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.
Why are people sinning like crazy? Why are some Christians going against the Scripture and allowing sinful people to openly act out their sinful behavior in the name of Christian Love without sharing Jesus' love and showing them right from wrong. Yes Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Does that mean that we sit back and watch others corrupt their hearts with sin because we are so full of sin? Our Christian compassion for others should be concerned about their eternal soul not condoning the sin but having compassion for the sinner, relating Jesus love and sharing what He has done. Christians have become complacent in a sinful world afraid of backlash from family and friends. What is the problem here? It is the confusion of fulfillment vs. abolishment.
Some unlearned people, even in the ranks of our Christian Brothers and Sisters, do not understand there is a big difference. When Jesus said He came to fulfill, He did not mean that all the laws are now abolished and we can openly sin and be saved if we believe in Him. NO. This has led to many preachers who do not even touch on preaching from the Old Testament (OT). In my research I saw an article that states Jesus has ended the OT Regime. This I cannot agree with fully because the Old Testament is historical as well as spiritual. In his defense, he could mean the Davidic line, which is true, but if taken literal he is negating the need for preaching on the OT.
As I said above, Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law and not destroy it. This caused some people to believe that they could sin all they want and Jesus would cover for them on the Day of Judgement. NEWSFLASH: That is not how it works. Jesus fulfilled the predictions of the OT prophets that a Messiah would come. He fulfilled the ceremonial law by which all OT offerings had ever pointed, this was accomplished by His becoming the final sacrifice for sin. He came to fulfill the moral law, by yielding to it a perfect obedience, which we could never have yielded. He showed us that living a moral life IS possible. He paid the penalty for our breaking of it with His atoning blood, which we could never have paid. Once again fulfilling the moral law does not mean we have been given a license to accept any immoral behavior (anything that goes against the morality laws to include stealing etc.) as accepted, it is a sin period. Nor does it negate the moral law. In fact, He executed additional authority of the moral law over us. If he abolished the law then don’t you think in His humanity (since that was our example for right living), He may have joined us in sin? Had He done that, He would not have been the pure and spotless lamb, and the sacrifice would have been all for naught.
As for the Ten Commandments: Christ’s arrival did not change the position the Ten Commandments. If anything, “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law (Romans 3:31)”. The law of the Ten Commandments is God's eternal measure of right and wrong. By it, we have a better understanding, (knowledge) of sin. By it, the Spirit shows men their need of Christ and drives them to Him. To it, Christ refers His people as their rule and guide for holy living. In its right place it is just as important as "the glorious gospel." It cannot save us. It does not justify us. However, we must never despise it. It is a symptom of an ignorant and unhealthy state of religion when the law is lightly esteemed.
We are to “Delight in God’s Law” and follow it faithfully. God told Joshua to “Keep My Word on your heart” and “Do not turn to the right or left” keeping straight in the letter of the law without modifying it to meet the needs of the people. Brothers and Sisters, we have allowed that to happen. Our leaders and society at large have forgotten the truth. Jesus is the fulfillment of Scripture as He is the Word of God Incarnate. This does not mean we are to ignore the OT portion of the Bible. He came to us to ratify His covenant with the world with His blood, not reject it. What have we done to keep our part? What can we do as the Body of Christ to make it known?
There are many who do not understand what it is to be Christian even if they have heard of our Father, Jehovah (YHWH). Some want to know but there are many reasons why people shy away from learning due to troubles, misconceptions, or just plain lack of knowledge through hearing and believing lies about what it is to be a Christ follower. The name given to these individuals is unchurched. Personally, I am not fond of that term because some would misconstrue that by saying we are just trying to get people into the church for their money which is an obvious misconception. Of course we are not to go around calling them pagan Gentiles and such, so how about just calling them Lost Brothers and Sisters.
These Lost folk have either been affected negatively early on or completely left in the dark while they are searching out the truth. We are commissioned to seek the lost and bring them home. This does not mean to say, “Hi I’m _____ from ______ come with me on Sunday”. No. How about asking questions and inviting them to get to know Jesus first then if they wish to know more is when the invitation to the church body should take place. Getting to know who Jesus is much more important than how much they can put in the offering (which some feel obliged to do because they do not want to be embarrassed or harassed). For the people who were church goers in their youth but judged harshly or witnessed others being judged by their Christian Brothers and Sisters, or even had poor models of Christian leadership which failed their needs, this may be a long journey home.
What are some other fears and misnomers do we have to conquer in order to bring the lost back home???
Well, for starters, the lost are unsure what is needed to be found and welcomed home. How do we start fixing this?? Teach them that being a Christian means being in a relationship with Jesus and other Christians. Yes there are rules and regulations to follow, but those are natural changes to a person’s life when the relationship with Christ and other Christians is built in Christ’s Love shown from all involved. God’s Agape Love needs to be explained and reciprocation encouraged through showing and sharing with others. Of course the God’s Love for us includes our understanding and following the rules and guidelines set before us in Scripture. When all is fully realized and accepted we may welcome a lost Brother or Sister home.
We need to be prepared to answer questions with life examples but most importantly through Scripture. Questions of faith can and should be answered through Scripture references followed with true life examples. Remember, to some people seeing is the start of believing in order to move to believing is seeing with the heart.
Some believe they need to gain God’s favor through doing good works that would help in getting into Heaven. Understand, first and foremost, that God desires in us a loving faith and belief in Him through showing obedience in His Word. Being a faithful servant and living a godly life is what He needs from us.
When bringing a lost person into the church for the first time there may be an overwhelming sense of awe in the excitement of the worship and the friendly, welcoming atmosphere (as long as it truly exists) by others in the church. This is normal so do not downplay it or over exaggerate it. This might be so overwhelming that they do not come back because of their guilty feelings.
A challenge many face is when they question God in the face of tragedy. Be truthful, we have all done it at least once. God is not to blame. Bad things do happen to good people, it is the natural course of events and as harsh as it seems, a part of the plan. How we deal with those things may dictate future events. It is normal but to get over it. We also must teach people how to let go and let God. Yes God gave us free will but that does not mean He does not guide and direct our lives. There are things that people try to control things they are not meant to. Giving over to God eases the mind and helps people get through things with less stress. It is a matter of trust. It is not easy and requires much prayer but the sincere prayer in and true prayers in desperation is heard louder than the routine mundane prayer.
The simple sermon also grabs the attention. One thing that might scare a lost person is overly theologically sounding sermons. Ensure that if the sermon is above the head that simpler (layman’s terms) explanation is best. On the subject of the church service itself, new or prospective believers who are subjected to a show church (flashy/concert type) tend to be turned off when just learning about Christ. Those services tend to be less instructive which can lead to a distorted Christian worldview. Remember worship is more than a song. People who see other people of all ages learning and loving Christ through worship are more apt to desire to want to welcome Jesus into their hearts.
The lost (unchurched) need to find the doorstop and remove it. They need to realize that Jesus was and is waiting with His foot in the door. It is up to them to open it.
There is a saying that some Christian circles will use to defend certain actions. It is "Hate the sin, love the sinner." I could not find those exact words in the Bible. I have mentioned the actual use of the term hate in Scripture before and we saw that it was not used as a despising word all the time but also as a level of love meaning for someone to “love less” not to be confused with being loveless of something. So where does that saying come from if not directly from Scripture? Would you believe we can go back just a mere 87 years to Mahatma Gandhi? The saying is loosely taken from one of his writings in 1929.
Also, we can find this in the early church fathers? St. Augustine in AD 424 wrote, “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.” He based this off Jude 22-23. I have here three translations:
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. (KJV)
22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (NIV)
And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment[a] stained by the flesh. (ESV)
The author is translated from Greek saying right before in verses 20 and 21 that we are to keep ourselves in a state of consistent love for all creation reflecting God’s Love through the work of the Holy Spirit within us. We wait for His mercy through our love for Jesus and sharing His merciful love to gather those who continue in wickedness. So in 22 and 23 we see that we should not be selective whom we show our love to but it mentions the level of love and where tough love is required.
Not that I think it is really necessary but a definition of tough love is probably helpful here. Tough Christian Love does not require a raising of fist or voice. It is not out of anger but understanding and the desire to bring that person to Christ through repenting of sins and sinning no more. Why do we need to practice tough love today?? The answer is simple; more and more people define themselves by their sin and resent the guidelines God has given us in His Word.
When Christians show tough love, even some who call themselves Christians see it as hate. Why is this? The answer is simple, they let boastful sinners continue to sin around them and applaud instead of admonish them. By proxy they are committing the same sin. If the sinner cannot defeat the sin then they must learn to keep the sin hidden from public view. We can accept the person without accepting or overlooking the sin. Paul tells us to rid ourselves (disassociate) of those who live in their sin. That is a hard thing to do today considering our present world-state. We cannot go and become hermits or lock ourselves away; that would only make matters worse. We must live with the present situation keeping our faith in Christ at the forefront our lives.
I want to return to Mahatma Gandhi for a minute because had much to say about love. In fact I just stumbled upon this other section from his works that details tough love and forgiving love:
I still believe that man not having been given the power of creation does not possess the right of destroying the meanest creature that lives. The prerogative of destruction belongs solely to the creator of all that lives. I accept the interpretation of ahimsa, namely, that it is not merely a negative state of harmlessness but it is a positive state of love, of doing good even to the evil-doer. But it does not mean helping the evil-doer to continue the wrong or tolerating it by passive acquiescence. On the contrary, love, the active state of ahimsa, requires you to resist the wrong-doer by dissociating yourself from him even though it may offend him or injure him physically. Thus if my son lives a life of shame, I may not help him to do so by continuing to support him; on the contrary, my love for him requires me to withdraw all support from him although it may mean even his death. And the same love imposes on me the obligation of welcoming him to my bosom when he repents. But I may not by physical force compel my son to become good. That, in my opinion, is the moral of the story of the Prodigal Son.
Just so you know….. Ahimsa is a term meaning 'not to injure' and 'compassion'. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. cause no injury, do no harm. Ahimsa is also referred to as nonviolence, and it applies to all living beings-including all animals-according to many Indian religions.
Do you see the similarities there?? Love, here, is a state of having compassion without physical harm. We should see this in a similar way in our Christian walk. All this is in partial an apologist way of explaining what some see as hate, we see as loving one still but less than a non-sinner (of which there is none but Jesus).
So how can we follow a saying that tells us to love someone even when they are boastful or known sinners? Well, Jesus tells us to “Love our neighbor as ourselves” and are we not also sinners.
Be aware of your word and your walk but keep God’s Word at the forefront of your heart and mind. When someone throws a curve, rely on the Holy Spirit and He will help you make it a straight return pass aimed at the heart.
Be vigilant Brothers and Sisters, Jesus Loves You.
Who knows that Planet/Comet/Star NIBURU is coming to destroy the earth? Who knows exactly who will be “raptured” and approximately when? Or these good ones, Trump will be President or Obama will have a third term. Modern day dreaming prophets, that’s who. The Bible tells us of both true and false prophets “in those days” meaning near the end times. There is a rise of both due to the advent of Internet and YouTube. Let’s take a look…..
Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him 1 John 2:4
Watching prophesy on YouTube is dangerous for your spiritual Health. There are so many people trying to speak of what they see in their dreams or what they have researched while unknowingly becoming a false witness. Some do it for 15 minutes of fame while others truly believe what they are seeing and doing is right. These people confuse the masses that are searching for answers.
"Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Jesus answered, "Watch out that no one deceives you, for many will come in my name,.. At that time many will turn away from the faith... and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people”. Matthew 24:3-5, 10-11
Do not think that I am in prophesy here, I am not. I am just reporting it as I see it. As it is right now we are being tested in our faith. Remember the Jack Nicholson Joker saying “Who do you trust! Hubba, hubba, hubba! Money, Money, Money! Who do You Trust?
"If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, 'Let us follow other gods' (gods you have not known) 'and let us worship them,' you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul." Deuteronomy 13:1-3
We have all heard of the prophets for profit by now, you know the kind. They are full of deception and greed, in it for themselves. These are the ones who desire nothing for the faithful although they may speak of good and things found in Scripture. When it comes down to the wire they ask people to pay for a prayer or a book striking the emotional chord of fear for the end times while they themselves should fear God’s wrath.
"From the least to the greatest all are greedy for gain; prophet and priest alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush." Jeremiah 8:10-12
Do not let anyone deceive you with empty arguments: it is for this loose living that God's wrath comes down on those who rebel against him. Make sure you are not included with them. Ephesians 5:6
By now I bet you are probably thinking “Wow this guy is harsh”, and you are partially right. Jesus taught Love but He also taught tough love for those who truly believed. He teaches us in this way so that we have a Fear of God in order to maintain the truth in Scripture rather than be seduced. Paul writes to Timothy:
God's spirit specifically tells us that in later days there will be men who abandon the true faith and allow themselves to be spiritually seduced by teachings of demons, teachings given by men who are lying hypocrites, whose consciences are as dead as seared flesh. 1 Timothy 4:1-2
Therefore we must have discernment in our hearts and minds so that we do not fall victim to the false prophets. If you see or hear something that just does not speak of truth in our hearts then pray for discernment which will lead you through research in God’s Word. Be of a right heart and God will direct you in His ways ensuring that the false teachings become known to you so you can protect yourself and others.
God has given you all a certain amount of spiritual insight, and indeed I have not written this warning as if I were writing to men who don't know what error is. I write because your eyes are clear enough to discern a lie when you come across it... For yourselves keep faithful to what you heard at the beginning. I had to write to you about these men who try to lead you astray.
1 John 2:20-26
"I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, 'I had a dream! I had a dream!' How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?.. Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?" declares the Lord. "Is not my word like fire," declares the Lord, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?"
The false prophet has been around for millennia
But Israel had false prophets as well as true; and you likewise will have false teachers among you. They will import disastrous heresies, disowning the Master who bought them, and bringing swift disaster on their own heads.
2 Peter 2:1
"False christs (messiahs) and false prophets are going to appear and produce great signs and wonders to mislead, if it were possible, even God's own people. Listen, I am warning you." Matthew 24:25
Brothers and Sisters be prepared for anything that comes our way. It is my belief through God’s Word that I feel we are nearing something very tempting. A word that may seem that ring true to the common man but is false because it comes from the world and not the Word. Love your neighbor as yourself and do not let their sins control your feelings about them. If they are confused then set them right. If they are ready to listen then let the Word speak through your testimony. Do not let the braggers of sin control your temper, tough love is good in certain situations. It is not for us to condemn but show Truth and Love. Take care Brothers and Sisters and God Bless.
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— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. - Habakkuk3:17-18
How great is our God during times of famine, and drought. Though recently we have had much water and perfect temperatures for growing food and tending to our flocks, there will come times when we are not so fortunate. Brothers and Sisters, we can relate this verse in so many ways but in simplest form is this: In times that seem darkest with food and water scarce, remember God is with us in the times of deep despair.
When we think of worship the idea is singing a joyful noise to the Father in Praise and Adoration. That is only partially right. Worship is a relationship with God, not just for an hour or two on a Sunday and or Wednesday. It is a daily, monthly, yearly thing. It, in fact encompasses our very being as we are in a relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our moment to moment companion is the Holy Spirit so when we serve others, we are in obedient reverence to Him. Worship is a way of life, it is our Sabbath activity.
The church has gone though many changes in the last 200 years but even more so with the rise of the Christian recording artists in the mainstream of the last 25 years. Don’t get me wrong, I love the music and the message the problem is there are more modern churches going away from the traditional hymnal and have a house band. I am not saying it is bad because I myself play drums for a church praise and worship band, but we really must be careful in the music selection and how it is performed. In fact, performed is not a real good word here so let’s use presented instead.
When we present ourselves before God in song, we must remember that during corporate worship it is just that, a joining with others to give praise to our Father. It is not just one person leading and the others repeating, but a rising of voices singing praise as one but many. It is not a concert. Remember the song, “Heart of Worship.”
Note: if you are a Worship Leader this is not a hit, just a friendly reminder.
Here is the thing though, some churches have misconstrued the true meaning of worship and whittled the service down to being 20 minutes of music, short corporate prayer and prayer over the offering, more music, a 20 minute sermon then close. Included somewhere is a short greeting of those around you. In the end you are rushed out of the church to allow time for other functions. Where is the relationship in this worship??
When I hear the song “Come (Now is the Time to Worship)”, I am reminded we should be in some state of worship all the time in our hearts. Having this relationship does not regulate our prayers to 5 corporate/personal a day like Islam. Festivals and feasts (sacrifices) are in the heart 24/7. The problem is set from this though; do we really do this, in our daily lives how many times to we acknowledge our relationship with God?
We are who we are in the world, but we must remember one of the most basic and important aspects of our lives; we are God’s children and we are obligated to give Him our full attention. When we are in the Father and falter, we ask forgiveness and hear the little voice in our head when we are tempted to do it again.
Having a firm relationship with God isn’t easy and I my heart pours out for those who are being reprimanded, imprisoned, and murdered because of their standing firm in their beliefs as well as spending time with God and doing what is required of us. Seems like a lot but since we only go into corporate worship one or two times a week, God relies on us to make the conscious decision to spend time with Him through service and prayer. Our heart in Jesus requires us to live a life of praise and worship through singing, serving, loving and obeying Him in all things.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
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.