Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bad Company

Bad Company

I am going to be blunt.  You can know about Christ, you can even believe He is God and died for your sins.  But if you don’t act on that information, you are not a Christian.

So why do I say this? 

The Bible is very clear; Satan and his demons know that Christ is God.  Yet they rebelled against Him and are condemned to an eternity in Hell.

James 2:19-20 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Mark 5:6-8 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

To read about Lucifer’s (Satan’s) fall, read Revelation 12:7-10 and Isaiah 14:12-15.

Here is a straightforward analogy to clarify this point.  Do you know what a parachute is?  Do you believe that if properly designed, manufactured, maintained and packed a parachute will work?  OK then, let’s go jump out of a plane together!  Do you see the difference between knowing, believing and acting?

Secondly, the parable of the four soils (see Mark Chapter 4) teaches us that you can:
  • Have no response to the Word of God (seed that fell by the wayside);
  • Have an emotional response to the Word of God (seed that fell on rocky ground);
  • Have an intellectual response to the Word of God (seed that fell among the thorns);

and still not become a Christian (not transformed and bearing fruit).  Per James 2:20 above, ‘faith without works is dead’.  Only the seed that fell among the good ground bore fruit (indicating genuine conversion and the good works that followed).

And finally, a Christian puts Christ first in their life.

Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Philippians 3:7-8 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Honestly, it is a gross oversimplification to take these and related verses out of context and conclude that Christ was saying that in order to be His disciple, everyone must sell everything they own, give it all away, have no joy in life, literally carry around a big wooden cross, etc., etc.

These verses are teaching us we must be obedient to Christ and His commandments.  We must be willing and ready to give up anything He tells us to (some may be called to sell their possessions; others may called to use the wealth God has blessed them with to honor Him and care for others; and everything in between).

The message here is very simple: as a Christian, put nothing above Christ and lay aside anything in your life that does not honor and glorify His name!

So why is the title to this devotion, ‘Bad Company’?  If you know about Christ, understand what He did for you, and you haven’t acted on that information (respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and ask Christ to forgive your sins and be the Lord of your life), you are in with some very bad company – Satan and his demons).

If you have any doubts as to your standing before God, please seek out a Bible believing church and/or a Christian friend and ask them to tell you about the love of Christ and what is means to be born again.


Dear Father, my prayer is that you will reach someone through your Holy Word as presented in this devotion.  Only You know the heart of a man.  Only You can save the lost through Your grace and the faith You give us to truly believe and accept salvation in Christ.  All praise to You.  In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Diversity of Gifts (Ministries)

Diversity of Gifts (Ministries)

Very recently, three different Christian men spoke to me passionately about their views on ministry (all within seven days of each other).  None of these men were from my church.  And I don’t know any one of them well.  However, I do believe all three love the Lord.  I also believe God was using their passion to teach me an important lesson.

The first was telling me about his church.  He loves his church and believes they are doing it right.  ‘Our church is all about missions.  That’s what it is all about, training and sending missionaries.  That is what we focus on.  That is what we do.’ 
Wow, what a great ‘mission’ for a church.  But I found myself thinking, ‘Is that really what it is all about?  As important as missions work is, isn’t there more a church is supposed to do?’

Five days later, another man started talking to me about ‘finding my prayer language.’  He told me that I would never experience true power and reach my potential as a witness for Christ until I, ‘receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues.’ 
I appreciated his enthusiasm, and I am quite sure he wasn’t intending to hurt me, but honestly, what I heard was that I am inferior to him because I haven’t ever spoken in tongues.

The next evening I ran into an acquaintance and we started talking about Christ and church.  He started telling about his church.  He was very emphatic that, ‘It’s all about making disciples!  That is what our church does.  We aren’t about money.  We make disciples!’ 
Discipleship is a passion of mine and I certainly believe it is very important.  But imagine a church that does nothing but makes disciples (students/learners).  Where do the ‘doers’ come from?  I didn’t have the opportunity to ask him what his definition of, ‘making disciples’ was.  But again, I was thinking, ‘Is the church just about one thing or the other?  Missions?  Speaking in tongues?  Making disciples?’

Sure it is about being an effective witness for Christ: Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12John 13:35

Sure it is about missions and making disciples: Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8Mark 3:13-15

If I am honest, I have to admit that for several days I felt all three of these men were going to extremes.  Then, thankfully, through prayer and patience, God spoke to me and let me know that I was being judgmental.

1 Corinthians 12:18 says: But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

So who am I to say that God will not assemble a local body of believers to focus specifically on missions, or discipleship, or whatever He wants to accomplish.

And regarding tongues, who am I to say that God will not richly bless a believer and empower them by the gift of tongues, or prophecy, or teaching, or any spiritual gift He chooses.

1 Corinthians 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

But beyond the lesson of not judging what God may be doing in another church, I was tremendously blessed to recognize the diversity of ministries in the church I belong to.  We support missions, we make disciples and we are an effective witness for Christ.

Additionally, we:

Reach out in the community to meet needs – James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Use the various ministry of the church to edify (build up) the church body – Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Minister to the poor – Psalm 41:1 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

And much, much more…

Be very careful of judging what God is doing in another church.  The fact that you are uncomfortable with it is probably why God didn’t put your there.  And be sure to be thankful to God for placing you in a church according to His desire to use your gifts and abilities.


Father, I confess being judgmental.  But I thank You for revealing this to me and helping me understand just a little bit more about You.  I thank You so much for my church and how You work in different ways in each church.  Draw me closer to You every single day.  Use me according to Your will.  Praise to Your holy name.  In Christ name I lift my prayer and praise.  Amen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012



Many years ago, in a very typical small town, there lived a not so typical girl named Kora.  Kora was smart, funny, energetic and full of love for her family and friends.  She obeyed her parents and did very well in school.  Although she was only fifteen, with the prompting and encouragement of her father, Kora had already figured out what she wanted to do with her life.  She wanted to be an elementary school teacher.  She loved younger children and she loved watching them learn new things.

There is one more thing you need to know about Kora.  She was born with a severely underdeveloped right foot and lower leg.  Over the years she had gotten pretty good at balancing on her left foot, but she really couldn’t get around very well and often got injured by falling.  Kora’s family didn’t have much money, but they worked and saved and tried several different crutches along the way.  Although each provided some benefit, in the long run all fell short of providing the stability and mobility Kora needed to reach her ever expanding goals.

Today was the first day back at school after a long summer.  Kora was elated to be back in class, especially as a ninth grader.  She had long sinse learned to ignore the jokes, laughs and stares.  But she really didn’t expect to be the center of attention.  After all, what’s the big deal about a new crutch?  But this was no ordinary crutch.  As a matter of fact, it was one of a kind.  Kora’s father, frustrated by the years of disappointment brought about by purchased crutches that never meet his daughter’s needs, designed and built a crutch just for her.

The crutch was made of spruce, a strong but lightweight wood.  It had a base that resembled a small foot (because it was longer and wider than the normal single point of contact like traditional crutches).  There were three handles instead of just one.  This way Kora could grab the appropriate handle for the task at hand (for example: getting up off the floor, standing from a chair, or running, yes, running).  The most ingenious part of the crutch was the custom shaped cushioned support that fit under her arm and the accompanying strap that buckled around her shoulder (the strap was only used for running and playing).  Kora’s father had worked on the crutch all spring and perfected the final design just at the start of summer.  Kora had spent the entire summer learning to take advantage of the design features.  Her parents were overjoyed the first time they saw her run without falling.

Early at lunch, a few of the high school boys were making fun of Kora and her crutch.  She ignored them.  But now, after school, when most the kids gathered on the schoolyard to play, they were really giving her a hard time.  She had joined in a game of hide-and-seek with her friends.  Kora tried desperately to keep her cool, but when Sammy Jones came over and said, ‘I’m glad I don’t need a stupid ole crutch to get around.  That’s the dumbest looking crutch I’ve ever seen!’

Kora had all she could take.  She walked up to Sammy, got right in his face and said clearly and directly, ‘Sammy, I was born with a flaw.  I can’t use my right foot.  I have spent my life trying to find a way to overcome this stupid foot I was born with.  Nothing I tried allowed me to live the life I wanted so badly to live.  But my father loves me so much, and he knows all the things I wanted to do, but couldn’t, so he made me this crutch.  He made it just for me!  He made it in a way that gives me freedom and independence and hope.  You get it?  I now have hope of achieving all my dreams.  I can run, I can play, and one day I will meet a nice boy to dance with!!  So if I have to humble myself and admit that I need help to become the person my father inspired me to be, I will gladly do so.  And you and your stupid immature remarks don’t do anything except show that you aren’t man enough to admit your weaknesses and address them.  And one last thing, I love my crutch.  It is a gift from my father and it enables me to be better than I was.’

Kora turned and walked away, never looking back.  She finished high school, went to college, became a third grade teacher and met a very nice man.  They love to dance.


What wisdom, strength and courage.  As Christians, why do we worry about the world’s view of our dependence on Christ?  They view us as weaker than they are.  But we know the truth, we are all born into sin and the only way to gain victory is through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We become who our father wants us to be by the indwelling power of His Holy Spirit.

A crutch is anything that helps you overcome a weakness.  Our sin nature is our weakness.  I am thankful for Christ.  I am thankful my Heavenly Father made a way for me to overcome this weakness.  The world calls ‘religion’ a crutch.  I say ‘AMEN!’ if that religion is faith in Jesus Christ.

Can we humble ourselves, admit our need for Christ, and stop worrying about what the world thinks?  I hope so.  We need to be praying for those who are blinded by Satan and can’t see their need for Christ.

Christ is my crutch!  I LOVE MY CRUTCH!!!

We are all broken!
·   Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
·   Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
·   Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Without God, we can do nothing!
·   John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
·   2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
·   1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

God is our help and strength!
·   Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
·   Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
·   Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
·    Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

We must humble ourselves before God and rest in His strength, not our own!!
·   Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
·   Matthew 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
·   2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


Father in Heaven, I pray that You will give me the wisdom, strength, courage and humility to openly admit my dependence on You and to live my life in submission to Your will and in obedience to Your commandments.  The world may view me as weak, I pray that You view me as good and faithful.  I love Your truth, I love Your word, I love YOU!  In the precious name of Christ I pray.  Amen.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mud Pies

Mud Pies

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Imagine a young boy that is all cleaned up and dressed for an afternoon birthday party.  His mom now needs a few moments to finish getting herself ready and tells him, “Run out back and play on your swing set.  I will be ready in a few minutes.  Don’t get dirty out there.  I love you sweetie.”

Charlie loves his mom and he loves playing on the swing set.  He can swing high.  He loves to feel the breeze, to see the clouds in the sky and the ground rushing under his feet.  When he swings, he feels as if he is soaring through the air.  So everything is good, right?

Charlie has the best intentions.  Mom will only be a couple of minutes.  But lurking in the corner of the back yard is the mud puddle Charlie dug up yesterday with his toy dump truck.  Before he even makes it to the swing, Charlie sees his dump truck and veers off course.

As he reaches to grab his dump truck, he hears his mom’s voice echo in his mind, “Don’t get dirty out there.”  Wanting to please his mom, Charlie decides that tossing some rocks in the muddy water would be just as fun.  But the rock tossing soon evolves into poking the mud with a stick, retrieving the broken stick from the mud, grabbing the dump truck … You know where this is headed.

God tells us that He loves us and He commands us to not get dirty out there.  Like Charlie’s mom’s voice echoing in his mind, the conviction of the Holy Spirit leads us, prompts us and reminds us of God’s standards and His will for our lives.  The Holy Spirit also empowers us to be victorious over temptation and sin.

Obviously, I am focusing on the last part of James 1:27, ‘to keep himself unspotted from the world.’  Being a Christian is not easy (Matthew 16:24).  Our backyards (our lives) are full of swing sets, mud puddles, green grass, land mines, mountain tops and valleys.  Often, with the best of intentions, we head off into our day planning on doing the right thing.  But in the weakness of our flesh, we veer off course and ‘flirt’ with sin (throwing rocks, poking sticks, then…).  See Matthew 26:41.

Our only hope to stay clean in this fallen world is Christ’s grace and power!

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

We can’t do it ourselves.  We have to submit to Christ, to His authority and power.

See also James 4:8 and  1 John 2:15.


Father in Heaver, my Lord, I beg You to give me the wisdom, strength and courage to stay away from the mud puddles in my life.  Help me to focus on the intent of Your word, not the ‘letter of the law’.  I know that in my strength I will fail.  I know that with You, all things are possible.  I praise Your holy name and thank You for loving me.  In Christ name I pray.  Amen