Sunday, December 31, 2017

Without Adversity

Without Adversity

It is amazing how much we can learn about God and people when we study the Bible. We see the character of God revealed in what He says, does and expects. We learn about human nature and human potential as we see real people resisting or trusting God as they respond to the people, power and circumstances they face.

Although we can learn a great deal by how people react to successes and failures, blessings and difficulties, abundance and deficiency, this devotion will focus on overcoming adversity. Why? Because we all have challenges. Some are relatively small, while others appear to be insurmountable. And, there are often inspiring and instructional benefits that result from stories of triumph. I believe this is particularly true with regards to what we read in the Bible. In His Word, God shows us who He is and who we can be in a loving, faithful and obedient relationship with Him.

Here are a few examples.

Noah and the Flood
Genesis Chapters 6-8
  • We see that God is just – He punishes sin. We also see how the depravity of man causes God sorrow. Yet in His love, God saved the human race because of the righteousness of one man, Noah. Noah demonstrated tremendous faith and obedience in response to God’s plans. He obeyed God even when the whole world (literally) was against him – he and his family survived a worldwide flood by the grace of God.

Rahab and Her Past
Joshua Chapters 2 & 6
  • Rahab was doomed (see the ‘New Beginnings’ devotion posted on this site on January 4, 2013). But not only had she heard of Israel’s God, she had faith in Him. She trusted the two Hebrew spies Joshua sent to scope out Jericho; she hid them and then helped them escape. God delivered Rahab and her family from destruction. Her life was transformed; she became an ancestor of King David and Jesus Christ.

Gideon and the Midianites
Judges Chapters 6-7
  • God used the Midianites to punish the Nation of Israel for their sin. But when Israel cried out to Him for help, God raised up a Judge named Gideon to save His chosen people. But despite being from the weakest clan and the least of his father’s sons, Gideon, and an army of 300, were used by God to defeat a Midianite army of 135,000.

David and Goliath
1 Samuel Chapter 17
  • David was the youngest son of Jesse. He kept his father’s sheep as his older brothers went off to war to fight the Philistines. But God had greater plans for this ‘man after His own heart’. God used this shepherd boy and his slingshot to kill the Philistine giant, Goliath. David eventually became the greatest King of Israel and royal ancestor of the Savior King, Jesus Christ. 

Peter and His Impulsiveness
Matthew 16:13-23, John Chapters 13 & 18
  • Despite his great faith in, and love for, Jesus, Peter often let his mouth and emotions get the best of him. But Jesus, God the Son, was patient and forgiving towards Peter. Peter’s confession of faith in Christ as Messiah became the rock the church of Jesus Christ is built upon. This lowly fisherman became a leader in the early church and died as a martyr for his faith in Jesus.

The Woman and Her Bleeding
Mark 5:25-34
  • A woman suffered with ongoing menstrual bleeding for twelve years. Having suffered socially (being ceremonially unclean due to her bleeding), physically (being subject to ineffective treatments by many doctors), and financially (spending all she had trying to get better), she had only gotten worse. But after hearing about Jesus, and believing in Him, she was healed after touching His garment. Jesus told her that her faith made her well. 

The Man and His Blindness
John Chapter 9
  • Jesus encountered a Jewish man who was born blind and He healed him. After ridicule and rejection by the religious leaders, this man was cast out of his synagogue because he argued with the leaders and stated that Jesus was from God. In compassion and love, Jesus revealed Himself as the Son of God; and the man who had been blind professed faith in Him! This man lost his old religious life and gained eternal life through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Paul and His Sufferings
2 Corinthians 11:22-29, 12:7-10
  • After Saul the Pharisee (Jewish religious leader) became Paul the Apostle (one sent by Jesus to share the good news about salvation), he suffered greatly. But his suffering never became an excuse not to complete his mission as an evangelist. Whether being tortured by men or humbled by God, Paul’s sufferings taught him to rejoice in his weaknesses and rest in the strength of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The constant call of the Bible to all humanity is to live a life that shows your reverence for God and faith in Him. The unchanging truth of the Bible is God’s love for all people and His desire to help, protect and be reconciled to them.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
  • Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
  • James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 
  • 1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

Without Adversity:
  • We would have far less understanding of, and appreciation for, the love, truth, power, engagement, sovereignty and faithfulness of God in our daily lives, and with regards to His eternal plans.
  • We would have far less opportunity to observe in others and experience within ourselves the God-honoring, life changing, morale boosting and example setting faithful obedience of God’s children.

Embrace Adversity
as an opportunity to:

See God Work in your life!

Glorify God by your life!

As we contemplate 2018, rather than seeking a year free from adversity, let’s ask the Lord God Almighty to give us the faith and obedience to honor Him in our responses to adversity.


Father, forgive our propensity to avoid adversity. Help us see the beauty of Your plans, the perfection of Your ways and the completeness of Your love. What a joy to see You work in the midst of adversity to do what is eternally best for those who love You. What a privilege to be Your servant and to grow in faith as You sovereignly rule over all creation. Please give us the faith and obedience to honor You in our responses to adversity. I humbly ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

For those who believe what the Bible teaches, have trusted Jesus as Savior and Lord, and follow Christ daily in faith, love and obedience, Christmas is meant to be a celebration of His birth. But honestly, the importance of commemorating, contemplating, centering our lives on, and conversing about Jesus is often misunderstood, seriously neglected or completely forgotten due to the time, energy and attention spent decorating, sending cards, shopping for/making gifts, ‘holiday’ parties, traveling, family gatherings, gift exchanges, cooking, overeating and whatever else this season brings for you, your family and your friends.

This loss of focus on the birth of Jesus is not just sad, it’s tragic. Christ’s nativity was the means by which the long-awaited Savior King, the very human incarnation of God, was brought into the world. And this truth, as miraculous as it is, is just one part of a much greater story, the story of God’s love for every person.

Here is a selection of verses from the Bible that provide a small glimpse into the vast and eternal truths about Jesus, and how God, through His unending mercy and grace, has demonstrated His perfect love for all mankind.
  • John 1:1-2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
    • A cornerstone of the Christian faith is the deity of Christ (‘the Word’). We believe in one God who exists and is revealed as the Holy Trinity – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
  • Philippians 2:6-7 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
    • God humbled Himself and came to earth as a baby named Jesus, the long-awaited Savior King.
  • 1 Peter 2:22-23 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
    • Jesus, fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life. He came to fulfill the Law given by God – something sinful man could never do.
  • Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’
    • As the sinless Lamb of God, Jesus could be offered as the once-for-all final sacrifice to secure the only way for a restored relationship between sinful man and our holy God.
  • 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,
    • Jesus was sacrificed – He was crucified and died for our sins on a Roman cross, was buried in a tomb, and three days later rose from the dead. His resurrection proves His deity and guarantees eternal life to all those who trust in Him for salvation.
  • John 14:2-3 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. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
    • One way God expresses His love is to patiently wait for people to be reconciled to Him through a relationship with Jesus Christ. He does this despite the evil and wickedness that prevails in our world. But one day Jesus will return to earth and claim His bride (those who love and obey Him). His second coming will mark the starting point of God’s plan for final reconciliation of all things to Himself.
  • Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    • God the Father has exalted God the Son. Eventually, all creation will bow before Jesus and proclaim that He is Lord, whereby Father God is glorified! The saved will glorify Him for all eternity in heaven. The lost will take the truth about Christ, and their missed opportunity in Him, into their eternal separation from God in hell.

The good news about Jesus Christ
is the greatest gift God has given mankind.

Jesus is the perfect
revelation of God’s love!

If you are a Christian, pray for opportunities to share this precious gift with those who haven’t yet received it.
  • Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
    • The message of the Bible is meant for every single person (see 2 Peter 3:9).

If you do not know or follow Jesus, pray that God will draw you to salvation in Christ by revealing His truth to you.
  • John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
    • Eternal life through Christ is not based on our character, earned by our works, a product of our intellect, or a result of our will. It is a work of God and a gift we don’t deserve (see Ephesians 2:4-5).


Thank You, Father, for the birth of Jesus – a moment in history worthy of celebration every single day of the year. But without the context of Biblical scripture, knowledge of His birth alone is insufficient for salvation. Please Father, in Your love, grace and mercy, use the truth of Your Word about sin, hell, death, love, peace and eternal life to draw many to Yourself for permanent and perfect reconciliation. Thanks for all You are and all You do. I pray these things in the name above every name, Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

At What Cost

At What Cost

I am on a mission. I have been sent by the Highest Authority, and I am charged with delivering the most important message you will ever hear. I have been empowered, equipped and endorsed to successfully complete my mission. I have everything I need to be successful. And yet I hesitate to tell you what you need to hear. Instead of trusting the One who sent me, instead of focusing on your need, I writhe and wallow in a pool of doubt, fear and self-preservation.

As I walk alongside you, or when I bump into you unexpectedly, or when I meet you for the first (perhaps only) time, I ask myself:
  • At what cost will I stay in my comfort zone?
  • At what cost will I blend in with the crowd?
  • At what cost will I avoid offending you?
  • At what cost will I evade persecution?
  • At what cost will I refuse to love you?

And no matter how many times or how many ways I ask these questions, I always come up with the same answer – the cost is your soul! Because the real question is:
  • At what cost will I will I not share with you what the Bible teaches about Jesus?

The truth of the matter is, if you come to my church (my safe zone), I will tell you about Jesus all day long. Or even better, if you just straight up ask me about Jesus, I will be happy to share anything and everything I know about Him. Outside of that, your odds of hearing the truth from me aren’t always that great. But no matter how many times I fail to complete my mission, I am never stripped of my commission. My Lord and Savior wipes away the tears, brushes me off, reminds me of His undying love for me and sends me right back to the frontline.

Why? Because He loves me, and because He loves you! And in His perfect wisdom, He has chosen to use His people to share His truth. He doesn’t need me to tell you about His love for you, but He trusts and expects me to do it. He has also given me His Spirit and His Word to ensure the message you hear about Him is just what you need to hear.

Open your heart to the absolute truth and eternal power of His Word.
  • Mark 8:34-37 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
  • Luke 12:16-21 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
  • Romans 6:20-23 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • John 3:16-17 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. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Even though you may not always be able to count on me to hear the truth about salvation in Jesus Christ, you can always count on the Word of God.
  • Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
  • 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.

My heart breaks for the souls of the lost.
Still sometimes I  retreat when  duty calls.
Don’t judge God based on my disobedience!

Now you have heard the truth about Jesus.
Will  you  respond   to  His  message of  love?
Don’t reject God based on your presumptions!


Father, You know every one of my failures and shortcomings – yet You love me perfectly and permanently. Thank You for this method and opportunity to share and/or remind others of Your truth – the good news about salvation in and through Jesus Christ. Please soften the hardened hearts, mend the broken hearts and open every heart to what Your Word has to say. I love You. Thanks for all You are and all You do. I praise You and pray to You in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth

What stands between you and the perfect peace you desire for your life? Is it a specific problem, or is it your situation in general? Is it a particular person, or is it the lack of care, concern and courtesy you see in people? Is it an unanswered question about good and evil, or is it your firsthand knowledge of, or experience with, indifference and maliciousness?  For each of us, it is a unique combination of issues and circumstances that result in the real or perceived personal sense of unmet needs and/or unfulfilled desires. 

However, the Bible teaches that genuine peace is found only in a reconciled relationship with Father God through Jesus Christ.
  • Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

As a result of peace with God, the ‘fruit’ of peace is manifested in the lives of those who love and trust Him. Fruit in the life of a Christian is characterized by desires, attitudes, motives, actions, words, works and their impact on the world that honor God, emulate Jesus and demonstrate the God-glorifying life of a person completely surrendered and obedient to Christ and His teachings.
  • Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
    • Because the Holy Spirit of God lives in followers of Jesus Christ, they will bear fruit that brings honor and glory to God. One of the elements of spiritual fruit is peace.
  • James 3:17-18 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
    • The wisdom of God, as contained in His Word and obtained through the indwelling presence of His Spirit, leads to peace.

Christians are called to a life of peace.
  • Psalm 34:14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.
    • Be intentional about how and where your spend your time. Strive for peace in prayer and in practice.
  • Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
    • Let your passion for genuine peace be one of the reasons people recognize your love for and obedience to the Lord.
  • Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
    • Never be the reason for a lack of peace.  Sometimes peace can only be achieved through separating from those who won’t make peace.

During the Christmas season,
as we celebrate the birth of Jesus,
Who is the only way to genuine peace,
let’s experience, embrace and exemplify
the fruit of God-given peace found only in Him!

Then, in loving submission and obedience to Jesus Christ,
let’s pursue peace with all people and in all situations,
every day and every way for as long as we live!

Jesus is the Prince of Peace
  • Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jesus is the only way to Peace on Earth
  • Luke 2:11-14 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

The perfect peace of God is not always accompanied by nice feelings or comfortable circumstances.  God-given peace is an internal reality based on His character and promises.
  • Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
  • Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


God of love, giver of peace, I pray, Holy Father, that the peace You give will be experienced and shared through Your children. I pray that others will be drawn to You for salvation in Christ and Your perfect peace. I pray for Peace on Earth! I pray these things in the name above every name, Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sing to the LORD

Sing to the LORD

Do you sing to the LORD? I mean really sing – from your heart, from your soul, with passion and conviction!

Many people think of the Book of Psalms when it comes to singing in the Bible.
  • Psalm 59:16-17 But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble. 17 To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy.
  • Psalm 66:4 All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah
  • Psalm 92:1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
But there is so much more! Heartfelt singing is a vital part of a healthy relationship with God.

In the Bible, we see:

Various People Who Sing to the LORD

Moses’ song of praise after Israel crossed the Red Sea
  • Exodus 15:1-2 Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: “I will sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! 2 The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
Miriam and the women of Israel echoing part of Moses’ song
  • Exodus 15:20-21 Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21 And Miriam answered them: “Sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!”
Isaiah sang to God of His provision for Israel, their failings and His judgment
  • Isaiah 5:1 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill.
Habakkuk’s hymn of faith and rejoicing when facing disaster
  • Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn after celebrating the Passover meal together
  • Matthew 26:28-30 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” 30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Paul and Silas sang hymns in prison after being beaten
  • Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

Significant Provisions in Support of Those Who
Sing to the LORD

  • 1 Chronicles 15:16 Then David spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers accompanied by instruments of music, stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals, by raising the voice with resounding joy.
  • 1 Kings 10:12 And the king made steps of the almug wood for the house of the Lord and for the king’s house, also harps and stringed instruments for singers. There never again came such almug wood, nor has the like been seen to this day.
  • Nehemiah 12:31 So I brought the leaders of Judah up on the wall, and appointed two large thanksgiving choirs. One went to the right hand on the wall toward the Refuse Gate.

Numerous Proclamations for Us to Sing to the LORD

  • Psalm 98:1 Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
  • Psalm 98:4 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
  • Isaiah 12:5 Sing to the LORD, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth.
  • Ephesians 5:18-19 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
  • Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
  • James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.

Sincere expressions of worship, confession, regret, joy, desperation, lament, thanksgiving, requests, and so much more are found throughout the Word of God. However, singing to the LORD in response to these profound experiences, emotions and environments encountered in life may not come naturally to all who love Him. But as with so many areas of our walk with Him, we must rely on His Spirit to enable, empower and encourage us to glorify our God and King.

Honesty, I struggle with this greatly. Although I love to sing, sometimes my singing isn't coming from my heart. Instead of responding to Him, praising Him, crying out to Him, confessing to Him, relying on Him, etc., I am just enjoying the act of singing, the music and/or hearing others sing.

Oh, how I long to sincerely sing to the LORD!


Gracious Father, how I appreciate your patience with me and tolerance of me. I pray that Your Holy Spirit will work in me to enable, empower and encourage me to glorify You in songs of worship, brokenness, need and whatever else You desire. I pray for Your loving work in the lives of all those who love You. I beg You to save those who have not surrendered to Your truth and Your love. I pray these things in Christ’s name. Amen.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple

Some people say that opposites attract. You know that saying, right? Like the couple where one person is outgoing and the other is very shy. Or when one likes to stay around the house and the other is always itching to get out and go somewhere. Well, I am not so sure I agree that opposites attract. I believe that successful relationships are more dependent on the shared values of patience, kindness, selflessness, respect, commitment, forgiveness, etc. as expressed in the Bible (see 1 Corinthians chapter 13).

Within all followers of Jesus Christ, there are two opposite natures. These natures are not attracted to each other – they differ in every way and each wants complete control. They are constantly battling to dominate our thoughts, desires, actions and words. These two natures are our flesh (the sinful desires, passions and attitudes that define our human nature apart from God) and our spirit (the supernatural union of our nonphysical essence and the Holy Spirit of God living within us).
  • Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
  • Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The Bible explicitly declares the opposing natures of the flesh and the spirit.
  • Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

So why doesn’t God do away with our sinful human nature when we surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? The Bible states that we are new creations in Christ.
  • 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.

How awesome it would be to live with no desire or inclination to sin!

Or would it?

I would never claim or pretend to fully comprehend the mind, nature and depth of God as presented in His Word. It’s quite the opposite. The longer I know Him and the more I learn, the more questions I have. But this I know, in His infinite and perfect wisdom, God chose and ordained that His children must deal with the odd couple of flesh and spirit from the moment of salvation until the end of mortal life. And since He is all-knowing and all-powerful, I know He did this by design.
  • Romans 8:5 those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
  • Galatians 6:8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

I believe that part of the reason He did this is choice. Just as God would never force a person to surrender their lives to Him, He does not force those who do surrender to Him to live a Godly life. Each person must decide how they will live. For God or against Him. Serving and honoring Him or rebelling against Him.
  • Romans 8:13-14 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
  • Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

How does a perfectly programmed robot that has no choice but to obey bring glory to God? It can’t.
  • Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
  • John 6:66-67 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

The church of Jesus Christ is not calling
the lost people of this world to perfection in this life.

We are calling them to trust Him for salvation.
We are calling them to surrender all they are to Him.
We are calling them to love, obey and follow Him.
We are calling them to make choices that honor Him.

The first choice a person makes to honor God is to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ. As part of our spiritual rebirth, the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence in us and is the guarantee of our eternal life in Heaven.
  • John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
  • Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

From then on, it is a life of choices; you have to deal with the reality of the odd couple inside you moment-by-moment and day-by-day. Will I obey Him? Will I wait for Him? Will I respond to His Word and the promptings of His Spirit? Will I reject my human nature? Will I give Him the glory for my victories and confess my failures to Him?
  • Romans 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
  • Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
  • Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

What choices do you need to make?


Father, I praise You for Your wisdom, love, patience, knowledge, plans and so much more. I also thank You for giving us choice! Please Father, draw many to You through salvation in Jesus. I pray for those who haven’t decided to follow Jesus. I pray that Your Word and Your Spirit will lead them to the right choice. I pray for those who have given their lives to You. May they make choices every day that bear witness to the new creation they are in Jesus. I pray all these things by choice, and in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

That You May

That You May

Jesus loves you. He humbled Himself by coming to earth as a man to fulfill God’s plans for your redemption. He lived a sinless life to fulfill the requirements of the Old Testament Law on your behalf. He died on a cross as the perfect and final sacrifice for your sin debt to God. He rose from the dead to prove that He is God and to assure those who follow Him of their eternal life in Heaven. He ascended to Heaven where He continues daily in His high priestly ministry of advocacy and intercession before Father God for those who have surrendered to Him.

He did all this:

That You May Believe
Jesus wants you to trust in who He is.

John Wrote
  • John 20:30-31 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Jesus Said
  • John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
The Bible is God’s message of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ. A belief in Jesus that leads to surrender to Him as Lord and Savior is what God wants for you.

That You May Know
Jesus wants you to be assured of your salvation.

John Wrote
  • 1 John 5:12-13 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
Jesus Said
  • John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
The Bible unapologetically tells us that Jesus is the only way to a right relationship with Father God. A Christian’s confidence in their relationship with God is based on the redeeming power of Jesus’ shed blood, not their good works.

That You May Stand
Jesus wants you to endure in His strength.

Paul Wrote
  • Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Jesus Said
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
The Bible shows us that it is only in God’s strength that we can stand against the weaknesses of our flesh, the wickedness of the world and the schemes of the devil. In union with Christ, even when we are weak, we can be strong.

That You May Walk
Jesus wants you to live a life that honors God.

Paul Wrote
  • Colossians 1:9-10 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Jesus Said
  • 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.”
The Bible defines our ultimate purpose in this life – to bring glory to the God of the Bible. We bring honor to God by walking in the truth, love and righteousness of Jesus Christ.

That You May Proclaim
Jesus expects you to share the truth about Him with others.

Peter Wrote
  • 1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
Jesus Said
  • 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.
The Bible requires that its message be declared to every tongue and tribe and nation by those who profess to follow Jesus. Followers of Jesus lead others to Him!

Turn to Jesus!
Live for Jesus!
Share the Good News about Jesus!


Father, the pressures, pains, problems and preoccupations of this life cause many of Your children to fall short in our calling to spread the good news about Jesus to those who have not heard (or need to hear again). But we are without excuse. Despite the weaknesses of our humanity, please use us for Your glorious purposes. By the truth of Your Word and the power of Your Spirit, enable, empower, excite and erect Your church to fulfill its evangelist mission. In the blessed name of Jesus I pray. Amen

Saturday, November 4, 2017



‘LOL’ is an acronym used widely in social media and other electronic communications; it stands for ‘laugh(ing) out loud’. LOL is primarily used to indicate an appreciation for, or acknowledgment of, the humor, wit or amusement found in someone else’s message or post. But I believe there is a better use for this acronym.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah speaks the very words of God to condemn the southern kingdom of Judah for the multitude of ways they have sinned against the LORD, the shameless way in which they have done it, and the anger and judgment aroused in God by this rebellion against His love and sovereign rule. In Chapter 7 of Jeremiah, he reminds them of God’s words when they were delivered out of Egypt and how their ancestors responded.
  • Jeremiah 7:23-24 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.

At the heart of God’s message to all humanity is a remarkably simple and profoundly life changing message – LOL!

Listen – Obey – Live

Hear the absolute truth of God’s Holy Word.
  • Psalm 119:103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Are the Words of God sweet, encouraging, challenging, helpful… to your soul? Do they satisfy the cravings that can’t be met by any earthly information or activity? Or are they like bitter medicine ignored and left on the shelf?
  • Deuteronomy 31:12 Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully observe all the words of this law,
  • Matthew 15:10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand:
  • Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
  • Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
Imagine the creator of the universe gently taking hold of your hand and asking, ‘Are you hearing me?’ God has spoken through His Word and He desires and expects us to listen to what He has said. In His Words are the answers to our deepest questions, the information we need to be reconciled to Him, and the truth about love, relationships, science, history, the future and so much more.

The first step to an understanding of, appreciation for, and relationship with God is to listen to Him.

Heed the requirements and principles found in God’s Perfect Word.
  • Psalm 119:145 I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O LORD! I will keep Your statutes.
Are you joyfully committed, wholly determined and eternally faithful in your desire to obey God’s Word? Or are His teachings and truths just weighing you down?
  • John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
  • Deuteronomy 12:28 Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.
  • Hebrews 11:8 Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.
  • Psalm 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
If your obedience to God is not motivated by love for Him, faith in Him and humility before Him, it is misguided. Obedience is not a means to an end, it is a passion and a privilege. Obedience to the Word of God is a way to worship Him, protect ourselves, and encourage others to do the same.

Ongoing and intentional disobedience is rebellion against and rejection of God’s love and forgiveness.

Honor God in every area of your life according to His Eternal Word.
  • Psalm 119:133 Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.
Are you learning, growing, serving, sharing and getting victory over sin as you walk with God? Does your heart yearn to live a life that emulates our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Or are you just going through the motions and hoping no one notices that your heart is not really into Christian love and selflessness?
  • Ephesians 4:1-3 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
  • Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
  • Romans 14:7-8 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
  • Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Living a life that brings glory to God and demonstrates who you are in Jesus is more about your attitudes, intentions and desires than a measure of your actions, words and works. But make no mistake, salvation through and in Jesus, which leads to an indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit, will change how you think, feel and live. When you live for God, your life will become less about yourself and more about how you can serve and share truth with others.

The principles, priorities and passions
of your life will demonstrate
if you really Listen to, Obey and Live for Him.



Dear Lord, in Your loving and perfect ways, please use Your Word and Your Spirit to transform hearts and minds so that people who never acknowledged or responded to you in the past will now Listen to, Obey and Live for You. I praise You for Your patience and Your eternal desire for all to repent and come to You. In Jesus’ holy and precious name I pray. Amen

Saturday, October 28, 2017




Jesus Healed Individuals
He values every single person.
  • Luke 4:38-39 Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. 39 So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.
  • Luke 6:10 And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
Jesus Healed Multitudes
He treasures all humanity.
  • Luke 4:40-41 When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!”
  • Luke 6:17-19 And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, 18 as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.


Jesus Is Compassionate
His mercy is unending.
  • 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.
  • James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
Jesus Fulfills Messianic Prophecy
He is the Savior King foretold in the Old Testament.
  • Luke 4:17-21 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus Wants People to Believe God Sent Him
He desires that all come to know Him as Lord and Savior.
  • John 5:36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
  • John 17:20-21 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Jesus Is God
He forgives and heals – only God can do this.
  • Luke 5:24-25 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
  • Psalm 103:1-3 Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,

He heals according to the sovereign will of Father God.

Not every faithful prayer for physical healing will be answered in this life. As part of His eternal perspective and perfect plan, there are good things in store for those who love Him that we sometimes just can’t understand.
  • James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
  • 1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
  • 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.
Every faithful prayer for salvation in Christ Jesus will be accepted and results in spiritual rebirth. He longs for all to come to Him. In heaven, all His children will have eternal bodies that will never again know sickness or suffering.
  • Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
  • 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.
  • Revelation 21:4 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.”

He died to give you eternal life.
  • 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.
  • Galatians 1:4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
  • 1 Peter 2:24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
  • 1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
His priority is your soul.
  • Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
  • Matthew 11:29 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.
  • Matthew 16:26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
  • Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Surrender your life to Jesus Christ.


Father, please bring healing through Your truth and Your love. For those whose hearts, souls and minds are yearning for You, send Your Holy Spirit to draw them to salvation in Jesus Christ. May Your will be done. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Sunday, October 15, 2017



You could think of your life’s legacy in terms of the following question, ‘Long after you are dead and buried, what will people remember about you?’ That is fine; but I think the more important question is, ‘In what ways did your life impact those around you and those who came after you?’ With those two questions in mind, let’s look at two kings from the Davidic Dynasty.

King Solomon ruled over the united kingdoms of Judah and Israel in 971-931 BC. In 641-609 BC, King Josiah ruled over the southern kingdom of Judah (the northern kingdom of Israel had already been defeated and exiled in 722 BC by Assyria). Although the reign of these kings was separated by 290 years, their legacies are linked together in surprising ways.

Personal Experience
Both kings knew God.

Solomon had a personal encounter with God in a dream.
  • 1 Kings 3:4-5 Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”
    • God spoke to Solomon in a dream and granted his request for wisdom.

Josiah had a personal encounter with God in a book.
  • 2 Kings 22:10-11 Then Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king. 11 Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes.
    • When Josiah heard the Word of God and what the Law of the LORD required and expected of God’s chosen people, he humbled himself and mourned over the sin of his kingdom.

Memorable Assets
Both kings were advantaged.

Solomon’s Wisdom and Wealth
  • 1 Kings 3:12-13 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 13 And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.
    • God made Solomon the wisest man of all time. He also blessed him with tremendous wealth.

Josiah’s Love and Obedience
  • 2 Kings 23:25 Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.
    • Josiah loved and obeyed the Lord like no other king before or since.

Dramatic Impact
Both kings had significant influence on their kingdoms.

Solomon’s Great Sin
  • 1 Kings 11:5-7 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.
    • For three centuries, the abominable pagan temples built by Solomon encouraged and enabled the people of Judah to worship false gods.

Josiah’s Great Reforms
  • 2 Kings 23:13 Then the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the people of Ammon.
    • Along with many other God honoring decisions and acts, Josiah destroyed the temples built by Solomon and led Judah back to worshipping the LORD.

Historical Legacy
Both kings inherited empires affected by previous rulers and circumstances.

  • 1 Kings 11:11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.
    • Despite his wisdom, wealth and inheritance of the united kingdoms of Judah and Israel (which were peaceful, prosperous and full of promise), because of his great sin, Solomon led his kingdom into division and depravity.

  • 2 Kings 22:19-20 because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the Lord. 20 “Surely, therefore, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place.”’” So they brought back word to the king.
    • Despite inheriting a kingdom marked by upheaval and ungodliness, because of his great reforms, Josiah reigned over Judah during a period of peace.

Messianic Legacy
Both kings were part of the royal lineage of Jesus Christ.

Davidic Covenant
  • 2 Samuel 7:16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.
    • Jesus was prophesied to be a direct descendant of King David. Solomon and Josiah were both direct descendants of David.

Notes on the lineage of Jesus:
  • Christ is a regal/legal descendent of David through Joseph (see Matthew 1:5-10 for the genealogy of Joseph through David’s son Solomon and descendent Josiah).
    • Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. But as Jesus’ earthly (legal) father, Joseph’s royal heritage was required to fulfill the Davidic lineage prophesies.
  • Christ is a biological/bloodline descendent of David through Mary (see Luke 3:31-32 for the genealogy of Mary through David’s son Nathan (Solomon’s older brother)).
    • As Jesus’ biological mother, Mary’s direct link through the bloodline of David was also required to fulfill the prophesies about his heritage.

Your Legacy
How will your life impact others, now and in the future?

Regardless of your background, circumstances, lineage, surroundings, etc., through salvation in Jesus Christ, you can live a life that glorifies the LORD. You can show the love of Jesus, share the truth about Jesus, and with the Word of God, help bring others to God for peace in this life and eternal life in heaven.
  • Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
  • John 15:8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
  • Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
  • 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.”


Merciful Father in Heaven, may those who know Christ as Lord and Savior live the life you have called and empowered us to live; thus leaving a legacy of truth, love and good works that brings the gospel message of Jesus to many and in every way glorifies Your holy name. Please draw the lost to Jesus. I ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, by whose stripes I am healed. Amen.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Wall

The Wall

Imagine the wrath of God approaching; a consuming fire that destroys everyone and everything not shielded from it. Sin, which is rejecting, rebelling against and/or falling short of God’s standards and requirements, kindles and calls the flames of God’s righteous judgment. In Ezekiel Chapter 22, using the coming destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonian army as a canvas, God paints a picture of His coming judgment against His chosen people.

Throughout its heinous history and repeated rebellions against God, His Law and His Covenant, He had warned the Nation of Israel about the severe judgment that would come if they continued in their wicked ways. But now the eternal Judge of every living soul presents the overwhelming evidence of Israel’s guilt and pronounces the sentence.

The Inventory of Jerusalem’s Sin
In Ezekiel 22:6-12, God details the violations of His Law
  • Murder; parents not respected; foreigners, widows and orphans being oppressed; holy things are despised; Sabbaths are profaned; people are put to death based on false testimony; offerings made to idols are consumed at mountain shrines; open lewdness/wickedness; sexual perversion; murder for hire, collecting interest and fees from loans; plundering neighbors; and forgetting about the LORD.

The Image of God’s Judgment
In Ezekiel 22:17-22, God describes the method of His Judgment
  • God tells Ezekiel that the people of Israel have become useless to Him; like the impurities in precious metals that are removed in a furnace. Therefore, as precious metals are melted in a furnace, God will gather the people of Judah together in Jerusalem and execute His judgment by fire. Both the precious metals and worthless contaminants will be melted by the fire of His wrath. The city will be burned and destroyed; the people will be killed and exiled.

The Indictment of the Guilty
In Ezekiel 22:25-29, God denunciates the breakers of His Law
  • The Potentates – Conspiring like roaring lions: tearing apart their prey; devouring souls; taking riches and other valuable things; making many widows. Acting like wolves: tearing apart their prey; shedding blood; destroying souls; getting dishonest gain.
  • The Priests – Violating God’s Law and profaning His holy things; not distinguishing between the holy and unholy; not teaching the difference between clean and unclean; ignoring Sabbath violations; profaning God.
  • The Prophets – Whitewashing blatant sin; giving false prophecy; lying; falsely claiming ‘Thus says the LORD.’ when the LORD has not said.
  • The People – Deceiving for unjust gain; plundering; mistreating the poor and needy; unjustly violating foreigners.

But before the wrath, we see the love and mercy of God layered in with His perfect justice – He takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked (see Ezekiel 18:32, 33:11). Despite centuries of sin, God was still looking for a way to pardon His people.
  • Ezekiel 22:30 So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

God had made a way for the temporary covering of sin through the Levitical Law. If done in humility, with repentance and in reverence for God, animal sacrifices (which foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to pay the debt for sin) could have reconciled sinful Israel to God.

However, without an atoning sacrifice for their sin, without confession and repentance, without a wall of righteousness around them and someone to stand in the gap between Israel and God’s wrath, God makes clear that His perfect justice would be served. Israel would indeed reap what they had sown.
  • Ezekiel 22:31 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.

So, what is standing between you and God’s wrath?

By what means will the penalty for your sin be paid?

How will you be reconciled to God?

Jesus Christ, the human incarnation of Jehovah God, is the only means by which sinful people can be reconciled to a Holy God.
  • Isaiah 53:5-6 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.
  • 1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

Jesus shed His sinless blood
to build an impenetrable wall
of righteousness around you!

When you surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior,
He stands in the gap between you and God,
and your sin debt is paid in full!

Through faith in Christ,
in His righteousness,
you are eternally reconciled to God!


Savior, LORD and King, thank You for making a way for sinful man to be reconciled to You. Thank You for Your love, grace and mercy. Thank You for the unchanging truth of Your Holy Word and the indwelling presence of Your Holy Spirit. Please Father, through Your Word and the Work of Your Spirit, draw those who are not followers of Jesus Christ to repentance and salvation. Save them from the judgment Jerusalem experienced. I ask these things in the powerful name of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Dealing with Imperfection

Dealing with Imperfection

If you are looking for perfection, there is only one place to find it.
  • Deuteronomy 32:3-4 For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God. 4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.
  • 1 Samuel 2:2 “No one is holy like the LORD, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.
  • Psalm 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
  • Mark 10:18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.

The LORD God Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God revealed as three distinct entities, He is the only one without fault or flaw. He doesn’t strive for perfection, it is His very nature and the essence of His being. He is inherently good, just and right. And it is in His perfection that we see our imperfection. God is the standard.

Unfortunately, we all fall short of the standards God has set in His perfection. Falling short of His standards and expectations is called sin.

King Solomon, the wisest man of all time, proclaimed that all people sin.
  • 1 Kings 8:46 “When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near;
Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Paul declares this same truth.
  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
God, speaking through John, says that we deceive ourselves if we say we haven’t sinned.
  • 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Therefore, we must accept that no person (spouse, child, parent, sibling, friend, mentor, student…), group (family, workplace, club, civic organization, church…), or anything else that involves or depends on people is perfect. Other than God, everyone and everything (including creation - see Romans 8:21-22) is flawed.

But praise be to God for the glorious truth of the gospel message of Jesus Christ! That message is, when we are born again by surrendering all that we are to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are made perfect in position before God (see Matthew 5:48, 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Hebrews 10:14). That is to say, for the Christian, even though we still sin, all of our sins have been forgiven (covered by the blood of Jesus). Therefore, God sees us as righteous – that is how and why we spend eternity in Heaven with Him after we die.

However, with all that said, the primary focus of this devotion is not the righteous position before God of those who have been born again. The point of this devotion is to identify the Biblical means of dealing with the imperfection within us and all around us. How do people respond to what they judge to be imperfections in themselves, others, their surrounding and their situations? Typical responses include frustration, anger, pride, fear, guilt, shame, impatience, disgust, hate, despair, apathy, giving up…

However, in the simplicity of God’s perfection, He has given us one specific means by which we are to deal with imperfection. It is discussed throughout the Bible, and is defined as follows:
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

As so often is the case, love is the answer. But not the selfish, self-centered, needy, sexual love that the world is obsessed with. Study the verse above. Ask God to reveal to you His truth about Godly love. And then plead with Him to help you live it out.

In the infinite wisdom of God’s perfection, God has shown us what true love is. In dealing with our imperfections, He sent His only Son, who lived a perfect life, to die a sacrificial death to pay off the sin debt of the world.
  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • 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.

During His life on Earth, Jesus, God in the flesh, the embodiment of perfection, was surrounded by imperfection. And He responded to this imperfection in obedience to God the Father and in love towards us.
  • Galatians 1:3-4 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Jesus modeled perfect love.
And God has instructed us to love that way.

Here is a very small sampling of the verses in the Bible dealing with how we are to love.
  • Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
  • 1 John 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
  • 1 Peter 4:8-9 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
  • 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.
  • 1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Love is the only Godly way of
Dealing with Imperfection!


Perfect Father, I thank You for giving us a means to deal with the imperfections within ourselves, others and the fallen world we live in. Please Lord, by the power and truth of Your Word and Your Holy Spirit, guide us in living a life of Godly love. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Are You Willing To Accept

Are You Willing To Accept

Do you trust Jehovah God? Do really believe that everything He commands or allows is ultimately and eternally right, just and good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8:28)?

Are you willing to accept –

What God has previously revealed?

Eli the Priest – After Samuel tells Eli what God had told him, Eli’s family is condemned to death because Eli had not dealt with the sins of his sons.
  • 1 Samuel 3:17-18 And he said, “What is the word that the LORD spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that He said to you.” 18 Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him.”
    • Eli accepted the judgment and consequences that God had already revealed to him by another prophet (see 1 Samuel 2:30-33).

Mary the Mother of Jesus – After the angel Gabriel tells Mary that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, she will conceive and bring forth the Son of God, the promised deliverer of Israel.
  • Luke 1:38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
    • Mary accepted the blessings, responsibilities and difficulties associated with the plan that God had already revealed to all of Israel by the prophet Isaiah (see Isaiah 7:14).

Paul the Apostle – After his third missionary journey as he travels back to Jerusalem where he will be arrested and tried, and eventually sent to Rome after appealing to Caesar.
  • Acts 21:12-14 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”
    • Paul accepted the uncertainty and troubles that God had already revealed to him by the Holy Spirit (see Acts 20:22-23).

What God has not foretold?

The Nation of Israel – Seeking deliverance from the Philistines and the Ammonites during the time of the judges.
  • Judges 10:15-16 And the children of Israel said to the LORD, “We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.
    • To secure deliverance from their oppressors, the Nation of Israel turned from their idols and genuinely served the LORD. They were willing to accept the unknown consequences for their sin.

Joab and Abishai – Splitting up their troops to engage in battle with Ammon and Syria.
  • 2 Samuel 10:11-12 Then he said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the people of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. 12 Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the LORD do what is good in His sight.”
    • Joab, the commander-and-chief of David’s army, expressed his understanding of and submission to God’s sovereignty. He was willing to accept the unknown outcome of the battles ahead.

King David – As he flees the rebellion of his son Absalom.
  • 2 Samuel 15:25-26 Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place. 26 But if He says thus: ‘I have no delight in you,’ here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.”
    • King David fled Jerusalem as his son Absalom returned to implement the final stage of his revolt. But because he understood God’s ultimate plan for his dynasty, David was willing to accept the uncertainty of his immediate future.

That God gives and takes away?

Job - After losing his wealth and his children to enemy attacks and natural disasters orchestrated by Satan.
  • Job 1:20-21 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
    • Despite the heartbreak and disappointment over his devastating losses, and being completely unaware about what is happening between God and Satan (see Job:1-5), Job refuses to sin, acknowledges the sovereign rule of God, and then blesses His name.

Will you praise Him regardless of what He does?
Will you bless the name of the LORD as He gives and when He takes away?

Are You Willing To Accept
The Sovereignty of God?


Our King, Lord and Savior, please help your children accept and bow to Your sovereign rule. Help us to see beyond the temporal implications of this life to the eternal realities You have planned. Give us the strength, wisdom and trust to endure all things for Your glory. I ask these things in the name of Jesus, the spotless Son of God who died for my sins. Amen.