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.