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.
Brothers and Sisters the time for renewal is here. Every year we have this wonderful thing called New Year’s Resolutions (NYR). The issue is that many people who make these resolutions do not resolve to actually accomplish them. What is a NYR? Basically, it is a much needed change that stems from events or physical characteristics that happened the previous year. Sometimes the NYRs are not resolved from the previous year and so the person tries again and again. We are such procrastinators when it comes to change that we cannot even begin to understand the changes that must occur in our lives when it comes to Obedience to God.
Change is Good for the Soul
The choices we make in this life really do dictate how we live. Choosing a spouse, a house, having a child, are all very important things. So are other choices we make but the most important choice any believer should be making is how much time we devote to God.
Time is a human condition that dictates many things but it is of no consequence when it comes to devotion to our Creator. Every second of every day actually belongs to Him but we choose how to use it. So many folks rely on a clock that there is no time for relaxing and reflecting and when that does finally happen, thoughts of God do not enter the mind. Instead we look for ways to just vegetate or take our minds off of the day instead of thanking God for how He helped us through it.
What needs to change is less reliance on a clock and more reliance on what we are to do with our lives when it comes to God. Everything we do has some connection to God. Daily chores, eating, working, playing, communicating, spending time with family and friends, these are things that can bring us closer to a relationship with God.
When we recognize and approach the changes necessary to bring us closer to God, we are really searching our soul for what it needs. We are asking our heart what will fill it spiritually while our physical needs, not desires, are also met. Do not resolve to acquire physical things but resolve to make oneself physically and spiritually fit. Making that change will change others' outlook about you and themselves.
Change is Not Easy
There are a few things that we really must approach cautiously yet with tough love. We all know someone who is struggling and trying to find themself. The issue there is that they are seeking for self gratification and use the influence of other people whom they see as having good, happy lives. The problem is most of the influencers are fake and are being influenced to act a certain way by others themselves. These will be the hardest to change because more than likely, God is not on their minds.
This is where tough love comes into play. Life choices can be made that are actually detrimental to the soul. I have seen so many people in pain from the results of either their choices or the choices of someone they love. If the choice made goes against God’s Law then the chances are that life will seem okay on the outside but there's a battle going on in the soul of the person. This causes others to stumble because of their love for the person and the wish not to mentally hurt them even though they are struggling with the mental and spiritual pain themselves.
If you are struggling because you have a loved one who made certain life choices, you can still love the person but do not force change nor be in complete acceptance of the person’s choice. Shower with God’s Love but ensure you differentiate acceptance from this Love. Change can happen.
Be Faithful and Grateful
How often do we take our faith for granted and do whatever we want. When we are that way then we are not faithful nor grateful for all the things that have been done for us. In James we read that faith without works is dead. This is a very true statement because when we have true faith we do good works which help grow our faith even more. If we just say saved by faith alone and continue to sin then we are most ungrateful for everything ever done for us. Both of these require a change but the second more than the first.
When someone does an act of faith and requires accolades then that person is more about the self and does not understand what faith is. When someone relies on faith to make things happen and things remain stagnant, there is no real faith but lip service because God will not assist someone who will not take action for themselves.
Glory is not ours to have. Fame is nonsense and popularity means nothing. We have grown up in a society where certain people need to have attention and to get it they put their whole lives and talents out in the open for everyone to serve praise or ridicule. This is not living nor does it serve a purpose except for a distraction from what really matters.
How does one act on faith? What that means is to be a charitable person. To give more than receive. To create an atmosphere where people feel the Love and Presence of the Father God and see that the person is of good character. That is acting on faith.
What does it mean to be grateful? In everything praise and worship are for the Father God alone. No other creature, person, or man made object can do what God has done or will do in our lives to make living possible. When we pray, give God all the glory for everything about to happen or what has happened depending on morning or evening prayer. Give God thanks for every meal before and after. Pray the prayer that Jesus taught at least once a day. That is being grateful.
Change Is Necessary To Be Faithful Servants
We are in a place right now where the world needs to step back and look at itself and how everyone is treating everyone else. People who fought for awareness and acceptance now desire everyone to change to their ways. This is more dangerous than saying thank you and just go on living. People who I deal with daily know that I understand who and what they are or what they desire to be. They also know that I do not need to be reminded or their way pushed upon me or I will say something they do not want to hear.
We need to change the world one person at a time to be obedient to God’s Law but the biggest change has to be within ourselves.
Brothers and Sisters, I know that I may have offended or made some feel that I am condemning or judging and if that is so then I did not mean to make it sound that way. I am a follower of God and His Law so that is how I must be. I speak truth without the sugar coating. God’s Law is eternal and we are just fleeting moments and pieces of His plan.
Rob, Servant of God
Brothers and Sisters, I have been thinking about things over the last few days and I was directed to seek out information on being a stumbling block. This world is full of stumbling blocks that affect us physically and spiritually. How we deal with these stumbling blocks have an effect on not just our daily lives but our future in the next.
Types of Stumbling Blocks
Stumbling blocks are obstacles that keep us from God and cause trouble in our lives. There are many ways we can stumble. The words and actions of others can cause us to do things that are against our belief systems and cause us to sin. What we let enter our eyes and ears can affect how we react for the rest of the day and sometimes even longer if we let it linger. Sometimes the stumbling block will have eternal consequences.
But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9
The example given in this passage pertained to food sacrificed to an idol but it goes much deeper than that. We all have certain liberties that we take which can be temptations to others. People can inadvertently tempt others in the food they eat, the liquids they drink, the words and way they speak, and the way they present themselves through dress and attitude. Those with weakness of belief can fall even further into sin.
Some stumbling blocks lead to addictions. Tempting someone with something that may make you feel good temporarily does have eternal consequence. Just as in the paragraph above, these can be intentional or unintentional temptations. It is our choice as to whether or not we allow ourselves to be tempted.
Foods can lead a person two ways that involve healthy living. When someone is on a diet they avoid certain foods. If their will is not strong enough to maintain their diet then it could lead to eating the wrong things their bodies need. To avoid this, some will keep to themselves during lunches so it is a bad idea for another person to tempt them with other foods.
Alcohol and drugs bring a person a false sense of happiness and hope. They can make us temporarily forget things, do things, or say things we would not ordinarily do. When someone is healing from an addiction we need to encourage them with kindness and not persuade them to return to the addiction by drinking or such in their presence.
Be careful what comes out of the mouth. Words can hurt. This is nothing new but if a person is recovering from mental abuse it is best not to bring things up that may cause a relapse. Be careful how you speak and let only the good words come out of your mouth.
Modesty is a stumbling block that can cause multiple issues. In many societies of the Middle East, women are covered so that men do not look upon them with lustful eyes. The western culture is more open which stems from ancient Greek and Roman obsession/worship of the human body. The sexual drive and desires of mankind has gotten out of hand. This affects both genders equally. From provocative dress to partial nudity, humans have looked upon the opposite (and sometimes same) sex with immoral sexual desires. This failure has caused many good persons to stumble and fall into sin.
You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:14
One of the most important changes we can make in our lives is to not cause others to stumble.
How can we be good when this world does not like help. People have issues and our sinful nature tells us to egg them on and say nasty things about others current situations. To be a person trying to follow the Commandments of God we cannot let our evil inclinations get the better of us.
Don’t take vengeance on or bear a grudge against any of your people; rather, love your neighbor as yourself; I am Adonai. Leviticus 19:18
Kindness and charity, these are the ways in which God desires us to live. Jesus was a good example for this. Jesus did show anger every once in a while but most of the time it was a teaching point or a way of showing others how their behavior affects others.
But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 2:8
Do as I say not as I do is the mantra of many who teach but cannot live as they teach others to do. Great mentors have caused people to stumble. Public figures, celebrity, and social influencers have distorted views of the right way of living but do their best to either influence others not to be like them or to worship them. When God is not in the forefront of a public figure’s life, people will stumble if they cannot discern right from wrong.
And it will be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.” Isaiah 57:14
Living for God is the best way to build the Kingdom. If we live for God daily then we will influence the world to believe in God. This means making right choices and following God’s Word given to us through Adam and Noah. This means following the examples of Jesus and the twelve. We are to be able to discern right from wrong using the basic tenets and guidelines within the Law of God. If we can conduct ourselves in the way we are designed and created to do, we can create a life of harmony where we do not stumble or cause others to stumble as well.
Brothers and Sisters, with a new year approaching let us reflect on the good things and not repeat the bad of this or previous years. Hold yourself to God’s standard of living because only His is eternal. Live, work, do as you are designed. Care for the world and it will care for you. This is the way to reflect and rever God so we can return to a relationship with Him and be His inheritance.
In His Arms,
Rob, Servant of God
Victory Over Assimilation
During this Advent season there are many things to be praised and hoped for. We seek Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. The first Children of the Book have an eight day celebration that reminds people to be lights, not to give in and to thank God for His presence. I am speaking of the Festival of Chanukah.
What is the Jewish Festival of Chanukah? To the common person the celebration is similar to Christmas because of the gifts but there’s more. At first look, it is a Festival of Victory over the Syrians. The further we reach into what it is, we find that it isn’t about candles, presents and food, there is a deeper spiritual/miraculous meaning.
A Nation Devoted to God
After the Second Temple had been started and the people returned to God after the Babylonian exile, there was a sense of national pride and faithfulness almost equal to the time of David. Yes they had issues but they were in touch with God. The nation was still gaining strength when Syria decided that Jerusalem was not going to rise again. This was a period where God did not need to send prophets because the people lived for God.
What do you do when an invading force tells you that you will worship other gods than the one that you have been faithful to? You either assimilate or fight. This was a common occurrence and still happens to this day where people want others to assimilate to their beliefs or desires after gaining even just a smidge of acceptance by a few.
Over 2000 years ago, Judea had that problem when the Syrian king Antiochus ordered the abandonment of the Torah and openly worship the Greek deities. They had dealt with the kings of Babylon and Persia and were saved from genocide thanks to Esther and now the Syrians took a shot. They solidified this by desecrating the temple.
When they desecrated the temple, the Syrian army also spilt the sacred oils used to light the menorah and lampstands. The Syrians offended the Jewish nation in many ways and showed their displeasure by having little skirmishes here and there. The little battles raised a desire for removal of those who would destroy their ways. So what did they do? The Jews came together under God to defeat the Syrian king.
The Maccabean Rebellion
A small army of Jews gathered everything they had, prayed and began fighting against their Syrian occupiers. The rebellion was led by Judas Macabeus which culminated in the cleansing and rededicating the Temple. When the priests were going through the destruction they found one small bottle of consecrated oil which was just enough for one day of fuel.
The cleansing and rededication lasted eight days. This was a time of great rejoicing and confirmed many a faith and trust in God. Because of the great outpouring, the Jews experienced the miracle of the oil lasting all eight days.
The Meaning of Chanukah
The word means to rededicate but there is more to this celebration. The overarching message is light over darkness, miracles over morass, and faith over fatalism. Not only did they rededicate the temple, they rededicated their lives to God. They established victory over assimilation which had been a sore of their history when men and women had turned to idolatry and pagan gods in the past and left the One True God. Judas Maccabeus was called a messiah due to his leadership and victory but they did not idolize him over fear of God.
The period of Chanukah is a time for rededication and celebrating victory of the national pride which has flourished over the centuries. Something to notice, many civilizations have come and gone but the people of Israel still exist. They might join a society in certain aspects, some have not followed the Torah but still believe, some have accepted Jesus, but the people still identify as a people. They are not alone in this but many other cultures have forgone their ways or have assimilated completely into other societies.
What can we learn from this?
Christianity is a melting pot of assimilated belief systems and people. There are three major religious groups in the world with Christianity being the most diverse in core beliefs. Unfortunately our melting pot means that we have different thoughts, ideas, traditions, and Doctrines which are followed. This makes it easy for the Adversary to take advantage of the confusion.
We are in the process of being assimilated into a society without God. A society which has chosen to disobey and destroy the Ten Commandments. A society which will be destroyed unless we return it to God.
Many influential people have been corrupted by the world and are taking Christians with them. The ones who are weakest in their faith are the ones that have given in and are part of the world. They are given into perversions and evil inclinations. Those that continually search for answers are the easiest swayed.
Christians need to stop searching for answers and discern their faith clearly and concisely so there are no questions. We need to stop perverting Scripture to meet our needs and instead meet the needs of Scripture. We also need to understand the difference between God’s Word (Scripture) and Man’s interpretations and teachings that have become Scripture. This world will pass away but God’s Word (written and spoken) is eternal. The only way to come together as one in peace is to break the differences, learn the truth of the original texts, and come to one accord if Christianity is going to survive.
There is hope in this world but where is it found? There is joy in this world, just look into a child’s eyes. There is peace but we have to have war to attain it. There is love but we have to make sure it is of God and not how the world defines it. Enjoy the rest of the holiday season for what it is meant for, not materialism but relational.
May God’s Glory shine through you,
Rob, Servant of God
Here we are in the Second Week of Advent. What is your Hope in this world and where do you believe it will come from? Some put their hope in science, others put their hope in leaders and earthly authorities. Some place their hope in their dreams while others have no hope at all. There is only one true place that our hope needs to be, with God.
What is hope? Hope is an expectation, an anticipation of things to come. Hope is a desire for fulfillment. Hope is where we place our trust. We trust that people will do the right thing when it comes to making people feel better. We hope the new medications will remove what ails us so we trust the doctors to give the right amount necessary. We hope the authorities over us will make right and good decisions so our lives are not given to poverty. We trust those decisions will heal a nation and not destroy it.
All those hopes are good for our short time on earth and we hope that future generations learn from our success, failures, and mistakes. If we have no hope for the future then we are destined to destroy now. If we have no hope in a higher power we have nothing to look forward to in our own lives. Why do we hope for things without being god centered?
Trusting Science for Healing
We are in a time of pestilence. Many look towards the doctors and scientists to heal us, find a vaccine, or maybe even a cure. For decades, man has successfully found ways of tricking the body into making white blood cells attack viruses and other diseases. Some have been eradicated while others find ways of mutating and returning. Some lay dormant for decades only to return. They put chemicals into our bodies that seem to work with little to no side effects and eventually say that the disease is cured. But they cannot cure the common cold or the flu. Their hope was in science and seemingly left God out of the equation. Without God, there is no hope no matter good the scientists are.
Trusting in Earthly Authority
We are told that God places those whom He deems worthy or whom is necessary for us to learn and return to Him. We are heading towards the end of the current age of man and we have done poorly through placing our hope and trust in everything but God. We have become too comfortable in our lives and some have chosen lifestyles that are against the natural order and procreation purposes God has set up since our creation. We need to change.
The United States and a few other countries are able to vote as to who they want leading them. Some countries have active monarchies that have existed since before the Middle Ages, while other countries are run by dictators who are so power hungry that they forget everyone else. If you look at the past, God has awarded and punished nations for living right or being disobedient through the evil inclinations of the leaders. Some of those nations survive while others get completely wiped off the map. Their hope was in the worldly things.
Trusting in Inanimate Objects and Celebrity
Unfortunately idolatry is alive and well today. People hope they can have enough money to survive and are not the self-sufficient person that God designed. We are able to do things but without God we are nothing. Some have replaced God with man made objects or even other people that they hope will make their lives better. Instead they become lost, disoriented, destitute, and unwilling to see the Hope for the future that is in belief in God the Father.
There are folks who make these objects and people desirable for their own greed and care nothing for those who end up worshiping them. The celebrity is just another person but with talents that are being used and abused. Some are so obsessed with the need for approval that they lose themselves and turn to abusive and destructive substances and emotions. Maybe they were considered role models at one time but eventually they fall. God tells us not to boast of one’s talents and one’s sins for they will be our undoing. When people see role models fall, some ignore them, some try to pick them up, and some unfortunately choose the same path. These are the dangers we face when we idolize a person.
There is Hope For A Great Future
When God is at the forefront of our hopes and desires we are in great shape. Placing our trust in God means that our hope relies on the many possibilities that God can guide us through. Our hope gives us the courage to make the right choices even though some may seem wrong at the time. God uses bad choices to teach us how to make good ones and help those who are in need so that they may help others. Our hope in God shows HIs Mercy and Grace upon us when we are sick, hungry, healthy, or full. With our hope placed in God’s Hands we can make it through anything.
We hope for a Messiah to come and lead us into the next era of our existence. We might not see it while we are on this earth but if we keep hope alive He will come.
Brothers and Sisters, keep hope alive through keeping God’s Word in your heart and sharing it with others. This season do not worry but keep yourselves healthy through doing the right things. Remember, your body is God’s Temple. Do not abuse it or believe in some miracle cure all, only God can cure, only God can Save.
In His 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.