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.
Happy Day to all,
Here it is the end of 2019 and beginning 2020. This coming year we should focus on a clearer vision of the Kingdom of God. To enjoy God's Kingdom we should look back into what our original purpose is for being created and living here on this planet. In Genesis 1:26, we are told to be fruitful, multiply and populate the earth. Scripture also tells us that we are created in His image which is our character, values, morals, and ethics. When Adam was created, he was given the task of caretaker of the earth. It is from this charge that we should emulate our lives. How do we accomplish this in the time we currently live.
This coming year marks the end of the decade. 2020 should be a year of clarity as to how we can be in the world but not of the world. Granted, there are things we need for basic survival that are made by man but there are also things we can do without. So how can we finish this decade and fully immerse the world into God's Kingdom?
Heart of Worship
The very first thing is returning to the heart of what worship truly is. Worship is about God and what He has done in our lives. Mainstream churches give announcements then a 1/2 hour of music with tithing somewhere in the mix then a 20-25 minute message, a closing song and done. Mixed in the music there might even be a prayer.
One issue I have with certain churches is the songs that are chosen do not always have the correct elements of worship and praise unless they are contemporary versions of hymns or faithfully written songs that contain (not just elude to) elements of Scripture. Without the recognition of God's Word, where is the music worship. Worship and praise is more than music. It is the reading of the Word from both Old and New Testaments. Worship is reading, praying, or singing a Psalm. Worship is prayer, both individual and corporate.
We cannot be in the heart of worship without the truth of Scripture. Our attention needs to focus on God, understanding His Word and the impact on our lives. Yes, some of the music that is produced by Contemporary Christian Artists is pretty good and tells a story. If you go to a church and the praise and worship team does not (at least) change singers every couple of weeks, then it is a performance and if the heart is not there, it is just noise.
Campus or Building of Worship
Why are some Christian gathering places called campuses? When I hear campus I think of school not a place of worship. In a church campus there are so many classrooms, meeting centers, child care facilities in a place of worship that the actual Sanctuary almost plays second fiddle to the rest of the structure. So many walls makes a person closed in and feel that they can only talk to the Christians that they know from the gathering and the class that they are told they need to be in. Yes it is great to have a group to belong to, I fully agree, but some "campuses" I have been to do not allow for work outside the confines of the grounds.
The gathering of Christians is also not to be just Sundays and Wednesdays. Christians should gather together wherever and whenever they can. And it doesn't always have to be with the same group. Yes having an accountability group is great and advisable but it doesn't mean that these are the only ones to associate with.
Remove Thyself From Distractions
The Adversary, Satan, Devil, Lucifer, or whatever name given loves to get Christians away from God focus. In this day and age there are so many avenues for distractions that there is little time for anything else, even family.
Part of the solution involves removing ourselves from the dangers of overloaded digital technology. There are so many digital distractions out there from television, radio,cell phones, streaming services, social media, games, and many other temptations that family time is spent literally texting instead of talking. Put the phone away during meals, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and others can wait.
Get Back to Basics
Simply this, go outside and smell the roses. Take a walk and enjoy God's creation. If you see something that needs and can be fixed, take on that mission if you can. Talk to people do not stay silent. Actions do speak volumes so be kind to one another. Plant a garden, encourage playing outside (but not in the streets), have a picnic, better yet have a block or building party. We are relational people, let's be relational in everything we do.
Do not get stuck behind 4 walls. Worship God in the open sharing His work in your life with others. Remember, Jesus and the Apostles did not always speak the good news inside.
Brothers and Sisters, this coming year will end the second decade of the 21st century. Let's make it a good one by sharing and expanding the Kingdom of God here on earth.
Rob, Servant of God
This is the day that we celebrate the Lord Jesus Christ's Birth. One of the traditions we have in our household is that the decoration that represents the child is not placed outside in the stable until Christmas morning. With our children grown and mostly out of the house (our youngest (21) is with us on Christmas break) the house is quiet. The house is still decorated but not as much, however the spirit of the season never leaves us.
Though times change and people grow up, God remains.
Merry Christmas Everyone.
PEACE, what a beautiful word and the dream of all good men and women. We have this idea of living in a world where everybody gets along with one another with no more war, hunger, and no more pain. Because we are human, our nature goes against this idea and we fight every day to attain it in vain. But there is good news! The peace we are searching for can be found in the Spirit and the Love of God.
People in the ancient times knew of this inner peace where our spirits find rest. This inner peace is the product of the inner joy we receive from God when we accept His Love and follow His Word. Somewhere along the line we lost the truth of peace and made it a human dream where there is no more violence in the world. Without understanding the peace inside us we cannot have peace among us.
When we receive the joy of the Spirit there is a unique thing that happens in us. We become prone to suffering that feels more intense than ever before but that is God working in us to defeat the sin inside us. Jesus died for our sins but that does not mean we are no longer sinful. We must fight away the temptations that the devil places in front of us. But we can only do that through faith in God above for He is the one who saves us.
God gave us the Word in order to try to live a life of peace. To live in peace with others we need to find the peace within us. Abraham knew of this peace but he had to be tested. Isaac found peace but it was lost in Jacob and Esau. The twins found peace but somewhere along the line it was lost again.
We are in a time where our faith is tested daily and the life and temptations of man are more than many can bear. Inner peace is found through drug induced hallucinations that last only a short time. There cannot be human peace until we have peace within ourselves. To do that we must spread the Word of God and show His Love to all mankind.
Scripture tells us:
“In the highest heaven, glory to God!
And on earth, peace among people of good will!” Luke 2:14 (CJB)
Man tells us however that the angel sang this:
Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace and good will to all men.
What???? This was changed by man to make people believe that all they had to do is believe and they will be saved from death. This, we know is wrong. Just believing does nothing. Our lives must be turned towards God and His Will in us.
The messengers spoke of inner peace to the people who are doing the right thing so that the suffering of the world would not affect them as much as the rest. Our souls are at ease when we are at peace with things of this world. When this happens: the little things no longer bother us; we do not care about another person's view of us; and we fully trust in the Lord our God, Father, Creator, to guide us and take care of us.
Brothers and Sisters, this Christmas season is very important. We must share the good will of God with others so they too can receive the inner peace. God wants us all to come home so we must build the Kingdom here on earth. Share the Joy, Love, Hope, and Peace of God with others throughout the year and the years to come. We celebrate His birth in a few days. Let this celebration bring God into the lives of many.
In His Hands,
Rob, Servant of God
How do we find joy in the mysterious unknown. Mary was a young girl between 14 and 16 when she was visited by Gabriel and told that she would be with child through the Holy Spirit. She was betrothed at a very young age and she and Joseph still had months before the marriage process was complete. Because of her youth she was not tainted by man.
Scripture tells us that Mary accepted Gabriel’s announcement and the responsibility that had come with it, even though it would mean being ridiculed and possibly stone. She hoped that Joseph would accept this as well but he was tainted and could not just accept (at first) that Mary was chosen by God. Mary :
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1: 46-55
Mary chose to give up every bit of her normal human existence. She became a mother at a very young age but because of the inner joy that was implanted in her entire being, we get the impression that her devotion to God overruled everything else. It is this joy that takes us into the mysterious unknown that bothers so many who do not understand why fully devoted followers of God are as active and at the same time seem so distant in and from the world.
How beautiful it must have been for her to literally have God working inside her. When she opens up with her soul magnifying the Lord she is saying that the Holy Spirit within is working in ways that the Jews of the time would not understand. Certain practices use this as saying that she has an equal place with God but that is completely wrong. Her soul was in tune with the Word because she was filled with the Word and was in a place of complete joy and peace. She knew of God’s Plan for the time through the sacrifice which would return the Word back to God. God was not silent during Jesus time on earth. We see through the New Testament that He was at work daily.
This part of the Gospel shares how the Word was working within her. Mary shares God’s Power in the Scriptures showing how He works in the hearts of man, both believers and unbelievers. It is not fully known if this was passed down to the exact wording or God spoke these words to Paul since Luke was the scribe for him. But this section gives Christians a deeper sense of the strength, joy, and peace, within us as God works in our lives.
Brothers and Sisters, take heart in the Word and Keep it on your heart. The Word was firmly planted on Mary and provided the example for a fully devoted heart for God. We cannot experience the same as she did but we can come close. Find that inner joy and it will bring the inner peace that comes with knowing God.
In His Loving Arms,
Rob, Servant of God
The crazy thing about being a Christian is that words mean a different thing to us.When some speak of joy they are talking about excitement or an outpouring of elated happy emotions that brings a smile to all around. For us, joy is completely different yet almost exactly the same. Joy is the feeling in our hearts that we receive when we invite God in and accept His power in and over us. This inner joy helps us get through the toughest times. This means we can accept the things that happen around us and can discern what is in God's plan or perverted by Satan. We can see the dangers ahead because of the inner peace that joy brings.
Some folks have a problem with this because when we are in times of suffering we accept our fate. When a loved one is seriously ill we accept it as intervention and something good will come from it. Losing a loved one is hard to accept but if the suffering had grown the faith of the person and all those around, then there is joy at the end of the pain.
Brothers and Sisters pray for my family while my dad is going through chemo. My sister and step mother are at wits end as caretakers and I will be up with him in January to restructure the house and take over some of the care. Dad is suffering but has accepted what is happening. Help us in prayer through building up our inner joy and peace.
In God's Embrace,
Rob, Servant of God
The Internet is the information highway that has many functions. It is a place to share your life with family that is not living near you and a way to reconnect. Email is a faster way of getting out news to the people who need to know. It is a way to save trees by paying bills, sending letters, cards, research, and sharing vacation photos. A way for those who cannot leave the home to order necessary items. With all the good the Internet brings it also allows for sinfulness and evil purposes. The internet has caused more people to allow sin into their lives, to “be someone they are not” (that is a lie) in real life. Herein lies the problem. The WWW is the best tool for Satan to entrap us and keep us from God.
The Internet is the place where we are inundated with distractions. Yes it is a place for catching up on the latest news about Aunt Betty’s ulcer but at the same time it keeps us from spending time with the people we love physically. There are more times where we have some kind of electronic device in hand either playing a game or being on social media than physically communicating or having family time.
These distractions, if not monitored or intentionally given a period of time can take time away from the more important things in life. They cause you to procrastinate or ignore things that you promised yourself or someone else that you would take care of. Worst of all, these distractions keep you from your personal time with God.
Big Brother IS Watching
Everything you say and do on the internet is saved somewhere. The servers hold information and even when they get full and are purged, the information still exists. Be careful what you do because people hack into other’s lives all the time. We are watched, heard, invaded. Thing is, some of us have welcomed it with open arms. The internet has been known to destroy and save lives.
The Internet Encourages Sinful Behaviors
Social Media is the best place (outside of a library or wisdom from elders) to learn about things that you may need to know to survive. But Social Media, Dating Sites, and other things encourage people to do things they believe that they can get away with and not have consequence. Even the most secure and closely monitored sites are not really as secure as they seem. What you do on the web stays on the web for anyone to see.
Just because you are not physically standing or on the phone speaking to another does not mean you can say hurtful things and not suffer the consequence. Shaming another is being judgmental which is a sin. When you play with someone’s emotions through trolling our outright degrading someone you cause the person harm. Did not Jesus warn us about these things. The internet is a way to voice what we are thinking while believing there will be no ramifications. In other words, the "being someone they are not", is the exact opposite because the faceless internet allows people to show their true colors. Thinking and speaking on the internet through the written word is more dangerous than physical speech.
Social Media personalities have to have a strong will and be able to move forward no matter what. They open themselves up to ridicule because their personal lives are open for everyone to see. Scripture tells us not to let every soul into our lives so that we do not open ourselves up to these things. Thing is, some people thrive on the attention and desire to be loved by all. This is Satan causing us to idolize and worship the physical and tearing us away from God. Personally, I do not care who is dating who, who is divorcing, who wants to show their body to the world. I do not need to know those things because I am not in their circle of close relations. Nor should anyone else care but those who are physically part of their lives.
Trolling causes confusion and anger. People hide behind the mask of the human word to get others riled up. Trolling is hateful speech that can cause much dis-heartedness and others to lash out in anger. Brothers and Sisters this is a bad way to be on the net. Some do it just to cause conversation and arguments. Some of these have turned into unintentional violent behaviors. Remember, words hurt more than any physical weapon. If you find yourself in a situation with a troll, stop and move away from the conversation. If it persists, delete yourself from it and move on.
The Internet is a window to the Seven Deadly Sins. Well, honestly it is a window to all sin but the Seven Deadly are more pronounced. Never before has temptation been more readily available and enticing than on the net. Immoral behaviors of all types are readily available to watch and become a participant in which have rippling effects that lead to suffering consequences physically and mentally. If you see yourself moving that way, stop.
Do not open up yourself on the internet to cause others to say hurtful things. Jesus had told us that even the thought of saying something hurtful is just like committing the physical sin of murder. Keep certain thoughts and things to only those who are close and will be compassionate, and do not encourage another’s sinfulness. If you are hurting, only inform those whom you believe will be compassionate to your pain. Our lives should be open books but not open to the world.
It doesn’t matter how many friends you have on Social Media, how many likes you receive, or how many followers you have. God will bring those who truly need to hear what you have to say to it. It is okay to share accomplishments but do not seek and depend on accolades to make yourself feel good about what you have done.
The Internet Can Be Used For Good
To get God’s Word out to those who need it but have no access to Bibles, pastors, or missionaries, the internet is a great tool. In fact that what Path-Way was originally about. We have reached well over 80 countries and have been the mustard seed, water, and or fertilizer to help others grow in the faith.
My dad is going through some real rough times and I depend on the internet to see how he is doing since I am hundreds of miles away. We use video chat to see our family and friends who are away and to give assistance through talking someone through an activity while seeing what they are doing. For example, helping your college student cook, prep, or repair something. Or just seeing them and talking face to face through a screen. By the way, prayers please for my dad, he has cancer that is lymphatic and has started chemo.
I have heard of face-time and video chat saving someone from suicide, talking someone out of committing crimes and other sinful acts. Using the Internet can save lives and souls.
Brothers and Sisters, this man made tool can be used for good and evil purposes. We must be vigilant and tread carefully on how we use it. I personally do like a good distractible game sometimes but I do not stay on it for long because my number one priority is time with God and family.
Please do not let electronic media control you and take over your relationships with others. Interact with others face to face as often as possible. Live and share life with those you love and who God puts into your life. Reach out, spread the good news of the Gospel, show God’s work in your life.
In God’s Loving Embrace,
Rob, Servant of God
This Sunday has two differing views. Some Traditions say this is the Advent of Peace, others say Love. If we put the two together we get FAITH. So today let us look at the faith of Joseph. Scripture tells us that Joseph was troubled when the angel Gabriel announced to Joseph that Mary is with child and He will be called Jesus, Yeshua, Emmanuel, God With Us, Prince of Peace. What a heavy burden to bear that his wife to whom he just was betrothed (modern engaged) to. He was working on the home where they would live which was an extension of his old home to make more room when Gabriel came to him in a dream. Joseph was not ready for this. He had to work on his faith.
Faith is Having Trust in God
Joseph’s faith was put to the test. His young bride would be nearing childbirth even before the marriage ceremony would take place. What could he do? Divorce her, hide her away, could he speed up the process of marriage since he already had a home and a business? Mary was ok with the Will of God using her but to Joseph, their reputation was on the line. Mary would be ousted from the community or possibly stoned. But God soothed the thoughts of the man who would be raising His Son.
Gabriel came to Joseph and told him not to fear and to trust God because He will take care of all things. Joseph was still worried about others in the community to include his own family. But after a while Joseph came to realize that God has a plan and he must do as God says. He changed his trust from those around him to listening and trusting solely in God.
Faith Moves Mountains
Because of the situation, Mary went to see her cousin Elizabeth who was with child. The Gospel tells us that John leapt (or moved vigorously) in the womb when Mary approached Elizabeth. How did he know? The simple answer is that since they were gifts of the Holy Spirit they recognized each other. But science could say this. The child developing in the womb feels what the mother is feeling and the eternal joy and inner peace that Elizabeth had went into overdrive and the very presence of Mary. The messenger told Elizabeth that Mary was also with child and He is the Messiah.
Joseph, in the mean-time, was still struggling with what to do. He had already sent Mary away but what happens when she returns? He still was not in full with God’s plan but his faith was moving. Judea was under Roman rule and a census was decreed where all Jewish men had to go to the towns of their forefathers. Joseph married Mary. The Baby was near due so He took her to Bethlehem.
We trust in God that He will take care of things. As mountains actually do move slowly we must have patience and wait for God’s timing. As our faith grows, mountains are moved because God’s Will is active in our lives. Joseph put his full trust in God since the angel Gabriel came and soothed all his worries. He trusted God more than ever and did as God had told him.
Faith is Full Devotion to God
Joseph surrendered fully to God and followed His Will. Finding a place in Bethlehem at the time was not easy and I am sure a little frustrating but God moves people in mysterious ways. We are told that the Baby was ready to be born so a place had to be found quickly. In their frustration they still trusted God and were set up in a stable. The devotion of Mary and eventually Joseph brought them to the place where it was preordained that Jesus would come into the world. The Word has come to Bethlehem. Praise Be to God.
In God’s Loving Embrace,
Rob, Servant of God
Having Hope is a wonderful thing. To hope is to trust in, wait for, look for, to desire or expect something that is beneficial for the future. This first Sunday in Advent we are to remember the hope of the prophets and the people Israel. We also wait for the return of God’s Son, Jesus, who will renew the earth and remove sin once and for all. Let us begin this day by examining what it is to hope.
Trust and Obey
Hope is to trust in the fact that God will be, and is present in times of trouble. We trust that our hope will bring peace to the internal strife that complicates our communion with God. Trust in God means that we are reliant on Him in times of trouble that He will deliver us. We trust in God for provisions. Trust in God is giving up all things to Him so that through Him we can live a life free from the worries of this world. It is up to us to believe that God will be there. It is this belief that helps us make it through the day and all situations it may bring. When you fully rely on God wonderful things happen. To trust in God is to have faith in Him alone.
Our trust in Him is proven through our obedience to His Word. We have the most difficult time with this because of our sinful nature. To conquer our sinfulness, God gave us rules and guidelines to follow. The Commandments He has for us are not attainable because if we break one, we break all. Knowing this, God sent His Son to us as a sacrifice who took away the penalty of death for our sinful nature.
When we trust and obey we receive a joy and peace that is truly well beyond our human comprehension. Where do you put your trust?
Wait For God
Scripture encourages us to wait for God with Hope and an expectant heart. When we are in trouble we wait for God to turn things around to our favor. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD (Psalm 27:14). We are also told to wait patiently, I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry (Psalm 40:1). Psalm 130:5 encourages with these words, “I wait for the LORD, my whole waits, and in His Word I put my hope”. Waiting for God may seem daunting at times when you really desire something immediately but remember, we are on His time, not ours.
Look For Him
We are to seek Him with patient endurance. As we wait on God we are to persevere in everything we do for His Glory no matter the earthly consequence. By this we are to be in total obedience to His Great Commission and seek Him in the lives of others as well as our own lives. Funny thing is, we really do not have to look further than the nose on our face. If we search inside ourselves, God is there. Our problem is that we look in the mirror and see our vanity and conceit more than we see His Glorious work that is ourselves.
How simple it is to see God’s handiwork in all of creation. We just have to open our hearts and minds to literally smell, hear, see, and taste our Father’s work all around us. When seeking answers and seeking God we only need to ask Him to open our heart and turn on the light.
The non-Christian may see that word and think we are talking either in a sensual manner or other physical means. To desire God is to need His Love and light in our lives. We have no desire for riches, fame, or any material thing that takes our mind off of communion with God. We should not desire the things that distract us, that is what Satan wants us to do. To desire God is to keep His Word in our heart and let it control our thoughts and actions.
If we turn from the Word we turn from God and risk being lost to Satan which means our lives (both physical and spiritual) are forfeit. Desiring, idolizing, wanting to be something you are not designed to be are ways that Satan keeps us from our true desire which is eternal life with God.
Our Hope Is In Christ
God sent His Son to share the Word and correct us in our thoughts and ways. He turned many back to God who had been lost to the desires and needs of the world. The Israelites were looking for a leader who would conquer the world. What they did not know was how the Messiah would actually accomplish this. He came, corrected many, returned many, turned many, suffered ridicule, mocked, accused of blasphemy, whipped, beat, and died as the ultimate sacrifice. Because of God desiring communion with us, He gave up His most precious gift in the form of a man to die for our salvation. God saved us.
Jesus will return. The children of the Book know this. The hope is that He either comes in our life time or at least within a time frame when our children’s children have full knowledge and share our hope in Him. We wait expectantly for His return with an anticipation that is slower than Heinz Ketchup. If we speed up our anticipation we will suffer disappointment. Remember, be prepared because He Himself said that He would return as a thief in the night. We have to expect the unexpected. Have hope in God which moves with Him.
Brothers and Sisters, this holiday season is filled with tough and trying times. We really do not know which way this world will turn from one second to the next. We must turn away from the troubles of this world and place all our hope in God. In Him we can accomplish anything that He desires us to do. Without Him we fall. What will you do to share this hope with your fellow man?
Hoping in the Lord our God,
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.