdom deserves such.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12. If man is going to be saved, he must be saved by Jesus. Jesus is God's appointed savior. Salvation comes only through Christ Jesus. Salvation is not from man nor is salvation of man, but rather by Jesus Christ. His name is Jesus. The name was given by God. The earthly mother of Jesus was not permitted to choose His name. No other one can offer, neither provide salvation. Jesus is the savior. Salvation is God's gift, but salvation must be obtained. The only means is by Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only one who has satisfied God's demands for justice. Jesus was the unblemished lamb that was sacrificed for the sins of the world. His death guarantees eternal redemption from the burden of sin. All can be saved through the name of Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
"Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:" Romans 1:6-7. God calls us with the gospel. The gospel is the word of truth. The gospel is preached. The human heart is convicted. The hearer obeys the gospel. Obedience to the gospel involves belief, repentance, confession, and baptism. Hence, the hearer of truth is called. We are called to be saints. God's saints are alive, not dead. God bestows sainthood, not man. Whatever man may decide concerning another man is worth absolutely nothing. The judge of all human lives is God. God has the power to make us saints. God judges without partiality. Man does not. God has no agenda. Man does have an agenda. Being called of God is an honor. God made it possible for us to be called when Christ was offered as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. All can become saints. Any one can become a saint. Sainthood is achieved when the heart responds to the call of God. Sainthood is bestowed in an instant. Sainthood makes us responsible to God. We, as saints, seek His will in our lives. Saints please and serve God through Christ. Saints are loved of God. Saints love God. Saints depend upon God, and God depends upon saints. Why not become one of God's saints?
Monday, August 10, 2015
"For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." Luke 9:56. Here is the mission statement of Jesus. This is why He made the journey from heaven to earth. Think for a moment about Jesus leaving the heavenly realm and coming to the worldly realm. Think of the sacrifice that He was willing to make. Jesus left home and became a stranger. Jesus left a place where He was honored and came to a place where He was dishonored. Jesus left a place where He was revered and came to a place where He was rejected. Why was this journey made? Why was honor given for dishonor, acceptance for rejection, glory for humiliation? The answer is to save the lost. There are multiplied numbers of lost people today who need to be saved. Jesus came to save them. Jesus did not come to destroy, but to save. Jesus did not come to harm, but to help. Jesus is referred to in this passage as the "Son of Man." Jesus took upon Himself humanity. The divine became human. Jesus became flesh and blood that He might identify Himself with humanity. In human form, He would die as a sacrifice that would be acceptable unto God to satisfy the demands of justice against sin. Jesus came to save me and to save you. Believe upon Him, repent of sins, confess Him as the Son of God, and be immersed in water for the remission of sins. These obedient acts will allow God to save you for Jesus' sake. Let us allow the journey of Jesus into this world to save us and reconcile us unto God. Let us not allow His coming into the world to be in vain.
"Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." I Timothy 1:2. This passage that contains these three blessings is not peculiar to the epistle of Timothy. Grace, mercy, and peace were bestowed upon other individuals and churches to whom the epistles were written. These three blessings, grace and mercy and peace, are vital to the Christian. So much so is this true that Paul makes this same statement in writing to Timothy in the second epistle. God's grace provides salvation for us. God's mercy aids us in time of need. We have peace with God because of grace and mercy. Our hearts are at rest. We live with confidence and promise. God has not provided for us material wealth nor earthly fame. But, God through Jesus Christ has provided the essentials for living in harmony with His will. God's grace allows us into His favor. His mercy helps us to live favorable before Him. Peace assures us that we are living favorable in His sight. Through grace, God has placed His arm around us. Through mercy, God securely holds us. Through peace, we feel the anchor of His love. God is a gracious and merciful God. His desire is that we know His grace and mercy that we might be at peace with Him. Thank God through Christ our Lord for grace, mercy, and peace. These blessings are indeed the security of the soul.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience. meekness." I Timothy 6:11. The man of God is to flee from the "perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth," and from the "love of money." These things will corrupt the man of God. The man of God is driven by different motives than the man of the world. The man of God must flee from that which may be a hazard to him. Flee the evils of the world, and follow after the things of God. Notice that which we are to follow: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness. These are Godly qualities. We are made in His image, and thus, we are to pursue that which will perfect His image in us. These are the treasures of heaven. The love of money makes rich for a time. Perverse doctrine makes one comfortable for a time. However, the pursuit of the heavenly treasures make one rich for now and the life hereafter. None can be poor who is rich in the likeness of God. The Christian life is lived by the wise counsel of "flee and follow."
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
The angel of the Lord told Joseph to take Mary "for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 1:20. "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21. Jesus was sent from the Father of heaven to be the savior of the world. Through Jesus, sins would be forgiven. His blood would be the cleansing agent to remove sin. Jesus was a divine child with a heavenly mission. That mission was to bring the lost back to God. The blood of Jesus would not only take away sin, but would restore the lost with God. Fellowship with the heavenly Father is established through Jesus. Jesus lived His life in submission unto God willing to become the sacrificial lamb that would take away the sins of the world. John 1:29. His sacrifice at the cross has become our means of justification with God. Sin separates and condemns, but Jesus takes away sin. The sacrifice offered for salvation must be accepted. God will only save the obedient. Hebrews 5:9. We obey Jesus by faith, repentance, confession, and baptism. By obedience to these simple acts, Jesus saves us from sin.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
"But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from old sins." II Peter 1:9. Graces are to be added to the life of God's child. We are to develop ourselves into the image of God. The qualities of God are to be pursued by the Christian. In verse 9, Peter speaks to those who are not making such a quest. They have not added these divine graces to their life. Their lifestyle is lacking the graces that make us who we are in the sight of God. Three conditions come about when these graces are lacking. One, the individual is blind. Spiritual blindness is a sad condition for the individual cannot see himself as he is. Neither can he see the needs that he has. The blind will easily stumble. Second, the individual cannot see afar off. The child of God has a future. He is to see what is ahead. He is to see the glory that awaits. The here and now has no permanence, but the redeemed of God have precious promises in their future. Third, the individual has forgotten that he was purged from old sins. Christ's blood cleanses away old sins. Having been purged, we are not to pursue new sins. We are to seek relief from sin's dominance. We are to walk in God's light seeking to be in the glory of God. We must not forget our redemption from sin's slavery. Let us seek the beauty of God and put into our life those precious gems of the Christian life. Let us not be blind, but let us see. Let us behold the wonderful future that awaits us. Let us know the power of God's redemption through Jesus Christ.
Monday, August 3, 2015
"And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." Acts 20:7. The followers of Jesus Christ are to assemble upon the first day of the week to break bread, which is the partaking of the Lord's Supper. The time when this assembly began is not given. The length of time in the assembly is not given. The time when we meet is not that important. However, the amount of time is important. We should not desire simply to meet and fulfill an obligation. We should seek to fellowship with God and one another on this day. We should seek to honor God and grow spiritually. We need a pause button in our lives to thank God and praise God for the blessings given and the love shown. The assembly upon the first day of the week provides this. In this assembly, Paul preached. Even today, the followers of Jesus, which is His church, come together upon the first day of each week to engage in worship unto God. We break bread, preach, pray, give, and sing without instruments. This is the example and command that we have in scripture. In this assembly, we praise God and edify one another. Our coming together shows a bond that we have for each one. Our coming together shows that we have love for God. This time of assembly gives strength and comfort. We are uplifted and made stronger. We gain knowledge from the preaching and study of God's word. It truly is a wonderful time when the disciples of Jesus come together.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
"In hope of eternal life. which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" Titus 1:2. Notice three wonderful expressions from this passage. God cannot lie. God has promised eternal life. The world had a beginning. The world's beginning was with God. God created the world. Eternal life is from God. Those who acknowledge the truth, live Godly lives, and live in faith have the hope of life. Titus 1:1. Death is our enemy. Death is that which we fear the most. But, there is a class of people, the elect of God, who understand that the enemy has been overcome and the fear of the grave has been removed. This is according to the divine will of God. Man was created in God's likeness. God created man to live rather than die. But, sin has interfered with God's design. Jesus was sent to conquer death and the grave through His death upon the cross and His resurrection from the grave. God made the provision for His elect, those who are called by the gospel, to live eternally in life. God answered sin's calamity because of His promise. We, therefore, live with hope and expectation. We serve and glorify God because of His promise of eternal life.