Sunday, May 29, 2016

Without God

Without God

I once heard a sermon where the preacher stated that he thought Ephesians 2:12 was the saddest verse in the Bible.
  • 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.

I understand why he said this – it is very sad to think about someone, anyone, being alienated from God. But as sad as that is, I believe the Bible tells us about something much worse.

Living without God is sad. 
Dying without God is eternally tragic!

Sad Situation
Living without God is an empty existence. Hopelessly misguided, doomed to God’s wrath, willfully rebellious, and blinded by Satan – that describes the state of one who is alienated from God.
  • Galatians 4:8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.
  • Ephesians 2:3 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.
  • 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,
  • 2 Corinthians 4:4 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.

Serious Sentence
Somebody has to pay for your sin. Jesus Christ died on a cross to pay your sin debt; He rose from the grave to make you righteous before God. If you don’t accept Christ’s payment – You will pay your sin debt by spending eternity in hell separated from God.
  • John 3:18-19 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 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.
  • John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
  • Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
  • Revelation 20:15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Surprising Solution
God loves you and wants to give you something you don’t deserve and cannot earn: forgiveness, righteousness and eternal life. He’s not asking you to clean yourself up – you are incapable of doing that. God made a way for you to be in right relationship with Him – Jesus Christ.
  • 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),
  • 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,
  • Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
  • Titus 3:3-5 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

Single Savior
Jesus, God in the flesh, is not a way to God; He is the only way to God. Surrender your life to Jesus. He died for you – live for Him!
  • 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.
  • 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
  • John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
  • 1 John 5:10-12 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

We are all going to spend eternity in one of two places – Heaven or hell. You have to be 100% righteous to go to Heaven. Try as you may, you can’t do that yourself. You, and I, and everyone else will always fall short of God’s standards and requirements. If we could do it on our own, Jesus’ death as the once for all final sacrifice for sin was pointless. Come to know God the Father through God the Son, Jesus Christ.
  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory 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.
  • Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
  • John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Are you without God?
Humble yourself before Him,
Turn away from your sin,
Surrender to Jesus as Lord of your life,
Join your brothers and sisters in the family of God!


Loving, patient, gracious Father – may the truth of Your Word touch the life of someone who needs salvation in Christ. Please make a way for a faithful follower of Jesus to be there, to encourage, to answer questions, to share the way, the truth and the life. I humbly and confidently lift this prayer to You in the name of my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

His Good Pleasure

His Good Pleasure

What a humbling experience to read how Jesus humbled Himself for us. Through the New Testament writers, God provides extraordinary detail about Christ’s birth, ministry, death, burial, resurrection and exaltation. Our loving Father clearly reveals to us why Jesus had to die and how we obtain righteousness and eternal life when we confess Christ as Lord and surrender our lives to Him.

Here is a beautiful passage about Christ’s submission to the Father’s plan for our salvation.
  • Philippians 2:7-9 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. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

But the New Testament writers were not the first to document the truth about Messiah. Not only did God speak directly about Christ in the Old Testament (Genesis 3:15, 22:18, 2 Samuel 7:16, etc.), but He also spoke through many of His Old Testament prophets about Jesus (Psalm 22, Isaiah 9:6-7, Micah 5:2, etc.).

One of the most powerful Old Testament prophesies about Jesus Christ is given to us in Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12. This prophesy was written about 700 years before Jesus lived and is both beautiful and graphic in its descriptions of His purposes and punishment.

Centuries before His death on a Roman cross, Christ’s death for the atonement of our sins was proclaimed by the prophet Isaiah.
  • Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

The following verse from this section of scripture presents a complex truth that is followed by a clear explanation of that truth in the form of beautiful promises.
  • Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
    • The Complex Truth
      • God the Father desired to crush His Son
      • God offered Jesus as an offering for our sin.
    • The Promises that Clarify this Truth
      • The Messiah will rise from the dead and see the results of His suffering (the church).
      • God’s eternal desire for the redemption of man will be fulfilled in Christ’s obedience.
His Good Pleasure was (and is) accomplished through Christ’s sinless life, all sufficient sacrifice, resurrection from the dead and ascension to Heaven. This was the perfect and only way to redeem lost humanity.

God Planned Our Adoption in Christ
God choses us to be His children through His only begotten Son.
  • Ephesians 1:4-5 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
  • John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
    • God has a one-of-a-kind and completely unique Son in Jesus Christ. Through His Son, God adopts all who confess Jesus as Lord.

God Created Our Family in Christ
The mystery of the church was revealed to the New Testament apostles and prophets.
  • Ephesians 1:9-10 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.
  • Ephesians 2:19-20 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
    • Believing Jews and Gentiles are joined together in one family, the Universal Church.

God Fulfills His Purposes for Our Lives in Christ
God works mightily in the hearts and minds of His children to give them the desires and gifts needed to shine brightly for Christ in this dark world.
  • Philippians 2:13-14 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
  • Romans 12:5-8 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
    • Together we are the body of Christ. We exist to glorify God and fulfill His purposes.

His Good Pleasure
Is The Reconciliation
And Completion
Of All Things
Through Jesus Christ
And His Church


Dear Father, I hate that Jesus Christ, Your Son, had to die for me. But I love and appreciate the fact that He did. Thank You for being willing to sacrifice the best You had to save my soul. Thank You for loving me and saving me! Your good pleasure is my greatest blessing. I praise Your Holy Name and lift up this prayer of praise and thanksgiving in the name of Jesus Christ. Please use Your Word to draw many to salvation in Him. Amen.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Standing Orders

Standing Orders

The concept of Standing Orders is applied in many different organizations, corporations and industries (the military, banking, parliamentary procedures, utilities, etc.). For the purposes of this devotion, think of Standing Orders as clearly established rules, restrictions, procedures or principles. Standing Orders can be temporary or permanent; but they are put in place to prescribe or prevent certain outcomes – that is, to ensure the right things happen while avoiding the wrong things happening.

In many ways, through His Holy Word the Bible, God has provided a comprehensive set of Standing Orders for the human race. He made us and loves us. He provided these Standing Orders for our benefit.
  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
  • Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
  • Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

I want to share a section of scripture with you that demonstrates a very powerful truth:

Even when we don’t know what God’s plans are,
We play an important part in fulfilling them
As we comply with His Standing Orders.

After Elijah told evil King Ahab that there was going to be a severe drought, God protected and provided for His prophet. As part of His plan, God sent Elijah to a town called Zarephath to be cared for by a widow.
  • 1 Kings 17:7-9 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”

This widow, though poor and desperate, faithfully demonstrated the attitudes and actions required by God’s Standing Orders.

She was Kind
  • 1 Kings 17:10-11 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
    • When asked for water, she quickly responded to meet the need.

She was Truthful
  • 1 Kings 17:12 So she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
    • When unable to meet a greater need she honestly shared her dire circumstances.

She was Respectful
  • 1 Kings 17:13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.
    • Even though she was dealing with her own serious problems, she didn’t disregard Elijah’s requests for help.

She was Faithful
  • 1 Kings 17:14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’”
    • She believed in the provision promised by God through His prophet.

She was Obedient and Sacrificial
  • 1 Kings 17:15-16 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.
    • Walking by faith, not by sight, she shared what little she had.

As she complied with God’s Standing Orders:

She was Blessed

  • 1 Kings 17:16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.
    • As promised, God provided enough food for the woman, her son and Elijah
In the Future
  • 1 Kings 17:23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!”
    • Sometime later her son became ill and died. But through God’s miraculous power, Elijah brought him back to life.
  • 1 Kings 17: 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.”
    • Placing her trust in God and the truth of His Word signified her right relationship with Him.

The widow had no idea what God had commanded regarding her role in caring for Elijah (verse 9 above). And yet, through faithful obedience to the Standing Orders given by God through His Word, she played a critical part in accomplishing what God had ordained.

We all want to hear from God; we want Him to guide us according to His will. We want Him to tell us what to do. He already has.  He has spoken through His Word – The Bible.
  • Read and obey His Word! 
  • Trust Him in the circumstances of your life!
  • Walk worthy of your calling – be the person God has made you, commanded you and empowered you to be.
Participate in His plans – comply with His Standing Orders


Father, You have told us clearly how to live. And You have done this for our own good. Give us the courage, strength and perseverance to live according to Your rules, restrictions, procedures and principles. Thank You for allowing us to be a part of Your plans. I pray that the truth of Your Word will pierce the hearts of those who read it. In Christ’s holy and precious name I pray. Amen. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Common Denominators

Common Denominators

What a diverse world we live in. The geology, climate, plant life, animal species… When you stop and think about it, it’s truly amazing. And even more amazing is the diversity of the people who inhabit the earth: languages, cultures, colors, likes, dislikes, habits, hobbies, strengths, weaknesses…

Yet despite all this diversity, according to God’s Holy Word, there are many things that are true of every human.  Open your heart to the truth of God's Words!

Common Denominators
We all exist because God created all things
  • Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
We all have life because it is a gift from God
  • Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
We are all made in the image of God
  • 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.
We all have a common ancestry – Adam and Eve
  • Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We are all sustained by God’s common grace
  • Matthew 5:44-45 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, 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.
We all have souls that will exist for eternity
  • Matthew 25:46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s righteous standards
  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
We will all suffer the wrath of God if the price for our sin is not paid
  • Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
We must all depend upon God’s grace in order to have a right relationship with Him
  • 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.

One last Common Denominator I will mention:

Jesus Christ, God’s one and only unique son, is the only way for any person to have a right relationship with Father God
  • 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.

But how and why is this true?

Jesus, Immanuel, ‘God with us’, stepped out of eternity and 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.”
    • He did this as a critical part of fulfilling His promises and prophesies.
Jesus lived a sinless life and died on a cross.
  • Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures
    • He did this to pay for the sins of man by perfectly and permanently satisfying the requirements of God’s Law.
Jesus Christ rose from the dead and appeared to many people.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:4-6 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
    • He did this to defeat death and prove that He is God.
Our Lord and Savior ascended to Heaven and is seated at the right hand of Father God
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • John 14:2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you
    • He did this to be our advocate and intercessor and to prepare a place for us.

He did all this, and so much more, because He loves us!

He did all this for me!
He did all this for YOU!!

If God’s Holy Spirit is speaking to you, drawing you to God the Father, there is something you must do:

Critical Decision

Believe on Jesus Christ. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior.
  • 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.
  • 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.

In your own words, tell God:
  • I know I am a sinner and deserve God’s wrath.
  • I believe that Jesus, God in the flesh, died for my sins.
  • I accept the payment He made for my sins by shedding His sinless blood.
  • I believe that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, raised Jesus from the dead.
  • I surrender my life to Jesus and will serve Him all the days of my life.

Embrace the truth of God’s Word
  • Love, peace, eternal life…

Let go of Satan’s distractions and deceptions
  • Tradition, worldly wisdom, human philosophy…


Dear Lord, may the truth of Your Word’s bring life to the lost. May Your will be done. In Christ’s precious name I pray. Amen.