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.
With the political arena ramping up for the elections and the upcoming debates I thought, “What a better way to start reeling in the season than with God”. We are going to continue to hear a lot of muckraking, name calling, and childlike behaviors (in other words a political debacle) that the public needs to see for some reason in order to pick which one tells the truth to the best of their abilities. We have already seen bad behaviors from both sides but we have also seen who is more willing to drop everything and take care of people. Yes both have human qualities and some of their actions have made people angry but that is normal.
Currently our country is in distress. As a retired Service Member I am appalled at how some have abused the freedoms I have fought to defend and watched men and women die doing the same. Too many people have taken to the streets, neighborhoods, cities and made them into a devil’s playground filled with hate, dishonesty, and blatant disregard for what is morally and ethically the right thing to do. Some have stood up for what is right and good but get shot down because this day’s society is so sinful and secularly corrupted that people have forgotten what right looks like.
I called on the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me; therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
By the way, remember what happened when the Israelites asked God for a King? God had given them a gift and it was misused by man.
As citizens of the United States it is our duty to vote for who we think would be best suited to be the figure head for the country. This figurehead does have limited power but is the face and voice of the people. Christians, Jesus calls us to obey those put in authority over us. It is our duty to ensure we look deeper at each candidate to find the right moral and ethical behavior that would bring this country into the future without allowing the intentional corruption of this place we call home with the evils of this world.
Like it says above, trust in the LORD rather than place our confidence in man. For what is man but a broken reflection? The reflection was distorted by sin and many bad choices have led us to this point we are at today.
The election should not be a popularity contest. It should not be a contest on who can raise the most money or bully their way in through buy outs. Rely on God to get the right person in that will bring this country out of the hell we find ourselves.
Pray for our world and more specifically the souls of those who are put in authority over us that they turn back to God and seek His guidance, not the false idols and power hungry men that are in place. Pray that the Father engages us in a spiritual revolution that saves us from the torments of this world. This is a time to call on God and ask for Him to spread His Mercy and Grace upon us once again.
A dear friend of mine was talking with me last night and one of the things we discussed was the fact that there were many times he tried to do something but failed until he just looked up and said, “help”. God hears our cries, our pleas for His help, in fact, He wants us to ask. We are weak without Him. When we put our faith and trust in God, all things are possible through Him. How some get through the day without the knowledge of God in their lives is really beyond me. They take full credit for what they have done without even mentioning God in their lives. Yes God gave us free will to choose our actions and reactions to things but we must ask ourselves if it is the right action. Without that knowledge we are lost, taking pride in what we believe is our own decision when in reality God is right there guiding us through the Holy Spirit.
My wife and I took our daughter to college this past week and what an amazing time. There was prayer, worship, and praise around every corner. The college is a Christian college and it is not one that just claims it, they live it. Prayers are said prior to any meeting, class, and any gathering when there are two or more period. They encourage praise and worship at all times while still concentrating on academia. They truly exemplify the practice of Matthew 19:26 and Philippians 4:13.
We believe that she will prosper in God’s Plan simply because she is surrounded by God’s love through the other students and the faculty there. They do nothing without the guidance and presence of the Father in whom they put all trust and faith. Thank you Trevecca Nazarene University (a non-denominational Christian college) for taking her in and continuing her education and growth in Christ.
If the Bible was still used as a text for moral and ethical behavior in the public school system, the children of the last 4 generations would have heard this: “The violence of the wicked will drag them away, because they refuse to act with justice. (Proverbs 21:7)”
To get a better understanding of this statement we need to see what was said right before so this is not taken out of context:
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. A haughty look, a proud heart, And the plowing of the wicked are sin. The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty.
But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty. Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.
Which is the better way; seek justice through God or to take matters into your own hands which could lead to the need for violence? See that second sentence? “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” To follow His ways of Mercy and letting God be the ultimate judge is better than sacrificing your own part of the Spirit. Looking at verse four, Solomon goes deeper still and surprisingly enough is describing some of what we have seen in these last few years. Well of course we can go back to verse 2 on that because people in our own country have sought out and found their own material idols through lusts of the flesh, greed, and jealousy, all of which are covetous behaviors. Sinful people have looked upon the faithful with haughtiness and the pride in their hearts has removed God’s mark while replacing it with the mark of sin. Those that lie to receive their desires will meet death and never know the truth of the light.
This was taught to keep people from doing things as we are today. Thankfully not all of us have fallen so deep that we cannot escape and even better are those who put their full faith and trust in the Lord Our God. It is by understanding His Truth, His Sacrifice, His Glory, Honor, and accepting His Mercy by believing in Christ that we can say that we are saved. How bad it will be for those who put their faith elsewhere. How bad it will be for those who only see the outward flesh and not the truth of the blood. How sorrowful they will be who put their faith in something that condemns their eternal soul. Human violence solves nothing. Human kindness backed by God solves everything.
Man-Made Weapons can only cause bodily harm and death. The Word of God destroys sin and death to give you Eternal Life. You cannot just believe and say your good, you must believe and live the Word.
The last few years, more people than ever have relied on weapons to protect from others, commit crimes, show force, and harm themselves. What the heck is going on here? Jesus said that His Word is mightier than a double edged sword, yet like Peter we raise up our own “sword” when in placed in situations both offensive and defensive to make points known.
Let’s Get one thing straight right off the bat, JESUS NEVER CONDONED EARTHLY VIOLENCE.
There are many ways to look at the different verses that have Jesus discussing weaponry but we must remember the best one is when He likened the Word (Truth) to a double edged sword.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)”
Notice that the writer of Hebrews uses the reference of the sword as splitting in two the things that matter most to the Jewish people of the time. He separates the Human Soul from the Holy Spirit (breath of God) and the joints from the very fluid that keeps them moving. But the writer is not done when the thoughts and attitudes of the heart are pierced. This Brothers and Sisters is where we can begin to see the truth of the sword here. Elsewhere, Paul reiterates the Sword as the Spirit of Truth (Ephesians 6:17) also known as God’s Word.
So without the Spirit or breath of God our soul is lost, Without the marrow running through our joints and bones, we are frozen still and cannot move. The Word (Jesus, Truth, SON OF GOD, Word made flesh) is actually what gives us breath which provides the right combination of molecules to keep all the body together and moving. The Spirit of God within us is flowing through our heart and judging our every thought word and deed. When our attitude, character, and movements are not in line with God’s glorious plan for us, we have trouble moving, breathing, for lack of any better term LIVING. If we rely on man-made weapons for protection in spiritual matters then are we not denying Christ in forgoing our lessons and living in the world.
Now I am not saying that they are not necessary as I myself am pro-Article 2 of our Constitution. What I am saying is that we need not rely on weapons of man in matters of the spirit are concerned. Yes even matters of the world can be solved by Word and Spirit, not metal and projectile. How often do we forget that Jesus made it known that He who lives by the sword will die by it. If you rely on a man-made object for your protection or evil deeds, then expect it to be your undoing.
Brothers and Sisters we have a problem.
Killers with guns are getting killed by people with guns. People with any kind of weapon here in the last few years are especially seeing their death by similar if not the exact same means. Did Jesus let us know something when He said…..
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. (Matthew 26:52)
Wow, strong statement by God’s Son but there is more to the story. Why did Jesus have them buy a sword? Why is Jesus constantly referring to a sword specifically a double edged one? These and many other questions about weaponry will be the topic of discussion here these next few posts.
How Many Christians died at the hands of the Romans but Christ still won. He won because His followers would not be silenced even to the point of death. Not one drop of pagan blood was spilled and Jesus still claimed Rome. Fast forward to today. We are silent sheep being slaughtered because of money. The idol od Greed is helping the evil side of Islam bring their unloving ways to this country and we are still sitting back and letting it happen. Sure there are some Muslims who are loving and I can name the few I know but the radicals who still believe Sharia Law needs to be used to convert the masses are destroying the world. All for the love of an evil and a misunderstanding of Mercy and Grace. To defeat evil we must not be evil but show the only and best love there is, God's Love. We also need to stop this "Love is Love" because it has promoted immoral and unnatural behaviors. Showing God's True Love is the only way to defeat the enemy. We do not have to raise a sword or a gun, just open our arms in the Name of Jesus. How many Christians must be sacrificed before the world returns to God? We cannot say but the truth will be known. Lukewarm Christians, you better get Hot or the Devil will have won.
Heavenly Father Gracious Lord,
Open the eyes of our hearts so we may show the world that Your Love is the best and only Love we need. Help us defeat the enemy of our hearts through Your Grace and Mercy as our lights shine before men. Thank You Father for showing us the Way through Your Son Jesus.
In His Name we pray,
Ecclesiastes 9: 16-18
16…“Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. 17 Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroys much good.”
When a poor but wise person is heard, kings can be defeated.
What good comes from people with fame, fortune, and loads of money who speak foolish ungodly things? Some of the young 20 something celebrities think they can share their wisdom with the youth when all they are doing is corrupting their minds. Now I am not saying this is true of all of them but there are a few whom society have seen go through rough childhood drama whose whole life is in the public eye yet somehow made it through and think they have the answers. Not so. When a platform is taken up and they prosper from it more than the people they are “helping”; that is not true to the Word. Those types will eventually self-destruct. Unfortunately, some who were brought up in the church and found fame were corrupted themselves and have difficulty returning to their roots. Others stay in the background even if they are in the limelight and do not outwardly pronounce their cause but in their silence assist others without regard of their own safety.
What about small town popularity? Being a great person in any arena whether it is the arts, politics, or even in the church in your small town does not mean you can have a true meaningful voice. Yes people will listen and you have followers but where will they go when you fail? If you cared more for them than yourself, they will pick you up. If it is found that you considered your “fan base” just stepping stones to get your name further, you will fall deeper than before and remain the fool until the lesson in humility is learned.
The poor silent wise person speaks volumes when they are listened to. The ones that stay out of the lime light and have that small voice can make the town successful but must remain faithful to their roots in the Father.
Back in my hometown in Illinois there is a man we called Preach. He is a good man who has a decent life and was always found wandering the streets. When there was a concert, play, rally, or other major city function he could be seen from a distance just keeping watch and occasionally participating. Plus he does a mean Elvis impression. His wisdom is well received. He did not want the fame or the glory and would tell you that all glory belongs to God. He is the glue that kept us together. He is known as the town’s good will ambassador who would not hesitate to run an errand for the local shops, bring a lunch to a merchant here and there. He has made national news but does not take credit for anything. He is a silent, wise witness for God.
Who would you rather listen to, the one who flaunts fame and self-destructs or the God-fearing old wise person who quietly keeps the people together?
Food for thought…..Jesus wants us somewhere in the middle. We do not have to be famous and God does not want us to be silent. We should shout out our faith with Joyfulness in our hearts, without fear of repercussions. Show it without boasting or desire for rewards. Be the “Person of God” He wants us to be.
So share Jesus with the same mercy and grace that God has shown us and our rewards will not be here, but in Heaven.
We are saved because of God’s Mercy and Grace, but what is it about those things that save us? Are there conditions? Can I continue in my sinful lifestyle after I am saved?
The Grace and Mercy of God can be seen differently yet the same. We cannot have one without the other. God, in His Grace gives us what we do not deserve, while His Mercy through the person of Jesus Christ does not give us what we deserve. We as Christians understand this as we are saved from our sins by His Grace through His Mercy.
So what did I mean by that last statement? Through God’s Grace we are saved… We are saved from the judgement of our sin through God’s Grace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor offered freely "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus". His Grace is dependent on our faith in Christ so that we may clearly understand that it is not obtainable by any adherence to the law. "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ". This does NOT mean we can continue in our sinful lifestyles because Jesus commanded, “Go and sin no more” after saving the adulteress/prostitute from judgement at the hands of the people. She was changed by Grace and saved by His Mercy.
God’s Grace is greater than our sins and covers us if we profess faith and belief in Him. We have to reconcile ourselves to Him. Since we know Him, we are no longer bound by the chains of the law but we still must obey it. The reason for this is two-fold: we must live a Christ-like life following His teachings so that while we are sharing His love and compassion we can bring others to Him so they may be covered by God’s Grace and live. Here is a question for you...If God's Love is unconditional then why are we set up with a condition to receive His Grace??? (We'll get to that soon)
In the same manner, Jesus saves us because He took the punishment of our sins upon Himself so that we can share in God’s inheritance which is eternal life in the Kingdom. Now remember, He did not give us a license to sin. He came to fulfill not abolish the law. By doing this, He removed the need for the sacrifices, the Mosaic punishments (stoning etc.), and the festivals. We are still bound by His Word that we keep the Ten Commandments and morality laws that He lived by (there is one condition).
Listen to the words Paul wrote in Romans 6:1-4 and 12-14
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Without the Law we did not know sin. It is because of the Law that we recognize what is right and good vs. bad and evil. Our nature makes it impossible for us to live a perfect life in the Law. Did you see Romans 6:14? “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” God is granting us His Grace, which is not ours to squander but we have so Jesus stepped in to show us how it is done then granted us Mercy as He did what we could not.
The dilemma is the conditions of the heart. Do we remain faithful and abide by the Law only (which amplifies our sin) or do we accept that Jesus died and listen to the Word, and attempt to walk in the way Jesus did. Do we live in our sin and suffer eternal damnation, or live in Christ through His Mercy and Grace?
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.