Sunday, September 27, 2015

Do As I Say, Just As I Do

Do As I Say, Just As I Do

Are you familiar with that old saying, ‘Do as I say, not as I do!’? That saying exists because, when someone sets challenging expectations for themselves or others, they often fail, forget or flout the very guidelines(s) they establish. Despite our good intentions, because of the weakness of our flesh (our sinful/fallen human nature), we frequently fall short when it comes to:
  • Fulfilling Our Promises
  • Finalizing Our Plans
  • Forfeiting Our Passions
  • Finishing Our Projects


Jesus understands our weaknesses; He wants us to talk to Him about them.
  • Mark 14:38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Jehovah is Who He claims to be. He does what He says He will do. His Words and Works bear witness to Who He is and who He empowers us to be!
  • 1 Peter 1:16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

One of the clearest demonstrations of this truth is His command to love our enemies.
  • Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
    • Godly love is about decisions, actions and responsibilities; not feelings, intentions and fantasies (read 1 Corinthians 13).

Scripture is clear, there is no middle ground; you are either with God or against Him. You are either God’s friend or His enemy. 
  • Matthew 12:30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
  • 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.
    • Which side are you on?

Every person saved by the blood of Jesus Christ is proof that God has shown Himself worthy to say, ‘Do as I say, just as I do.’ He has shown love for His enemies. He has done good to those who hate Him.

God has taken us:

From Death to Life
When we were dead in our sins, God made us alive!
  • 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),
  • Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
  • Romans 6:13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

From Enemies to Friends
When our wicked ways made us His enemies, Jesus died to make us His friends.
  • John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
  • Romans 5:8 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled

From Foreigners and Strangers to Citizens and Family
When we were estranged from God, His love brought us close.
  • Ephesians 2:12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
  • Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
  • 1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

God has told us how to live in His Word. 
God has shown us how to live by His Works.

Psalm 33:4 For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth.


Father God, Creator of heaven and earth, Lover of the unlovable, Forgiver of the unforgiveable; thank You so much for not just telling us how to live, but for showing us. Praise be to Your holy name for giving me life when I was dead, for forgiving me when I hated You, for saving me when I was lost. Please breathe life into someone reading this devotion. I praise You and I love You. I pray these things in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

How Small A Whisper

How Small A Whisper

What an amazing God we have! When you stop and think about what He has revealed of Himself, He is truly incredible. Look at His creation, read His Word, yield to His Holy Spirit, participate in His church, experience the life He has given you… But for all we know about Him (or think we know about Him), the Bible is very clear, He is beyond our understanding. 

We have merely:
  • Heard a whisper of what He has to say
  • Witnessed a finite sampling of His infinite work
  • Skimmed the surface of His knowledge and wisdom
  • Contemplated the rudimentary aspects of His judgments
  • Observed a miniscule sampling of His ways
    • Job 9:10 He does great things past finding out, Yes, wonders without number.
    • Job 26:14 Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?”
    • 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!

We actually have an extraordinarily limited understanding of who God is. Yet considering that our cognitive abilities are limited by finite reasoning, through His generosity, we know enough about Him to come to know and love Him as our Lord, Savior and Friend!

Personally, I am glad that our God is past understanding. And I am eternally grateful for what He has revealed of Himself to us. Knowing God is exciting, enriching, empowering and so much more.

The scripture below is just a sampling of what the Bible has to say about Who God Is and What He Does.  Our God is awesome.  Praise Him!!

In Wisdom He Creates
  • Proverbs 3:19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens;
  • Psalm 104:24 O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions
  • Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

In Grace He Provides
  • Psalm 65:3 Iniquities prevail against me; As for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them.
  • Matthew 5:45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

In Mercy He Sustains
  • Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
  • 1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In Patience He Waits
  • Psalm 86:15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
  • Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.
  • 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.

In Love He Redeems
  • Psalm 130:7 O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is mercy, And with Him is abundant redemption.
  • 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.
  • 1 Peter 1:18-19 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

In Faithfulness He Forgives
  • Lamentations 3:22-23 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
  • Matthew 9:2 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
  • 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.

In Righteousness He Judges
  • Psalm 9:7-8 But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. 8 He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.
  • 2 Timothy 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
  • Revelation 16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying: “You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things.

In Peace He Reigns
  • Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
  • John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
  • Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

No matter how small the whispers,
Each one fills me with awe and wonder.


Father, fill us with wonder and amazement at who You are and what You do. Forgive us when we arrogantly assume that we have learned all we can about You. Love us as only You can! Help us to hear Your precious whispers. I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Having Not Seen

Having Not Seen

With the exponential progression in scientific knowledge and technology, our expectations have shifted dramatically. We live in a world that anticipates:
  • The Impossible to become Reachable
  • The Imagined to become Reality
  • The Incredible to become Routine

One of the most basic human qualities that has contributed to our reaching this point is the willingness to believe in things we haven’t actually seen. Here are a couple of very simple examples:

Love – The strong feelings one person has for someone or something that is evidenced by words and actions.
  • You can see the actions and hear the words; but you can’t see love.
    • Yet the same words and actions could be attributed to manipulation or infatuation.
Gravity – The physical attraction between physical entities as evidenced by an apple falling from a tree limb to the ground or the orbital path of a planet around its sun.
  • You can observe the physical phenomenon of gravity; but you can’t see gravity.
    • Yet there are other attractions between physical entities that are attributed to magnetism or intermolecular forces.
Leonardo da Vinci – The historical figure who lived between 1452 and 1519 as evidenced by his drawings, paintings, writings, sculptures, inventions, etc.
  • You can observe the physical evidence of his existence, you can read the historical accounts of his life and you can visit the place he is buried; but no one living today has actually seen the man.
    • Yet there is plenty of evidence of other painters, architects, etc. that lived during the same period of history as Leonardo da Vinci.

I am certainly not suggesting that love, gravity or Leonardo don’t/didn’t exist. My point is simply this, our ability and willingness as humans to see beyond what can be perceived with the eyes has established aspects of our history, enabled advances in our daily lives and engendered anticipation about our future.

So why is it, when it comes to Jesus Christ and the fundamental teachings of the Bible, the unbelieving world rejects these truths as rubbish based on what they consider a lack of visible proof?
  • Romans 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

Here are two important verses from the Bible linking belief in things that have not been seen with the fundamentally critical nature of faith in our relationship with God.
  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
  • 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.

Jesus clearly stated that that those who believe in Him without having seen Him are blessed.
  • John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Paul didn’t teach that seeing is believing; he taught that belief without sight guides our lives.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Peter taught that a Christian’s love for Jesus and joy in Him are not based on seeing Him, but on believing in Him.
  • 1 Peter 1:8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

So back to love, gravity and Leonardo:

The Love of Jesus
  • Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood
    • Jesus loved us so much He died for us.

The Power of Jesus
  • John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
    • Jesus has the power to create something from nothing.
  • John 11:43-44 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
    • Jesus has the power to raise the dead.
  • Mark 4:39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
    • Jesus has power over nature.
  • Matthew 14:14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
    • Jesus has the power to heal.

The Person of Jesus
  • 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
  • John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
    • Jesus is fully man and fully God.

Christians may not have seen Jesus,
but we believe in Him, worship Him,
praise Him, love Him, obey Him
and trust in Him.

The faith to believe in Jesus without having seen Him comes from His Word, the Bible. Read the Word of God and ask Him to open your heart to the truth about Jesus.
  • Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
  • 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.


Father, I have never seen You. But You have revealed Yourself through Your Word, Your Creation, Your Spirit, Your Church and so much more. I believe in You and put all my trust in You. Please reveal yourself to anyone who reads this devotion that does not know you as personal Lord and Savior. I love You! In Christ’s holy name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The New Me

The New Me

Born again. I am not sure if that means anything to you; but it means everything to me. Jesus saved me from the spiritual death I deserved and gave me the undeserved gift of eternal life. I was bound for hell and didn’t know/didn’t care. Now I have the assurance of eternity in Heaven. 

I didn’t really believe in God (especially the God of the Bible). Not long before I surrendered my life to Christ, I met the woman I would eventually marry and she invited me to church. She was amazing and church was fine. But I often recall that during that time, I told a good friend, ‘I don’t want anybody trying to change me.’
  • 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.

When you are born again, you are changed! I certainly don’t dwell on how my life was before Christ, but it blesses my soul when I think about how different my life is now. Of course I still struggle with the weakness of my flesh just like every other Christian (whether they realize/admit it or not). But praise God I struggle less and less with my sin nature as He continues to change me from the inside out.

- I came to know Father God through Jesus because He is the only Way to God
- I trusted in Jesus because He is the absolute Truth
- I have eternal life through Jesus because He, as the Life, overcame death when He rose from the grave
  • 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.

Jesus, here is a list of some of the things I love about my life since I came to know you as my personal Savior:

I praise You because You are Worthy of praise
  • Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!

I love You because You first loved me
  • 1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.

I worship You because that is the response of my soul to who You are
  • Psalm 95:6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

I need You because all good things come from You
  • James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

I follow You because You are the light in the darkness
  • John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

I pray to You because You told me to and taught me how
  • Luke 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,
  • Matthew 6:9-13 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

I obey You because I love You
  • John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

I confess my sins to You because You are faithful to forgive
  • 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.

I tell others about You because You empowered me to do so
  • Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

I read Your Word because through it came the faith to believe in You
  • Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

I study Your Word because it helps me to live a life that honors You
  • Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

I long for You because You are the only thing that satisfies my soul
  • Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.

I seek You because there is nothing more worthy and satisfying than being in a close relationship with You
  • Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
  • 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.

The New Me
Becoming in daily life who I am already am before God!!

By the way, my wife is more amazing than ever and being part of Christ’s body, the church, defines and fulfills me.


Gracious loving Father, thank You for saving me and indwelling me with Your Holy Spirit. I am a new creation!! I praise You and love You for drawing me to Christ and bringing me into Your family. Thank you for my new life. Thank You for eternal life. Thank You for paying my sin debt and making things right between me and You. I pray in the name above all names, Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Blessing Leftovers

Blessing Leftovers

Jesus blesses in abundance! He often looks beyond our immediate need and provides so much that we have an opportunity to bless others. Unfortunately, at times we see anything beyond what we need then and there as scraps. We are prone to discount or discard any ‘blessing leftovers’.

Feeding the Five Thousand
  • Matthew 14:19-20  Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.

Feeding the Four Thousand
  • Matthew 15:35-37 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 36 And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. 37 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left.

Our tendency is to become self-reliant in times of abundance and desperate in times of need. Time and again we ungratefully turn our back on the Lord when our needs are met. Then, when we are lacking, we worry ourselves to death and do foolish things to get what we need instead of trusting our loving Father to provide.
  • Proverbs 30:7-9 Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): 8 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.

Jesus challenged His disciples to face the reality of His deity; the miracles He performed proved who He was, God in the flesh. His love, mercy, grace and provision challenge us in the same way today.
  • Mark 8:19-21 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” 20 “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” 21 So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”

Another story in the Bible that demonstrates the value of ‘blessing leftovers’ is the gentile woman from Canaan who showed tremendous faith that Jesus could save her demon-possessed daughter. Her faith and willingness to accept mere remnants of the blessings intended for the Jews resulted in her daughter’s healing (Matthew 15:21-28).
  • Matthew 15:27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

In 2 Corinthians, our Lord speaks very clearly through the Apostle Paul to tell us that our abundance is meant to bless a source of blessing to others.
  • 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
  • 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

What are you doing with the ‘blessing leftovers’ in your life?
  • Are you carelessly discarding them as something of no value?
  • Are you hoarding them to protect against potential future hardship?
  • Are you using them to earn the favor of those in need?
  • Are you waiting for someone you feel comfortable approaching to beg for your leftovers?

I am guilty!

Trust in the Lord; give it away!
  • Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
  • 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.’”


Lord, You know that I love You. But You also know my worries and fears. Forgive me for holding on when I should be letting go. Guide me through Your Spirit and Your Word to give however, whenever and whatever You want me to give. Help me not to use ‘being responsible’ as an excuse not to bless others. I praise You and thank You in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.