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.
A student of Scripture, while sitting in class one day, asked the professor, “Why, if I read Scripture daily does it still not make much sense to me and I do not feel fulfilled?” The professor, a long tenured and proud scholar of church history quipped, “Son, I’ve been reading Scripture since I was 8 years old and I still am not filled”. What is wrong with this? The professor never truly slowed down and listened to God’s Word.
Reading, studying and meditating on Scripture are three totally different things. Anyone can read the Bible daily and those who want to learn, Study Scriptures. To truly connect with God one must meditate on His Word daily and every chance throughout the day. Joshua learned this from God when he was commanded:
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
There is so much more to God’s Word than meets the eye to the common person who reads Scripture daily. Moses had a close personal relationship with God even in his respectful fear. Joshua had the scrolls from the scribes of Moses and the words of the Aaronic priests to guide him through the knowing of the words, but it was when he sat, studied, and meditated on the teachings that helped him delight (live) in the Father’s instruction. Joshua spoke with God ad because he was chosen, God spoke back. When you meditate your total focus is on the Word. He lived his life and ruled the people with the Holy Spirit as his guide because he never lost focus. Joshua’s prosperous success was having a right spirit and Godly wisdom. His total commitment was to God first then his people. Even though mistakes were made he never lost focus.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3
Listening and following the words of the unrighteous will make you question your faith and trust in God. Surrounding yourself with those who do not know Christ as their Lord and Savior and even those who claim to know Him yet still live in their sin without remorse is detrimental to our faith. Stand firm in the Word of the Lord and let it be your counsel and guide. David opens the Psalms with these words to remind us that God’s way is the right way and we should live as we were created, in His Image.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8
Paul, in his final exhortations to Philippi, gave them hope and final instruction to righteous living. He engaged them to place their focus on the teachings of Jesus that he brought to them. Paul instructed them to follow his example of living but it was misinterpreted by some to follow Paul instead of Christ. Paul really did his best to get their focus in the right place and for the most part it worked. If you look closely at his whole exhortation, it leads to Jesus.
Meditating on the Word means listening closely to the still quiet voice that is speaking as you read and repeat the Scriptures. Praying while meditating allows you to ask for deeper guidance to fully understand what is being said and how to apply it today. God wishes that relationship with us and when we see, hear, and listen to His written Word we can begin that full conversation. The Bible is God’s Instruction Book for Mankind, if we carefully decipher it we will live a better life. Listen with your heart and head in one accord and the Word will become clear as it speaks volumes. AMEN.
An Army Drill Sergeant during training used to have to stand in front of a firmly rooted tree and tell it to move using an aggressive voice. Of course the tree did not move on command from the Drill Sergeant but God may have sent the wind to rustle the leaves a little. Ancient Greek and Roman Gods were made of stone or wood and emblazoned in precious metals. Folks talked and prayed to them and it was mostly for their own peace of mind because a carved stone or log cannot grant a petition of prayer. Wearers of crystal depend on the “medicinal values” when it is a mind thing. Jews and Christians have an eternal living being who hears prayers and petitions, takes the matter into consideration and answers either positively or negatively in His timing. What inanimate object can do that? NONE
“What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols! Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2:18-20
Wood, paper, stone, crystals, glass, minerals, and metals are used as tools, adornments, and building materials not to be worshipped.
There are many things in this world today that people love. People, material objects, symbols, celestial bodies, otherworldly creatures, comic superheroes, nature, animals, even foods have been worshipped as long as man has roamed the earth. Each thing does have a significance in itself some of which are man-made and some just appear out of nowhere. Some make us feel better and some make us feel inadequate to the point of changing ourselves to be like the worshipped thing. But none of them can do anything that our God can.
So many people are influenced by what they see in the media because their lives are inundated with what they need in life, how they should dress, how much they should weigh, and how they should act, that it has caused a great moral dilemma in society all because some people with money want to be loved by more people so they can make more money. Thankfully there are some popular people who are for the most part morally straight or are attaining to be and have tried their best to live a less fabulous life, some even stay out of the limelight and try to live normal lives when they are not on stage or on screen. Unfortunately we have the good with the bad. Some famous people live such distorted and sinful lives that they believe they are right and push the Adversaries agenda of sinful behaviors on society (unfortunately with a lot of success as of late).
We are living in a time where the Word is getting distorted even by mainstream religious leaders just to get people to come and worship. When you distort the Word you are going completely against Revelation 22:18-19
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.”
Some claim they are doing this for progress and the betterment of mankind. The Word is already distorted with the claim that all you have to do is believe in Jesus and forget that we have to live Godly lives as best as we can. Is this not found in the “Woes” of Isaiah 5?
Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes,
19 to those who say, “Let God hurry; let him hasten his work so we may see it. The plan of the Holy One of Israel—let it approach, let it come into view, so we may know it.”
20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.
24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,
so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore the Lord’s anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.
We all know pastors and leaders who have changed Scripture to get people into the church then need to keep their distorted view just to keep them. They have created idols of false words and damaged souls. We need to stop asking the Lord to come quickly and make it visible to all. We need to correct the world from their ideas of what is good and bad. Those who are wise in their own eyes are acting like fools as the drunkards continue to drink. Can we open the eyes of justice so it is no longer blind to the truth of things?
Those who reject God’s Law will suffer and those who refuse to listen will rot. But in all this, God knows His faithful children and will not let the suffering be long. As long as we do not fall into the entrapment of false idols and distorted ideologies, keeping His Word and living like Christ the best we can, we will do fine.
Beware False Idols, even the inanimate ones can kill your soul.
In this day and age where many are misguided by society through the inundation of information there is a problem which must be addressed before matters get worse. Pride has infected the individual and whole groups of like-minded ethnic and lifestyle choice people who take unhealthy “pride” in who they are to the point of forcing their idealisms on others. Pride is a sinful disease that is sometimes very hard to spot even within oneself. Pride attacks the heart which affects our eyesight distorting how we see reality. Pride changes our view so that the ugliness which is sin becomes a right way of living. No one can truly say they do not have moments of pride because we all like to pat ourselves on the back for the good things we accomplish. Pride then, is the undetected sin in the heart that when left fully unchecked can kill us physically, spiritually, and eternally. To fight this we need to understand some of the basic indicators that we are suffering from the Virus of Pride.
When we find faults in others while ignoring our own we forget to seek the good in people.
So many first impressions are ruined when the body language of either person gives reason for a dislike when an individual is really a good person with minor quirks. Does not Jesus warn us to, “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5).”? Or even, “Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? (In scolding Jesus continues) Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye (Luke 6:42).” Sometimes we like to think our faith is bigger than others even when we are struggling with our beliefs. Get the log out before looking to remove another’s, you may find the person is more faithful than you no matter their sin.
On that same note when we see someone being proud in their sins and lifestyles should we berate them when they are struggling or so deep in their own pride they take serious offense? NO. We all struggle and it not our place to judge. When a person is seeking forgiveness and we focus on their sinfulness so much that they run away, who is the unforgiven one? However correction is necessary but not through chiding. It is called tough love and helping them recognize their sin on their own through the Holy Spirit work. Then bringing in Christ.
Pride makes us superficial. So much so that we become more concerned on how others perceive us rather than working on the secret unseen sins. One result is we become bold in God’s presence rather than humble. Our defensive nature overruns our Christian humility especially when someone points our own faults to us. Remember, God sees all things, He is omniscient and omnipresent. You cannot hide from Him. He knows your secrets and pride cannot hide them.
Pride is an attention monger. Calling attention to one’s lifestyle or ethnicity and placing it high above all else is a very dangerous thing. The world has dedicated celebrations of certain lifestyles and so called “minority” ethnicities, placing them on pedestals that need to be cracked down. Boasting about living in a lifestyle that is considered sinful by four major religions is poisonous to the world has led to mass acceptance of the sin as a normal thing causing a perverting of God’s Word and the distortion of faith.
Having pride in oneself as a person is one thing as long as it does not lead to foolishness, boasting, and resentfulness of others. Before patting ourselves for an accomplishment, give God the glory first and then praise Him for the opportunity.
There are different levels of pride in which some are healthy and the rest, not so much. Be aware of how you act and react with others. Keep a humble heart but recognize when you are to take the lead or be stern with another. Be wary of those who trap you in their sins through acceptance of said sins. Keep God’s Word on your heart and you will see through the Adversary working in others to trap you and take you from God.
How should we handle this current situation. With God’s Tough Love.
PRIDE IS A VIRUS, GOD’S LOVE and WORD IS THE VACCINE
How many races of people are on this earth???
Guess what, that was not a trick question. Why did I ask it? The other day, I got called racist when I said I do not see color. Why? I do not recognize a person by the color of skin. I was in the military service and the only color we knew was red and green. But I also cannot prescribe to this many race idea when God created only one race of humankind.
We are all God’s children, created by God in His spiritual image. From the same token, we are of one race (kind) but have many types (ethnicity/pigmentation). I say again, ONE RACE, that is the Human Race. Let me go back a few thousand years to the tower of Babel. All people spoke the same language and there were very few differences. Even though by that time the differences in pigmentation, hair, and eye color started showing up. God confused the languages to keep us in line and to teach us who is boss. It worked, well for a time. People started developing their own ways, some even their own gods again. Those who were separated from God were really confused and did not know true right from wrong even though they had their own sense of values which were pretty close but still far off kilter.
Remember the story of Noah and the flood when Scripture says Noah to two of every kind on the Ark. That meant two Dogs, two Horses, two Elephants, two Giraffes, and the list goes on and on. He did not take two Poodles and two Basset Hounds, two Persians and two Siamese or two Clydesdales and two Stallions. Get the idea???
Just because we look different does not mean that deep down we are. Just like the first thing. We are all made of the same materials but the environments we live in change our skin color for protective purposes. There is no ethnicity that is better than another no matter how you look at it. We each have our issues and issues with other ethnicities especially in our religious practices. Our bones all have the same atoms and enzymes. Our skin is made the same, cuts the same bleeds the same (although different types). So deep down in our very genetics we are the same with minor differences.
To become ONE PEOPLE we Must Accept that We Are of ONE RACE. In fact the word race should not even be in our vocabulary when we describe ourselves. Even though some things have calmed way down, they are sure to rise again. In order for there to be a smoother eradication of disharmony among God's creation in this country (and the world) we have to stop identifying by country that signifies a different type of ethnicity. We are basically the only country that does that and it must be put to rest.
At first glance some of the middle age folk reading this are probably thinking of the song by Prince. For the younger crowd, Harry Styles. Well actually, neither. I was reading comments today on the news a woman used the term without explanation eluding to an unknown circumstance that will be the cause of the end for all of us. How can we recognize prophesy fully coming to be when Jesus Himself says that we will not know the time, the day, or the season in which He will return. The Bible eludes to many times civilizations collapse or go through times of strife which actually have already occurred. The Big One which is the end of what we know and the new beginning, will come at us like a thief. Even though we are given warnings of what will lead to God’s final wrath and how He will slowly stir it up, God gives us opportunities to stave it off for a little while. I last wrote about Romans 1 which gave us the destructive path of many civilizations before us. Can you not see that we are on the same path? Those civilizations did not learn from the past.
We have heard in Revelation of the time of the Adversary and his means to our end. We have been in his time for a while now and even though many have recognized this we have forgotten the lessons from the past. Think of what certain individuals have done recently by removing an important dark spot in our history because it is “offensive” to some. How do we learn what not to do when we remove reminders?
History is written by the victors. Yes that statement is true. The Islamic State destroyed much of the Middle Eastern past. Monuments that stood the test of nature gone in an instant by the hand of man. People in the United States cry for the removal of reminders of slavery. If they want to remove those things to change people’s minds about the past, how about instead placing the focus on a future based on lessons learned from it. Change the mindset of people by focusing on how the negative shaped us and how we can use its lessons for a more positive outcome. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recognized this but the Devil had him killed. Since then we have been on a downhill slope with no lift to take us back up.
What can we do? First we must fully recognize the truth of Scripture and stop this watering down of the Gospel. Stop sharing that all you have to do is let Jesus into your heart and you are saved. We as Christians know there is more to it than that. We are not salespeople shopping for souls, we are of The Body of Christ, bringing the good news and what the consequences are for not following Jesus. One must be a follower of His ways and accept the ramifications before fully accepting Him as Lord and Savior. Remember, He said, “Follow Me”. How many souls are lost because they do not understand the full responsibilities of a Christian, of a Child of God? Stop telling sinners that their lifestyle is okay and that they can continue in their sickness even after they repent.
Look, I know this is harsh and believe me it is not super easy to talk about but these things must be said. We need to accept people for who they are no matter pigmentation, clothing, ethnicity; we are all human, God’s Creation. We are not the judge of others when we ourselves will be judged for our own iniquities; but we can help them to, follow, recognize their sins, repent, and accept. Be the follower Jesus desires of you so that you may become the Disciple you need to be for Him.
Witness what God has done in your life so they see the change in your life. Get them to follow Jesus to learn what it means to repent and live for Christ and in Christ. Finally, through the Holy Spirit, challenge them to live a Christ like life and accept Him as Lord and Savior. This is our purpose, to make Disciples of all Men (Humans). AMEN.
There is a choice to make. Islam seems to care more about pleasing a god to gain a personal relationship after death; while Jews and Christians have that relationship. Islamists live in constant fear of sin, be found out and die. Christians strive to get over their sinful nature, be forgiven and live. Islam says a woman is a fine jewel yet treats them like they are lower than dogs. Christianity shares a partnership between man and woman, the two come together to be one. Seems like a no brainer to me.
Path-Way Worship Center and Refuge
We are taking next steps in the ministry and opening a Retreat Center There are three major pieces to the ministry that we have planned as you can see below. We have set up a fundraiser site to assist us with initial expenses and could really use your help. If you wish to donate please do not delay as we need to get the ball rolling quickly.
Proposed Location: Just outside Decaturville In Decatur County off of I40, centrally located between Nashville and Memphis.
Fundraiser site: https://www.fundraise.com/path-way-worship-min…/rob-brickner: https://www.fundraise.com/path-way-worship-ministries/rob-brickner
Four Areas of Ministry (in order of suggested opening)
1. Natural Prayer Walk: A natural trail with various areas to stop in order to pray, reflect, reconnect. This area will have a maximum of 14 possible stopping points with the décor changed seasonally and in accordance to celebrations. Each station will have a type of Worship and Praise music (vocal and instrumental) provided by IPODs and Bluetooth Speakers powered by solar panels (providing self-sustaining energy). Benches, stools (both built with on-site materials), or stumps will be at each place as well as kneeling benches. Water points will also be available. A short and long trail will be provided. Donation boxes will be placed at the beginning, middle, and end of the trail (trail upkeep funds).
$250 Donation gets a prayer bench with an honorarium name
Proposed opening: Fall 2018
2. Outdoor Chapel: An outdoor chapel with Overhead covering. Sides will be provided in case of rain or snow and netting for bugs as well. Seating will be designed in amphitheater style with a stone altar and a rock for the speaker (with podium on request) all hewn out of the landscape and on site rock. Baptismal will be cut into the ground. Outdoor short and tall tables provided for meals and Lord’s Supper. Reason for no walls: We emphasize the fact that we need to be in outreach/witnessing mode sharing Christ at every opportunity. Having walls complicates that. This will also be available as a destination wedding site, revivals, camp meetings, etc.
Proposed opening: Easter 2019
3. Fully Functional Retreat Center with camps for all ages throughout the year. Available to church groups and military for retreats, meetings, celebrations, etc. Amenities will not include WIFI (this is a back to nature style camp) with exception for special cases including those with medical needs that require a signal (medical alert wearers etc.). This is going to be the costliest portion but to save on utilities, we are going green energy with city power backup. The goal is to use as little outside sourcing as possible yet stay within building codes. Plumbing will be modern.
Proposed opening 2021 (for test run) official 2022.
Additional points of interest:
The retreat will have large gardens which will be tended by the staff and retreat guests (if desired).
We will invite guest Worship and Praise Choirs and groups for ministry opportunities and concerts. The staff will have interns from Christian Colleges starting with Trevecca Nazarene University and Liberty University.
Local Missions are needed as the surrounding towns are small and could use occasional assistance. There are also local farms (one right across the street).
Job opportunities include: ministry staff (worship leader, youth minister, camp counselors), kitchen, IT/security, maintenance (facility and mechanical), worship leader interns, hospitality (customer service, merchandising), child care provider (daytime only), and lifeguard.
There will be a permanent residence area for staff and interns to live away from camp but still on property. All areas will be manned 24 hours.
Total land estimated cost: $140000
Total trail estimated cost: $2500-3000
Total chapel estimated cost: $10000 (less if volunteers assist)
Total costs for Retreat Center and housing units are still being researched but we estimate $500,000 min (cost is reduced due to materials on hand)
Total other area estimated costs: $8000 per garden 2 ea.: Security system $5000; area announcement system $3000; on site well $5000
The first chapter in Romans discusses something that is very disturbingly real today. Many people warn that if we keep going the way we are that God will have wrath upon us. Brothers and Sisters that wrath is already here. This country started out great with God’s Love and Grace all around us even though our Ancestors did the original inhabitants wrong (of which there really is no excuse), we had made this country a refuge from persecution. Then our forefathers expanded out west and in the process destroyed, built, killed, civilized, and converted, all in the name of freedom while also sharing the gospel. We set up towns, churches, abbeys, monasteries, as well as places of ill repute. People still ask, “Where did we go wrong?”
Slavery, rape, murder, economic wars, lust (body and heart), greed, mental disorders due to unnatural things being willingly taken into our bodies, immorality, do I have to go on.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Because we have fallen as a country, as a world, God’s wrath is upon us. We clearly see the beauty of God’s creation everywhere we go. We also see the difference between taking care of it and destroying it. Only one of those actions is commanded by God. God has shown us a right way of living but those men filled with a lust and greed for power have created the current world we live in. We have made greed our idol. Instead of the wrath being on one country or one section of humanity, it is on all of us. Because of man, the truth is suppressed. Now we can take it to one incident or many but the fact is that we have failed our Father. We have to question whether or not we should help. Some that receive the help use deception to achieve it while those who are seriously in need go without and struggle.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Sexual revolution anyone? First there was the nudes in magazines then psychedelic drug fueled freedom of sexual desires which gave birth to pornography. Adulterated sexual encounters which are supposed to be intimate expressions in secret between husband and wife were put on a screen for everyone above 18 to see.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
If I have to explain this one, something is wrong. This is what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah (S and G), Rome, Greece, and other cultures. The other sins came first. S and G were not punished only for their immorality, they were given into the behavior because all the sins prior to led up to that. They could no longer see the truth so they were destroyed either by God or an instrument of His (Radical Islam anyone). There would be an embracing of those who would eventually defeat or enslave them (Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon).
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Does this sound familiar? Doing what is right in our own eyes. Killing and stealing for fun, showing nakedness, greed, being wanton of material things, all part of society today. Using fame to push sinful ideas upon mankind, openly showing violence and adulterous sex like it is ok to do these things. Once again we are gearing up for God’s wrath, it is here. But we have one thing all these others did not. We have a personal relationship with Christ who taught us a right way of living. All we have to do is believe in Him, have a living faith in following His ways, trust in Him. He warned us this would happen. He gave us the tools to prepare for it. He also gave us the tools to head off the wrath at the pass. And what have we done, embraced the evils of this world while trying to stay in Christ. We cannot serve God and Mammon (found in Matthew and Luke). If you are so attached to wealth or other materialistic things, give them away to remove the obstacle to your spiritual life. Use it to benefit others through service to God and our fellow man.
We do not judge but speak kindly without letting the sinful nature of others intrude in our lives. To not be taken in to pleasing a sinner by saying it is okay for that is hindering yourself. Loving the person and letting the Holy Spirit work through your loving kindness is the best way. Do not approve of another’s sin for that makes you just as guilty.
The time for action is past. We must now be vigilant in our faith to bring others back to God. For some it may be too late. Pray for them that they may see the light instead of the darkness of the separation from God. Protect yourself from falling into sin. Find your refuge in God’s Word and His loving arms.
Find your strength in God’s Word. Scripture is His teachings, His story which we must follow. His is not a fantasy, it is a stark reality of things have past and things that will happen. The outcome is set in stone but the timing is unknown. How many more chances will we get? The choice is yours. 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.