Sunday, April 24, 2016

If Anyone

If Anyone

I love reading God’s Word – It is life changing, inspiring, challenging, convicting and so much more. And as I read the Holy Bible, when I see recurring themes and/or repeated words and phrases, I will usually make written or mental notes about them. This inevitably leads to digging in and seeking to better understand what God has shared in His love letter to us.

Recently I noticed the recurring phrase, ‘If anyone…’ in scripture. Although this phrase is used throughout the Bible (NKJV), it appears many more times in the New Testament and I have focused on the New Testament occurrences in this devotion. (see Leviticus 4:27-28 and Deuteronomy 19:11-12 for a couple of Old Testament examples). 

These ‘If anyone’ scriptures utilize an, ‘If ________, then ________.’ format. Here are some simple examples of ‘If, then’ logic:
  • If you boil water, then you will produce steam.
  • If you play with fire, then you may get burned.
  • If you want to improve your health, then eat nutritious food and get more exercise.

I have included just a few of these scriptures below and grouped them under three headings; Promises, Propositions and Pronouncements. I pray that God will use His Words to bless your heart and draw you closer to Him.

God has made incredible promises.
  • 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.
    • Loving Jesus Christ guarantees God’s presence in our lives.
  • 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.
    • Surrendering to Christ as Lord and Savior results in rebirth – a new and eternal life as a child of God.
  • 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
    • Jesus speaks to God the Father on behalf of all His followers (our sins are covered by the blood Jesus shed).

God has provided incredible opportunities.
  • Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
    • Abandon your self-centered plans and submit to God’s will for your life – pleasant or painful, let your life bring Him glory.
  • John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
    • Christ is the Living Water that brings eternal life – thirst for Him and live forever in Heaven with God.
  • Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
    • To be great in the sight of God, humble yourself and serve others.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
    • Reject worldly wisdom to gain true wisdom that comes only from God.

God has shared incredible knowledge.

The Word of God is Truth! Jesus is Truth!
  • Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
    • Don’t try to twist this into something it isn’t saying – Jesus is plainly telling us that He must be first (preeminent) in our lives.
  • James 1:23-24 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
    • Showing our faith with our good works demonstrates that we aren’t who we used to be – we are His.
  • James 1:26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.
    • What comes out of our mouths is more important than the traditions we follow.
  • 1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
    • Allegiance with God means not conforming your life with the Godless world system.

God wants us to rightly apply the knowledge He has shared with us.
  • Galatians 6:3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
    • Don’t be prideful or arrogant – offer help to those who need it and accept help when you need it.
  • 1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
    • Do all that you do in the power of God’s Spirit and truth of His Word by applying the gifts He has given you.
  • 1 Peter 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
    • The difficulties we endure for our faith are not embarrassments, they are opportunities to share in the sufferings of Jesus Christ and bring glory and honor to God the Father.

God gives us the information and principles we need to keep spiritually safe.
  • Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
    • Avoid any teaching that deviates from the Word of God.
  • Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
    • Don’t add to or take away from the Word of God.


Father, I pray that if anyone reads this devotion, that you will speak whatever truth they need into their heart and mind. Give them peace, bring them joy, reveal the truth, draw them into Your Word, reconcile them to Yourself! I love You Lord. Your Word and Your Spirit have the power to change lives. Please introduce someone to the saving grace You share through Your Son Jesus Christ. I pray in His name, Amen.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

What Have You Done

What Have You Done

The other day I was reading 1 Samuel. When I came to 1 Samuel 13:11, when the prophet Samuel asked King Saul, ‘What have you done?’ this really grabbed my attention. Samuel seemed so shocked, upset, or surprised; he wasn’t expecting the God chosen and anointed King of Israel to have so blatantly disobeyed God’s instructions. And then King Saul saying, ‘… I felt compelled …’; this got me thinking more deeply about this and other situations in the Bible where people knowingly and deliberately chose to rebel against God.

Saul – The First King of Israel

What have you done?

The Sin
  • King Saul deliberately disobeyed a direct command from God that had been given to him through the prophet Samuel.
    • 1 Samuel 13:11-12 And Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, 12 then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.”
      • Can you sense Samuel’s shock? Can you believe Saul’s reasoning (‘I felt compelled’)? There is never a good reason to intentionally disobey God.
The Standard
  • Saul had been given very clear instructions.
    • 1 Samuel 10:8 You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do.”
      • Study the Bible under the leading of the Holy Spirit, learn from God-called pastors and mature Christian teachers to understand how God expects you to live. Heed the truth of God’s Word.
The Punishment
  • Saul didn’t repent – he just made excuses. There were serious consequences for Saul’s rebellion against God; God would end Saul’s rule as King of Israel.
    • 1 Samuel 13:13-14 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

David – The Greatest King of Israel

What have you done?

The Sin
  • David, the ‘man after His (God’s) own heart’ mentioned in 1 Samuel 13:14, from whom Jesus Christ would be a descendent, not only committed adultery, he had the husband of the woman he committed adultery with killed.
    • 2 Samuel 12:9 Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.
      • Again, another shocked prophet. David knew God’s Law; he was without excuse. After all the blessing he had received from God, David chose what He wanted, not what God wanted for him.
The Standard
  • Two of the Ten Commandments deal explicitly with murder and adultery.
    • Exodus 2013-14 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery.
      • God has clearly told us how to live a life that honors Him and protects us.
The Punishment
  • David begged for God’s forgiveness (Psalm 51). Yet he still faced serious consequences for his sin. There would be unrest and violence in David’s family line and the child that resulted from the adulterous relationship would die.
    • 2 Samuel 12:10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’
    • 2 Samuel 12:14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”
      • A note about a child dying – if a child dies before they reach the point where they can understand and make a clear choice between God and Satan (righteousness and evil) through salvation in Jesus Christ, that child goes to Heaven. David understood this (see 2 Samuel 12:23).

What about:

Jonah – The Disobedient Prophet of God
  • Read Jonah Chapter 1

Judas Iscariot – The Disloyal Disciple of Christ
  • Read Matthew 26:14-16, Luke 22:47-48, Matthew 27:5 and John 17:12

Ananias and Sapphira – The Deceitful Benefactors
  • Read Acts 5:1-10

And so many more!

Kings, Prophets, Disciples and People in the Church: the depravity of man knows no limits.

But there is an answer. There is a way to forgiveness. You can have eternal life with God through Jesus Christ. You can live a God honoring life!

Now let’s ask our question a little differently.

Jesus – The Only Begotten Son of God the Father

What have You done?
  • I have existed for eternity!
    • Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
  • I made all things!
    • John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
    • Hebrews 1:2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
  • I stepped out of eternity and into time as a man because of My love for you!
    • Philippians 2:7-8 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
  • I was born of a virgin!
    • 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.”
  • I lived a sinless life!
    • Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
  • I died to pay for your sins and rose from the dead guaranteeing eternal life for those who follow Me!
    • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
    • 1 Peter 1:3 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,
  • I ascended to Heaven and have interceded for you before God the Father!
    • Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
  • And so much more!!!
    • John 21:25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

You – Follower of Jesus

What have you done?
  • I have accepted the truth that:
    • I am a sinner and Jesus died to pay my sin dept.
    • Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven so that I might have eternal life with God.
    • Surrendering all that I am to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior is the only way to a right relationship with God the Father.
    • I have been made righteous before God the Father by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (God the Son) and have been indwelled with the Holy Spirit of God.
    • I am to grow in the grace and knowledge and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
    • I have started a journey of faith and hope where, through the years, by His power and grace, despite my faults and failures, I am living more and more like Jesus Christ.

You – Rejecter of Jesus

What have you done?
  • You have fallen short of the standards God has set, just like everyone else.
  • You have been loved unconditionally by God.
  • You have rejected the payment Jesus Christ made for your sin by dying on a cross.
  • You have taken responsibility for your righteousness – trusting in your good intentions and good works instead of the righteousness of Jesus.
  • You have denied the grace and truth of God and chosen eternal separation from Him in a place called Hell – a place of suffering and torment.

No matter what you have done, you can be at peace with God and enjoy the benefits of an eternal relationship with Him in Heaven. Jesus’ blood was shed to cover all 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.


God in Heaven, please use You Word and the conviction of Your Holy Spirit to: 1. Bring peace and purpose to those who have chosen eternal life through Jesus Christ. 2. Open the hearts and minds of those who have rejected the truth about sin and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. I pray for Your will to be done, and I pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son and my Savior. Amen.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Do Not Be Deceived

Do Not Be Deceived

Have you fallen prey to the lies about God?
  • James 1:16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

The lies that say He wants to hold you back, put you down and take what you have earned; that believing in Him proves that you are ignorant; that His truths and His ways are inconsistent?
  • 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.

The lie that He wants to condemn you and that you have to earn His love?
  • James 1:18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

James wrote very clearly to counter these dangerous deceptions because lies and half-truths about God are planted in the fertile soil of man’s heart by Satan himself.
  • James 1:14-15 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
  • Genesis 3:13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Satan and the ungodly world system he directs want to convince you that God isn’t real. They want you to live however you want; fulfilling your every desire without any thought of standards or consequences.
  • 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.
  • Ephesians 2:2-3 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
  • 1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Satan’s goal is to keep you in the dark by hiding the truth.
  • Psalm 82:5 They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
  • Proverbs 4:18-19 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.

There is a battle for your soul. A battle between darkness and light.
  • John 3:19-21 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
  • Proverbs 2:11-14 Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, 12 To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things, 13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness; 14 Who rejoice in doing evil, And delight in the perversity of the wicked
  • John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

If you want to know the truth, start with God’s Word.
  • Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
  • Psalm 119:130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.
  • Psalm 119:160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.
  • Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Then turn to God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
  • John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
  • 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.”

Escape the darkness of deception and ignorance by embracing the Light of truth and knowledge.
  • Ecclesiastes 2:13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly As light excels 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.
  • Psalm 18:28 For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.

Jesus longs to lighten your burdens.
  • Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

He is the only way to peace with God the Father.
  • John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
  • 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.

He died to pay the debt for your sins so that you can live forever in Heaven with God. Confess Him as Savior and surrender to His Lordship.
  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
  • 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 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
  • 1 Corinthians 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
  • 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.


Lord God, may Your Word speak, Your Spirit draw, and Your Will be done. In the name of Christ. Amen.

Sunday, April 3, 2016



What is your primary focus? Do you spend most of your time thinking about family, friends, work, hobbies, problems, solutions, obligations, food, relaxing, exercise, self-improvement…? The world and our flesh offer countless topics and activities to occupy (and preoccupy) our minds.

Where do you look for:
  • Help
  • Answers
  • Truth
  • Direction
  • Hope
  • Freedom
  • Power
  • Peace
  • Purpose

For followers of Jesus Christ, our primary focus should be the Lord. We should keep our eyes fixed on Him!
  • Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

The writer of Psalm 119 was focused on the excellences of God’s Word. The phrase ‘my eyes’ appears six times throughout this Psalm. These six verses provide practical insights into a life focused on the truth, power, implications and application of God’s Word.

How many of these principles from the following verses in Psalm 119 are evident in your life?
  • Honest desire to understand the truth of God’s Word
    • vs 18 Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.
  • Humble request to be refocused from futility toward God’s path of life
    • vs 37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.
  • Heartfelt pursuit of God’s promises combined with an appeal for His comfort
    • vs 82 My eyes fail from searching Your word, Saying, “When will You comfort me?”
  • Hunger for God’s deliverance and the just assurances contained in His Word
    • vs 123 My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation And Your righteous word.
  • Heartbroken response to seeing others neglect God’s law
    • vs 136 Rivers of water run down from my eyes, Because men do not keep Your law.
  • Honorable priorities established by a longing to reflect on God’s Word
    • vs 148 My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.

Whatever you are dealing with, good, bad, temporary or ongoing, keep focused on God.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Our physical eyes are imperfect and can deceive us.  Spiritually speaking, we once were blind but now we see. Our focus should be determined by the truth of His Word, not our limited perspective.  It seems that 'my eyes' is referring to something much deeper than physical sight.

Faith in Him is always the answer!
  • 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Don’t Trust Your Eyes,
Trust in Him!


Dear Lord, help those who have surrendered to You to focus on You. May the desires of our hearts and minds be centered on You and Your truth. Help us to walk by faith, not by misguided perceptions based in temporal thinking. Draw those who have not surrendered to You into a loving relationship with You and with Your church. I praise You for Your holiness, love, righteousness and patience. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen.