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.
Have you turned your life over to Christ? Do you consider yourself reborn? How do you define that term? Like Nicodemus said, one cannot return to his/her mother’s womb and start over again. Personally I have trouble with this verse because Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin which means that he understood the Hebrew meaning of what Jesus had spoken. But then again, to understand why it is recorded that he made that statement we would have to understand the context.
Lost in Translation The New Testament was written in Greek and Latin. The Septuagint and Latin Vulgate translations misinterpreted much of the Hebrew and Aramaic which completely changed the meaning of many statements made by Christ. The most important mistranslation to me is the one we are addressing here. Hebrew 101
What if I told you that the original Hebrew actually translates to slightly different words which would change our understanding of being reborn. Jesus’ words, “yivvaled ish milma’ǝlah” are often translated as “born again”, however the word ma’alah in Hebrew means “above”. Jesus words were spoken in Aramaic and Hebrew. So what Jesus actually said to Nicodemus was one must be born from above.
The expression “reborn” is often found in Rabbinic literature. One of great significance is when describing Israel after receiving the Torah. They were born from above through choosing to turn back to God. When Gentiles would turn away from pagan gods to the God of Israel the final process was to go through waters cleansing known or mikveh. When he emerged out of the water, he was considered as being ‘reborn’, or ‘born from above’. The person chose to turn to God and His Word, following His ways and His Commandments.
Are You Born Again or Born From Above
The difference between being born again and born from above is actually very significant in a person’s life. To be born again in worldly terms means a change in attitude, lifestyle, and characteristics that are not of God. These can be very damaging when the choice leads to physically unhealthy and spiritually sinful ways. The choice to live in the world and be of the world is exactly what Satan wants us to do. Being born again may sound enticing to some because it means living your best life now. The problem is the inability to let go and once physical death occurs so does spiritual death.
Being born from above means that you may suffer ridicule, and pain in this world. But the up side is this… Communing with those who are part of the Body of Christ, following His ways and living by the Commandments makes it possible to have eternal life because you choose to trust and have faith in God. This means you have made the choice to live a Christ-like life giving of oneself without the need to receive material accolades and putting others above yourself.
Which sounds more appealing, dying twice or the chance to being a part of something greater than yourself? The choice is yours, as for me and my family, we choose Christ.
In the Loving Arms of God,
Rob, His servant
What would you do if your house was on fire, your spouse and child are trapped inside and you only have enough time to go in and save one. What do you do? This is the toughest decision that some have had to make. If you were the spouse in the house what would you decide? Nine out of ten would save the child because the love of the spouse in the fire would tell the other to let him/her go.
John 15:13 states, “Greater Love hath no man than he who would give his life for his friends”. There are many ways to look at this passage. The most obvious one is the cryptic way He was letting the Disciples know that He was about to be crucified. But this has many other meanings that we should understand.
This single verse is my life verse which I will explain why shortly. There is more to this passage than just giving of one’s self. Let’s look at the passage this comes from:
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another. John 15:10-17
The Disciples, according to Scripture and tradition were a little confused at first. They were serving Jesus by ensuring all needs were met. To Jesus, these men were the future who would lead others to the faith and follow God’s Word, not man’s perversions of it. These men would be the ones who would live a Christ like life the best they could and be the example to others.
Jesus did not want to be served but helped the Disciples learned what it meant to serve others without the need or desire for recognition or rewards. To this manner and the fact that their relationship grew, Jesus called them friend and brother. God’s Love is at the center of all this as the greatest act of love is sacrifice.
What do we get from this? God’s Love means to be able to sacrifice of yourself in any circumstance that requires it without question or desire for award. It is because of His sacrifice that we go into the darkness of the world and share what we have gained through the Grace, Love, and Mercy of God. We were servants of the world and sin as they had the greatest hold on us, but through Christ we are redeemed.
What is Sacrifice?
Sacrifice is defined by Merriam/Webster as: the destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else; also, the act of offering to a deity something precious. The ultimate sacrifice was God’s giving of His Son as a sacrifice for all mankind. It is the final sacrifice needed for the redemption from sin and death. We all die physically but this death is the death of the soul. Because of the sacrifice we are saved from eternal damnation.
Sacrifice in our present life does not only mean we have to physically die. When we give up something precious to us we are sacrificing the need and desire for that item because someone needs it more. Giving up things that we have in abundance is just sharing of the wealth we are provided. It is not that we have need or will miss it, it is because we have plenty. That is not sacrifice, but sharing.
Sacrifice is giving of the last dollar when we do not get paid for another week. We will do without until we can move forward. Sacrifice is giving up your favorite material thing. Sacrifice is giving of your time for someone else’s needs when you are required to be elsewhere.
Why is This My Life Verse
I am a humble servant of my Lord and Savior Jesus. My life is not my own but belongs to God. When I was in the military, my life was signed over to the defense and protection of the country. This meant that my death certificate was already made just missing the date, time and means of death. Jesus’ death certificate was already complete even before He was born. I became a willing sacrifice in the defense of the land I hold dear. I became a willing sacrifice for the safety and security of my family and friends. I became a willing sacrifice to defend my brothers and sisters in arms even at the cost of my own life.
This has become my way of life. Not desiring or needing anything but working towards the safety, security, and comfort of my family, friends, and strangers. I would give my life for any of you reading this if that is what it took for you to continue living.
What Does This Mean
Are you willing to sacrifice. Our lives are to be a living sacrifice to God. Giving up worldly things to serve only the will of God. Now in this day and age it is difficult to sacrifice everything because of the requirements of life and the ruling body appointed over us. It is possible to live as God desires us to through our acts of kindness, suffering for others, giving of ourselves so that others may succeed. Will you sacrifice everything for your human brother or sister? I know I would.
Blessings to You,
In GOD’S Love, Grace, and Mercy,
Rob, Servant of Father God
Brother, Sister, Husband, Wife, Son, Daughter,
School has begun or is about to begin at all levels of education. It is a time for discernment and understanding right from wrong. It is a time where faith will be tested and temptations will be all around. The elementary schools in some states in America have done all they can to remove all vestiges of Christian thinking and are trying to destroy the country by indoctrinating rebellious thoughts, while some states have boosted Christian thinking and patriotism. Some have boosted security and the presence of role models while others are letting dangerous individuals walk right in.
The good news is that our Christian brothers and sisters have had enough of the attempted indoctrination of our youth by sexual deviants and Islamic religious practices. The process of returning schools back to the roots of public education will take some time but it will take all of us to encourage change. Christian parents, we need to remind all people of Proverbs 22:6 and what Paul stated in Corinthians and Ephesians about raising of children and how we are to act and react around them. The children are our future but if we teach them bad habits and that wrong is right or okay then we are lost.
College students, please do not forget your Christian roots. There will be testing of your beliefs and challenges to your character. Do not give in to the temptations, stay in your studies but most of all, Keep the Word on your heart and in your mind. Remember your words and actions are to be a reflection of God.
Watch the roads. We do have some crazy drivers and some of them drive the school busses with our children on them. Remember, if a bus is stopped....then stop. Do not go around them we lost too many children to senseless, hurried individuals who do not care about the safety of others.
In conclusion, be safe, remember the teachings, show our children right is right and wrong is wrong. Build them up to be examples of Christ to others.
Rob, Servant of God
While looking at the statistics for the website I ran across one of the searches that brought a person to the page. The question had to do with Ecclesiastes 9:17. For more context we have to look at the passage this verse comes from:
I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siege works against it. But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man's wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.
The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good. Ecclesiastes 9:13-18
The Least Can Save A Town
The person who speaks with common sense wisdom when faced with adversity can save many. The small voice who speaks and is barely heard usually has the right idea that moves someone who heard it to take action. In the passage before verse 17 the wise man is a poor person, probably a beggar who sees all the goings on in the city. When the person speaks on how to save the town, it is seen as something that will not work until it is a last resort action.
The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. The man of wisdom speaks in a calm manner that shows Godly wisdom and basic common sense. The ruler who shouts commands is usually one who only cares about personal conquests and uses the blind (not literal) followers who praise the ruler accept his orders as a way to live even though it might cause pain and death. People who need someone to tell them what to do all the time are good for the power hungry leaders.
This sounds way too familiar when looking at society today. There are people in power that shout, are inconsistent with their ways, or are single minded who seek only to make themselves look good. We know it as a political circus. Public speakers who make claims while shouting at the audience can misspeak, misquote, and or really do not know what they are saying and yet people believe every word because the person is well liked. The calm speaker who gives reference to other people, places, things, and other writings are listened to with open ears and eyes.
When discerning what you hear, if your mind is not clouded then you see what is truly common sense. There are people who promise the world even though they know they cannot deliver on their promises. Going back to verse 17 mentioned above, you should ask, “Who is the more foolish, the leader or the followers?”
Clear Thinking Wins the Day
Thinking clearly can defeat an army but one person who is filled with a desire for conquest can destroy a nation. How quickly and easily some people fall for the trappings of a person who rises from being a nobody to power in one way or another only to let it go to his or her head and speaks without properly thinking things through and lying in an attempt to remove another. How often do the thoughtless conquer the masses and lead people down ungodly paths. That has been America for quite some time until recently. We still have people that are trying to destroy America and the world with false teachings and promoting sickness over right nature.
The only way to get ourselves back on track with God is to unseat those in power who have replaced good with evil. Who think more for their own objectives rather than the people who entrusted them with leadership. This goes for all levels of leadership even the smallest.
Brothers and Sisters, is it better to listen to a person who writes many books or stay with the Holy Word of God? Those who write and publish are eventually given into their own way of thinking which is not always God’s way. That is how many false doctrines are created.
Practice prayerful discernment in everything and you will see the quiet wise person speak volumes. Keep the Word on your heart and you will hear right from wrong. Do not follow a yeller, listen to the one who speaks to the good of your heart. I hope that makes clearer the question mentioned above
In God’s loving arms through His Love, Grace, and Mercy,
Rob, Servant of God
What happens when you put your total trust in God. There is a change that takes place inside you that moves the human nature to desire a better outlook focusing on others rather than the self. There is an overwhelming need to ensure that others are taken care of. This is what we were designed for, being caretakers of creation.
For a long time in the ancient world, human nature had a survivalist attitude that ended up in the deaths of others. Vengeance and retaliation were commonplace. The choice of taking another’s life, possessions, and family is not what God wants for us. That shows a lack of concern for the welfare of others and is ultimately a dangerous path for ourselves. Jesus explained this during His Sermon on the Mount.
“You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong. On the contrary, if someone hits you on the right cheek, let him hit you on the left cheek too! If someone wants to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well! And if a soldier forces you to carry his pack for one mile, carry it for two! When someone asks you for something, give it to him; when someone wants to borrow something from you, lend it to him.
“You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Love your neighbor — and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Then you will become children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun shine on good and bad people alike, and he sends rain to the righteous and the unrighteous alike. What reward do you get if you love only those who love you? Why, even tax-collectors do that! And if you are friendly only to your friends, are you doing anything out of the ordinary? Even the Gentiles do that! Therefore, be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:38-48
But I Want to Hit Back
The problem with today’s society is that many of us would be hospitalized if we took the first section literally. We have to understand this from a spiritual point of view as well as physical. This is a different type of a “stand your ground” attitude that is difficult for some to comprehend. The phrase, “take it like a man” comes to mind, or “not stooping to their level”. When someone tries to show superiority through (non-weapon) violence or material demands, they are trying to heal pains of their own (a bully type attitude). There are other ways to heal through love and kindness of heart.
Spiritually this also goes with the words we speak. Words can hurt more than physical altercations. Jesus had talked about what we put into our bodies and comes out of the mouth. What we observe and how we are influenced are not always good, moral, and ethical things. When these influences take us over, we are bound to say hurtful things. We must have good judgement in our speech and not let the world influence our thinking.
How can we move forward as the Body of Christ if the limbs keep falling away due to succumbing to unhealthy and sinful behaviors? Our defense for these influences is found Scripture we speak which comes from the heart where the Holy Spirit guides us. If we use anger and frustration with loud vocals then are we not just as bad as the one who caused us to behave that way? Also, for all generations: Don’t just gather in a circle and watch someone get beat up. Take charge of the situation by getting the one who started it out of the equation or stand in front of the one being bullied. There is greater power in numbers and spirit than a fist.
When confronted, the person obviously thinks he or she needs something of yours more than you. We are not to love material things that are temporary. God will provide you with what you gave in a much better way as long as you trust in His Word, Mercy, and Grace. In all this we are to be examples of God’s Love, Grace, and Mercy by being His light in this world.
I Really Hate This Person
First off we must understand that there are two types of hate. There is rational and irrational hatred. There is the hate that may denote intense hostility, sustained ill will often accompanied by malice. This kind of hate could become a consuming emotion that seeks to bring harm to the object of such hate. The other is a strong dislike but without any intent to bring harm.
Biblically, hate is a descriptive of levels of love. We are to love one another but our love for God should outweigh our selfish desires to put family above God. As followers of Christ we are to First seek the Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). By loving God above all things it is easier to build deeper relationships with family and friends. Jesus tells us to love our enemies but not as much as our family and twice or more less than our love and devotion to God.
Are we allowed to hate? Good question. The Psalmist gives this advice, O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked Psalm 97:10. This verse tells us to dislike circumstances and persons that are or can cause evil things to happen. This dislike is shown in our avoidance of such events or persons. We are told not to make a brother stumble nor be around another who may make you stumble. The more we avoid evil things we persevere and are preserved by God.
Strength From Weakness
Jesus taught this particular lesson to remind us that we should fully trust and depend on God for the provisions for survival and guidance through all situations of life. We show strength and courage through standing firm and our acts of kindness. The stronger person is not always the one who shows force. The stronger person does not react negatively in response to someone else’s negative actions or words. Suffer for just a little while but do not let the person get under your skin. I know it is hard but in the scheme of things, the individual may turn around when he or she sees the goodness of God shining through you. Remember, the choices we make are determining factors in our life after we leave this world.
I know it isn’t easy and our human nature wants to lash out but don’t. Seek the peaceful way of handling things. There may still be stress but there will be relaxing later. In truth, we are spiritual beings just here for a temporary time to learn about life. Choose your battles wisely and do not fall victim to aggravation. That leads to anger and sin when left unchecked.
In God’s Love, Mercy, and Grace,
Rob, Servant of God
There has been something running through my mind for most of the day. This world on which we live, from which we were created, does not belong to us. As long as humanity has walked the earth, we have used the resources created by God to survive all types of weather, attacks, and progress to what we are today. But it still does not belong to us.
Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: . Jeremiah 33:2
Every year we hear about mass shootings, stabbings, bombings, well ok, senseless killing of another human being. When will people figure out that we are all the same. We have the same biology, We are made in two different genders, many ethnicities due to climate, have many languages but we are only one race, the human race. One blueprint, one set of characteristics, one set of values, morals, and ethics.
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, in the likeness of ourselves; and let them rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the animals, and over all the earth, and over every crawling creature that crawls on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
Notice God did not say dominion over each other. Throughout the centuries we have suffered ethnic cleansing, genocide, murdering of another ethnic group because we did not understand them, slavery due to greed (own ethnic group selling one of their own for profit) and ethnic superiority complexes.
So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
Scripture does not stop there with His majesty. We are not the only creatures with living souls.
And to every wild animal, bird in the air and creature crawling on the earth, in which there is a living soul, I am giving as food every kind of green plant.” And that is how it was. Genesis 1:30
We have abused our fellow creations through misunderstanding our place. We are caretakers of this planet and we have failed. There are some who have chosen a path of destruction and that has marred all of us. How are we going to correct this??? We can’t. We honestly do not have the spiritual and physical capacity within us to make the world right. Only God can do that.
God gave us instruction on how to live a good life in harmony with the world and we cannot even get that right. Our nature after the choice to disobey God has been one of an ungrateful child who thought he/she can handle life without the Father’s help. We fail, God saves. God sent His only Son the Embodiment of the Holy Word, the Voice of God, God Incarnate. We call Him Jesus. 2000 years ago He taught the Chosen people how to get back into having a personal relationship with God. Some listened, others denied Him and had Him crucified on the Execution Stake or Roman Cross. His arms spread wide to hold the earth as His blood hit the ground and made creation clean. No human can do that, only God.
This world does not belong to us. It belongs to God who created it. We are here temporarily until our spirits are called home to completely be in union with God in the Kingdom of Heaven. The only way to go to the correct home is to believe in Jesus as Son of God, the Sacrifice given by God to save us from life in darkness, separated from God. We need to follow Christ and try to live a Christ-like life in the best way we can. Will we suffer? Yes. Will it be worth it? Yes.
How can we do the right thing and get others to do the same? That is the hard part. Even though God gave us the tools, some still are afraid to talk to others, to share the Kingdom of God with their small part of the world. Seek God, ask, and He will provide the means to gain the strength and courage to speak loudly about God and the work of Jesus in our lives. God’s Grace has been given freely, don’t waste it.
Brothers and Sisters, pray that we can share the Word to the world so that the Kingdom of God is truly all over the earth. We are the temple, we are the Body of Christ. We can bring the Kingdom so it will be built here.
Love to all through Christ,
Rob, Servant of God Almighty, Creator, Father, Savior, Friend
The Adversary, Satan, Lucifer, Great Deceiver, the Devil; these are just some of the names given to the deliverer of falsehoods that cause many to fall into temptations that lead to sin, become depressed, even suicidal. This spirit whispers suggestive lies that cause people to do evil things and things that are against God’s Creation. Satan’s battles against God uses us as fodder, for we are the victim of his lies.
Oh how he loves to trick us into believing the lies he tells. He has made man pervert the Word of God especially these last 150 years. His agents are everywhere and some do not even realize they are doing wrong.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 5:6
The false doctrines taught by many evangelists teach about living for now and material things are good. These are also the ones that talk mainly works because they have forgotten about the Grace and Mercy of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. But it does not stop with the curving of the Word. The Devil seeks to destroy us from within. He reaches into the heart and deceives the mind.
And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many. Matthew 24:4-5
Lies That Destroy Our Minds
Two things can happen when we are at our lowest and we let our guard down. The first and best thing is that God will lift you up if you have trusted in Him. The second and not so good thing is that Satan will place thoughts in your head that poison the heart making you believe that you are no good to anyone, you are worthless, you cannot be forgiven, and that God cannot help you.
The Devil loves to try and destroy families through temptations, arguments, violent tendencies, addictions, and many other means. God has the defense against all of these and we find it in His Word.
These are just some of the ways that Satan likes to use to trick us into placing our trust elsewhere or just giving up on life. But guess what…he is wrong. We are the children of a God that loves us, protects us, calls us priceless, and forgives us. And we know the end of the story, God wins.
You Are Special
Every one of us is special in God’s eyes. He formed us, has a plan for us, Loves us unquestionably and unconditionally. David knew this and praised God for His Love through creating us with this Psalm:
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. Psalm 139:1-4
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16
Though we might not always feel special, we are. Do not believe the Devil’s lies. We are unique. Our design has God’s DNA written within. We are priceless, saved by Grace, made in His Image. We are…You are Loved!!!
In God’s Loving Arms,
Rob, Servant of God
The messages on the blogs written on this page are within biblical adherence. Though the Scriptures listed in the blogs are directly from the Bible and other related religious writings the explanations and interpretations are in line with Biblical thinking as it relates to today’s world. The use of historical facts are to assist in the validity of the writings. The main writer of this blog site is an Ordained minister in one denomination though the views are related to all denominations so if something is said that does not fall in line with your denominational background, pray for personal discernment and understanding.