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.
If you are familiar with good old fashioned church Hymns then you have heard that line in a song by the same name. Belief in the Word Incarnate is the foundation. To understand the importance of that statement we have to dig further into what is said about the foundation of the church.
For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3: 6-17
I need to reiterate this right away. The church is not a building, it is the people. Even that definition gets misused sometimes. Thereby expanding His Kingdom every time the Word is shared. We destroy the temple through our actions, thoughts, and words that are done by and come from our bodies.
The passage above tells us that the people are the church and the foundation is the Word, the teachings of Jesus. He is the foundation and the cornerstone of which our faith stands and solidifies our adoption into His Chosen People and the Covenant of Abraham.
What is Paul saying here? As we grow because of the Great Commission and develop Christians who grow other Disciples and it continues to grow, then the first who spoke will be rewarded in Heaven. On the other hand, teaching what is known but the church is lukewarm, those who make it through will be saved but will not enter the banquet.
One thing remains on this. The foundation of the faith was not and is not a mortal person. Peter the person is not the foundational rock on which the church is built, it is the truth that was spoken by Peter that the church is built on. Peter was the most outspoken advocate for The Way and was the main person who all looked up to but the foundation is always The Word of God.
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16: 17-19
The Word of God will prevail against all things not of God. Jesus gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom (authority to teach) as His representative, not a replacement, not a Pope, but one who is knowledgeable of God. This extends to all in the church as we are all commissioned to teach the Gospel to others. The Word is the final authority and we are guided to expand the Kingdom by proclaiming the Word and the work that Jesus has done in our lives that bring us closer to a relationship with God.
Brothers and Sisters, truths are being revealed and misinterpretations are slowly being corrected. There are many parts of Scripture that have been changed over the years partially due to a lack of understanding meaning and misinterpretations of words. While other parts are intentionally manipulated by man to make excuses for their own sin. Please ask God for the gift of Discernment and guidance when reading so that the truth can be revealed.
God’s Love and Blessings to all,
Rob, Servant of God
So many people ask why it took forty years for the Israelites to get from Egypt to the Promised Land. Some do it to try and trip up believers. The first thing is to understand that many things occurred that extended the travel time which are seen in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. During this time lessons were learned, laws and precepts were given, feast days were established, and the tent of meeting and the Tabernacle were built. There were also battles which meant preparation and recovery times as well as the length of the battles or skirmishes. This leads one to understand that 1 to 3 years of travel time is hardly enough. Also consider they used the lunar calendar which shortens the year.
The Book of Numbers gives a clue on the movement of the Hebrews as they travel:
On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel kept the charge of the Lord and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the Lord they remained in camp; then according to the command of the Lord they set out. And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out. Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time that the cloud continued over the tabernacle abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out. They kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by Moses. Numbers 9:15-23
It wasn’t till later that God actually put them on their forty year desert travel in circles, so close to the land yet so far. But God had to make sure the people were right and ready to be His Chosen and accomplish their part in His plan.
There is Something about 40
The number forty is very significant. Many testing, trials or probation periods, and changes, happened in each mention of forty be it days, nights, months, or years. The number forty is in the Bible well over 140 times and each time there is significant spiritual growth. The rains fell for forty days and forty nights, Moses was on the mountain with God for forty days, Jonah spent forty days ministering to Nineveh, Elijah fasted for forty days, Jesus was tempted for forty and also stayed teaching after the resurrection for forty days. David ruled for forty years. The number forty has much to do with learning.
When the Hebrews began their forty in the desert, God kept only Joshua, Caleb, and Aaron’s son Eleazar alive to enter the Promised Land from the time before the wandering. God had sentenced all men who were twenty years of older before the wandering to death so that a new generation would learn to trust in God for all their needs. Yes they grumbled and complained but in the end they knew God and trusted His care. It took this period of time to establish the moral and ethical codes that went right along with the Commandments and to get them to understand God’s Love.
We know from reading that humans do not always adhere to rules, regulations, covenants and promises because the Israelites really messed things up for themselves and blended with other cultures which corrupted our part of the covenant. But God’s Love and Compassion for His People is stronger than any human emotion or action.
40 Days of Lent
The Lenten season itself is not found in Scripture but the idea of forty days of testing and trials is. This is the season for us to repent, refresh, and renew while we give up things of this world to attain a better, Spiritual understanding and relationship with God. We should not return to that which we gave up or the Adversary has won.
Brothers and Sisters, keep watch and be vigilant. Share the Gospel as often as possible and be that light as we are commissioned to be. Are we in our forty years of testing? Maybe we are at an end and we lost or maybe this is just the beginning. Either way, the Adversary is coming soon to take control. Keep His Word on your heart and do not be influenced by the New Church as so many unfortunately are. God’s Word does not change, Jesus teachings have not changed. So why are we changing them to gain the world? Pay attention to your heart and God’s Love will carry you through.
Rob Servant of God
The Lenten season is upon us. This is a time where many people give up something they can temporarily do without. Some give up soda or alcohol, others a type of junk food, still more give up a form of entertainment. These are just things of the world that many should not return to. Oh Lord have mercy on those who return to the things that bring temporary happiness and can be permanently removed. When Christ gave His life for us, He did not return to His flesh but was glorified. We are to remove things that take us away from God and keep them from our lives until there is nothing left but the Father. It is life long process but the rewards are plenty. The more we concentrate on God the better we hear Him and obey.Listen to what Joel told the People Israel…..
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near--
a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes;
their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.
Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy.
Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.
Let them say, "Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations.
Why should it be said among the peoples, `Where is their God?'" Joel 2:1-2,12-17
The last thing we as Christ followers need is to be asking where God is. Joel mentions that God wants to have a relationship with us and we cannot have a relationship while our focus is on the worldly temporary things that do not matter. So this season give something up that you will not return to.
Brothers and Sisters what I am asking is not something that is easy and I understand that. There are things that are difficult for me to give up but we must obey Him especially since He mentioned numerous times to give up things of the world so our thoughts and actions will reflect our lives in Christ. Be strong and stand firm in what you remove from your lives. Do not let Satan convince you it is okay to return to them.
Rob, Servant of God
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
Selfish Ambition, where does that get people? Well, it does provide temporary satisfaction but at what cost. Family, friends, coworkers, mentors, all can be burned by the neglect and disrespect that ambitious and vainly conceited people cause. Some do not realize it until it is too late. Some never realize it. When a person cares more for the self and not for others, that person will end up living a very lonely life even when surrounded by others.
What is selfish ambition? It is the act of being devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives. When a person devotes everything to the self, God and family take second place in that individuals life. Bridges are burned that could have been useful later in life. Self-devotion leads to loneliness and final darkness without God.
We need to be aware of this as we go through life. Jesus does tell us to make sure we are healthy and stable physically and spiritually, however, not at the cost of the well-being of others. Taking care of the needs of others can mean many different things. For heads of corporations that means not to hoard but share the wealth by ensuring people are taken care of through the best benefits in all ways: health, finances both now and retirement, a non-hostile work environment, etc.
For the individual, a person should take time starting God and with the family. Children are the future and repeat what they see, both words and actions. The spouses’ physical and emotional well-being are important to a good relationship. Be a helping hand to others but not at the expense of placing yourself in debt or danger (unless absolutely necessary). Do not ask for reward nor do something and expect immediate compensation. God will bless for the good you have done.
The most important thing about all this is being humble in all actions and words. Take credit for nothing but give God the Glory.
Vain conceit means “excessive pride” or “self-esteem that has no foundation in reality”. It is an elevated and incorrect sense of self. Therefore, doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit means not letting our actions be motivated by selfishness, pride, or one-upmanship.
All this sounds like a very lonely way of life but some people thrive in this and the family reaps the benefits of material wealth but are truly spirit deficient. The dangers to the family are worse than the damage the individual causes for him/her self because this way of life is repeated until someone finally wakes up and sees everything that has been missed out on.
When God is in the picture, the self is put away and all things are done for God’s Glory. Remember, Jesus asks us to look at the eternal and not worry about today. This is temporary, life with or without God is eternal. The choice is yours.
Rob, Servant of God
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.