Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Choice

The Choice

Everyone must choose which path they will follow in life. And when it comes down to it, although identified in a lot of different ways, there are just two choices:

  • Choice One – A life that honors God
    • Godly Wisdom - also identified in the Word of God as Life, Light, Good, Righteousness, etc.
  • Choice Two – A life that defies God
    • Foolishness of the World - also identified in the Word of God as Death, Darkness, Bad, Wickedness, etc.
Both paths, Godly Wisdom and the Foolishness of the World, are calling you.

Please read Proverbs 9:1-18 before proceeding with this devotion.

The Call

In Proverbs chapter 9 we see the wisdom of God and the foolishness of the world personified as two very different women. In verses 1-3, we see that the wisdom of God is diligent, industrious, prepared and preemptive. In contrast, verses 13 and 14 portray the world’s foolishness as unruly, uninformed, gullible, and lazy. Yet surprisingly enough, their invitation and their target audience are identical (verse 4 for wisdom and verse 16 for foolishness).
  • Proverbs 9:4 & 9:16 both state:
    • “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
Although they are compelled by opposing motives, Godly wisdom and the foolishness of the world both continually call out to those who don’t have a clear direction in their lives (the simple who are easily influenced).

Godly wisdom seeks to save.
  • Proverbs 9:5-6 “Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed. 6 Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding.
    • Wisdom offers blessings and results in hope.
Worldly foolishness desires destruction.
  • Proverbs 9:17-18 “Stolen water is sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” 18 But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of hell.
    • Foolishness incites wickedness and leads to despair.
The path you have chosen is revealed by examining your life.

The Characteristics

Throughout the Bible, in proverbs and poetry and parables and proceedings, the ways of the Godly and foolish are contrasted.
  • Psalm 1:2-4 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
  • Proverbs 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.
  • Matthew 7:16-17 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
Even so, none of us are perfect – we all fall short (that is why Jesus had to die on the cross to pay for our sins).
  • Galatians 2:20-21 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
  • Galatians 5:16-17 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 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.
God made one way for everyone to be, and stay in, right relationship with Him. That way is faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Everyone has a choice to make about Jesus.

The Choice

No one is exempt from making a choice about God. Not choosing to live for God is a choice to rebel against Him.
  • Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
  • Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
This choice is the most important decision you will make in this life. There are eternal consequences based on what you decide about following God.

The Consequence

Choosing Jesus will put you at odds with the world. But even though walking with Him can be a difficult journey, it is the only path that leads to eternal life in heaven with Father God.
  • Proverbs 11:19 As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.
  • Romans 6:23 for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Godly wisdom leads to a God-honoring life and eternal blessings.

Earthly wisdom leads to a depraved life and eternal destruction.

If you have chosen Jesus, follow Him faithfully.

If you have not chosen Jesus, yield to the truth of God’s Word and surrender all that you are to Jesus Christ; and do it right now. None of us are promised tomorrow.
  • James 4:13-14 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
  • Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,


Father God, please do what only you can do – use Your Holy Spirit to draw those who have not surrendered to Jesus according to the truth of Your Word and Your faithfulness to Your promises of reconciliation and eternal life. Thank You for loving us enough to die for us. I humbly pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Teach Me To Pray

Teach Me To Pray

Is prayer an essential part of your relationship with God? If not, it should be. It must be! How do I know this? Because prayer was such an important part of Jesus’ life on earth. He prayed alone. He prayed around others. He prayed on the cross. Jesus wants you to pray. In fact, He cares so much about your prayer life that He specifically taught us how to pray.

Jesus taught the multitudes how to pray. 
  • Matthew 6:9-13 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
    • During the Sermon on the Mount, without any prompting to do so, Jesus taught a great crowd the fundamentals of prayer. He did this because communion with God is such an important aspect of relationship with and obedience to Him.
Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.
  • Luke 11:1-4 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” 2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”
    • After His own personal prayer time, in response to a request from one of His disciples, Jesus taught the same fundamentals of prayer to His close followers. There is no hierarchy when it comes to prayer – the same fundamentals apply to everyone.

Jesus’ lesson on prayer was very clear. We must:
  • Acknowledge God – He is Jehovah God, the only true God.
  • Praise/Worship God – He alone is worthy of our adoration and reverence.
  • Seek God's Will – We must put aside our personal motives and desires and seek what He wants.
  • Depend on God – For sustenance and forgiveness.
  • Emulate God – In response to His grace and mercy, we are to be gracious and merciful to others.
  • Trust God – To guide us on the path of righteousness and protect us from evil.
  • Bow to God – He is the sovereign ruler over all things. He has all the power and He alone is to be glorified by His creation. We are to surrender all we are to Him.

Here are four specific ways Christians learn to pray.

Extremely difficult situations can lead us to desperately honest prayers.
  • Psalm 25:16 Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted.
    • In the midst of tragedy, we begin to see more clearly how hopeless and helpless we are without God’s grace, mercy, protection, blessings, etc. God may use difficult times to draw your heart close to Him in prayer.
Ongoing intimate relationship with Jesus Christ will enhance our prayers.
  • John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
    • Abiding (remaining) in close relationship with Jesus leads us to pray in faith and in accordance with what He desires, and all that He died for. Walking with Jesus daily will transform your prayer life.
The indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit guides us in our prayers.
  • Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-
    • As we seek and surrender to the leading and filling of God’s Holy Spirit, our prayers are aligned with His plans and purposes. His Spirit is our comforter, teacher and guide – Spirit led prayer is powerful prayer.
God’s Holy Word provides a great number of examples of God-honoring prayer.
  • Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
    • The Word of God informs and instructs us as we live out our faith. Many of the prayers included in scripture provide a model of how to pray and what to pray for. And some prayers in scripture show us how we shouldn’t pray. Study the prayers found in the Bible and apply what you learn to your own prayers.

Just as we mature in our faith, in our understanding of God, in our obedience to God, in the use of spiritual gifts, etc., we will mature in our prayers. Be a good and faithful student.

Never stop learning.

Never stop growing.

Never stop praying.


Teach us to pray Father. Teach us to be open, honest, unselfish and trusting in our prayers. Teach us to pray for what You want, when You want it. Help us to see and appreciate Your responses to our prayers. Help us apply the teachings about prayer from Jesus, and all of scripture, to our relationship with You. May our prayers represent a heart and life fully surrendered to You. I praise You and pray to You in the name of my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Standard

The Standard

If you are going to build a sound structure, you better establish a standard unit of measure and a benchmark for that standard. Otherwise, what you build will not be sound (the corners won’t be square, the floors won’t be level, the pieces and parts you order/manufacture will not fit, etc.). The same is true for building our lives on the Word of God – we must have a benchmarked standard. Otherwise we will build our lives on false teachings and incorrect information about God, His requirements, His standards, His plans, His Church, etc. 

But how do you know which version(s) of the Bible can be trusted as your standard? How do you know what to believe? There are many resources available to help you understand more about the history of the Holy Bible and the difference between many of the currently available translations. There are many different denominations and cults that call themselves Christian who are trying to convince you that their teachings are the truth. To avoid the confusion associated with contradictory personal opinions, information that has not been derived in a scholarly manner, blasphemous teaching, sifting through the overabundance of information available about these topics, etc., here are a few suggestions to consider in finding and adhering to the standards of absolute truth.

Trust translations that stick to the original words and meanings as given by our Sovereign Lord:
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
    • For your primary study, research and scripture memorization, stick with a word-for-word translation (an attempt to translate each word of scripture based on an understanding of our current language and the language at the time the scripture was written) or a balanced translation (an attempt to combine a word-for-word approach with a thought-for-thought approach of scripture translation).

Trust that our Sovereign Lord has given us trustworthy Bible translations:
  • 2 Peter 1:19-21 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
    • Father God breathed out His Word for us. He used His Holy Spirit to guide the people who wrote the original manuscripts. He wants us to know Him, not some distorted/tainted version created by man. He has equipped us to serve and honor Him by giving us the truth about Himself and about us.

Trust that our Sovereign Lord has directed the compilation of writings that make up the Holy Bible:
  • Exodus 34:27-28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
    • Many people, for many different reasons, have written many things about Father God. However, only those scriptures inspired by God and superintended by the Holy Spirit accurately capture the absolute truth about God, man, sin, eternity, etc. God used the Nation of Israel to compile the inspired writings that represent the law, history, poetry, and prophesies from the time of creation until about 400 years before He came to earth as the man Jesus Christ. Then He used the church of Jesus Christ to compile the gospels, early church history, letters and prophesies that teach us the truth about the Messiah (Jesus Christ), the formation of the early church, teachings for the church, and prophesies about His church.

Trust that some truths about our Sovereign Lord are beyond our complete understanding:
  • Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
  • Romans 11:33-34 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?”
  • 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    • Make no mistake, God has given us what we need to understand the fundamental aspects of His nature and His truth. He has given us His Word and He has given us His Spirit to help us understand it (it is arrogant to presume you can understand the true meaning and application of scripture without the Holy Spirit of God teaching you). Yet, He is eternal and infinite, we can’t fully understand everything He has revealed of Himself.

Trust that our Sovereign Lord’s character and standards don’t change.
  • Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
  • Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
    • God’s character does not change. His truth does not change. His moral standards do not change. His dealings with us are based on our faith in Him and love for Him. Praise Him that in and through Jesus Christ, He deals with us according to grace, not according to law.

Trust that our Sovereign Lord created His Church as the means by which people learn about Him, serve Him and grow in the grace and knowledge of Him.
  • Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
  • Ephesians 4:11-13 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
    • The Universal Church of Jesus Christ is made up of those who have surrendered all that they are to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and have been indwelled with God’s Holy Spirit. God created His church for corporate worship, teaching, fellowship, serving, etc. His desire is for all His children to be an active part of His church. If you truly don’t have access to a Bible believing church, seek Him in His Word and live your life in a way that honors Him and His Word. Pray that He makes fellowship with other believers possible for you. His true church follows His true Word – the Bible.

The Lord Himself is our benchmark – perfect, unchanging, loving, gracious, merciful, kind, benevolent, just, trustworthy, etc. We can’t pick and chose what we want to believe. We can’t change or disregard things just because we don’t like or fully understand something about Him or His Word. Otherwise, the life we build on faith in Him, in service to Him, and for His glory will not be sound.

Trust in the Truth of His Word!
All of His Word!


Loving Father, I ask You to draw those who don’t know You to salvation in Jesus Christ. I ask You to save the lost and set free the captives of lies and half-truths. These are things that only You can do. Please help those struggling with these issues to find truth, peace, and direction in Your Holy Word. Help us all to build on the standard of Your Word. I pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.