Sunday, March 30, 2014

And The Evening And The Morning

And The Evening And The Morning

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
  • It is easy to develop tunnel vision with a verse of scripture. I had gotten to the point that every time I read or said Psalm 19:1, I pictured myself laying in the middle of a field, late at night, far from any city lights, enjoying the magnificent view of the heavens! But recently, through a series of circumstances topped off with His perfect timing, God opened my eyes to also think about this verse in relation to each sunrise and sunset.
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
  • Honestly, I spend way too much time worrying about things. One area of worry is tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day… I must learn to trust Christ and focus on Him. It is certainly not wrong to plan ahead (Luke 14:28), but worrying excessively about the future shows a lack of trust in Christ.
Psalm 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.
  • Each day brings a new start. Even if your circumstances haven’t changed, your attitude will if you are focused on God and trusting in Him.
  • Each new day brings:
    • Temptations to be resisted
    • Trials to be endured and overcome
    • The fulfillment of promises
    • Opportunities to receive and to give blessings
    • Hope to be realized
James 4:14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
  • You are not promised another day of life in this world. If you are Christ’s, you have eternal life. But there are no guarantees how long you have this side of heaven! And if you are not a Christian, don’t make the mistake of thinking you are guaranteed another day before you face judgment!
2 Corinthians 6:2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
  • Every beautiful sunrise and sunset is a masterpiece of God. Sometimes He uses these to reveal Himself to you.  
  • Each day is gift: unwrap it, enjoy it, live it.
    • If you have not surrendered your life to Christ, DO IT NOW. You are not promised another day or another chance.  He loves you!
    • If you are a Christian and are being disobedient to God, repent (turn back to Him). He is waiting for you! He still loves you!


Father, I thank You for the gift of each new day. And what a blessing when You wrap a new day between a glorious sunrise and a breathtaking sunset. Forgive me when I worry about tomorrow instead of trusting You. Forgive me when I start the day with a bad attitude instead of focusing on You. May Your Word and Your Truth draw many to salvation in Christ today! In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Open My Eyes

Open My Eyes
Do you struggle with understanding the meaning of scripture and/or how to apply the Word of God to your daily life? There are several possible reasons you could be struggling with this. Review the information below and pray for God to reveal if one or more of these situations are contributing to your difficulties with His Word.
You are not a Christian
  • The Bible is very clear, if you are not a born again believer in Jesus Christ, and therefore not indwelled by His Holy Spirit, you will not be able to understand the spiritual truths in God’s Word. Without the Holy Spirit, the Word of God seems to be foolishness.
    • John 5:38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.
    • 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
      • Surrender your life to Christ. Spend the rest of your days seeking and serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Then the Word of God will come alive in you and to you.
You are an Immature Christian
  • Salvation in Christ is a gift from God that you cannot earn. However, once you become a child of God, you must grow in your faith and in your knowledge. This takes time, effort and most importantly, the blessings of God through the illumination of His Word by the Holy Spirit. The Bible provides an analogy for spiritual growth; a baby starts with milk but then grows up to eat solid food.
    • 1 Peter 2:2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
    • Hebrews 5:13-14 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
      • Whether you have been a Christian for 20 minutes or 20 years you can still be spiritually immature. You must be reading His Word, receiving sound Bible instruction, and serving faithfully to grow.
You are a Christian, but you are not being faithful in your study of God’s Word
  • We are without excuse if we don’t heed the warnings and embrace the promises contained in scripture. We have to approach Bible study with the right attitude; humility and a willingness/readiness to learn. As a Christian, you should be reading the Bible daily!
    • Luke 16:29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
    • Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
      • Even as a mature Christian, you must read your Bible daily. Constant fellowship with God is key in applying His Word to your life and understanding His Will for your life.
You are a Christian, but are trying to figure out something you are not meant to understand
  • God has been very gracious in giving us His Word. And beyond that, in His time, He enables those who trust Christ as savior to understand His Truth by the gift of the Holy Spirit. But, as much as He has revealed to us through scripture, there are some things we are just not meant to understand. Some truths about God are beyond our ability to understand.
    • Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
    • 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!
      • Can you accept God’s truth without understanding it? Genuine faith goes beyond our ability to understand!
You are not asking God to Open Your Eyes
  • Regardless of who you are and where you are in your relationship with God, you must ask Him to open your eyes to the truth of His Word. Understanding scripture is a blessed gift from God.
    • Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.
    • Luke 24:45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
      • Always pray for God to reveal the meaning of scripture. Understanding His Word is not about our intelligence, it is because of His graciousness.

Understanding and application of God’s Word is a lifelong process. Persevere in your search and He will honor your longing to know Him.
  • Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
  • Romans 5:3-4 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
    • The Lord will reveal truth to you at the perfect time. All He does is for your benefit. Everything He does is good and right. Perhaps He is allowing you to dig and struggle as part of your journey to know Him better and trust Him more.
Dear Father, Your Word is such a precious gift. I pray that You will continue to reveal Yourself and Your Will through Your Word. May Your Holy Spirit bring understanding. May understanding bring correct application. May correct application bring glory and honor to You. I praise You and love You. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Blame Game

The Blame Game
Oh the joy of Christian fellowship; sharing in the common bond of forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Jesus Christ.
  • 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
  • Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
And although we have the power of the Holy Spirit of God in us, in the weakness of our flesh, we still sin.
  • 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
  • Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Our deliverance from slavery to sin and the gift of eternal life in Heaven were both purchased with Christ’s shed blood. Yet we still need daily cleansing to maintain our fellowship with God.
  • 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.
  • Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
To claim to be sinless is to call God a liar; a rejection of His Word!
  • 1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Unfortunately, it is deep within our nature to deny our sin. A common defensive tactic when facing our sin is to blame someone or something else.
  • Adam actually tried blaming God when confronted with his sin in the garden.
    • Genesis 3:12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
  • When Moses confronted Aaron about making the golden calf, Aaron actually tried blaming the calf!
    • Exodus 32:24 And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.”
The Blame Game is a game you are going to lose. God sees your heart!
  • 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
    • Salvation – The only way to eternal life is to confess your sin and surrender your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Don’t miss out on eternal life by denying responsibility for your sin.
      • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    • Discipline – If you are a child of God, your Heavenly Father will discipline you for your sin. Don’t make it worse by trying to blame someone/something else for your sin.
      • Hebrews 12:5-6 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
Father, by the power and presence of Your Holy Spirit, help me to accept responsibility for any sin in my life and promptly confess it to You. Give me strength to endure any discipline I am due. For anyone reading this devotion that does not know You, please draw them to Yourself for salvation through Jesus Christ. May Your Word lead the lost and the saved to stop playing the blame game. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

No Need for Greed

No Need for Greed
Are you striving for things you don’t have? Is there a hunger inside you that’s never satisfied? Perhaps you are searching in the wrong place! God tells us that to be content with a godly life is a great achievement.
  • 1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
The Bible teaches that God supplies all we need through Jesus. We can’t satisfy ourselves. True fulfillment only comes from a close personal relationship with the living God of the universe, Jesus Christ!
  • Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
  • 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.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,
  • Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
  • Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Our first priority is to seek after God; He promises to take care of us. Trust Him in prayer, tell Him about your needs and desires, and then enjoy the peace that comes from leaving the outcome up to Him. Stand confidently in His faithfulness.
  • Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
  • Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
One of the ways we bring honor to God is to be satisfied with whatever we have.
  • Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
There is No Need for Greed. Feed on His Word. Be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Abide in His presence and protection.
Father, the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ has brought new life and complete satisfaction to my spirit. Yet in the weakness of my flesh I still experience desires for more, better or different than I already have. Only by making You my top priority, growing in Your grace, learning Your Holy Word, trusting Your goodness and sufficiency, and truly surrendering myself to Your will, can I experience the peace You repeatedly promise. In my weakness, may Your strength flourish. In the name of Jesus Christ, the Living God, I pray, Amen.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

It Goes Both Ways

It Goes Both Ways
Philippians 1:29 
  • NKJV – For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
  • NASB – For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
The Bible clearly teaches that a Christian’s saving faith in Christ and the privilege of suffering for the lifestyle that results from that very faith are both gracious gifts from God (John 6:44, Ephesians 2:8, Matthew 5:10-12, Acts 5:41). And by looking at the two different translations of Philippians 1:29 above, we can see a deep truth regarding the amazing relationship we have with Christ.
The only difference in these translations is:
  • NKJV‘granted on behalf of Christ’
  • NASB‘granted for Christ’s sake’
But there is no disagreement here; the apparent difference is a result of perspective!
  • NKJV focuses on Christ’s love for us and faith in His Church (Him to us).  NASB focuses on our love for Christ and faith in Him as God (us to Him
    • 1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
    • John 17:20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
    • Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
    • John 14:15 If you love Me, keep My commandments.
    • Ephesians 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
Christ showed His love for and faith in future believers by suffering and dying for us. We should show our love for Christ by a willingness to suffer because of our faith in Him.
Dear Lord, Jesus set the ultimate example of love by coming to earth, living a sinless life, suffering and dying for the sins of the world, being raised from the dead, and ascending to Heaven where He now intercedes on our behalf. Help us through the power of Your indwelling Holy Spirit to show our love for Him by being willing to suffer whatever You may send our way for His sake. I pray in the Holy name of Jesus Christ, Amen.