Wednesday, December 20, 2017
"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24. Each day that we live is a gift from God. The Lord makes the day. A day can be spent in a variety of ways. We can complain about the events of one day. All days do not go according to plans that have been made. Some days may find us in a difficult circumstance. Another day will go just fine. Do we meet our days believing and expecting that everything is to go my way? One truth that all learn is that our life has interruptions. When the day goes fine, rejoice. When the day does not go so fine, rejoice. Learn to find good in the bad. Rejoice that you have life to live. Look for a blessing in every day for there is one. Look at the sun, and see its glory. Look at the clouds, and find an unusual shape. Hear a bird sing. Behold a giant tree. Watch the moon ascend into the heavens. Count the innumerable stars scattered like tiny lights on a background of black. Smile at one who is sad. Speak to one who is lonely. Look at your surroundings. See the happiness. See the pain. Rejoice in this day for you shall never have this day again.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
"Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity." Psalm 64:1-2. A cry of help is made. Can man relieve the affliction that is felt? The cry is for the help of God. May God be ready and willing to hear us when we cry? His promise is that He will. As His faithful, we have enemies. Keep us, O God, from the fear of them. They cannot harm the elect. Thy power is too great for them. We must flee from the wickedness and the workers of iniquity that seek to take us. But, God will keep us. God will not leave us to fight alone. Our strength is small, but His is mighty. The stronghold of evil will fall before His mighty feet. His arm will destroy them. We will hide in the refuge of the Holy One of Israel. God will hear our voice, and will send His holy angels to our aid. We will be kept from the evil that seeks our overthrow. Let us cry unto the One who helps us. His ear is open to our cry.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
"And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on." Luke 7:40. Jesus had come to the house of Simon as a guest. A woman washes the feet of Jesus with her tears, and dries his feet with her hair. Simon condemned this loving act by calling this woman a sinner. Jesus, therefore, taught Simon a lesson on faith and forgiveness. When Jesus informed Simon that He had something to say, Simon responded with a willingness to listen. Jesus, the Master, has something to say to all of us. While He speaks to us in His word, we must be willing hearers. Jesus teaches us about love, grace, forgiveness, and service. Our relationship with Him depends upon our hearing and doing. Our attitude must be a willingness to hear. Never are we to dismiss the teachings of Jesus. The willing heart responds to the voice of the Master. The voice of Christ draws us into the presence of God. As He speaks, we hear and our lives are made better. As we allow the Master to say on, we will know the higher meaning of life now and forever.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
"God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee O God; let all the people praise thee." Psalm 67:1-3. God is the source of all mercy. His blessings flow unto us because He is merciful. May His saving health come unto us. May our ills be healed by His mercy. But mercy bestowed deserves praise. We must praise His name because of the blessings that we receive. Heal our sin and guilt. Blot out our iniquities. Bless us with thy mercy so that we might endure and conquer. Look upon us in our weakness, and bless us with thy strength. May thy face see our sadness, and give us thy joy. Behold our inner turmoil, and bless us with thy peace. Let us praise thy great name for all thy mercy. See us when we stumble, and lift us up. Heal all the infirmities of our soul. May all the people know thee as God, the merciful God. May the earth see thy goodness, and know thy mercy. May our heart rejoice and praise thee. Praise Him, all the land for God is merciful and He blesses again and again.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
"But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith." Galatians 3:11. The law could not justify. The law had no power of forgiveness. Only Christ could bring justification. They who are made just by the blood of Christ are to live by faith. Faith in Christ makes us just. We accept Christ as the fulfillment of God's ancient promise to Abraham. We believe Christ to be the One who was approved of God to redeem the lost. We know Christ as the Savior. The blood which was given by Christ on the cross redeems us from the guilt and penalty of sin. We walk in step with Jesus Christ in our daily life. We fulfill His will as we follow and obey Him. We trust Him as our Mediator. Our faith is the anchor of our soul. Our faith empowers us to be victorious over temptation and trial. Our faith comforts us in the darkest of days. Our faith is our tower of strength. Our faith is our rock and fortress. Our faith sees the promised land, and guides us through this foreign land. The just live not by sight, but by faith.
Monday, November 6, 2017
"And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." Luke 13:20-21. The teaching of Jesus is very precise. With few words, He teaches great lessons. His design here is that we understand the nature of God's kingdom. The leaven has been hidden in the meal. We do not see it work, and yet, the whole is eventually penetrated. The kingdom of God would penetrate the whole of the earth. Just as the leaven had an influence over the meal, the kingdom of God would exert an influence in the world. The leaven changed the meal. The kingdom of God would change the world. Can we not see the influence of the kingdom of God? Wherever the kingdom goes, the hearts of humanity are changed. The leaven of God works in our lives to transform us into God's very image. The world is made better because of the influence of the kingdom. As the leaven had a penetrating effect upon the meal, so the kingdom of God would have a penetrating effect upon the world where God placed it.
"Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden: and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it." Luke 13:18-19. Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God. When He speaks of divine truths, we must hear Him. A grain of mustard seed is very tiny. But, from that tiny seed, a great tree grows. From the seed of the gospel, the kingdom of God will grow and grow until it fills the whole earth. A man cast the seed into the ground. Men are to cast the seed of the kingdom across the earth. God uses human vessels for His work. In the world, this seed is cast by the preaching of truth. That seed will explode by the power of God, and consume the hearts of humanity. In the branches of the great tree, birds find shelter and refuge. In the kingdom of God, the saved find refuge from the ills of life and the devastation of sin. The kingdom of God will continue to produce hope for the lost until time shall be no more.
Friday, November 3, 2017
"When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee." Deuteronomy 8:10. The Lord has described the land into which He will bring His people. Long ago God had given the promise to Abraham. Now, God is telling Moses that the people will come into the land. God wants them to understand the goodness of this land, and the joy that shall be theirs. The land will produce so that they can eat and be full. For this gift, God wants them to bless Him and remember the blessings that they have received from Him in the past. God always wants His people whom He has blessed to return that blessing and show gratitude. Good things in our life can cause us to forget God. Bad things that occur in our life may cause us to blame God. We are to be ever mindful that God is good to us. His desire is to bless us, and help us to know His love and care for us. What we possess is a blessing from God. Let us honor Him and praise Him. Let us not forget His law and the covenant which He has made with us. When we bless God, we will eat the goodness of the land.
Thursday, November 2, 2017
"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Revelation 22:20. The church had faced the enemy. Persecution had sought to destroy the church of our Lord. Now, Jesus is coming to deliver. The Lord of heaven and earth is coming to take vengeance on the host of Satan. The church of Christ will always be delivered from those who seek to do her harm. Trials will come in our life. We will face the test of faith. But, the Lord will come to deliver. The Lord hears our cry of affliction even as He has in days long gone. We must always continue to be strong. We must continue to battle against the forces of evil. When the Lord comes, He must find us faithful. His promise to come must sustain us. The victory which we desire must anchor us. The crown is too precious to lose. When He comes our burden will be lifted. The enemy shall be vanquished. He will come in all the glory of heaven, and we shall behold Him. May our prayer ever be, Come, Lord Jesus.
Sunday, October 22, 2017
"So there was a division among the people because of Him." John 7:43. Some saw Jesus as a prophet. Others saw Him as the Christ. These observations were made based upon the Scripture that spoke of Him. Their judgment was divided. Does Jesus not cause division today? Many religious bodies exist because of the opinion that so many have about Jesus? Opinion is a feeling not based upon any truth. Some hold Jesus to be the Savior while others believe Him to be a mere man who did good in many respects. Some confess Him to be the Son of God that came in the flesh. Still others do not embrace that marvelous truth. People are divided over the words which were spoken by Jesus. His words interfere with the self will of man. Others are divided over the many miracles that He was able to perform. How can one not see by the miracles that Jesus had divine power. The world is divided over Jesus by obedience and disobedience. Some willingly follow Him, while many others do not. We must see Jesus as the Scriptures reveal Him to be. Our feeling of Him and our commitment to Him should come from a factual source, and the Bible is that source.
Friday, October 20, 2017
"Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph." Exodus 1:8. Joseph had prospered in Egypt after being sold by his brothers. He helped Egypt to prosper keeping them alive during the famine. Now, a new king arises after the death of Joseph. This king was not going to show kindness to the kin of Joseph. He was going to make their life difficult. Those who find themselves in seats of authority can make it very difficult for the people of God. A new king can seek to hinder us in our loyalty to God. This land through which we must travel to our eternal destination seeks to deter us on our journey. Because of kings, our land is polluted with violence and evil. Laws that establish evil are passed. Our faith in God must always sustain us in our fight against the evil forces around us. We must not allow a king that does not know us to interfere with our commitment to the eternal reward. While God wants us to be in submission to the laws of our society, He does not want us to violate His will. The new king in Egypt did not overthrow the descendants of Joseph. In their affliction, they cried unto God. God heard them and delivered them even as He will do for us.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" II Corinthians 13:5. A reprobate is one who is rejected by God. The reason for this rejection is that the reprobate is without Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ must be in us. We must be in Christ. We believe on Him and obey Him. We are in Christ and Christ is in us when we are baptized. Therefore, God accepts us. We are to know that we are in the faith. Our relationship with God and Jesus Christ is decided by this knowledge. The faith is the standard of our examination. We prove ourselves by the manner of life that we live holding our life to the standard of scripture. We are to constantly and righteously examine our life so that we know that we are in the faith. We must be awake lest we slip and slide out of the faith. If we depart from the faith, we become a reprobate. We are not to examine others. We do not justify ourselves by the actions of others. Our life must stand the test of our own examination. What others do and who others are must never be used to justify ourselves. We stand alone before God and Christ.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
"Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me." II Timothy 4:9. Paul is about to be offered, and his desire is to see Timothy. The time for Timothy to come was at hand. There are those actions in our life that require diligence. We must not procrastinate. We must be diligent in our salvation. We have no promise of more time in our life. We must insure that our souls are secure in Jesus. We must be diligent in our service unto God. Today is the opportunity that we have. We must walk with Him and do His will. We should be diligent in prayer. This is our access to the Father. God desires that we speak to Him making known our thanks and requests. We must be diligent in the study of God's word. God has spoken His divine mind unto us. Let us hear what He is saying unto us. Let us be diligent in our telling those near to us our love for them. Our future must have no regret when those whom we love are no longer with us. May we be ever diligent to serve and contribute to the lives of others. Compassion and mercy must be a gift that we are always willing to give. God help us to be diligent with the present moment that Thou has given unto us.
Monday, October 16, 2017
"He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth; but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he." Proverbs 14:21. When we mistreat our neighbors, who are our fellow travelers on the road of life, we sin. We are taught to love our neighbors. When we love them, we will show them kindness and goodness. We are ready to help and serve them if they have need. We take every opportunity to display toward our neighbor a service that will benefit him. This is called mercy. God's children are to be clothed with mercy. We show mercy for we have been shown mercy. One of our fellow travelers is the poor. To help them and provide for their need is also an act of unselfishness.We are willing to give rather than to receive. We help rather than be helped. These simple acts bring happiness. It really does not take great deeds to make one happy. Happiness is not found in the accumulation of temporal things. Happiness comes when we strive to please the Father above by rendering help to His creation. What do we have in our bag that will make us happy?
Sunday, October 15, 2017
"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Galatians 4:4-5. From times eternal, God had a plan to redeem humanity. That plan was in the making throughout the period of the Old Testament. God created a nation which would provide a seed for the Christ. When the time according to God's purpose came, God sent His Son being born of a virgin into the world. Jesus was born while the law of Moses was effective. But, God's purpose was for Christ to fulfill that law and replace the law of Moses with a new covenant. God was going to make new and better promises to those who would be adopted as sons. Our adoption into the family of God was because of God's eternal plan. Christ would die on the cross to redeem those who were under the law of Moses and make of them sons and daughters. The fulness of time brought a new redemption for humanity and a new covenant through Jesus Christ.
Friday, October 13, 2017
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." I John 4:1. A spirit is a voice. Voices speak to us. Not all speak the truth. A spirit may sound right. A spirit may sound sincere. But, many prophets speak lies and deception. We are to test every spirit. How do we prove the voice of a prophet? We use the divine standard that God has given. This rule is without error. The voice of God has stood every test, and continues to stand. The Bible will not fail us. The words of the Bible are true and right. Many non-believers have railed against the word of God. Their prophecies have failed. Their promises have proven untrue. Critics of the word of God come, and they go. The word continues to change the hearts of humanity. The word continues to comfort the distressed soul. The word continues to uplift the fainting. The lost find guidance in the word of God. Light is dispensed in darkness. Hopelessness finds its way into hope. False voices lead one away from God. False voices fail to fulfill the hope that can be found only in Christ. Test every word of every prophet.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15. Jesus has arisen from the dead on the third day following His crucifixion. He has spent forty days with His disciples, and is now returning to His heavenly Father. Gathering His disciples together, Jesus gives them this charge. Jesus had offered Himself so that all of humanity would have the opportunity to be saved. Salvation is in a message. That message is the gospel. This message is conveyed to everyone by preaching. The disciples were to preach this message to everyone everywhere. God wants all to be saved. The gospel must be preached, and must be believed. The Bible contains this gospel. One comes to an understanding of God's plan to save by either reading or hearing what the Bible teaches. No message other than the gospel will save. One must hear the gospel. God has chosen preaching to save those who will believe. This message contains three marvelous truths: the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The church continues to obey this instruction of Christ. The church seeks to preach the gospel to every creature.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
"And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" I Peter 4:18. In the eyes of God, only two classes of people exist. Those two groups are the righteous and the ungodly. The righteous seek to obey God and become godly. Godliness becomes the way of life for the righteous. The other class, the ungodly, do not seek the way of God. They have no thought of God. Their interest lies in sinfulness. The righteous are saved by grace through faith. This salvation is a gift of God. The righteous are not saved because of their own works. Their salvation is completely dependent upon God and the mercy that He has offered through Jesus Christ. The ungodly have no salvation. Since they are sinners, God does not know them and does not own them as His. Where shall they appear? The righteous are always within the presence of God. The sinner is not. The sinner, or ungodly, is without hope. Their fate is sealed because of their rejection of God. They refuse His grace and His pardon from sin. They are without Him in this world, and will be without Him in the world to come.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." III John 2. We all desire good health. We all need a certain degree of prosperity. But, our soul is far more important than either our health or our prosperity. Our soul has been given to us as the creation of God. Our soul is without end. We will all perish in body. Age will bring wear to our mortal frame. While this aging process takes its toll on our humanity, let us strive to insure that our soul is prospering. The value of the soul cannot be calculated. God has made a great sacrifice in offering up His only begotten Son for the salvation of our soul. This shows unto us how valuable our soul is to God and should be so to us. We want our soul to be secure in the care of God. As we devote ourselves unto God, we are making certain that our soul is prospering. As we diligently obey the instructions that God has delivered unto us, we are insuring the prosperity of our soul. We are securing our soul as we keep ourselves from the idols and impurity of this world. Our health and prosperity help us in this life. The prosperity of our soul helps us in this life and the one yet to come.
Monday, October 9, 2017
"Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God." Psalm 146:5. Because God is our help, we have hope. God conquers the enemies that seek our overthrow. God sustains us in times of weakness. God lifts us in times of falling. God is ever present and always mindful of us. We know that He will always help us when help is needed. And, in this world, that will always be a surety. The world cast a cloud of darkness over us. The world brings us sorrow and despair. But, God gives us hope because He is our help. We know that we will be delivered from the cares and frustrations that life brings our way. We know that God will uplift our hearts. God helps us to soar. God removes our doubt. God will plant us so that we cannot be moved. Our future is bright with God as our Lord. God gives us happiness in the face of sadness. We can laugh amidst the tears. Joy is always ours because of an established hope in the strength and faithfulness of God. Happy are we because of our confidence and assurance in the help of God.
Sunday, October 8, 2017
"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Proverbs 29:18. Where there is vision, there is a clear goal and a path that will bring one to that goal. Vision considers the obstacles, and finds ways to overcome. Vision looks ahead rather than behind. Vision is a hope for betterment. Vision sees achievement rather than loss. Vision embraces victory rather than defeat. Vision accepts law and authority. God has given a law that He desires would establish our vision. To keep this law will bring happiness. This is true because God will help us to fulfill our vision. To keep this law will cause us to accept God's vision as our vision. A fulfilled life brings happiness. Keeping the law fulfills our life. The law gives insight to a better way to live and a higher plane upon which to travel. A guarded life brings happiness. The law of God guards us from the evils that seek our destruction. A successful life brings happiness. Vision gives birth to success. The law helps us in our search for success through the direction that the law prescribes. Let our vision be founded upon the law, and happiness will be our reward.
Thursday, October 5, 2017
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. Paul, the writer of this passage, is discussing contentment. In whatever situation Paul found himself, he had learned to be content. There was a reason for this. That reason was Jesus Christ. With the help and strength of Christ, Paul was able to endure those trials of life that came to him. We, in like manner, fall into temptations and trials. We must depend upon Christ. We must trust Jesus for our strength to deal with our adversities. We must seek the strength that Jesus supplies to aid us in difficult times. We must not simply depend upon Jesus when all is well and good. Jesus was able to suffer with God as His helper. The faithful of God have depended upon Jesus. We see Him as the One who travels with us and never leaves our side. By faith, we have access to His power and His willingness to deliver. Without Him, we are weak. With Him, we are strong. Without Him, our way is dark. With Him, we can see clearly. This statement made so long ago by one who believed in Jesus and was willing to do all things for Jesus is a statement of confidence and assurance. I can and I will do all things through Christ.
Monday, October 2, 2017
"The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant." Jeremiah 11:1-3. God delivered His word through the prophets. Today, His word is found in a book that is called the Bible. This book contains His word which we are to hear and to obey. The word of God is to be obeyed because God is the Lord. God has all power and authority. He is able to build and to destroy. God either saves or condemns. His salvation and condemnation depends upon obedience or disobedience to His word. Those who would not hear Jeremiah would be cursed. Those who will not hear God in our culture of today will also be cursed. As we hear and obey the words of His covenant, we are saved by His grace and love. Our lives are enriched by our service to Him. Our eternal destiny is secured by our obedience to His word.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
"Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt shew her all her abominations." Ezekiel 22:1-2. God's prophet or preacher has but one responsibility. That is to receive the word of the Lord and show us our abominations. The judgment of the sinner is passed with the message of the Lord. The gospel, which is the word of the Lord, is to make sin known. God judges the transgressions of humanity. The message that He sends through His prophets is to make His judgment known. The message of the Lord also reveals how God can be turned from His judgement. When one is willing to hear the word of the Lord and turn from his bloody or evil way, the Lord is willing to forgive and turn from judgment. Just as God judges transgression, so God in love and grace offers His forgiveness. Sin must be shown. Judgment must be revealed. This is the calling of the prophet. Unless one turns from his bloody way, God will recompense judgment for all the abominations that one commits.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9. This world brings many troubles to us. We feel the oppression from many avenues. Satan wants us to reject God, and blame Him for our trouble and oppression. But, God is our refuge from trouble and oppression. God is a calm amidst the storm. He is a strength amidst the weakness. He is a peace amidst the wars. Life needs dependence. We need a trust. God will never fail us. God provides security. God helps us to sing when we are depressed. God helps us to smile when we are saddened. He gives light in darkness. He lifts us and enables us to stand. With God as our refuge, we are not overcome by the trials and difficulties of this world. With God as our refuge, we are assured of victory instead of defeat. With God as our refuge, we will not be destroyed by the enemies of our life. With God as our refuge, we can deal with adversity. God always provides a safe harbor for the weary pilgrim of this world.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." II Timothy 2:1. What a wonderful relationship was enjoyed by Paul and Timothy. Paul had guided Timothy to become a minister of God. And, Timothy had been a great aid to the apostle. Paul issues his last charge to Timothy in this epistle. His word of advice is to be strong. Strength was to be found in God's grace. The world cannot protect us against itself. The world wants us to fail. But, God wants us to succeed. Our means of success is in the grace of God. We must continue in God's work. We must battle and overcome. God gives unto us the work of ministry, and we must abide in this labor. The work is demanding, and we need help. We are not sufficient of ourselves to persevere against the kingdom of darkness. The labor that we have been called to do is not without divine assistance. We rely upon the grace that is in Jesus Christ. This grace is constant. We can be strong against all adversaries because we are assured of God's grace through Christ. With His grace, we will not fall short of the divine expectation of us.
Thursday, September 7, 2017
"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." I Corinthians 10:12. In the preceding verses of this chapter, the writer has examined the fall of the people who had been delivered from the bondage of Egypt. One trespass after another caused them to be destroyed in the wilderness. They had enjoyed God's deliverance from the captivity. They were now on a journey that would bring them to the promised land of Canaan. Yet, they fell. We enjoy God's deliverance from the captivity of sin through our obedience to the gospel. As they were baptized in the cloud and the sea, so believers today are baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins. We through faith are on a journey to the promised land of eternal life. Can we fall? This verse is a warning that we can. What happened to this people long ago can happen to us. We must take heed that we remain faithful to the deliverance of God and continue to embrace the promise. The journey to the land is before us. We must not fall lest we enter not.
Saturday, September 2, 2017
"And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him." Matthew 9:9. Matthew was engaged in his occupation when Jesus called him to follow. Ordinary people are called by Christ to be His disciples. Matthew followed Jesus without hesitation. Delay can remove the opportunity. Jesus offered Matthew, as He offers to all, a purpose beyond what he knew. To follow Jesus is to accept an invitation from heaven. This calling is due to the high purpose of God. To follow Jesus is to walk in the steps of One who lived life in obedience to the will of God. To follow Jesus is to leave the life of sin, and undertake a life of holiness. To follow Jesus is to acknowledge Him as our Lord. We, therefore, hear His words and honor Him by our submission to those words. Matthew was given a choice as are all. He could have refused to follow Jesus, but he chose to embark upon a new life. He was forever changed because of the decision that he made. Following Jesus leads to God. Following Jesus leads to heaven and life evermore. Jesus says to you, "Follow me."
Friday, September 1, 2017
"Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes." Psalm 119:155. The statutes of God provide deliverance from wickedness. God's law offers salvation because it provides pardon for our sins. The statutes of God speak to us of salvation. His statutes teach us the way of salvation. His statutes are a revelation of His grace. These statutes must be sought. One must seek to know God, and without His statutes, God cannot be known. The Bible tells us of God and of His love and the forgiveness that He desires for all. The wicked do not seek to know God. Their only desire is to know evil. The wicked do not seek God's law because that law forbids wickedness. The statutes of God can remove us from wickedness. They teach us of right living. They shed light upon the darkness of evil. They break Satan's chains which bind us. God's statutes deliver us from the prison of sin. They release us from the fleshy lusts which war against the soul. God's statutes enlighten us of a holy life that gives salvation now and forever.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
"For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy." Psalm 61:3. Does not God help those who are cast down? Life has many storms. From these, we must have protection. God provides shelter from the devastation of life's happenings. We desire to be surrounded by the mighty power of God. God is a tower that stands. Without fail, God delivers the afflicted. No enemy is more powerful that He. No storm is stronger than He. Our experience tells us what God has done for us, and therefore, we know what He will do for us again. Our faith is strong. Our devotion is steady. Though we are blasted by our enemies, we can not be brought down. God is our fortress, and mighty is He. His voice quietens. His hand calms. God controls all. He will not allow His people to be overthrown. We are guarded by the all-powerful and all-knowing God. We know security and tranquility. Peace and confidence are the mainstays of our life. In the storm, there is hope for we flee to His shelter. Our enemies cannot harm for we are in the tower of His strength.
"Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me." Psalm 3:1. The wicked trouble the righteous. The righteous are disturbed by the actions of the wicked. The righteous seek Godliness for all. We, like God, long for the salvation of the lost. The wicked are lost because of their rebellion against God. The wicked seek to impose their ungodly ways upon the righteous. They want the acceptance of the righteous for their evil deeds. The righteous are not allowed to speak against the evil of the day. The troops of evil men gain numbers each day. Their ungodly ways seem to permeate the earth. Pollution abounds. The earth reeks with the sinfulness of the hour. Multitudes of wicked men are going down the road of destruction. The doers of evil are increasing in number. The devil allures more and more into his snare of doom. The highway that leads to hell increases with travelers. And so, the righteous are troubled. Our hearts ache that so many are deceived. We weep tears as the prophet of old because of the way of wicked men. Evil has risen against us and troubles our very soul.
Friday, August 25, 2017
"Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips." Proverbs 27:2. We are not to applaud ourselves. If we commend ourselves, we are filled with pride. Self commendation accomplishes nothing. We are to go quietly about doing our works. Our deeds are to be the evidence of our goodness, and not our own lips. People are to see our character. We are not to announce it. We are to engage in the business of doing good with the hope that people will be influenced to do good also. We are to silently make a difference among our fellowman. The good that we do is not to be done for the praise of others, and especially, our own praise. But, if praise is due, let that praise come from others. A proud person wants others to know of kindness shown. The haughtiness of an individual announcing his own praise can destroy all good that is done. One does not wish to hear about what another has done, but rather, desires to see it. Let us live life so that others will praise us, and not we ourselves.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
"Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us according as we hope in thee." Psalm 33:22. Because of our frailty, we need mercy. God's mercy provides us with strength and endurance. We can continue to battle against the forces of evil because of God's mercy. His mercy will lift us up and help us to stand. His mercy will give us wisdom and guidance. But, God's mercy is only bestowed upon those who will trust in Him and allow Him to become their hope. Our hope in God gives us access to His mercy. Mercy is an expression of God's love for us. We are blessed with God's promises which are His divine gifts to us. We believe in those promises, and we trust in the God who gave them. This faith or hope, a confidence and dependence, helps bring comfort and peace to our hearts. We hope in God, and He is the pilot of our life. He guides the ship. He leads, and we follow. He speaks, and we obey. From His bountiful mercy comes the eternal blessings that bloom in our heart. Mercy borne from hope.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
"And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger." Luke 17:17-18. Ten lepers were healed by Christ. Only one, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks for the act of mercy that had been shown to him. Why did the other nine not return? Perhaps, they considered that going back to honor Jesus was an inconvenience. Perhaps, they intended to thank Him at another time. Perhaps, they simply had no gratitude for this act of kindness that Jesus had shown them. What about us? Life can be hurried. There can be seasons of inconvenience. And, yes, maybe we can do it later. Then again, we might just not do it at all. Think for a moment about the mercy that God has shown to each of us. It truly is amazing, isn't it? Sin forgiven. Hope renewed. Fellowship restored. The mercy that flows from heaven is a constant stream coming from a God that loves to heal. We need to return and show gratitude lest the next time that we need healing God isn't in the mood to heal.
Friday, August 18, 2017
"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us." Ephesians 2:14. A wall is built for the purpose of separation. The old covenant which had been given to Moses separated the Jew from the Gentile. But, that wall was broken down in Christ. A new covenant was sealed by the blood of Jesus which brought both Jew and Gentile into the kingdom of God. Racial and social lines were dissolved. The door of God's house, the church, is open to any and all who will enter. There is no distinction of people in the eyes of the God who has created us. Neither should there be in our own eyes. We must see as God sees. We must embrace as God embraces. Jesus brings people and hearts together. Jesus unites. Jesus frees. The kingdom of God has but one name for those who enter. The kingdom of God is one people having one mind and guarded by one purpose in Jesus Christ.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
"And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles." Acts 22:21. The Lord had a calling for Paul. The preacher was being sent unto the Gentiles with the gospel of Christ. Paul also needed to depart from the city because of danger to his life. There are times when we need to depart. We need, of course, to depart from sin. Sin is a curse that separates us from God. We must avoid any occasion that would cause us to sin. We must depart from evil companions for their influence will take us in the wrong direction. Evil companions will tarnish a good name, and can also, tarnish a good character. We should also depart from false doctrine. All teaching that we desire to embrace must be examined according to the divine standard of God's everlasting truth. Accept only what can be proven to be truth. We must depart from dangerous situations that would threaten our relationship with God and with others. We must always seek the way of peace and harmony. We must be mindful when the need arises for us to depart.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
"Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good." Ecclesiastes 9:18. Sin leaves destruction in its path. Like a storm that tears apart, so sin does the same. One sinner can bring down all the good that many have accomplished. Sin is harmful and hurtful. Sin will sink a society into the mire of desperation. Not only does sin harm God, but it also hurts society and individuals. Sin will tear apart families. Sin will dissolve friendships. Sin will harm the character. Sin will destroy a reputation. Sin divides, never unites. Sin scars, never heals. Sin discomforts, never comforts. Sin will not create peace, but rather, war. Sin introduces conflict. Sin destroys, and never builds. What mischief has been brought upon the world because of one sinner? How many gifts have been lost because of one sinner? The sin of one can bring grief to the many. Tears have been shed, and lives have been lost because of one sinner. Dreams have been shattered, and futures have been destroyed because of one sinner. What awful impact one sinner has!
Thursday, August 10, 2017
"That ye may approve things that are excellent." Philippians 1:10. We must be very careful in that which we find to be worthy. Our lives are to possess very defining qualities. We are to live on a higher plane that the world about us. We are to seek out only that which is truly wholesome and righteous. We are to find ourselves only in the company of those who will help us achieve the goal of the excellent. That which we desire must be that which we truly need. The things that are excellent in our lives will help us in our relationship with God, and also, our relationship with others. We must embrace the holy and the pure. We are to approve only that which will bring us closer to our God, and develop our union with Christ. We are always to seek out that which is higher and grander. We must have a vision of our future. We should understand that we are not just mortals living for a brief time. That which is excellent is to define our character. We must know ourselves as those who honor God so that He will always honor us. Let us set our sight on the best, the noblest, the magnificent, and the majestic.
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment." Philippians 1:9. Paul's prayer for the church is constant. Here he prays that the Philippians may abound in love. We are taught to love. Love is one of the many wonderful attributes of God. Without His love for us, we would be incapable of loving. To be as He is, we must love. But, we must have a knowledge of love. With that knowledge, comes a purpose for loving. We must love for the right reason. We are to love that which is good. We must not love that which is evil. We must be able to love despite the flaws in the character of another. Our love for them and their love for us will seek to help correct those flaws. God's love for us delivers us to a higher plane of understanding ourselves and the battles that we must fight. Our love for one another will remove us from false judgment, and motivate us to help and encourage each other. As we come to a knowledge of Christ's love, we will be able to love each other as Christ has loved us.
Friday, August 4, 2017
"Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay: but rather division." Luke 12:51. Jesus Christ came to start a revolution. Inner peace comes from knowing Jesus, but we come to possess it by division. The truth that Jesus taught would divide people one against another. That division sometimes would be found in families. Loved ones would have differing opinions about Jesus. One individual would accept the message which Jesus taught, and another would reject the same message. One would follow Jesus, and another would refuse to follow Him. Some would believe Him to be the Son of God. Others would think that He was a blasphemer. Jesus brought division. Some would remain in the bondage of sin, while others would seek freedom from sin. One would be willing to give up everything to be a disciple, while others would be unwilling to give anything. Some would have the desire for the spiritual, while others would love only the earthly. One would hope for heaven, while another would settle for the here and now. Jesus brought division rather than peace.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
"I will love thee, O Lord, my strength." Psalm 18:1. The Lord gives strength from a fountain that never empties. The Lord has all strength, and gives it freely to those who love Him. His strength empowers us, His children. We are strong because He is strong. None of our enemies can overcome us because our Lord gives us His strength. No foe can defeat us for we have His strength. In this world, old Satan comes with all his force. He brings every scheme so that he might bring us down. But, alas, no power is greater than that power of our Lord. The devil confronted our Lord, and walked away in a humiliating defeat. So it will be when he comes to us. Pray for His strength to bless us. Seek to be strong in Him. His power drowned the Egyptians. His strength dried up the heavens for Elijah, and no rain fell. His might closed the mouths of the lions, and put out the devouring fire for Daniel and the Hebrew boys. His power was stronger than Herod's chains, and loosed Peter from prison. His power opens the gates of heaven, and closes the door of hell. Love Him as Lord, and be strong always.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
"Continuing instant in prayer." Romans 12:12. Prayer is our personal speaking unto God. God is our Father, and He delights for us to talk with Him. Prayer is our way of thanking God for blessings which have been bestowed, and making requests. Prayer is our help line to the Father. Prayer brings comfort and peace to the soul. We tell God our problems and our concerns. We confess unto Him our wrongs, and request His forgiveness. We find strength in prayer. We find courage in prayer. Prayer needs to be constant. There is not a time when we cannot pray. God is always available. There is not a situation about which we cannot pray. God always listens. Prayer enables us to unburden our soul. Pray now and pray later. Pray any time. Pray all the time. Pray in the morning, and pray in the evening. Pray softly, or pray aloud. Pray when we are bewildered, and pray when we are happy. Pray when sad, and pray when glad. Pray when cast down, and pray when lifted up. Prayer seeks God's blessings, and God's help. God is there, waiting for us to pray. There is never a bad time to pray, and always a good time to pray. Continue to pray, instantly.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
"Patient in tribulation." Romans 12:12. It is our lot in life that trials will come. This present world offers many difficulties that we must bear. We live in a time of sorrow and disappointment. The devil will try our souls with his many devices. Tribulation can draw us away from God. We must not allow this drawing away to happen. Rather, in times of hardness we must draw closer to God. We must find in Him a source of strength and stability. We must persevere. We must continue to fight against all the negative forces that seek our overthrow as a child of God. Our faith must stand the test of trial. Only in trial do we become stronger. This leads us to a greater dependence upon our Father in heaven. When we read Hebrews chapter eleven, we read of those of old time who had to persevere against various conflicts that threatened their soul. God's people have always found themselves facing burdens that they had to overcome. They faced enemies that had to be defeated. The road to the kingdom of heaven is paved with patience or endurance. At last, all enemies will be overthrown and all burdens will be lifted. In that day we will forever rejoice.
Sunday, July 23, 2017
"Rejoicing in hope." Romans 12:12. Our hope should certainly cause us to rejoice. Many difficulties in this life bring sorrow. Our journey in this world is laden with hardship. However, we have hope through Christ our Savior. The Christian life is one of expectation. We have hope that difficulties with pass. We have hope that darkness will be absorbed in light. We have hope that God will walk beside us and lift our load. Our joy is a joy of the soul. Because of hope, we endure. Satan can not destroy our hope. We hope in the God that has all power. We have hope in a Savior that destroyed death. Our hope dispels fear. Our hope gives birth to a greater faith. Our hope lifts us above the world. Our hope is a firm assurance in life without death. Our hope is planted in the world to come. Because of hope, we look for the coming of Jesus. With hope, we anticipate the resurrection of our bodies from the tomb. With hope, we long for the heavenly land. Our journey from this temporal land to the eternal land is traveled with joy that is unspeakable.
Saturday, July 22, 2017
"Fervent in spirit: serving the Lord." Romans 12:11. Our relationship to Jesus Christ and His church is to have life. We must have a feeling about our commitment. Our service to the Lord is to be performed with a high enthusiasm. We have been converted to serve Jesus. He has become our Lord. We thrive on His commands and His mission. A casual commitment will not suffice in the kingdom. In the kingdom of God, there is a war between spirits. We battle against a great force in Satan. To overcome this demon, we must war against him with the full devotion of our being. Jesus has removed us from the world, and given us a cause that is worthy of heaven. Our spirit is fueled with the power of God. God's might does not fail. We are conquerors through Him. We serve with the greatest promise of reward. We have been delivered into the army of the King. Our calling is one of service. We bow at the feet of the greatest Lord ever known unto men. His mission is the greatest that has ever been realized. With a commitment that resounds through our whole spirit, we cry for Him to send us.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
"Not slothful in business." Romans 12:11. Whether it be our human business or our church business, we are to be diligent. The Christian lives in the world, and also, lives in the church. Our lives are both physical and spiritual. Therefore, we are to be diligent in both areas of our life. God has never approved of slothfulness. Nothing is accomplished by laziness. If we do not attend to our physical lives, weeds will grow. If we do not attend to our spiritual welfare, the devil will sow seeds of evil in our heart. Kingdom business must not be neglected. The Lord calls us to labor so that we might earn the necessities of our life. The Lord has blessed us with the charge of labor in His kingdom so that our souls and the souls of others might be saved. We must not depend upon others to do our labor in His service. With diligence, we complete the assignments that have been delivered unto us in our life. Diligence is admirable both with man and also with God.
Monday, July 10, 2017
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another." Romans 12:10. There is a prescription in the Bible as to how we are to treat each other. This is particularly true of the brotherhood of Christ. Love is the character that cements the brotherhood together. All that we do toward each other is to be done with brotherly love. Each one is to give careful consideration to the other. Self cannot be the principal subject of our relationship with each other, and certainly, not in our relationship with God. God and the other brother or sister comes first before ourselves. Self has died. Each other lives in our heart, and becomes the concern of our affection and honor. Each individual within the brotherhood of the church is to treat others with the grace of kindness and honor. This treatment of each other flows from a heart of love. Love is never unkind, nor does love treat one with disrespect. It is my will to love another, but it must also be the will of another to love me. This grand concept taught in this passage creates an atmosphere of harmony and strength within the brotherhood of believers.
Friday, July 7, 2017
"Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good." Romans 12:9. In the world, there is both good and evil. We cannot take part in both. As Christians, we must hate or detest the evil, and we must cleave or join fast to the good. Evil is of the devil, and good is of God. Evil is born in hell, and goodness is born in heaven. God, because of His holiness and goodness, abhors that which is evil. Evil violates the character of goodness. Evil opposes all that is right. Jesus spoke of those who loved darkness because their deeds were evil. We are to hate all forms of evil. We are to avoid every evil path. Evil leads one away from God. Goodness leads one to God. Evil is only overcome with goodness. To abhor the evil is to flee from the snare of the devil. We are to attach ourselves to the goodness that flows from God. Goodness is a virtue that helps oneself and also helps others. Goodness glorifies God, and evil blasphemes God. Evil takes one to hell, and goodness takes one to heaven.
Monday, July 3, 2017
"Let love be without dissimulation." Romans 12:9. The word "dissimulation" means pretense or hypocrisy. Christians do not pretend to love. Love among brethren is to be genuine. Love for others is to be true. No area of the Christian life is to be hypocritical. We truly love because God truly loves us. Every expression of our love is to be true. Genuine love for others is a mark of our devotion to God. Our hearts abound with love because God has filled us with love. Love flows from the fountain of heaven into the souls of the redeemed. From us, that love flows outward. True, genuine, and pure love that helps, consoles, and abides. Hypocrisy cannot fulfill its obligation. Being loved, we must love. The love of God's children is not confined. It reaches into the lanes and byways of the world and touches each soul. We love our brethren faithfully. We love our neighbors truly. We love our enemies sincerely.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
"Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among the people." Psalm 96:3. What wonders of God will we declare? We will speak of His power in creation. The beauty of the stars and the moon is a wonder to behold. Only by a divine power could such a wonder come to pass. Will we not speak of His power in deliverance? We are delivered from the curse of sin. His hand has snatched us from death. Let us declare His power in help. God is our help in time of trouble. He is our stronghold in difficulty. His power sustains us, and keeps us from falling. Let us declare His power in redemption. We are free from the slavery of the devil. The chains of sin have been broken by His mighty hand. Let us declare His promise in hope. Light shines through the darkness. Hope is the security of a better tomorrow. Can the mouth be stopped to speak of His wonders? In the lives of His children is the constant witness of His glory. Speak child. Declare His goodness and His greatness. Praise Him for His marvelous wonders.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
"The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand." Isaiah 14:24. God always speaks with firmness. His word must not be taken lightly. We, in reading and hearing the word of God, know with surety that God will perform as He has spoken. We have full confidence in every word that proceeds from His mouth. His thoughts are greater than our thoughts, and His purpose is greater than our purpose. God has spoken against the evil and corruption of the time. God has declared divine judgment upon those who choose to surround themselves with evil. God purposes divine wrath upon the wicked, and divine blessings upon the just. Surely, it shall come to pass. What God has decreed will stand. As we live, we must choose which side of God we desire for ourselves. We take count of time, and believe that the purpose and will has been forgotten. But, God waits His will at last to come to pass. His thought and His purpose will indeed fall upon the human scene. Do we believe?
Thursday, June 15, 2017
"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2. In everything that is right and good, we are to continue. And, we must watch. We are to pray. In prayer, we watch for the adversary that assaults our soul. When we are in communion with God, we have a guard against the devil. Prayer is a powerful tool in the hand of the righteous. Prayer moves God. Prayer provides help and comfort to the hurting soul. Prayer is the medicine for the sick of heart. We speak to our Father. His ear is open unto our pleading. We cry unto Him who can provide for us all things. Prayer is to be often. At all times, we can pour out our feelings unto our heavenly Father. Prayer gives us courage and strength to face the difficult times in our lives. In prayer, we give thanks for all the many blessings that God has given unto us. We thank Him for hearing and for caring. A thankful beggar will be granted a listening ear.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
"Neither give place to the devil." Ephesians 4:27. The devil is the enemy of all that is good and holy. The devil is the adversary of all righteousness. The devil is the source of all evil. The devil opposes God. The old man is corrupt because of the influence of Satan. The new man must avoid the devil at all times. The devil will slip into our lives, and will ultimately become a resident. The devil desires to take his abode in our hearts. He will come to control us, and eventually destroy us. Because of his crafty deceit, we must never provide him with an opportunity in our lives. The devil only brings ruin. The devil seeks to harm us, never to help us. What he promises, he cannot provide. The door of our life must never be opened unto him. We must be on guard against him. We must know his methods. We must be mindful of his lurking. We must stay near unto God, and His word. We must not detour from the path of righteousness. We must not drift into the darkness. We cannot play with sin, and the devil. Any small opportunity given to him will be devastating to the soul.
Monday, June 5, 2017
"Is Christ divided?" I Corinthians 1:13. This question is asked of a troubled body of believers. Their hearts are divided over whom they should follow and whose name they should wear. Is not the same true in our religious world of today? Division will prevent the cause from succeeding. Division will bring defeat rather than victory. Those who choose to follow Christ are to dwell in unity. We are to stand as one. Our faith is to be one. Christ is not divided, and neither must His followers be divided. We should wear His name, not the name of some human. We should embrace His teaching, not the teaching of a human mind. Christ is one, and His body, the church, is one. As there is not a multitude of Christs, so there is to be no multitude of bodies, nor teachings. Believers are not to be in disharmony, nor separated into different sects. When men follow different opinions and relate them to Christ, they have erred. Christ is one. His body is one. His followers are one. United with the one Christ is the assurance of hope and victory.
Sunday, June 4, 2017
"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter." Daniel 3:16. These three young men were told to bow down and worship the golden image which had been set up by Nebuchadnezzar. If they failed to do so, they would be cast into the fiery furnace. Hebrews were to worship only the Lord God of heaven. They were to honor nor serve any other god. The decision to obey the voice of the king had already been made by these young men. They were willing to face the fire of the furnace and the wrath of the king. To serve the gods of the world or to serve the God of heaven is always a decision that must be made. When the time comes to make the choice, are we going to have to think about it? Or, is the choice already established in our hearts? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not going to think about the choice given by the king. There was not going to be any discussion or deliberation. Their minds were set on what choice they would make. They would serve God, whether God chose to deliver them or not. When the gods of the world beckon for our attention, we must not be careful to answer them. We must be firm in our resolve to honor God.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
"For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village." Luke 9:56. Messengers had been sent by Jesus into a village of the Samaritans to receive Him in His journey toward Jerusalem. These Samaritans would not receive Him. James and John wanted fire to be sent from heaven to destroy them. Hence, the rebuke of Christ and the reminder of His mission into the world. Jesus came to save. There will be those who reject Him, but they may later change their mind about Him. However, to reject Christ is to reject His salvation. Jesus has sent His church to make ready the hearts of people to receive Him. Many do not hear our plea for their salvation. Our spirit is not for God to destroy them, but to hope that they might change their mind and come to know Him. Jesus and His disciples went to another village. There are so many more villages to which we must go. There is a world of people that we must tell the story of heaven's offer of redemption. Jesus came to earth because of His will for the salvation of those who would receive Him. Christ must be received into our hearts by obedience to His truth. He came to save. Let us not reject Him, but rather, receive Him.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord." Jeremiah 23:16. The Lord consistently warns us to be careful of prophets. Not all prophets are of God. Not all speak the word of God. False prophets speak of their own heart. They prophesy their own will. If the prophet does not speak out of the mouth of the Lord, we are not to hear that prophet. A prophet who speaks a vision of his own heart will take us into error and sin. Prophets who speak a vision of their own heart do not give us warning against danger. Prophets who speak a vision of their own heart do not condemn sin and evil. A vision of one's own heart violates the word of the Lord. A vision of one's own heart turns from the truth of God. A vision of one's own heart is a lie that cannot save. A vision of one's own heart is a word that soothes, calms, and relaxes. A prophet who speaks his own vision has closed his ears to the word of the Lord. Such who hear a vision of one's own heart will finally feel the whirlwind of God's anger and wrath. Hear God's prophet and no other.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
"Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister, Martha." John 11:1. These three people were very close friends of Jesus. As we read through this chapter, we will see that Lazarus dies from his sickness. The Lord goes down to Bethany and raises Lazarus from the dead. Those who know Christ, and serve Him as their Lord, get sick. Sickness afflicts the human family. Those who are Christians and members of the Lord's church have disease. Sometimes that disease will cause one to die. Christians live in a world that is afflicted with many maladies. Servants of Jesus are not exempt from those maladies. We must understand as we see the sickness of Lazarus that we too will have illnesses. We are mortal, and therefore, we are subject to mortal weakness. But, our weakness and illness is not unto death. This was true for Lazarus. The Lord raised up Lazarus after four days in the grave for the glory of God. Death is a farewell to this world, and a good morning to the next world. We, as God's chosen, will know sickness in this life, but none in the life to come.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
"Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." I Timothy 6:17. Wealth has its responsibility. Sharing with those who need is one of those. I Timothy 6:18. Those who are rich must not trust in their wealth for it can soon be gone. They who possess it may not be able to keep it. All the things of this world have no guarantee. Therefore, trust in God. God is alive, and will always remain. God blesses time and again. The blessings that He bestows so freely are to be enjoyed. But never in a carnal way. Our joy comes from the service that we can offer unto Him. His blessings never cease. There is no uncertainty with God. Riches of this world are uncertain, but God is sure. While worldly riches can fly away, God does not. His children are ever under His watchful care. And, He ever gives us that which we need. His grace cannot cease, and His love cannot be diminished. Whatever He gives, He gives richly. His throne is a fountain of wealth.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
"But godliness with contentment is great gain." I Timothy 6:6. Neither godliness nor contentment is easily found in our society of today. We are a people that are enveloped in sinfulness and a people who are constantly seeking to have more and more. Godliness is found when we submit to God and seek His will in our lives. We strive to be as pure and holy as He is. Godliness avoids sin, and seeks righteousness. Godliness does not follow the path of the wicked. Godliness will promote self worth, and free one from guilt. Godliness will lift one to a higher plane of living. Contentment will free one from materialistic pursuits, and seeking to surround one with those things that are only temporary. Contentment is satisfaction with what one has. It does not covet the things that are unnecessary in one's life. Discontent causes one to seek more and more. The more one seeks, the less satisfied one becomes. All things worldly do not last. Godliness will continue on into the next life. It fact, godliness promises one the abundant life. The true worth of an individual is not what one possesses, but rather what possesses the individual. True happiness is found when one becomes godly and content with blessings possessed.
Friday, May 5, 2017
"But the Lord shall endure forever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment." Psalm 9:7. We are consoled with the divine truth that the Lord endures. Enemies wage against heaven, but the Lord endures. The Lord conquers all. God cannot be overthrown. Our hearts rejoice in the endurance and continuance of the Lord. Stars burn out, but the Lord endures. The earth is draped in death, but the Lord endures. And His throne is set in heaven above. The Lord rules from His eternal habitation. And judgment goes forth. The judgment of God is swift and righteous. His throne is without error and prejudice is unknown. The Lord judges our enemies. Divine retribution is poured out upon the doers of evil. All errors of humanity are brought before the judgment of God. The Lord judges those who rise up against Him and His eternal cause. All that rise against Him fall before Him. His throne continues to stand. And judgment goes forth throughout all the earth. We rejoice in the doing of His will for we know that all who oppose Him shall come under His judgment. We fear not the wicked nor do we flee from the heathen for the Lord judges. The Lord has set a throne of judgment.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
"The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God." Psalm 14:2. God is in heaven, and He looks upon us. God beholds all of our deeds, whether those deeds be good or bad. God does not look from heaven to see our wealth and our achievement. God does not look from heaven to behold our strides in medicine and education. God looks from heaven to see if we understand and seek Him. God is not sought without understanding. We must understand that we are His creation, and that He is God. We must understand that we have a duty toward Him. We are to understand that He is the Giver of all blessings. We are to understand that service to Him is the height of all of our accomplishment. God looks upon us with an eye of intent. He beholds with patience and love. God desires our heart and our devotion. We are to understand that we are but pilgrims on a journey that is brief. With that understanding, let us seek Him and know Him as the One who can bless, but also curse.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled." Colossians 1:21. Oh, what a mighty act can be wrought by grace. Alienated from God without a bridge. Enemies of God without a mediator. Wickedness had created the great divide. Evil never works any good. Man without the help of God. Man engaged in war with God. That is such a hopeless battle. But, God acted. God sought for the restoration of humanity unto Himself. Christ became the Mediator. His blood dissolved the sin. Restoration was possible. Man must come through faith. Grace is ineffective without faith. Faith is impossible without grace. God offers reconciliation, and man must respond. As God reaches forth His hand from heaven, we must take hold. God pulls us from the fire. God gives us a place in His house. God gives to the one who is now reconciled food from His table and clothes from His closet. The wicked worker is renewed. Reconciliation makes new. The old sinful self dies, and a new person is born. Reconciliation gives back what has been lost. Reconciliation restores friendship. No longer alienated. No longer enemies. United with God, and friends with the Creator.
Monday, May 1, 2017
"And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and shall bring you again unto the land of your fathers." Genesis 48:21. Israel had lived to see the son that had been taken from him so long ago. The reunion was sweet. But now, Israel, or Jacob, must die. His pilgrimage upon the earth was coming to a close. One day each one of us will say, Behold, I die. Death is the appointed end of all. Some die in infancy. Some die in youth. And, some live enough years to see old age. But, finally all will die. The grim reaper will visit each one. Our years upon the earth, regardless of how many, will come to a close. The curtain of our life will fall. It does not really matter how many years we live, but how well we have lived. Are we serving God? Are we preparing for the life that awaits us beyond the grave? Our earthly life is very short compared to the eternity that awaits us. We were born to live forever, just not upon the earth. We are traveling toward a destiny. How will the end of life find us? God will either judge us to be saved or lost. God will either accept us or He will reject us. Let us so live that we may say at the moment of our death, Behold, I am translated into life forever.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
"Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage." Matthew 22:4. The king had already sent his servants to invite the guests, but the invitation is refused. God's invitation is refused by many. The king sends other servants, and the invitation is given to others. Even when the invitation is refused, heaven continues to invite. The refusal by many to attend the wedding feast does not hinder God from inviting others. This is an invitation to the kingdom of God. This is the greatest feast that will ever be given. Here is an honor extended to sit with the King. The king says that all things have been prepared. Has not God done everything for the salvation of the human race? A Savior has died. Cleansing blood has been shed. Heaven has received the sacrifice which has been offered. Christ has become the Mediator between God and man. The whole plan of human redemption has been secured. The invitation has gone throughout all the lands. Will you not come?
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62. Jesus is setting forth the conditions of discipleship. The man to whom Jesus spoke was willing to follow, but he wanted to bid farewell to those in his house first. Jesus and the kingdom must be first. The disciple must fulfill the commitment. The resolution to follow Jesus must be met. Worldly concerns must be forsaken, and sometimes, those in our house. Family and relatives can be a hindrance to following Christ. The plowed row must be straight. This cannot be done if he who plows looks back. The resolved disciple must not look back upon the things of the world. Our focus must be a forward look upon Christ and His kingdom. We must set our look toward heaven, and the things of the Spirit. We learn that the resolved can have second thoughts. To look back upon the old life makes one unfit for the kingdom. Following Jesus gives us new life and new opportunities. We must embrace this new found treasure with a complete resolve. Look ahead, and never backward.
Friday, April 21, 2017
"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time." Colossians 4:5. Those who choose to follow Christ are to live in a certain manner. The life which is lived by Christ's followers is examined by those who choose not to follow Him. These are without or outside of Christ. Christ's disciples must be wise. We must know that dangers lurk. We are to be aware of foes. We must make wise decisions. A life which is lived in obedience to the will of God must know God's standard. This life must always manifest light. We must give no occasion for prejudice against the teachings of Christ. Carefulness and goodness must be the traits by which we are seen and known. We must use our opportunities wisely for time slips away. The good that one does may not be remembered, but the bad that one does may very well be recalled. Our time to do right is brief. We are to use the time given to honor the profession that we make. Our walk whether wise or foolish cast a shadow. In a very brief moment, an influence can be impressed upon some watchful soul. Wisdom must insure that moment for Christ.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
"And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed call not thou common." Acts 10:15. Peter had been instructed to kill and eat what was contained in the sheet. Peter refused. It is not uncommon for us to refuse the voice of God. But, it is never wise to do so. God spoke to Peter the second time. Isn't God good? God could only speak once, and bring to nothing everyone who refused to listen. God was teaching Peter a lesson. God was sending Peter to the Gentiles with the gospel. No one is common in the eyes of the Creator. All are important to God. We must see people as souls that are created by God in His very own image. We are not to put people into categories. We are to belittle people because of education, appearance, or achievement. God has made all of one blood, and His desire is to save all. God does not see people as foreigners or misfits. Neither should we. We are to treat everyone with respect and kindness. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a message for everyone. The blood of Jesus Christ has the power to cleanse everyone. The church of Jesus Christ includes everyone. None are common.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
"The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:" II Timothy 1:16. One in a house can bring the mercy of God. God is free with His mercy. The merciful receive mercy. Who in this land of brutality does not need the mercy of God? The man of whom the apostle spoke was a man of mercy. We are to refresh one another. We are to encourage one another. None are to stand alone. We need each other. Giving ourselves to one another will bring the mercy of God unto us. His mercy helps us to give mercy. The apostle found himself in very difficult circumstances oftentimes. Difficulty in life calls for the strength that others can provide. Helping others is helping ourselves. We cannot give without receiving. Paul found himself in chains because of the gospel that he preached. Onesiphorus was not ashamed of that chain. He did not shun the apostle because of the chain that bound him for he understood the price of the gospel. We must not be ashamed of those whom others shun because of truth. We must stand with those who fearlessly preach Christ. Those who are ashamed of Christ will find that Christ is ashamed of them. The gospel does not bring shame, but rather, it brings glory. Let us have the character of Onesiphorus. God has listed his name in the eternal record.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
"And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way: as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour." Matthew 8:13. A powerful man came to Jesus. He wanted Jesus to do something for him that he was unable to do. He believed that Jesus could heal his servant. Here was a powerful man that cared about his servant and was not too proud to ask for help. The centurion did not just ask anyone. He asked Christ. He believed that Christ could do what he asked of Him. "As thou hast believed." That is key to triumph in the kingdom of God. That is the answer to our number growth problem within the church. Our belief helps us to stand. Our belief helps us to fight. Our belief helps us to surrender and serve. Our belief brings God's resources to us. Our belief becomes the channel for His power. Nothing is done without God. What God does for us and with us is fueled by faith. The servant was healed not only because Christ was able to heal him, but because the centurion asked for Jesus to heal him. Let us ask Jesus for help, and let us ask in faith. And, watch what happens.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3. Nicodemus had confessed that Jesus had come from heaven. But, Jesus instructed Nicodemus that faith only is insufficient to save. One must not only believe that Jesus has come from heaven, but one must also be born again. Jesus stated that this new birth is an absolute. Jesus further explained to Nicodemus that this birth was of the water and the Spirit. This birth brings the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God. One is then given a place of residence in the kingdom of God. The new birth translates one from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of heaven. The new birth brings a new citizenship and a new allegiance. When one is born of water (baptism) and the Spirit, a new identity is given. One born of water and the Spirit has a new hope. The new birth means being raised from water to walk in newness of life and raised to sit in heavenly places. The new birth gives one access to the priesthood of Jesus Christ and all the blessings of heaven. Ye must be born again.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
"And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" Genesis 3:9. Adam and Eve had hidden from God. God walked in the garden. God called out to Adam and Eve. By means of the gospel, God calls out to everyone. Let us not hide from Him, but rather, let us seek Him. God desires our fellowship. He offers His friendship. God's question to Adam was, "Where are you?" God knew they had hidden from Him. Nothing can be kept from Him who sees all and knows all. Adam and Eve had changed sides. They had listened to the devil. Sin had taken hold of their hearts. They were in the devil's camp. Where are we? Are we in the Lord or out of the Lord? Are we in the church or out of the church? Are we in the camp of sin or are we in the camp of righteousness? We need to ask ourselves, "Where are we?" God already knows. Our future depends upon where we are. Adam and Eve were driven from the paradise that God had given to them. The devil can provide no paradise. To follow Satan will bring hardship and loss. Where are we?
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden." Genesis 3:8. Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They had listened to the devil rather than having listened to God. As God walked in the garden, Adam and Eve hid themselves from Him. Some do not care what God thinks about them. They boldly go forth and sin at leisure. They do not seek to hide from Him nor do they seek to hide their sin. But, others have a conscious awareness of God. They do not openly flaunt their sin. Adam and Eve were unable to hide themselves and the sin that they had committed. Neither can we nor anyone. God sees all and knows all. His presence is everywhere. Nothing can be hidden from Him. We must not hide our sin, but rather, confess our sin. We must seek forgiveness of our sin. God rewards right behavior, and God punishes bad behavior. God knows where we are and what we are doing. Let us be mindful of that truth and, therefore, always do right. Let us seek God rather than hide from God.
Monday, April 3, 2017
"Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly." Hebrews 13:18. A good conscience is vital to living honestly. Our conscience speaks to us. However, our conscience can lead us astray. We must not simply believe that we have a good conscience, but we must be sure. Our conscience must be guided toward an honest life. How we live is a choice that we make. To live honestly before God is to yield ourselves to Him, and seek to do as He directs. To live honestly is to yield ourselves to the lives of others in service. To live honestly is to avoid the pitfalls that present themselves to us. Our conscience will help us to stay on the path of honest living. The author of this verse had requested prayer due to a good conscience and an honest life. Dare we ask for the prayers of others if we ourselves do not live in a manner where we can also pray for ourselves? The prayers of others on our behalf cannot change our lifestyle. The prayers of others for us cannot alter a false lifestyle. We must not ask others to do for us what we are unable to do for ourselves. We certainly have no right to ask God for blessings if we choose not to live honestly.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
"Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me." Matthew 15:25. The woman had a daughter that was vexed with a devil. In her need, she came to Christ. With that need, she brought a great faith. Faith and need bring us to Jesus. We must not come to Christ only with our need. We must also bring our faith. Who but Jesus could help her? Who but Jesus could answer the deep need of her heart? In our moments of stress, we need Jesus. In our times of temptation, we need Jesus. We all travel through valleys. We all feel the pressure of life. We all have someone who is dear unto us that needs help. Jesus can and will help us. Jesus can relieve the pain that we feel. Jesus can lift the burden that we bear. Only Jesus can fill the void of emptiness that we all experience. This woman sought mercy from Jesus. It is mercy that we seek. Mercy flows from the wellspring of God's love. Jesus will not turn away from the faith that seeks His help. Despite the fact that His disciples wanted Him to send her away and that He had come only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, His heart was captured by her faith. In our need with our faith, let us worship Him as we cry for help.
Monday, March 27, 2017
"Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily." Psalm 86:3. We desire mercy from the Lord. We are weak and lowly creatures. We are unable to stand alone. Daily we must engage in the battle against the world in which we live. We have an enemy that desires our demise. We encounter worries and troubles along our path. Our journey sees difficulties. We are not equipped to endure all that we face. We need help from the God who created us. We ask God for mercy so that we might be able to stand and overcome. Without the mercy of God, the world will overcome us. When we fall, we need His mercy to lift us. When we stumble, we need His mercy to catch us. When we sin, we need His mercy to forgive us. Without mercy from God, we are helpless. And so, we cry for mercy. Let us not utter the cry of distress or surrender. Let us not cry in discouragement or lonliness. Let us cry unto God for mercy. He will hear and help. God comes to the aid of those who cry unto Him. Cry daily. Cry daily for we need mercy daily.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
"Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Psalm 85:9-10. God's salvation comes to those who fear Him. The saved bring glory to the land. Sin mars and brings a reproach, but the fear of God gives dignity to any society of people. Salvation comes through God's mercy. If God were only angry at transgression, He would destroy completely. However, God is a God of mercy and truth. Therefore, salvation has come. Truth reveals God's mercy. To fear God is to obey His truth. Mercy is shown. God offered His righteousness to those who would fear Him. If God only destroyed, He would not be righteous. There must be an offer of salvation. When one accepts God's righteousness through obedience to His truth, peace comes. We are at peace with God when we know God's salvation. There is no peace without the righteousness of God. Peace is the benefit of God's righteousness. Salvation is to those who fear God because of divine mercy that is shown. God's righteous act to redeem humanity through Jesus Christ as revealed in the truth of Scripture flows the soul with peace. Indeed, the glory of God dwells in the land.
Saturday, March 25, 2017
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7. This present land is a place of choice. We must choose between God and the devil. One cannot serve both. As one submits to God, he is able to resist the devil. God gives strength to resist the devil. As one submits to God, he is endowed with power that can do anything. There is no limit to what God is capable of performing. The devil's power cannot cope with the power of God. The devil does not have enough weapons in his arsenal to defeat God. The devil roams the land looking for souls to deceive. He must be resisted. Did not our Lord resist him? And did not the devil depart from him? And so it is with us. As we say no to the devil, the devil will flee, but he may return. Victory in one battle does not ensure that the war is over. The devil does not give up easily. Be strong in God. Seek strength from above. Submit to the law and power of God, and do not serve the devil. Hope, comfort, and peace come from God. The devil only gives death. Submit and resist.
Friday, March 24, 2017
"It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall live with him." II Timothy 2:11. All of God's sayings are faithful. His word is always reliable. We must die with Christ. He died so that we might die with Him. When we are buried in baptism, we die with Christ. We die to sin. We die to the world. We die to self. After Jesus died, He arose and lives again. So when we die, we are raised so that we might live with Him. We live in His forgiveness. We live in His fellowship. We live in His perfection. Christ brought life through death. One must die so that he might live. Choosing to die is choosing to live. Living with Christ now brings life with Christ forever. Our conception in Jesus Christ is through death. This death brings a life that never ends. God's faithful saying is that when we die in Christ, we truly begin to live. Life now and life eternal. Those who die with Christ only die once. When we die with Christ, the grave will be unable to hold us. Truly this is a faithful saying: death erupts in life.
Thursday, March 23, 2017
"Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" I Corinthians 1:13. Christ brings unity between God and man. Christ was crucified for us. We are baptized in the name of Christ. We are to follow Christ. We are to honor Christ. We do not follow men. We do not wear the name of men. To follow men and wear the name of men is to bring division. We must not adhere to men and their teachings. We must hear the teachings of Christ. Such brings unity, and this is the will of God. Christ is superior to all and His teachings bring us together into the fellowship of God. The voice of men changes, and the voice of God never changes. The word of men contains error, and the word of God is only truth. Men cannot save us. Only Christ can redeem us. Christ speaks only one will, and that will is from God. There is only one cross that will grant the remission of sin unto sinful men. Only baptism into Christ brings us into Christ, and provides access to all spiritual blessings that come from God. Do not follow the foolish words of humans. The word of men brings an eternal curse.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
"Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab." II Chronicles 18:1. The prophets of Ahab told him to go to Ramoth-gilead and God would give them victory. Jehoshaphat wanted the Lord's prophet to speak. Ahab did not want to hear what the Lord's prophet would speak. Those who want to hear God need to shun those who do not wish to hear the Lord's word. God's people are to separate themselves from those who do not seek the way of righteousness. The Lord had to deliver Jehoshaphat from the battle. Ahab was killed. The situation could have proven deadly to Jehoshaphat were it not for the deliverance of God. When we choose to make an alliance with evil, we place ourselves in a dangerous situation. Evil is a powerful influence. It has the power to overcome us. One who wanted to hear God joined in alliance with one who did not wish to hear God. Such an alliance can lead us in the wrong direction. It can interfere with our perspective, and can cause us to make wrong decisions. Any involvement with evil can cause deadly harm. Let us always be in affinity with God, and never with the wicked.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
"The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day." Luke 9:22. The prophecies concerning Jesus had been given to the elders, priests, and scribes. When He came, they rejected Him. They rejected the only One who could deliver them from the bondage of sin. They rejected the One whom God had chosen to be their Savior. Multitudes today reject Jesus. They choose the earthly rather than the heavenly. They choose pleasure or wealth rather than Jesus. For one to choose Jesus, he must make a sacrifice. One who chooses Jesus must bear a cross, and wage war against evil. One who chooses Jesus must walk in His steps, and confess Him as Lord. And, so, many reject Him. To reject Jesus will mean the loss of the soul. To reject Jesus is to choose the devil. To reject Jesus is to reject God and life. When Jesus is rejected, one is left in the snare of sin. When Jesus is rejected, one is without God and has no hope in this world. To accept or reject Jesus is the greatest choice of life. Jesus came into this world and suffered and died so that humanity could be forever blessed. Will we receive Him or will we reject Him?
Thursday, March 9, 2017
"Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." Galatians 6:5. The word of God is taught. God saves through the teaching of His word. If one desires to be taught, he should only desire the word. Nothing else is profitable. God brings His salvation to humanity through His word. One does not come to know God by a dream or a vision or some type of religious experience. God has revealed all that is necessary for us to be saved and have a relationship with Him in His word. The word is to be accepted as the true revelation of God. This word is to be taught. There is in God's scheme of redemption the teacher and the learner. The teacher of the word of God has a grave responsibility in teaching correctly what has been revealed. The learner must make sure that the teaching is truth. Error will not save. A misunderstanding of the word and a misapplication of the word will not save. Teach truth. Learn truth. This is the road that must be traveled if salvation is to be realized.