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.
Jesus has a funny way of teaching sometimes. The Book of Mark shares one of those moments where faith is tested as waters were getting rough on the Sea of Galilee.
Mark 4: 35-41
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
You know that TV show that has that big reveal that everyone anticipates but cannot guess? Jesus still had not openly pronounced Himself to the Disciples but maintained a quiet testing while they learned. I wonder sometimes if Jesus snoring helped cause the storm to allow this moment of testing faith in their lives.
How easy it is for us when we become so comfortable in our faith that we fear when there are storms of any type placed in our path that just as we think we are in control, the matter gets worse and we think we are going to drown. Jesus was teaching the Disciples a lesson in His sleep. They had become so dependent on Jesus that thy feared without Him they would drown. What was He teaching here?
This was at a point where He was teaching that even though we have freedom to choose, there is a dependence that needs to be taken into account. Faith in the unseen. A faith that knowing Jesus as Savior is more important than the physical dependence in the world. A faith that believing becomes seeing and not the opposite. When we have this faith and pray that God guides us and gives us discernment to do what is the right thing to quell our storms, we have a faith that goes beyond the understanding of those who do not know Him.
Once we accepted Him we are made new and our faith walk in Him is a reflection of Jesus in us. If we continue in our sin we give less meaning of His sacrifice in our lives. Remember, when Jesus stopped the stoning of the adulteress He said, "Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more."
Living in this day and age we have so many opportunities to fail in our temptations, to sin without thinking, and to forget to ask forgiveness when we lose control and do not rely on God to place us back on track. God’s Grace and Mercy keeps us safe through the storms in our lives as long as we have Faith in Him and remember to Repent. Without a repentant heart and faith in the unseen, we cannot make it through this life. We cannot just say that I got God so I am good. We need to continue to walk in His ways, keep the Word on our hearts, and remember His sacrifice. God gave His Son so we can live. We must have a clean, repentant, and obedient heart so that His sacrifice will not in vain within our lives. Without it, we will not survive the storm
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)
Can someone tell me when we forgot to do this? Can someone explain to me what happened in this country, this world on which we currently reside? Where did parents go wrong? Is it really the parents fault? When did the media influence outweigh the parental? These are some questions pastors are asking their staff and other church leaders to get a handle on what to do to bring children of all ages back to Christ.
I was brought up in a broken (but still together) Christian home. While one stopped attending due to the hypocrisy of the church the other continued and I went along. The marriage ended not too long after celebrating 25 years. My family from my youth included those who surrounded me with the Love of Christ which was the best thing to ever happen to me. I am not perfect and have made mistakes that helped me grow, but I am thankful that my parents had shown me both sides so I could discern right from wrong.
When reading Proverbs 22:6 I ask myself, "Did I bring up my kids in in the way God wants me to?". I would hope that I can answer yes and by the way my children have acted I can say that I have done my best. I wonder what would have happened if I did not raise them with an understanding of discernment between right and wrong how they would have turned out? My guess is not so good because of the challenges that come from media, peer pressure to make life choices, and other secular influences which rot at the heart of the youth. We see so much violence and sexual influences in the mass media that it is difficult to shield their minds and hearts from wondering about those sinfully natured things. Money, the need to fit in, and peer influences are dangers that can be avoided when an understanding of Godly control over those secular influences is taught from a young age. Good moral lessons and work ethics instilled in our youth can make a person understand the need for volunteerism and working to earn a living and the respect of others instead of becoming thieves, murderers, and entitlement seekers.
Brothers and Sisters look at our world today. The influence of sin is too great on our youth. The first fault does lie on the parents. If they instructed the child right through godly teachings without force feeding religion, then maybe we could have avoided some of the youth becoming popular in death and reasons for others to turn to violent fractionated behaviorisms. Racism was on a downhill slide, yes for the most part we had defeated it and now we have gone back 270 years. But those acting out and calling others racist are racist themselves. The media has influenced sexual immoral behavior through the celebrity. Songs that our youth have access to speak of desires and lustful behaviors. We parents must be vigilant in teaching our youth discernment to understand what is deemed godly, Christ-like behavior and what is not.
So what do we do? How do we get the youth out of this fantasy? Treat them as a Prodigal? Yes. If they come back then we can hope they want to be forgiven. Remind them, love them as Jesus loves us. Get them to open, read, and understand what they have done. Ensure their heart is truly a repentant one. Be stern yet helpful. Teach them right and they will remember. Be safe. God's Love and Blessing to you all.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I was reading Galatians 5 and listening to the Spirit living within as the Father teaches. The Holy Spirit opened my eyes and my heart to this:
While we are living in a time of turmoil and pain, certain Christian attitudes have fallen by the wayside of even the most devout. Activists are concerning themselves with the color of their skin, their ethnicity, and other matters of the flesh rather than looking at the spiritual ways of things. So Brothers and Sisters who remain in Christ and do not conduct themselves in matters of the flesh should be reminding the fallen Christians of Paul’s words from Galatians 5. I know I have spoken of this section before but it seems relevant that it is seen in all lights.
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
The color of flesh does not matter when it comes to deeds that are not morally and ethically correct. All tones of the flesh has committed sins not just one. It is not the color but what is inside the persons heart that causes the transgressions. When a group of one flesh tone continues the stereotype and grudge against another, that only causes more hate and distrust. Many different tones have gotten past that while some hold on to past discrepancies. This bitterness and holding of grudges (that has also led to a false idea of entitlement) is not Christians like at all and must stop.
Paul says in verse 15, “ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Is that what we want, NO. Is that what God wants? Definitely NO.
Verses 19-21 speak of the acts of the flesh. “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Do you see it, he is not just talking about sexual desires here. Paul speaks of hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy. Sound familiar???
How much clearer do we have to make it?? Selfish ambition, rage, factions, envy, discord, hatred are all part of the flesh that is not conducive to a life in the Spirit. Those that call themselves Christian and are fighting, protesting, using violence to fight violence, are not following the Golden Rule much less remembering their upbringing in Christ. What happened in the past is the past. Learn from it, do not repeat it.
Are we not made in the Image of God. In His image there is no hate, sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, and drunkenness. Is that plain and simple enough????
In conclusion I turn to the words recorded to be spoken by Paul. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I try to abstain from politics on this blog nor is this an endorsement for either candidate, but as we enter the election season I must remise on some facts. God places people in certain authorities to complete His plan. I recently read some comments where Christians were not being very nice to the nominees due to their lack of certain Christian values and such. I am here to remind you that God used Pharaohs to either punish Israel or to set an example for them. God hardened the Pharaoh's heart when it came to releasing the Hebrews from slavery. This tested Moses and Aaron on their faith and belief as well as gave all of them a show of the Almighty Power of God in His control over nature. He used the Philistines, the Amorites, and many others to punish or remind them who is in charge. Have we forgotten King Cyrus, whom God used to restore Israel. Cyrus also used his treasury to kick start them back into life.
I need everyone to think for a moment... Here are our two choices in candidates. One is a known liar who is greedy and obviously has money for an idol using it to usurp power and is basically in hot water right now. The other has very little political experience but has an understanding on what this country was founded upon and wants to get the country back on track even though his morals and ethics have not been very Christian like, he seems to really and truly want what is best for the health, welfare, and moral of our country. One speaks eloquently while the other not so much. Remember who speaks with a silver tongue while the other speaks plain truths.
Yes both have seen the courtroom, but one being a lawyer actually ensured a known sexual offender and others who were obviously guilty, freedom from punishment. The other, well not the cleanest record either, but his time in court was judicially sound (money did not help his cases) and reparations were made and he admits his wrongdoings.
Which one sounds better now?? One whose idol is money and power or one who wants his investments in the homeland (us) to be safe from tyranny. One who willingly invites evil into the land or one who expresses the right and legal way to live in this country. One who has been silent on condolences for the recent brutalities or one who has shown compassion and is willing to take action. One who willingly give up rights to conglomerates while in office (the right thing to do) while the other will assuredly feed off the family foundation.
Think about it...........
Hebrews 13: 1-6 states:
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. 4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Love one another with the Love of the Father. Take heed to care for one another. Do not be tempted by immoral behaviors. Remember, money cannot get you into heaven (don't be greedy nor dependent on money to live). Man can harm man but those who cause harm will be dealt with severely by God.
All those people who believe others are being racist are themselves sinning by causing pain and suffering instead of trying to show love and compassion for their fellow man. They are causing themselves to no longer be meek. Violence does beget violence but when violence is met with the compassion of God, change can occur. Don't hate, show mercy. Be the person God desires us to be. Be cautious out in the world not to fall into the trappings of society and remember, you will be safe in His arms.
God's Love, Peace, and Grace to you all,
If we wait on God to take action instead of being a proactive Christian…..it may be too late.
We have all heard and I know I have written, “God’s got this”, and yes He does but here is the thing, we need to take appropriate action in order for God to be able to work in us. God provides us with the ways and means of spreading His Word but full reliance on the invisible force to wake us up and move us to do His work that He has planned is not how being a proactive Christian is described. When we pray for God’s assistance and guidance; that is just it, assistance and guidance. We cannot rely on God taking care of everything while sitting back watching the show. He needs us to take action.
WE HAVE BEEN REACTIVE LONG ENOUGH THE TIME IS YESTERDAY THAT WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN PROACTIVE
Jesus was not a lazy person. His whole life/death/resurrection/ascension revolved around the Father’s work. I Got it, our busy worldly lives, make living a Christ like life difficult. We make excuses for everything: too tired, gotta go to the game and support the kids, it is laundry day, I’ve heard them all and was guilty sometimes myself. But we really have no excuse. Once we accepted Christ we became no longer of the world. However, in all those situations God has placed a reason for Him to be in the topics of conversation. TIME TO RISE UP AND MOVE.
As Proactive Christians we need to have the desire to do our part in God’s Plan. I know we still have freedom of thought (free will if you must), so we still have to actually have the desire and motivation to get up and be ready to conduct the Father’s business every day. His Words should be coming from our mouths and our actions should be the example of His Words.
People can say they woke up and put on God’s armor but did they? Do they thank God and ask for the blessings on the Helmet of Salvation, is the mind focused on the Sword of the Spirit (Word)? Is the Breastplate of Righteousness firmly set and in the right place and shiny or is it dull, dingy, and scratched up? Have you girded your Loins with the Belt of Truth not too tight or too loose or are the buckle holes to big? Are the Boots of Peace the right size and the Kiwi shine reflective or are the scuffs too deep. Make sure the Shield of Faith is not dented, cracked, or bent too much as it is still recovering from yesterday’s temptations and that sin you repented from may still be lingering? Is your life in prayer as active and fervent as it should be?
God does not just place us where He needs us, He places people where we are and they need to be. Is your neighbor saved, you’ve lived there for 10 years and have not asked about their faith walk even once? Have you spoken your testimony to them? How is the morale in your community, at work, in your social life?
Where was God when we had the 72 hours of hell this past week?? He was there, where were we???
Being proactive in our Christ like lives means to be continually growing in Christ, being in Christ, and sharing the Word, not questioning whether or not God talk is relevant, or hesitating because you are unsure of a reaction, SPEAK OUT. BE PROACTIVE
Brothers and Sisters we are in a very dark and dismal time in the world today. Good News for us is that we are no longer in the world but in Christ. While we inhabit this world we need to understand that our suffering prepares our hearts and minds for God's Glory as we will no longer suffer. In the mean time we need to pray for this world that they find Jesus so that this world can be made whole once again in God's Image as it was before the fall. We need to pray for an end to racial violence, greed, idolatry of money, and that the Holy Spirit works in us to spread God's truth. Pray with us that our leaders end the corruption and rep like aces the evil with mercy and good judgment. All these things, senseless loss of life, a new hope for the nation, and a right rule in Jesus name we must pray. Amen
No Scripture today just prayer.
Heavenly Father Gracious God,
Forgive us, Your children, for we have not lived right in Your eyes as some of us have decided to do what is right in our own. Oh Lord, create new hearts in us and renew our spirits granting us Your peace and understanding. Heal us Father because we have wounded Your creation through the sickness of sin. Change the hardened hearts of those in authority over us and bring those to justice who believe they can do as their own heart desires. Remove corruption from the hearts who are worshiping the false idols and causing hardship and pain for Your Children. Empower us to spread Your Word like wildfire to change the hearts of our brothers and sisters. Father, dethrone the greedy who think money is power and they can get away with anything. Bring us together in one accord so that the world hears Your voice through us. Come quickly Father, we need You now more than ever.
Our God is an Awesome God so why is it that some say that He breaks us to renew us. Are we not already a broken and contrite spirit. God wants you WHOLE, not incomplete. God sent Jesus to: preach the gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, preach deliverance to the captives, to give eyesight to the blind, make the lame walk, liberate the bruised. Some will say that God broke us and Jesus heals us. NOT. The serpent made us broken when the it tempted Eve and She made Adam sin. The Adversary (Satan) tempts us to test our faith and beliefs. God may allow such things but He does not do them.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:18-19
Does that sound like a God who breaks people to rebuild them??? This is one of the reasons it is so very important for people to understand the Old Testament instead of ignoring it.
One of the most used verses in Scripture to support the doctrine of Christian Brokenness has possibly been mistranslated and therefore wholly misunderstood is Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
In Hebrew the scripture reads: zebach . 'elohiym . shabar . ruwach. Shabar . Dakah . leb . 'elohiym . bazah … and can also be translated as follows:
Sacrifice to God is the birthing of the Spirit. - or - Sacrifice to God is the quenching of anger. A humble heart God will not condemn. – or – A broken/crushed/oppressed heart God will not condemn.
In Psalm 51, David is asking for forgiveness through a creation of a clean heart and renewing of a right spirit. Within the Psalm is this verse: Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. (Psalm51:8) Oh sure it makes it sound like God broke his bones but it is just figurative. David’s temptation, transgression, and sin led to a punishment that struck David within his body and spirit. This was God’s judgement and grace all in one. God did not break him, he did it to himself.
If God breaks us from anything, we are broken away from our sin. Seems like a harsh way to put things but in this is truth. We are already broken in sin but God breaks us away and remolds us like clay on a potter’s wheel. God heals us from our brokenness and remakes us in Jesus. Does this mean a breaking, well yes but it is a breaking away from our sinful nature. When we enter into the truth of God through His Word which is Jesus and believe in Him, we are made whole. We are given a chance to be redeemed. Some take firm hold and do their best to live a life like Jesus, some continue in their old ways and are not truly saved because they cannot escape (give up) their sinful life choices. Living like Christ is to follow His commands, Loving one another just as He has Loved us, and Loving our neighbor as ourselves. We cannot fully escape sin in this life but we can fight against it.
Listen Carefully to the Words of Jesus in John 15:20-25:
20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin,[a] but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’
Brothers and Sisters, Jesus says it right there, He did not come into the world so that people who hear Him may continue to sin. He came into the world so that people who hear Him no longer have an excuse to sin.
So the next time a fellow Christian tells another Christina not to cast the stone. These verses are the NO ESCAPE clause from judgement that Christians should remind fellow members of the Body of Christ with.
Remember we are all broken and make mistakes and are obligated to not condone another’s sin.
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.