Monday, December 29, 2014



Hunger for Bread

According to the World Hunger Education Service website:
  • … hunger is a term which has three meanings (Oxford English Dictionary 1971)
    • the uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving appetite. Also the exhausted condition caused by want of food
    • the want or scarcity of food in a country
    • a strong desire or craving
  • World hunger refers to the second definition, aggregated to the world level. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012.

For anyone, these numbers should be staggering and heart wrenching! For Christians, the Bible is clear that feeding those who lack food shows our love for Christ and demonstrates our genuine faith in Him.
  • Matthew 25:34-35 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
  • James 2:15-17 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Faced with this information and responding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I am committed to make financial support for organizations that help those without access to enough food an ongoing part of my regular charitable giving. With that being said, nothing stated below is intended to minimize or detract from the scourge of world hunger on our planet.

The church of Jesus Christ should be
the greatest force on earth
in alleviating physical hunger!

Hunger for ‘the Bread of Life’

The December 19, 2011 Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project report found on the Pew Foundation website states that:
  • A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 2.18 billion Christians of all ages around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion.
  • Christians are diverse theologically as well as geographically, the new study finds. About half are Catholic. Protestants, broadly defined, make up 37%. Orthodox Christians comprise 12% of Christians worldwide. Other Christians, such as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, make up the remaining 1% of the global Christian population.

For born again believers in Jesus Christ, these statistics should be horrifying! Only about one third of the world population is classified as ‘Christian’. But of that one third, how many are truly converted, indwelled with God’s Holy Spirit, experiencing the life changing reality of a personal relationship with Christ, and most importantly, recipients of the gift of eternal life which comes only through faith is Jesus by God’s grace?
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
  • John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
  • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

If only half of those counted as Christians in the research referenced above are truly born again believers, then more than 80% of the current world population will spend eternity in hell if they die without hearing and accepting the good news about Jesus Christ! After His death, burial and resurrection, before ascending into Heaven, Jesus clearly stated that Christians must share with all nations the Biblical truth about salvation in Christ.
  • Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
  • Luke 24:46-47 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Faced with this information and responding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I am committed to continue with and increase my financial support for Christian organizations that spread the gospel message of Jesus Christ to those without access to the truth about salvation in Christ. I must also be ready and willing (God makes me able) to share ‘the bread of life’ with anyone I encounter who needs it.
  • John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

Jesus Christ is the only name
in heaven or on earth
that can bring eternal life!

Hunger for God

According to the Word of God, each person is created with, ‘eternity in their hearts’. That is, a hunger to know and understand God that cannot be satisfied until present with Him in Heaven.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
  • Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

During the ‘Sermon on the Mount’, Jesus taught about the blessings associated with hungering for God; as well as the deep sorrow, grief or affliction resulting from having your fill of God.
  • Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
  • Luke 6:25 Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep.

Faced with this information and responding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, our hunger for God should result in a longing for Him that surpasses and shapes every other desire in our lives.
  • Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
  • Psalm 63:1 O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
  • Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
  • Additional verses: Hebrews 11:6, Psalm 119:20, 40, 131

Isaiah 65:13 Therefore thus says the Lord God:

“Behold, My servants shall eat,
But you shall be hungry;

Behold, My servants shall drink,
But you shall be thirsty;

Behold, My servants shall rejoice,
But you shall be ashamed;

Jesus Christ is the only means
by which legitimate hunger for God
can be addressed!


Father in Heaven, Lord of All, You have given us the hunger for You. You came to earth as a man and died to satisfy our need for forgiveness of sins. Please Father, use Your Word to grow and lead Your Church to feed hungry mouths, to save lost souls and to address the needs of those hungry to know You. I pray all these things in Christ’s name, Amen.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sin is Serious

Sin is Serious

The Bible is very clear, God is merciful and loving (see ‘But God’ devotion posted on this site on December 13, 2014 for more details). Yet along with mercy and love, and His many other attributes, God is also holy and righteous! And because of His holiness and righteousness, He cannot and will not tolerate sin.

Before proceeding further, we must address the Biblical definition of sin. So, without attempting to deal with every single aspect of sin, or trying to answer every possible question related to it, here is a very brief explanation of what sin is.
  • Sin means not satisfying the righteous requirements and standards of our holy God.
  • All people are born with a sin nature. Therefore, it is a fundamental characteristic of our human nature to sin against God.  Every person sins!  We are not capable of living a sinless life.
  • Human sin is revealed in three basic ways:
    • Rebellion – making a decision to disobey God's requirements and standards
    • Inability – trying to comply with God's requirements and standards but failing
    • Ignorance – not knowing God's requirements and standards
  • Here are a few reference verses: Genesis 3:6, Ezekiel 20:8, James 4:17, Romans 3:23, Romans 10:3, Titus 1:16

Christians adore, worship and thank God for how He reveals Himself through His Word and His actions.
  • Psalm 119:7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments.

Over and over again the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah warned the Southern Kingdom Judah about the coming judgment for their sins. The Jews, God’s chosen people, ignored these warnings and were severely punished. The following verses demonstrate how seriously God views sin.

The Catastrophic Consequences of Sin
  • Jeremiah 16:3-4 For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bore them and their fathers who begot them in this land: 4 “They shall die gruesome deaths; they shall not be lamented nor shall they be buried, but they shall be like refuse on the face of the earth. They shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, and their corpses shall be meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth.”
    • Sin is Serious. The penalty for sin is tragic.

The Indisputable Identification of Sin
  • Jeremiah 16:10-12 “And it shall be, when you show this people all these words, and they say to you, ‘Why has the Lord pronounced all this great disaster against us? Or what is our iniquity? Or what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 then you shall say to them, ‘Because your fathers have forsaken Me,’ says the Lord; ‘they have walked after other gods and have served them and worshiped them, and have forsaken Me and not kept My law. 12 And you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me.
    • The Bible clearly defines sin.  God knows about every sin!

The Righteous Responsibility for Punishing Sin
  • Jeremiah 33:4-5 “For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah, which have been pulled down to fortify against the siege mounds and the sword: 5 ‘They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but only to fill their places with the dead bodies of men whom I will slay in My anger and My fury, all for whose wickedness I have hidden My face from this city.
    • God alone is judge. He determines and administers the punishment for sin.

Jeremiah 17:5-8

Thus says the Lord:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. 6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.

7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

The ultimate consequence of sin is eternal punishment in Hell.
  • Romans 2:8-9 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;
  • Revelation 20:14-15 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

But God made a way through Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
  • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
  • Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

If you don’t know the good news about redemption through Jesus Christ, visit a Bible believing church, seek out a mature Christian, or see the ‘Easter is Good News’ devotion posted on this site on April 19, 2014 to learn more.


Dear Lord, You have made it so abundantly clear how serious the consequences of sin are. You came to earth as a man and died for our sins. I beg You Lord to use Your Word and Your Church to share the truth about eternal salvation in Christ alone. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

But God

But God

In Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul is explaining to Christians in the Ephesian church that even though all believers were once spiritually dead in their sins, living according to the ways of the world and Satan, habitually satisfying the lusts of their flesh and minds, and were children of wrath by their very nature; God made them spiritually alive.

In verse 4 Paul explains why God did this:
  • Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Knowing that all God’s attributes (mercy, love, holiness, righteousness, patience, omnipotence, omniscience, graciousness, etc.) flawlessly balance to define His actions and responses, this is a key verse in describing one of the fundamental aspects of the relationship between God and man. Therefore, as seen in the verses below, this truth about His mercy and great love for us is revealed consistently throughout the Word of God.

Additionally we see in this verse a pattern that is repeated over and over again as God interacts with man and intervenes in human history:
  • There is an impossible situation or harsh reality.
  • ‘But God’ sovereignly and/or supernaturally intervenes.
  • As a result, a person, people or all humanity is blessed.

Here are a few ‘But God’ examples that demonstrate His mercy and great love for us (all NKJV):
  • Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
    • After plotting Joseph’s murder, his brothers decided to profit from his demise and sold him into slavery. But God had greater plans!
  • 1 Samuel 23:14 And David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness, and remained in the mountains in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand.
    • Although David had faithfully served King Saul and the Lord, he spent years in hiding and running for his life. But God had already anointed him as the next King of Israel!
  • Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
    • In our humanity we all experience times of discouragement. But God, the author and finisher of our faith, in His strength transforms us and elevates us above our old nature.
  • Acts 13:30 But God raised Him from the dead.
    • In love, humility and obedience Christ died for the sins of the world. But God didn’t stop there! He resurrected my Lord and Savior: proving His divinity, defeating death and guaranteeing eternal life for His saints.
  • Acts 10:28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
    • Our prejudices and preference lead to arrogance. God made all people in His image and is not willing that any should perish (Genesis 1:27, 2 Peter 3:9)
  • 1 Corinthians 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
    • Sometimes I get focused on my mistakes and shortcomings. But God has chosen and empowered me to fulfill His purposes!! God is greater than my mistakes!!!
  • 1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
    • In pride, we may believe it is our efforts that achieve God’s purposes. In truth, it is God’s sovereign power that accomplishes His will.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
    • When it comes to resisting temptation, sometimes it is easy to say, ‘I can’t.’ Thankfully God has promised a way out. Together with God, ‘WE CAN!’
  • For more examples see Isaiah 17:13, Romans 6:17, 1 Corinthians 2:10, Philippians 2:27.

To gain a greater appreciation for this in your life, follow these steps:
  1. List your current challenging circumstances, failures, hurts, disappointments, resentments, etc.
  2. Write a prayer of praise, confession, appreciation and desire.
  3. Keep (or start) walking with God, working for His glory and patiently wait to see what God does to address your situation(s).
  4. And finally, when the time is right, as a memorial to His faithfulness, power, mercy and love, document your ‘But God’ experience and tell others what God has done for you.

Considering the significance of Ephesians 2:4, I strongly recommend that every Christian memorize this verse.


Loving merciful Father, I thank You for Your unending perfect love. I praise You for Your abundant mercy. I acknowledge the Holy perfection of all Your attributes. I rejoice in Your sovereign rule over all things. Thank You for all the ‘But God’ experiences of my life. I pray that You will help everyone see and acknowledge that you move and work according to Your perfect plan. Use Your Word to draw the lost to salvation in Christ and Your children into a closer walk with You. I pray in Jesus’s name, Amen.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Like Christ

Like Christ

As Christians, our greatest goal and desire should be to become like Christ. As we undergo this transformation, we become more focused on and more willing to fulfill God’s purposes for our lives.
  • Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

We could debate until Christ’s return exactly what ‘predestined’ means in this verse. But this is clear, God intends for His children to become more and more like Christ. Here are a few verses that reinforce this scriptural truth (see also 2 Corinthians 3:18 and Philippians 3:12-14).
  • Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
    • Christ is the measuring stick, the standard, we are all compared to.
  • 1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
    • Knowing that we will become like Christ should inspire us to be like Christ now.
  • 1 John 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
    • If you are a Christian, people should see Christ in your life.
  • Philippians 3:20-21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
    • One day Christians will receive a glorified body (like Christ did at His resurrection).

I long to be like Christ my Lord,
     To strive and reach for that reward.
Submitting all I am to Him,
     A life-long goal, not just a whim.
His Word the Truth shows me the Way,
     Hid in my heart so I don’t stray.
His work in me goes on each day,
     To honor Him is what I pray.
When I fall short I bend my knee,
     His crimson blood flows over me.
Whatever changes life may bring,
     A hymn of praise my heart will sing.
It’s not by might or power from me,
     But by His Spirit I’m strong and free.
So use me God as You see fit,
     Sustain me Lord and I won’t quit!

We submit ourselves to God’s sanctifying work while embracing His promise that one day we will be like Jesus. Yet I caution you to remember, though we will be like Jesus, we will not become Jesus. He is God; we are not (and never will be). Jesus is the only begotten (unique, one of a kind) Son of God. As the sovereign Lord of the universe, Christ has rights and privileges we will never obtain. When you start asking yourself how Jesus would handle certain situations, keep in mind that it is His character, motives and truths we are to emulate, not necessarily His specific actions.


Heavenly Father, I pray that as You continue the work of transforming Your children into the image of Christ, please keep us humble. May we never become proud believing it is our goodness, strength or dedication that is changing us. It is only by Your grace, love and faithfulness; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and the power of Your Holy Spirit and Living Word that we become more like Christ. It is Your promise that guarantees we will one day be conformed to the image of You Son. I praise You and thank You for the awesome privilege of being Your child. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, November 30, 2014



Have you ever heard someone say, ‘He is too Heavenly minded to be any earthly good.’? Although Scripture is clear that it is not our place to judge the heart/intent of others, if someone is so focused on learning about God that they never help those who need to experience God’s love, they are probably too focused on one aspect of their Christian life. Conversely, if someone is so focused on serving others that they never take time to read the Bible, pray, attend church/Bible study, etc., perhaps they are neglecting a vital aspect of their relationship with God.

We must heed the Bible’s warning about going to extremes.
  • Ecclesiastes 7:16-17 Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time?
    • Although we are righteous before God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), don’t be self-righteous or a know-it-all (James 1:19).
    • Although we all fall short of God’s standards and commands (Romans 3:23), don’t be intentionally wicked or deny the existence of God (Psalm 14:1).
      • Ecclesiastes 7:18 goes on to tell us, the key to finding the correct balance in life is our awe of and reverence for God (see also Proverbs 9:10).

Here are some additional verses that communicate the importance of finding an appropriate balance between our ongoing pursuit of God and our day-to-day interactions with others.
  • Matthew 5:6-7 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
  • Hebrews 13:15-16 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
  • James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
  • James 2:15-17 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Obviously there are seasons of life where you may spend more time on a particular aspect of your Christian walk (e.g. going to seminary, completing a major service project, a short-term mission trip, etc.). However, as God leads by His Word and Spirit, and provides opportunities through our circumstances, we should always be prepared to respond in obedience with Christ-likeness.
  • Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
  • Matthew 25:35-36 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’


Lord, I pray for myself, anyone who reads this devotion, and Your children everywhere, that You will provide perspective and guidance on how to obtain and maintain the appropriate balance between diligently seeking after You and faithfully sharing the love of Christ with those You place in our path along the way. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, November 23, 2014



Have you ever watched a 3D (three-dimensional) movie? If so, did you reach out and try to touch the objects that seemed to ‘jump’ off the screen; or did you see someone else reach out? Why? Through science, our eyes are fooled into believing that objects projected onto a flat screen somehow extend off that screen. A third dimension, depth, seems to have magically been added to the two-dimensional screen. Our brains, taken in by this mirage, stimulate an instinctive reaction to touch or grab the phantom objects. For the young or gullible, there may be an actual sense of surprise or disappointment when they realize there is nothing there.

In a similar way, ignorance or rejection of God’s truth allows Satan, the world and our flesh to warp our perceptions, thinking, desires and behaviors in a way that leads to disastrous results. Below we examine four dimensions related to deviation from God's truth.

In the Garden of Eden, God spoke to Adam saying:
  • Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
    • God created man and placed him in paradise. In love, He gave Adam and Eve the freedom to obey or rebel. God set humanity apart for His special purposes and then clearly shared the truth about the consequences of their choices.
      • John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

  • Genesis 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
    • In direct contradiction to the Word of God, Satan deceived Eve and a seed of doubt was planted in her mind. There is no truth in the father of lies!
      • John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

  • Genesis 3:5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
    • Once Eve doubted the Word of God, the seed of doubt germinated and delusional thinking began to grow. God will not be glorified when ungrateful arrogance leads to foolishness.
      • Romans 1:21-22 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

  • Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
    • The evil fruit of unholy desire blossomed as Eve freely chose to disobey God; human sin was born. When Adam followed his wife into sin, death began its reign on earth.
      • James 1:15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

  • As Jesus prayed in John 17:17, the Word of God is truth.
  • Without the truth, people are susceptible to lies.
  • Lies believed lead to false perceptions.
  • False perceptions give rise to corrupt longings.
  • Corrupt longings uniting with a willing heart results in sin.
  • Unforgiven sin separates a person from God.
  • Separation from God is spiritual death.
  • As declared by God in Genesis 2:16-17, sin results in death.

With regards to God’s Truth, the ignorant (those who don’t know), the immature (those who don’t accept) and the iconoclast (those who corrupt and reject) are all in danger of eternal separation from God!
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

Jesus Christ is the only means by which sinful humanity can be saved from God’s wrath against sin.
  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


Father, it is only by Your Spirit that these truths can be understood. It is only Your Word that can bring about the salvation of those who have not surrendered to Christ as Lord and Savior. I beg You Lord, use the truth of Your Word and the power of Your Holy Spirit to move in the heart of anyone who may read this devotion. Send a witness to anyone who needs a Christian to explain these truths. I praise You for Your grace and mercy. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wisdom Is Not Enough

Wisdom Is Not Enough

A Promise from God

How many times have you found yourself wishing or praying that you had more wisdom? More than likely, many times (if not, you may have an issue with pride). How comforting it is to know that God has promised to give wisdom to those who ask for it.
  • James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

But that promise comes with a condition, you must ask in faith!
  • James 1:6-7 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;

However, it can be very dangerous to focus too much on wisdom; presuming that enough wisdom will ensure we always do the right thing. Though wisdom is clearly exalted in the Bible (see Proverbs 4), Wisdom Is Not Enough!

Solomon’s Wisdom

When Solomon became King of Israel, he asked God for wisdom; and God granted his request. God made Solomon the wisest man of all time (past, present and future)!
  • 1 Kings 3:9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
  • 1 Kings 3:11-12 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.

For two amazing testimonies concerning Solomon’s wisdom, read the following scripture:
  • 1 Kings 3:16-28 (Divide the child)
  • 1 Kings 10:1-9 (Queen of Sheba)

Yet despite all the blessings on Solomon and the nation of Israel, when he was old, Solomon turned to other Gods!
  • 1 Kings 11:4-8 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. 8 And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
    • For more details and to learn about the consequences of Solomon’s sin, read 1 Kings 11:1-12.

What You Need

So, obviously wisdom alone cannot guarantee that you will live a life that honors God over the long haul. Here is a list of some additional characteristics that will help you live your life in a way that brings glory to God (this list is definitely not all inclusive). Pray for each of these traits to define your life before God and the world.

  • 1 Peter 1:15-16 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
    • Although we will always fall short while living in this sinful world, we strive through the power of the Holy Spirit to emulate God’s moral perfection. We are set apart for special use by God.

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
    • Although we are called to love and serve the lost and hurting, we must maintain a measure of separation to guard against being enticed by or entangled in the sins of others.

  • Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
    • As Christ taught us, the only reliable defense we have to stand strong in the face of temptation is the Word of God (see Matthew 4:1-11 and Psalm 119:9-11). Using scripture will help you resist the things that draw you away from God.

  • 1 Samuel 15:22 So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
    • To obey with the right motives and attitudes honors God more than any sacrifice you can make. The Bible also calls us to submit to our government, our parents, our church leaders, our spouses and our bosses (when this does not cause us to sin).

  • 1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
    • To put other’s needs ahead of our own, especially when it causes us to suffer, is a true display of God-like love. Jesus Christ set the ultimate example of this as he selflessly gave His life on a Roman cross to pay the debt for our sin.


Dear Lord, I thank You for the wisdom You so generously give to those who reverence You. However, I pray that You will help all Your children to avoid focusing too much on any one particular virtue taught in scripture. May Your Spirit guide us to read Your Word in its entirety and in context. Empower us to live according to Your Wisdom, Love, Grace, Mercy and so much more. Help us to be more like Christ every single day. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ten Actions Related to Sin

Ten Actions Related to Sin

Christ is the central theme throughout the Bible. Why? Because of His love for us and our problem with sin. Listed below are ten important actions you can take regarding the sin in your life.

1. Acknowledge
Acknowledge that the Bible is God’s Word and that it speaks clearly about sin.
  • 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
    • Because of His love for us, with the Bible God has told us about sin and how to deal with it in our lives.

2. Agree
Agree with what God says about sin.
  • James 1:15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
    • Sin is both rebellion against God and the inability of man to perfectly or permanently keep His commandments. For those who don’t know Christ as Savior, sin leads to spiritual death. For those who have surrendered their life to Christ, sin causes problems in their relationship with God.

3. Admit
Admit that you are a sinner.
  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    • Because of Adam’s sin, every person is born with a sin nature. Everybody sins!

4. Apologize
Apologize to God for your sin.
  • Luke 18:13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
    • When we recognize that we have offended God because of our sin, we must humbly and sincerely ask for His forgiveness and mercy.

5. Accept
Accept God’s forgiveness of your sin.
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    • God is faithful to His promise to forgive the sins of those who humbly and sincerely ask Him. However, the consequences resulting from your sin may still have to be dealt with.

6. Abandon
Abandon the sin in your life.
  • Acts 3:19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
    • To repent means to turn from your sin and turn towards God. Turn your back on sin and run to God.

7. Abhor
Abhor all sin and its consequences.
  • Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
    • God hates sin. We should also hate sin. However, we don’t hate a person who sins. We are commanded to show the love of Christ to everyone. No one is sinless; but Christians should sin less and less as they mature in their relationship with God.

8. Abide
Abide in Christ and live for Him.
  • John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
    • Living in Christ will lead to a God honoring life; pray, read God’s Word, attend church, serve those in need, share the truth about Christ, submit to The Holy Spirit, cultivate Christian relationships, etc.

9. Adore
Adore your life as a forgiven (not sinless) child of God.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
    • Because of Christ’s sinless life and sacrifice for our sins, those who surrender to His Lordship are righteous before God. However, no one will live a completely sinless life until they are in heaven.

10. Advocate
Advocate for the gospel message.
  • Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
    • Because of what God has done about sin through Christ, those who have been forgiven of their sins must share the good news of redemption in Christ with those who have not heard or believed.

This devotion just barely scratches the surface of the topic of sin. My prayer is that God’s Word and His Spirit will draw you closer to Him by stimulating your curiosity about this subject. Ask for God to speak to your heart about His love and your sin.


Dear Lord, please forgive me for the sin in my life. I know I still fall very short in so many areas. Please use Your Word and the power of Your Holy Spirit to convict the heart of anyone reading this devotion to deal with You, one-on-one, regarding the sin in their life. Please save the lost and sanctify the saved. Thank You for sending Christ to deal with sin once and for all. I love you Lord. I praise You in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Blessed to Bless

Blessed to Bless

One of the consistent messages from the Bible is, God blesses some so that others may be blessed.

Abraham was blessed so that all the families of the world would be blessed:
  • Genesis 12:1-3 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

King David was blessed so the Nation of Israel would be blessed:
  • 1 Chronicles 14:2 So David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, for his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of His people Israel.

Here are some examples of how God blesses:

Material/Financial Support
  • Ephesians 4:28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
    • As we are blessed financially, we must wisely share with those in need (see Matthew 10:16).

  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
    • God may allow you to go through a serious trial and then bless and sustain you through it so you will be equipped to help someone else through a similar situation.

  • Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
    • Christ set the ultimate example of forgiveness. We must pass this blessing on to others (whether we think they deserve it or not – we certainly didn’t)!

Reconciliation with God
  • 2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
  • 2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
    • The greatest blessing of all, salvation in Jesus Christ, was given to each of us by God. Now, as His ambassadors, we can share this eternal blessing with others.

How has God blessed you? How can you pass your blessings along to those who need them?

We have been Blessed to Bless others; but in the process, we receive even greater blessings.
  • Acts 20:35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”


Loving, gracious Father, thank You for the countless blessings in my life. I especially thank You for my eternal salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I pray that through Your Holy Spirit You will convict my soul to share my blessings with others. Please forgive me when and where I fall short in this area.  Help Your children live a life that will attract those who are truly in need. Empower Your children to show the love of Christ when You present the opportunity to do so; especially sharing the gospel message of salvation. I pray all these things in the name above all names, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

All I Need

All I Need

In today’s world it can sometimes be very difficult to distinguish between need and desire. We live in an age of excess. Selfishness, greed, entitlement, unrealistic expectations, etc. lead to a warped sense of sufficiency.

As a Christian, have you reached the point of being content regardless of what you have (or don’t have)? Paul did!
  • Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

The Eternal Promise
One of the most well known sections of scripture begins with an incredible promise; if God is truly your master, you will never be without something you need!
  • Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Needs
But as humans, our actual and perceived needs are many. There are countless opportunities for our desires to be perceived as needs (or rights). And when these are not satisfied according to our expectations, we become anything but content.
  • Physical (what we have)
    • Food, clothing, shelter, automobiles, toys, jewelry, money, trophies, land …
  • Emotional (what we feel)
    • Love, acceptance, happiness, fear, anger, sadness, resentment, jealousy …
  • Intellectual (what we think)
    • Education, entertainment, mental stimulation, validation, opinions, judging …
  • Experiential (what we personally go through)
    • Illness, struggles, crime, fights, loss, disappointment, rejection, betrayal …
  • Observational (what we see in the world around us)
    • Crime, injustice, others getting ahead, world hunger, war, terrorism, disease …

The Danger of Extremes
Yet, as much as we want to satisfy our needs and desires, often when we gain or lose them to the extreme, our wretchedness is plainly exposed.
  • Proverbs 30:8-9 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9 Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.

The Way
Christ made it clear, He is the source of all we need. And without Him we can’t do anything that will bring glory and honor to God.
  • John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Paul pointed us to Christ as the source of contentment in all circumstances. But beyond that, he identified Jesus as the only means by which we can reconcile and satisfy all our temporal and eternal needs.
  • Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

What do you need? What you need is Jesus. Find Him in the Holy Bible!


Heavenly Father, Your Word and Your Spirit guide us to the truth about our needs. Above and before all else is our need for salvation in Jesus Christ. I pray Father, that floating in the ocean of discontentment will lead many to Your Truth; the truth that Jesus, God in the flesh, came to earth, lived a sinless life, died on a Roman cross, and was raised from the dead on the third day to make a way for lost sinners to be reconciled to You. Christ is the only way to eternal life in heaven. Please use Your Word to save the lost. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Power, Pride and Pain

Power, Pride and Pain

The Bible makes very clear the virtues of humility and the dangers of pride.
  • Matthew 23:11-12 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

In the Bible, we see many times when God reveals His power through someone. And unfortunately, we then see in that person the pride that arises due to human weaknesses. And finally we see the pain  and humiliation that comes after a fall. In this devotion, we will examine two examples of this: a King and a Disciple of Jesus Christ.


Amaziah was the son of Joash and became King of Judah at the age of twenty-five after his father’s servants conspired against Joash and killed him. Like his father, Amaziah did right in the sight of the Lord (to a large extent). God blessed Amaziah and gave him victory in battle over the Edomites.
  • 2 Kings 14:7 He killed ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt, and took Sela by war, and called its name Joktheel to this day.

After this display of power, pride led Amaziah to challenge the King of Israel to battle.
  • 2 Kings 14:8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us face one another in battle.”

Unfortunately Amaziah ignored a clear warning from the King of Israel about going to war. The disastrous results of this battle were very painful for Amaziah and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
  • 2 Kings 14:11-14 But Amaziah would not heed. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went out; so he and Amaziah king of Judah faced one another at Beth Shemesh, which belongs to Judah. 12 And Judah was defeated by Israel, and every man fled to his tent. 13 Then Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh; and he went to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Gate of Ephraim to the Corner Gate—four hundred cubits. 14 And he took all the gold and silver, all the articles that were found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria.


Peter was a bold, brave and brash disciple of Christ. He briefly walked on water with Christ.  While defending Christ during His arrest, Peter rashly drew his sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest. God demonstrated His power in Peter by revealing to him that Jesus was the Son of God, the Christ.
  • Matthew 16:15-17 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Yet as close to Christ as he was, as much as He loved Him, even when Jesus told Peter and the other disciples they would stumble that very night, in pride Peter declared that he would never deny Jesus (notice that the other ten disciples made the same claim – Judas had already departed to betray Him).
  • Matthew 26:33-35 Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

Just as Christ had foretold, later that night when Jesus was arrested, in shame and pain Peter (along with the other disciples) abandoned Him.
  • Matthew 26:55-56 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
  • See Matthew 26:69-75 for Peter’s threefold denial of Christ and his bitter weeping afterwards.

What other Biblical examples can you think of that repeat the pattern of God’s Power, Personal Pride and Resulting Pain? Pray that God will manifest His power in and through you. But also pray that God will keep you humble! Instead of elevating yourself, be humble and let God do the exalting in His timing!
  • 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,


Father, I know that much of Your Word is meant to be an example for my learning. I pray dear Lord that Your Spirit teaches me from these and other examples in the Bible of pride and pain following a clear demonstration of Your Power. May You empower me to be truly humble; putting others above myself. Christ showed the ultimate example of humility by coming to earth as a man and as a perfect sacrifice to die for the sins of the world. I pray that His love and sacrifice will motivate and guide me when pride rears its ugly head in me. I pray this in Christ’s name, Amen.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Are You in Disguise

Are You in Disguise

The book of 1 Kings is amazing! It begins with David, Israel’s second and greatest king, still on the throne. Continuing on, we read about King Solomon’s rule, the building of the God’s Temple in Jerusalem, the division of Israel into two kingdoms (Israel – The Northern Kingdom and Judah – The Southern Kingdom), the evil kings of Israel, the evil and a few good kings of Judah, most of Elijah’s ministry, the selection of Elisha as the prophet to succeed Elijah,  and so much more.

In chapter 22, the last chapter of 1 Kings, we read about the death of Ahab (Israel’s most evil king). The chapter begins with Ahab asking Jehoshaphat (one of the few God fearing kings of Judah) to join him in battling Syria. Unfortunately, even with a warning from a true prophet of God named Micaiah, Jehoshaphat decides to join Ahab in this battle.

Putting on a Disguise
  • 1 Kings 22:29-30 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. 30 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle; but you put on your robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.

Going into battle against Syria, Ahab feared that if he wore his kingly robes he would become a more easily identified target for the enemy. So he disguised himself thinking he would avoid the hazards associated with his true identity. Do you ever disguise yourself? I’m not talking about putting on a mask or wig or makeup to hide your identity. Perhaps you fake a smile when you are angry, make small talk with someone because you are supposed to be nice, or even say a halfhearted prayer to God out of obligation or desperation. Also, did you notice that as he put on his disguise and blended in with the other soldiers, Ahab showed no regard for Jehoshaphat’s safety?

The World is Often Deceived
  • 1 Kings 22:31-32 Now the king of Syria had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, saying, “Fight with no one small or great, but only with the king of Israel.” 32 So it was, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, “Surely it is the king of Israel!” Therefore they turned aside to fight against him, and Jehoshaphat cried out.

Ben-Hadad (the king of Syria) was out to kill Ahab and ordered his troops to focus the battle on the King of Israel. The troops dutifully obeyed; yet they mistakenly thought that Jehoshaphat was Ahab. Our disguises can fool a lot of people. And unfortunately, sometimes those around us get hurt when we pretend to be someone or something we aren’t. Thankfully Jehoshaphat cried out to God and was spared (see 2 Chronicles 18:31).

As Abraham Lincoln said:
  • ‘You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’

God is Never Deceived
  • 1 Kings 22:34 Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”
  • 1 Kings 22:37-38 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. 38 Then someone washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood while the harlots bathed, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken.
    • See God’s warning to Ahab through Elijah in 1 Kings 21:17-19.

In His sovereign reign over all things, God used the ‘random’ shot of a Syrian archer to accomplish His purpose (the death of Ahab – you will have to read more about Ahab’s reign as an evil king to understand why). God is never fooled. He sees through every disguise. In the Bible, He has warned us about the dangerous consequences of our sin/disguises/hypocrisy.

As God said through King David:
  • Psalm 139:1-4 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

Are you in disguise? Do you think you’ve been successful at avoiding the hazards of being a Christian? Has your disguise led to others being hurt? God knows your every action, your deepest thoughts, and the path that lies before you.

Tear off your disguise and humble yourself before God or the archer may release his arrow.


Loving Father, I beg You to forgive me for the times I have used a smile and a kind word to disguise my anger, my judgmental nature, my pride, my sin. I confess the times I have used silence or concurrence to disguise my identity in Christ. Salvation in Christ and Your expectations of me have made holiness, righteousness and an eternally bright future in heaven a reality in my life. Please accept all my disguises as a burnt offering for Your honor. May Your Holy Spirit empower me to not wear disguises in the future. I pray in the name of my beloved Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Tending the House of God

Tending the House of God

Tom woke up early and was in an exceptionally good mood. He was very excited about getting to church and hearing the next sermon in the series the pastor started last week. Tom prayed earnestly and diligently reviewed last week’s sermon outline and his personal notes. ‘This is going to be great! Last week’s sermon really spoke to me.’, Tom said to his wife as they got in the car for the short drive to church. However, as they walked into the sanctuary, they were greeted by sounds of crying and a great deal of commotion. Then they saw it; the graffiti on the walls and the damage to the alter and baptismal pool. Tom was shocked. ‘Who could do such a thing?!’

Unfortunately, in today’s world, this story is not only believable, but multiple alternate scenarios could be imagined where the ‘House of God’ is defiled. As disgraceful and disgusting as this may be to Christians, what is more shocking is that many Christians seems to care more about what happens to a church building than they do about the living temple of God!

  • 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
  • John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

In these two verses, the Bible (God’s Word) makes very clear that each individual Christian is the temple of God. Taking these verses in context and carefully reading them, we see that we are indwelled by the entire Godhead, the Holy trinity; that right, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (that’s Jesus talking in John 14:23). We are the House of God!

  • John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

John 14:16-17, and many other verses, tell us that the indwelling presence of God in a Christian is permanent! Once God moves in, He never moves out.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

God bought each Christian with the precious blood of Christ and He takes the treatment of His temple very serious. This devotion is not meant to condemn anyone or to make anyone feel guilty (Romans 8:1). We all stumble and I have fallen very short in this area at different times in my life. However, this devotion is intended to get Christians thinking, talking, praying and searching the Word of God about this very important issue.

Here are a couple of topics for you to reflect on:
  • As a Christian, you have a personal responsibility to care for your body.
  • This applies to diet, exercise and anything else that impacts the condition (health) of God’s living temple.
  • You carry God with you wherever you go and whatever you do!

Ask the Lord to guide you, and then by the power of His Holy Spirit, make adjustments as needed to honor and glorify Him.


Dear Father in Heaven, and in me, please forgive me for the times when I have not taken care of this body that You have given me. I know I continue to fail in some areas; but I also know that I love You and desire to tend Your house very well. May Your Holy Spirit guide me to make better decisions about my health and everything I do with my body. I love You and thank You for Your grace, mercy and patience. I praise You and pray to You in the precious name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Are You Different

Are You Different

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

The Word of God is very clear; if you have been washed in the blood of Christ, you are different! Your daily life should reflect the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Look at the three sections of scripture below. God is telling us to cast off/put off our old ways; the ways of the world, the ways of darkness.
  • Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
  • Ephesians 4:20-24 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
  • Colossians 3:8-11 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

The Bible gives us (Christians) clear instruction on the things we should be doing and the things that should not be part of our lives. We are to put on our new identity in Christ and live a life that reflects His holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16). Read on to see what came after the three sections of scripture above.
  • Romans 13:13-14 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. 
  • Ephesians 4:25-32 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
  • Colossians 3:12-17 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

There is no way I can break down all this scripture in one weekly devotion. However, I do believe the message is clear; our lives should reflect the values and character of the God that we serve! Are you different? Has your life changed? 

Every Christian sins; we all fall short. Yet our lives are different because we are different. Being bought and paid for by the precious blood of Jesus Christ makes a difference in your life.  Read these three sections of scripture at least three times in the coming week.  Let God's Word work in your life.

If you are a Christian, you are different.  Trust God.  Believe that He is faithful and that your life will reflect the eternal change He has made in you (Philippians 1:6).


Dear Lord, loving Father, You have changed me. I am different because of Your love, grace and mercy. Your Spirit is changing me, guiding me. Forgive me when and where I fail. Thank You for the gift of change. I pray my life honors you. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Coin or The Creator

The Coin or The Creator

  • Mark 12:13-17 Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. 14 When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” 16 So they brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him.

In yet another attempt to trap Jesus with His words and turn the Jewish people and/or the Roman government against Him, the Jewish religious leaders asked Jesus if Jews should pay taxes to Rome. If Jesus answered ‘yes’, the Jews would have been angry because they greatly resented paying taxes to Rome. If He answered ‘no’, then the Roman government would have a charge against Him since the Jews were required to pay Rome taxes.

The Godly brilliance of Christ’s answer contained a deep truth that applies to all people in all times. The image of Caesar on the coin represented the world system. Yet all people are created in God’s image.
  • Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

In answering this question, Jesus gave a clear and practical illustration that reinforces a distinct teaching in the Word of God; a person cannot give their allegiance to both God and the world. You have to choose!
  • Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
  • James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Christ told the Jewish religious leaders to give to the world what belongs to the world (the things that bear the image of the world) and give to God what belongs to God (those who bear His image).

You were created in God’s image (only man has the ability for advanced reasoning, feelings, free will, a moral compass (conscience) and the ability to commune with God)! But have you taken on the image of the world (a lover of self, serving false gods/idols, an insensitive/inoperative conscience, ignoring God)?  To whom have you given yourself?
  • Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

Give yourself completely to God; the one and only God who created you in His image. Choose the Creator, not the Coin!!


Dear Lord, I praise You and thank You for creating humanity in Your image. What a blessing to be aware of You, to commune with You, and to have Your Holy Word. Your Word reveals the gospel message of Jesus Christ and many deep truths that are not revealed by Your creation. I pray that Christ’s words will touch the hearts of many and draw them into a relationship with You leading to eternal salvation. I love you, in Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Interrupted Prayer

Interrupted Prayer

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing,

In other words, Christians should never stop praying! This is not some idealistic goal, but a consistent theme throughout the Bible.
  • Psalm 55:17 Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.
  • Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
  • Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
  • See also Luke 18:1 and Ephesians 6:18

Steadfast prayer is not natural! To achieve this supernatural state of closeness with God requires time, submission to the empowering of God’s Holy Spirit, lots and lots of time in the Word of God, and a very intentional thought life. This is impossible without the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ.

Also, to achieve steadfast prayer requires you to reexamine and redefine your perceptions of what prayer is. Direct dialogue with God is awesome; but quiet communion, Bible study, listening, yearning, desiring, watching, acknowledging, praising, singing, etc. are all aspects of ongoing interaction with our Heavenly Father.

Nevertheless, when you ‘pray without ceasing’, you are going to get interrupted!

Life Happens: spouse, children, pets, work, accidents, crime, frustrations, blessings, biological functions… Interruptions to our Steadfast Prayer indicate the need for Solitary Prayer!!!

Jesus Modeled Solitary Prayer
  • Mark 1:35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
  • Matthew 14:23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
  • Matthew 26:44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

God’s Word Promotes Solitary Prayer
  • Psalm 119:147 I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word.
  • Psalm 63:6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.
  • Matthew 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Uninterrupted time alone with God is essential to a healthy relationship with Him. Make Solitary Prayer a priority in your life.

But don’t beat yourself up when you suddenly realize you haven’t even thought about God in the last hour (been watching your favorite TV show, sitting in meeting, working on your car, dealing with an unreasonable person, cleaning up after a sick child, etc.). Continue to strive in His power and authority for the goal of ongoing communion with Him. We may fall short in the weakness of our flesh, but He is always faithful!!!


Father, Savior, Lord: grant me the peace, pleasure and privilege of both steadfast and solitary prayer. May the presence of Your Holy Spirit guide me in ongoing communion with You. I pray in all things, Your kingdom come and Your will be done. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Watch, Wait & Win

Watch, Wait & Win 
  • Micah 7:7-8 Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. 8 Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.
There are many important aspects of the Christian life. As we live out our daily lives, what we watch for and how we wait for it are clear indications of what we will win (now and in the future).

We watch expectantly to see how and when God moves – which He always does in accordance with His character and His promises as revealed in the Bible. We also watch excitedly for Christ to come for His bride the church.
  • Proverbs 8:32-34 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction and be wise, And do not disdain it. 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors.
  • Mark 13:35-37 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
  • 1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
As we watch, we patiently wait; admiring His faithfulness and anticipating His ongoing blessings and imminent return. Our waiting centers on both the temporal and eternal facets of God’s activities and plans.
  • Psalm 130:5-6 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning— Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
  • Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
  • James 5:7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.

There are two aspects of winning for the Christian: through the power of the Holy Spirit we win souls for Christ; and in Heaven we receive the prize for living a life that honors our high calling as God’s children.  
  • Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
  • Philippians 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Winning is the joyous result of diligently and faithfully watching and waiting for the right things; Godly things. True winners focus on others more than self (Philippians 2:4).

Dear Lord, the world, the flesh and the devil are always working to draw our gaze away from You. When we look away, we start waiting for the wrong things. The prize of salvation in Christ, a Godly life and eternity in Heaven with You are all that really matter. Help us, Father, to watch and wait for You. Winning means nothing if it doesn’t glorify Your name and fulfill Your purposes. In Christ’s precious name I pray, Amen.

Monday, September 1, 2014

God Has Plans

God Has Plans
From eternity past, God has had very specific plans for His creation.  
God Has Revealed His Plans
In His love and grace, God has given us the important aspects of His plans. In His sovereignty, He rules over all creation.
  • Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
  • John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
God’s Word and Holy Spirit Have Revealed His Plans and Enable Our Understanding
With the indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit, as we read the Bible, God’s plans, standards and expectations are made know to us. With our finite minds we struggle to grasp all the details of His eternal plan; but He gives us faith to believe and always shows Himself to be righteous and reliable.
  • Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
  • John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
God’s Plans Includes a Distinction
From God’s Word and our experiences we see that there is a clear divide: Life and Death, Good and Evil, Light and Darkness. Although God is sovereign over all, you must make a choice to be on ‘God’s Side’.
  • Deuteronomy 30:15 See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,
  • Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
  • Matthew 12:30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
To Be on ‘God’s Side’ Requires Repentance
Turn from your sin. Run to Christ with all that you are; forgiveness is waiting for you.
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
  • Luke 24:46-47 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
God Does Not Desire for Any to Perish
Although few will find their way along the narrow path to eternal life in Christ (Matthew 7:13-14), God finds no joy in the eternal damnation of those without Jesus.
  • Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
  • 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Choose Life – Eternal Life With God
His plan for you brought you to this point. Make a decision right now to surrender your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. God’s plans include you!!!
  • Matthew 16:26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 
  • Psalm 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
Salvation in Jesus Christ
Every person sins. This means we fall short of the perfection (righteousness) required by God.
  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
The cost for our sin is eternal separation from God (spiritual death). But in His love, God made a way for the penalty of our sins to be covered – Jesus Christ!
  • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus Christ, the human incarnation of God, came to earth and never sinned (fulfilling the requirements of God’s Law). Then He died on a cross, sacrificing Himself for us, to pay the debt owed for our sin. And He did all this while humanity was rejecting Him.
  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
If you believe in your heart that Christ is God and that He was raised from the dead by the power of God the Holy Spirit, declare this with your mouth by praying to God and surrendering your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. You will be saved from the wrath of God against sin and adopted into God’s family.
  • Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
A Prayer for Salvation
Pray from your heart a prayer similar to the example provided here.  
Father in Heaven, I confess that I am a sinner. I understand that my sin separates me from You. I realize there is no way I can pay the price for my sin. But I know that Jesus came to this world, lived a sinless life and then died to pay the debt owed for my sin. He was raised from the dead by the power of Your Holy Spirit to show that He is God, to defeat death, and to guarantee my eternal life in Heaven. I surrender my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. By the power and promise of Your Word, I accept the gift of eternal life and,by the indwelling power of Your Holy Spirit, commit to live my life in a way that will honor You . I pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
If you understood and meant this prayer, you are now a child of God. However, you need to understand that you will never be sinless until you are in Heaven with Christ. Satan will try to keep you away from Christ’s church and other believers by telling you this isn’t real and that you are a failure. Seek out a Bible believing Christian Church where you can learn, grow and serve!

If you have unanswered questions or would like to discuss this further, seek out a Bible believing Christian Church for help!