Devotions and Lessons
Scripture of the Week:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Devotions and Lessons
Scripture of the Week:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
People like to play the blame game more than ever these days. Part of this is greed, part of this is other immoralities, part of it is how we were and are being raised, and part of this is the sue-happy nation we have become. Guess what, the blame is not on God either. Just because bad things happen does not mean we, especially Christians, need to be blaming God. The world as we know it right now is ruled by the Adversary so things are going to happen to the best of us. But this does not mean we can blame every bad thing on our sinful nature either. Yes we sin and suffer the consequences either right away or over a period of time but those two factors are not to be blamed. Temptations and sin of man (mankind’s actions and words) have residual effects and cause bad things to happen to good people and visa/versa. Matthew 5:45 says that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. It is because of the actions of man that we need to turn to God even when we believe we can handle the situation ourselves and gain a reprieve from the situation that ails us. When we give everything over to Him, we can rely on Him to walk with us through the problem no matter how long it takes to solve it. If it is not ours to solve then God directs those around us who are in the place to have the answers to do the right thing.
Of course, there is the bigger picture of when a majority of a nation has turned away from God and when we think we are at the darkest point, we cry out to God, some blaming Him when we should be praising Him. The more we praise Him and share His Word, the more heart we can soften (at least in theory). They say it takes a village to raise a child. Let us take that further by saying, it takes One to believe the Word (personal relationship), Two to share the Word (when two or more are gathered), a Group to reach the community, and a Nation in prayer to ask forgiveness.
In the days of old, God judged the nation according the actions of the leaders. After Jesus came to us, that all changed. The personal relationship now has bigger ramifications on nations but at the same time there is still the personal. When the good and faithful are outnumbered, the nation falls. There are so many people who still blame God and saying that because of their sins life is miserable. NO the blame is your own for not paying attention and following God’s Word.
What do we do now??? How do we convince people that God is not the blame or He has it out for us? Time to hit the Book and get into Apologetics. Explain who God is and our relationship to Him. Share God’s loving kindness as well as letting them know about His jealous streak. Let them know that there are 10 simple rules that are the easiest to break. But mostly let them know it is not Him, it’s them and they have the opportunity to correct themselves with God through Jesus.
Have a great and Blessed Day. God Be With You.
With everything going on right now in the great U.S. of A. and the World, it is vitally important that we gather together as a Community of Christians and pray. There are many changes which may be both good and bad for our worldly lives and our spiritual living as well. There are people in authority who have mistaken evil for good and good for evil who need to be forgiven, reconciled, and remade. This bandwagon of evil must be stopped. People are scared and worried when we talk about returning to certain ways of life because they do not fit with the path the world is charging down; but we need to get people back on track. This country, this world is doomed unless we take up our spiritual arms and listen to the Holy Spirit.
While thumbing through Facebook (I thumb through and clean up the notifications mostly) I stumbled upon Ken Ham who posted this Scripture:
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
The question came up as to why is he using an OT Scripture to tell people we need to pray. Let me explain the background real quick. This was God speaking to Solomon after he prayed over the Temple after it was completed. God told Solomon that if the people abandon Him, He will cause unrest through natural means (the best way to get their attention). If they correct themselves through humble adoration and prayer, God will restore. This has future ramifications as well as those at the time. Jesus plainly informs us to be humble and faithful servants. We are to keep the statutes Jesus proclaimed (that includes the Ten Commandments) and not forget what happened in the past. The groundwork was set in the Old Testament and Jesus (God Incarnate) completed it through spiritual means. Since we know and believe, we are under obligation not to forget what God has done even if it was directed solely at the Nation Israel. It was amplified through Christ for the whole world to take heed of.
We must take the Bible as it stands as a whole not picking and choosing what fits our needs at the time while forgetting the rest. The OT leads up to the NT. Jesus is all over the OT and brought to the forefront in the NT. We were owned by sin and then freed conditionally unconditionally.
Brothers and Sisters, we must have prayer and show our humility through sharing to get this country back on track. Yes we will be met with opposition through those who oppose the elected leader, but we must be wary that he is doing what is right and just for the nation, no matter his indiscretions. Did not God choose Cyrus to return the Jews home and rebuild the temple? Was it not God’s plan that many leaders be placed in the way when people went away from God? Did God Himself not tell the Jews that they would be persecuted, did not Jesus tell us we would be?
It is time to take a stand, to take a knee, prostrate ourselves, or whatever is your comfort but it is a must that we pray in humility because we have not been good and faithful stewards of the world. We have not given everything to God. Time to pray that we will be forgiven and God will get His people back on track. Grace to you all as we pray for the nation, pray for the world.
IN THE BEGINNING was the Word, the Word is the Truth and the Truth is Jesus. When God spoke, He was telling a story. He created the world, the universe with the spoken Word. Throughout the Old Testament, the Spirit came to Moses, the Prophets, and scribes who wrote down the inspired Word onto scrolls. These scrolls told the history as well as the traditional stories of important people and the events that shaped their lives and ours. But I should need to tell of all the Old Testament because I would regress.
When the Word became flesh in Jesus, He was given the opportunity to speak to all mankind through human means and could have given a clear understanding and interpretation in order to right wrongs and renew the narrow path. Instead, He spoke in a way that only those with clarity of mind and a faithful heart would hear and understand.
So why did Jesus speak in Parables? Well first let us define it. A Parable is, “a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels”. Since the time of Aesop (publically known Greek moral storyteller), children learned morality lessons with ethics and values through fables, a story with a life lesson. Jesus gave the people Parables which expanded on the life lessons and made them into Kingdom lessons. In one way you could say that these parables were meant for the adept, but they were specifically meant to give the truth only to those who would truly understand them. They were meant for those who took the step and followed Jesus while others who would hear it would not fully understand and the seed of truth would be planted. They were simple stories with the most complicated meaning and interpretation for people who did not know Him.
What was so important about the Parables? They were and are Life Lessons about Kingdom Living using common issues Jews and followers of Christ would face. The issues are slightly different now in the age of information overload, but their original meaning stands stronger more now than ever. Jesus spoke of the secrets of the Spirit and how we need to separate ourselves from the mortal life. Are we not spirits (the life God breathed into the shell) that inhabit bodies? We certainly are not bodies that have Spirits. So how much more important is the life that the Spirit within us leads while being complicated by sins of the flesh.
Jesus gave the secret on how to live a right life through the Parables and since then we have been trying to figure out what He meant. Jesus uses the functions of our senses to connect the body and the Spirit so that our flesh does not fail us. The senses are what the spirit uses to control the actions of the body. Jesus, according to Matthew 13:16-17, explains that the prophets and righteous of old only dreamed of meeting God face to face. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. The Disciples were given that opportunity so that the Truth would be revealed and a personal relationship could be established (also see Luke 8:9-10).
Mark tells us:
10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that “‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’” 13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?”
The Parables Jesus spoke were to give the insight needed so that when the 72 were sent, they could teach others what Jesus said and in their own words the expectation of the Kingdom to come. Jesus’ teachings are the base of all Christian thought. The problem today is that there are so many interpretations and the Word has been perverted so often to meet human needs that the world today does not know the Truth as it needs to be. Jesus warned us that men (and women) would misinterpret and speak with a slit tongue. We must be aware of the teachings of others and be vigilant in prayers of discernment to know right from wrong.
Jesus was and is the teller of His(S)tory. The story is not yet over and as we live out the remaining prophesies, we need to play our part of His plan so that we can enjoy His inheritance. As we continue to go through this year of change, may God bless your days and strengthen your desires to share His Story and the part He has played in your life.
Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. We are reminded today that God holds every life sacred (because He did create us after all) so we as Christians, as humans should too. Every life holds value in one way shape or form. Yes, even those who have given so deep into sin there is no escape has a value. Dylan Roof was recently sentenced to death for the heinous hate crime of 2015. The families did not wish the death penalty upon him because of their faith and forgiveness, but that was the decision of the jury. Children are being left to die when families cannot take care of them anymore. This is not just a third world problem, it is all over the earth.
Our lives are not our own for the taking, there is NOTHING worth removing yourself from the earth no matter how bad it gets.
In Washington DC religious leaders are praising the opening of a Planned Parenthood clinic that specializes in abortions, they even blessed it calling it a religious work! Wait, what??? These religious leaders are not thinking of Scripture but gave in to society because of false doctrines they have been teaching, Some do it for popularity, some because they believe they are doing God's work. I wonder if they know which god or demon they are really doing the work for. The only way I would find it acceptable is if the child was already dying or their are so many complications that the pregnancy and birth would take the mother's life. Even that is a stretch.
Today, and every day, we need to be more aware and vigilant in the protection of all human life. No one deserves death (at least it should not be our decision), our bodies (much to some feminists dismay) are not our own especially when there is another life growing inside. Celebrate life today, celebrate the lives of those who have gone before us. Do not mourn for they are alive when we remember them. We are souls with temporary bodies. It is not our decision how long we live in them. Embrace life, embrace it through living the way God wants us to live. His Spirit, His Word is in us. It is part of us. Love others just as He loves us still. It may seem dark and dismal at times but God is always there. Be blessed today, remember the people of our past as they live.
God's Love and Blessings to All,
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.
Reading through Scripture is what God requires of us and for the most part, Christians do just that. To really comprehend what God wants us to hear and take obedient action though we cannot sit through reading two or three chapters at a time. The stories and moments in Scripture should be read in little clips so that the meaning of the particular part can shine through and therefore grant the reader more insight on what the inspired Word is attempting to inspire within us. Granted, some of the stories take up more than one chapter especially in Genesis, but we should be vigilant in the study and not just give the lip service and say, “I read the Bible cover to cover every year”. To that statement I respond with this, “So what did you learn and did you hear God?”
The Bible is the Book of the Law, the Living Word of God, Infallible, but sometimes it is misinterpreted in translations. How do we remedy this in our time? Something that I do is have three translations open and a Jewish Orthodox Bible and a Hebrew/English Tanakh. That way if I question something I can go back to the original Hebrew to seek knowledge. I know those are not available to everyone and many people swear by the King James Version (which is good if you can read and understand the Victorian language and interpret to a six year old) or the NSV, NLT, and the like. Translations like the message put it into a common verbiage but there are a lot of things that are lost which is not good. Either way the Bible is still to be prayed over, read, heard, listened to, and adhered to.
Reading small pieces of the Bible throughout the day keeps the Word close to the heart and reminds us how Jesus was constantly in the Word around His Disciples. Every waking moment was lived in the Way. It is the best way to teach and was repeated often so the Word was not forgotten.
Here are some helpful hints to assist in the readings this year.
Have a right hearted attitude
I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word (Psalm 119:15-16). Scriptures are life lessons that help us understand what it means to life as we were created to live, that is, we are the reflection of God’s Spiritual Image, the physical body is a reflection of our mental state.
Ezra looked at Scripture with determination: This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel (Ezra 7:10).
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8). Knowledge and understanding of God’s Word helps us maintain a right heart.
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15). A gentle and reverent heart is a healthy heart which helps cleanse the mind and body.
Studying Scripture will help you with everyday life and temptations with sin.
Listen, my son: accept my words, and you’ll live a long, long time. I have directed you in the way of wisdom, and I have led you along straight paths. When you walk, your step will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go! Guard wisdom, because she is your life! (Proverbs 4:10-13). Accepting the Word as the direction of our life means that we should study with the intent on learning and understanding right from wrong. As Christians, as Children of God, our paths in life are narrower in the ways we react to things around us. We are to take heed in the actions and reactions of others and not be tempted to do things which the Father abhors. Scripture advises us of the stumbling blocks that the Adversary places in our path to widen it and make it harder to life a Christ-like life.
Study to make yourself immune to the deception of false teachers.
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11). Be a truth seeker and you will recognize truth from the lies.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). Beware the Wolf in Sheep’s clothing. The Wolf will speak with the tongue of the Serpent making you believe things are different than they really are. Knowing Scripture and the right meanings will help open your eyes to the truth.
We study to feed out hearts and minds with Spiritual Food
But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” Matthew 4:4. A healthy heart is more than the muscle movement and blood flow. Mental Stressors are weakened when God’s Word is there which lessens the physical stressors.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6). Maintaining a steady devotion time fills the soul with the right Words for the day.
Scripture points to Christ and the gospel that saves.
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life (John 5:39-40). Remember that just reading the Bible and believing the words in black and (sometimes) red, do not guarantee eternal life. Jesus is within the whole book yes, but without accepting Jesus into your life, living in His footsteps, carrying your cross, and trusting that Jesus has your eternal soul in mind because of His love for you, you have nothing. Believe and trust in Jesus. Cast your troubles upon Him and He will carry you through. Share His story of how He came into your life. Follow the Book and you will do well.
Be Blessed Brothers and Sisters,
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
So you think your life means nothing. Things you do or have done are unimportant and your death will be without consequence. That is the wrong way to think about yourself. Every life that God creates is relevant to the overall plan, the overarching goal of life eternal. No life is worth taking including your own.
Why do we have these feelings of irrelevance and weakness? Why do we feel that the whole world will be better off without? Why do we lose so many people who could have done great things because their pain was so great that they just couldn’t see the silver lining or seek the right and proper assistance? Some people do not know any other way to get the attention of those around them when the attention was already there and positive. Some people find that when others are in pain and they can do nothing, they get so upset that they begin to take on the persons pain when it is NOT necessary. Instead of showing comfort and support, they seek support of others because they do not understand. This is a dangerous situation. Also, incidents of the past which caused great pain need to be turned into rejoicing that that pain has been taken, not revisited causing more pain.
The positives are not seen because the person is not used to it. Folks, if someone is spreading positivity do not be the Doug or Wendy Whiner, actually listen because Jesus is reaching out through their kindness to tell you that He’s got this and believe.
Brothers and Sisters this is not a new problem and I am not here to give a grand solution or great cure for anything. There is not one psychologist or counselor in the world who can answer any of these questions. But there is someone who is always available even in the darkest moments, JESUS. He is the one that gives us strength in our worst times. He is the one that picks us up when we are down.
JESUS will pick you up if you let Him. No one weighs more than He can handle.
Irrelevance and weakness are problems that are brought on when the Adversary (Satan, Lucifer, Whoever) catches you when you are in an opportune moment for pain and suffering. He uses people, sometimes the people we love, to cause us to be anxious, feel guilt when it isn’t our fault, and to make us feel 6 inches tall. We have all been there. God has a plan and an answer. Think of the Beatitudes, how about the times when Jesus just said (emphasis), “Trust Me, I got this”. He took on our pain and suffering so that we would not have to go it alone. The Word is a powerful instrument against the backstabbers, the bullies, and even the big meanies. The Word in our hearts and the breath of God in our lungs help us to think and say the things which defeat the Adversary.
IN HIS WORD WE GAIN STRENGTH.
The world will NOT be better off without. There are worse things that cause us to leave this mortal life. Taking one’s own life means the Adversary won. God does not want you to think that people are better off without you. In fact, you would probably be better off without the ones causing the pain. There are ways and means for people to leave desperate situations and the bloodiest way is not the easiest. The Adversary’s game is not worth dying for.
GOD UNDERSTANDS YOUR PAIN AND WILL PUT THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN YOUR PATH TO BEGIN HEALING.
The Bible speaks of many people who thought their lives were irrelevant, unimportant, that they could do nothing right. Even the most famous, prosperous, most spoken of people had a rough start. Their stories were given so that we could understand that God uses the ordinary and makes the results of their actions lead to extraordinary events. One in particular comes to mind:
Joseph the Dreamer and interpreter of Dreams was a faithful servant of God and most favorite of Jacob. He was seen as a threat to His brothers and sold. Forgotten, tormented, he made the best of the situation until falsely accused. Jailed, beaten, left to rot; he felt unimportant, unwanted, insignificant. God heard his cry and made him a great leader. This is an extraordinary case but it is a good story on how a fallen lost and forgotten soul can be rejuvenated.
GOD LET US KNOW THROUGH THE PSALMS OF DAVID THAT HE IS OUR COMFORT, OUR STRENGTH, OUR HELP; but people still do not listen.
In truth, if it was not for my faith in Jesus as my Savior I would not be here today. Bullied as a child, I had suffered mental abuses that continued through High School. Life was difficult but I strived to continue in the race. Failed relationships and other things did not help. Thanks to my time in the Army, I have PTSD from constant deployments and being thrust into places while seeing and doing things that no man or woman should be subjected to. This had caused a great depression and anger to enter me (my brain was just not right). I felt irrelevant, unimportant, I went through therapy and all but the one constant that kept me going was my faith and a deep understanding of the Word. I am alive today because of God.
Seek God and He will send help. Seek the right help and you will find an Instrument of God. Sounds easy right, well not as easy as it looks. Sometimes something has to happen. Whether it be hitting rock bottom, a sudden death of someone close, abuse etc. that brings a person to that breaking point. Sometimes seeing someone else hit their breaking point is a wake-up call. It depends on what God has planned. What life lesson needs to be learned, and how God will use it in yours or another’s life. Some still blame God and cannot see the purpose right in front of them. Lives can change in an instant when God is there, do not let the moment pass you by.
All this to say, in our irrelevant, mundane, humble lives, we are relevant to God.
Live Fully, Laugh Daily, Love Always
Welcome to 2017!! This verse above is appropriate for a new year as there are going to be changes in the government as well as many other things which are in need of renewal. But there is one thing that will never change, God's Word. The old things that passed for the people of this time were ceremonies and traditions that kept God at a safe distance, separating us from Him because of our sins. The sacrifice of Jesus opened the heavens and warmed our hardened hearts. The veil was torn and the Holy Spirit entered to grant us what God desires, a personal relationship with Him.
This year, let us renew our relationship with Jesus and with each other. Destroy the barriers of the hardened hearts and spread the Good News which is in Christ our Lord.
In my prayer today I am reminded of David’s song of renewal.
Create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. Lord, Cast us not from your presence so that we may bask in the light of the Holy Spirit within us. Have Mercy on us through Your Steadfast Love, Your Glorious Grace, and wash us white in the redeeming blood. Let this new year be a time of forgiving, light shining, and deliverance. Thank You Father for giving us the gift of Your Loving Presence and Eternal Grace. In JESUS Name.
The messages on the blogs written on this page are within biblical adherence. Though the Scriptures listed in the blogs are directly from the Bible and other related religious writings the explanations and interpretations are in line with Biblical thinking as it relates to today’s world. The use of historical facts are to assist in the validity of the writings. The main writer of this blog site is an Ordained minister in one denomination though the views are related to all denominations so if something is said that does not fall in line with your denominational background, pray for personal discernment and understanding.