“MY DAILY WALK” VOLUME III

 

My Daily Walk book cover, Vol III

December 31st      

Read yesterday’s devotion

THE INNER ENEMY – THE FLESH

The Bible tells us that we are born with a sinful nature, and that this tendency to do what is wrong will be an active force in our lives until we die. It is commonly called the “flesh” in the New Testament. Paul refers to it as “the sin that dwelleth in me.” What are the works of the flesh? They are listed in Galatians 5:19-21.

How can we win the battle against the flesh? You cannot overcome this enemy by being religious, or by some feeling. But, let’s see how we can overcome – read Romans 13:12-14. What is the armor of light? THE WORD OF GOD! To overcome “the flesh” put on the right armor – the Word of God.

THE OUTWARD & INWARD ENEMY

Satan is a clever foe. His tactics are deceitful, and he delights in setting snares for the unlearned and unsuspecting. Babies in Christ who have not yet put on God’s armor are his prime targets. You will never have trouble with the devil until you have victory over the world, and the flesh. What then is the right armor for dealing with the devil?  In Ephesians 6:11 it is God Himself! And John 4:4, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Daily Assignments

Read Esther 7-11, Proverbs 31.

Write out the works of the flesh as given in Galatians 5:19-21. Also, please take an hour or so and pray about what God would have you do or change in the coming year. None of us can boast of what we will accomplish, because we may never live to see another completed year. Let’s make our main focus The Lord Jesus Christ and trust Him to order our steps next year. Spend time meditating on God’s goodness to you throughout the year. How has He been merciful to you? In what ways has He provided for you? Thank Him.

 Complete___

DECEMBER 30th

OUR THREE ENEMIES!

Read 2 Corinthians 10:1-6

To fight a battle, we must know who our enemy is. We have an enemy, actually three enemies, but God provided us armor. Who are these three enemies of the Christian?

THE OUTWARD ENEMY – THE WORLD

In John 17 the world is mentioned some 19 times. Most people would agree that life at its best is a battleground. We live in a world marked by enmity and strife. The world of nature is “opposing and being opposed.” One animal lives by killing another and every creature struggles for survival in a hostile environment. In the business world the competition is so fierce that it is often spoken of as a “jungle.” If you study history you will see that every generation repeats the same story of war and bloodshed, because of hate and animosity. Jesus warned us that we would be hated by this world:

John 15:19, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

What do we mean when we say that the world is our enemy? It is not the created world:

Psalm 19:1-2,”The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.”

It is not the people of the world: God loves people. But, it is the godless world system that is our spiritual enemy. It is a system of thought and conducts which does not give God His rightful place. However, God has given us the right kind of armor for each enemy.

2 Corinthians 6:6-7, “By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.  By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.” Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 32-24, Proverbs 28, Complete___

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant

December 31st      

Read yesterday’s devotion

THE INNER ENEMY – THE FLESH

The Bible tells us that we are born with a sinful nature, and that this tendency to do what is wrong will be an active force in our lives until we die. It is commonly called the “flesh” in the New Testament. Paul refers to it as “the sin that dwelleth in me.” What are the works of the flesh? They are listed in Galatians 5:19-21.

How can we win the battle against the flesh? You cannot overcome this enemy by being religious, or by some feeling. But, let’s see how we can overcome – read Romans 13:12-14. What is the armor of light? THE WORD OF GOD! To overcome “the flesh” put on the right armor – the Word of God.

THE OUTWARD & INWARD ENEMY

Satan is a clever foe. His tactics are deceitful, and he delights in setting snares for the unlearned and unsuspecting. Babies in Christ who have not yet put on God’s armor are his prime targets. You will never have trouble with the devil until you have victory over the world, and the flesh. What then is the right armor for dealing with the devil?  In Ephesians 6:11 it is God Himself! And John 4:4, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Daily Assignments

Read Esther 7-11, Proverbs 31.

Write out the works of the flesh as given in Galatians 5:19-21. Also, please take an hour or so and pray about what God would have you do or change in the coming year. None of us can boast of what we will accomplish, because we may never live to see another completed year. Let’s make our main focus The Lord Jesus Christ and trust Him to order our steps next year. Spend time meditating on God’s goodness to you throughout the year. How has He been merciful to you? In what ways has He provided for you? Thank Him.

 Complete___

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 26th

Suffering the Reproach with Christ!

Read Hebrews 13:9-16, Leviticus 4:1-12

This is truly a picture to be seen and worth a thousand words. These Hebrew children lost their temple, priesthood and sacrifices only to gain Christ, which is far greater. You will recall that Christ rejected the temple and called it a den of thieves (Mathew 21:13). He also rejected Jerusalem because He was crucified outside the gate (John 19:20). This tells us that Hebrews was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D, because Jesus was outside the camp. Here we see the comparison of the Old Testament sacrifices made by the priests with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, since both suffered outside the camp.

Leviticus 16:27, “And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung.” Read Leviticus 4:12, 21. The Hebrews were being tempted to go back to their old sacrifices and ritualism of Judaism, but, Paul gives an adamant “no” and tells them to go without the camp and suffer the reproach with Christ.

Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 13:13, Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. This is a wonderful message to us: as we go “within the veil,” we have fellowship with Christ Himself. And as we go “without the camp” we become witnesses for Christ.

Here is an important lesson for us: As the Old Testament Christians gave their sacrifices, so too must we offer our spiritual sacrifices for Jesus. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Song of Solomon 7-8, Proverbs 26. Write down everything you can remember from the Sunday night sermon. Complete___

December 27th

Review yesterday’s devotion

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Not the bloody offerings they offered such as the blood of lambs and bullocks, but those that are the offerings of the heart, such as the sacrifices of prayer and praise.  Look at verse 15. These sacrifices were not designed to make peace or friendship with God, but to preserve it.

Burnt offerings, sin offerings, and trespass offerings, were all on account of sin, and were designed to remove or cover the transgression. But their peace offerings were regarded as friendship with God, and the oblation was a sign of a thankful confession for blessings in the past.

Now, here is a thought: I believe they gave these offerings so that future blessings, favors and friendship with God can be assured. It also tells us that our praise is such a sacrifice to assure blessings, favor and friendship with God. Wow!

Read Leviticus 4:1-12. The blood is all about the Blood of Christ. Only Jesus has this blood, so we ought never to quit preaching or talking about it. The fat pictures prosperity, goodness and righteousness. Jesus is all of these. So this is talking about Jesus Christ. The Kidney is a picture of the purity of the Blood of Christ.

They were to take the Bullock out of the camp where it is clean and then burn it there. Burn all the fat – picturing our own abilities, talents or gifts. Burn them up because God wants us and not our talents. When you burn there will be a bad odor and that is a picture of our condition in the world. They do not like the sweet savor-smell of God in the world.

Here is another thought: good Christians will never smell good to the world. In other words, good Christians will never be in favor with or be loved by the world. To be a living sacrifice for Christ does mean exactly that and we must be ready to lose friends, get hurt, be troubled and even to give our body as a living sacrifice for Jesus. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation 18-22, Proverbs 27. Spend a few extra moments tonight in prayer for God’s power on next Sunday’s services. Complete___

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant

December 28th                   

 Review the last 2 days

God’s way is not only the best and only way, but it is always the right way; though it may not always be the easy way. Ephesians 5:18-19, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Psalm 27:6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. 69:30-31, I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.

SPIRITUAL SACRIFICE OF OUR BODIES

Romans 12:1-2, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The story is told that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, “What will you give me if I release you?” “The half of my wealth,” was his reply. “And if I release your children?” “Everything I possess.” “And if I release your wife?” “Your Majesty, I will give myself.” Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man!” With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you, the one who was willing to give himself for me.” “It is said that on his retreat from Greece after his great military expedition there, King Xerxes boarded a Phoenician ship along with a number of his Persian troops. But a fearful storm came up, and the captain told Xerxes there was no hope unless the ship’s load was substantially lightened. The king turned to his fellow Persians on deck and said, “It is on you that my safety depends. Now let some of you show your regard for your king.” A number of the men bowed to Xerxes and threw themselves overboard! Lightened of its load, the ship made it safely to harbor. Xerxes immediately ordered that a golden crown be given to the pilot for preserving the king’s life — then ordered the man beheaded for causing the loss of so many Persian lives!” Today in the Word, July 11, 1993 Continued tomorrow!

Read Acts 27-28, Proverbs 28, Complete___

December 29th             

Review the last 3 days

SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES OF BALANCED PRAYER

Psalm 141:2-3, Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

He means the passion he used in prayer: referring to the sacrifices by God’s commandment offered in the old law. Incense was offered every morning and evening before the Lord, on the golden altar, before the veil of the sanctuary. He appears to have been at a distance from the sanctuary, and therefore could not perform the Divine worship in the way prescribed by the law.

What could he do? If he could not worship according to the letter of the law, he will do it according to the spirit; then prayer is accepted in the place of incense, and the lifting up of his hands, in gratitude and self-dedication to God, is accepted in the place of the evening sacrifices.

THE SPIRITUAL SACRIFICE OF A BROKEN HEART

Psalm 51:17, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. These words are very expressive. They signify exactly the same as: to break into pieces, to reduce into splinters, to pound out thin, such as the beating of metal into thin plates. So, the spirit and the heart are broken all to pieces, or stamped and beaten out, these are the sacrifices which God requires and these thou wilt not despise.

 

THE SPIRITUAL SACRIFICE OF BRINGING A SOUL TO CHRIST

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering (sacrificing) up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Daily Assignments

Read Jude,  Proverbs 29

It is my prayer that these last few days have been a help and blessing. What a way to close out the year, by having a greater understanding of the Suffering of Christ and the Christian and the blessing that follows.

Complete___   

December 25th

                           

Celebrating Christmas! 

Read Hebrews 1

SCHOOLS are forbidden to celebrate the birth of Christ. COMMUNITY PROPERTY may not be used for scenes of Christ’s birth. BUSINESSES make it their greatest profit period for the year. PEOPLE no longer wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS, but — “Happy Holidays.” I always answer back, “Merry Christmas to you.” CHURCHES have downgraded it in their music and sermons. FAMILIES are too pressured to take the time for any serious teaching and celebration. SOME CHRISTIANS are even suggesting that to celebrate Christmas is to participate in a pagan ritual or a Roman mass. ARE THERE ANY GOOD REASONS FOR CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS?

CHRIST’S BIRTH IS GIVEN A PROMINENT PLACE IN THE O.T. PROPHECY.

His NATIONALITY, TRIBE & FMILY, PLACE OF HIS BIRTH are clearly identified. Christ’s birth is an event in God’s plan that He does not want the world to miss.

THE GOSPELS OF MATTHEW AND LUKE GIVE A DETAILED ACCOUNTS OF HIS GENEALOGY AND BIRTH.  

ANGELS SING the announcement. JOHN wrote that Christ’s birth was the act of God.

THE BIRTH OF CHRIST IS AN IMPORTANT SUBJECT IN THE PREACHING AND WRITING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

More than twenty references to His birth are given and half the Epistles discuss it. JOHN boldly declares that failure to confess that Christ is come in the flesh is antichrist. If there is a problem in celebrating Christmas it is the methods not the celebration. Let’s de-emphasize the partying, Santa, presents and begin to make it a Holy day rather than just another holiday.

Make much of His birth in our PREACHING, HOMES, BIBLE READING, SINGING, GIVING A LOVE GIFT TO JESUS AT CHRISTMAS, SPEAK OF HIM BEING THE GREATEST GIFT GIVEN FOR US. IN OUR HEARTS.

Let’s celebrate His birth by a time of commitment to greater love and service for Him. Christmas should be a time of spiritual revival when the sin of complacency is confessed and the sincere zeal for Christ burns hot within us.

CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE CELEBRATED WITH THE JOY OF ADORING THE ALTOGETHER LOVELY ONE, EXALTING THE ETERNAL ONE, HONORING THE PERFECTLY HOLY ONE. CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD!

   Daily Assignment

Read Psalms 148-150, Proverbs 25 Read the Biblical accounts of the nativity completely. Complete___

 

                  December 24th                   

 

Why Christians Fall into Temptation

 

Matthew 4:1-11

We need to understand that there are basically three times in your life Satan will always tempt you or even attack you.

YOU CAN ALWAYS EXPECT TROUBLE FROM SATAN IN YOUR AREA OF WEAKNESS.

Not only when you are weak physically, emotionally or spiritually, but he will attack in areas of your weakness. In other words; areas in which you are most likely to fall into his snares. So, how can I be prepared for his temptations at this time?

  • Recognize your areas of weakness.
  • Remember to resist the temptation. But, always in the power of the Holy Spirit and never in the flesh.
  • Realize temptation will come, so be prayed up for it.

SATAN WILL ALWAYS TEMPT YOU IN THE BEGINNING OR AT FIRST.

I believe most Christians understand just what I am saying. Satan tempted Jesus not only when He was weak physically, but he tempted Him at first. You can write it down in blood. Start something for the Lord and the devil will be there to tempt you.

SATAN WILL TEMPT YOU IN THE LOGICAL.

Such as money, job, boss, family, etc. 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

Daily Assignments

Read Esther 4-6, Proverbs 24. Make an outline of the message in the next service. Complete___

                             December 23rd           

How to Make Christ Great in Your Life

 Read John 3:22-36

There apparently arose a question between John’s Disciples and a Jew, concerning ceremonial purification. We believe this Jew could have been Nicodemus, still searching after truth. Like many people today, Nicodemus was confused about baptism and religious ceremony. He may have thought born of water meant Jewish purification or baptism. Notice how John points him to Christ, not baptism. If baptism were necessary for salvation, this would have been the place in the Bible to say so – nothing is said. Instead the emphasis is on believing. It is evident that Nicodemus came out of the dark, and finally became a born-again Christian.

Here in Chapter three we see Nicodemus in the DARKNESS OF CONFUSION. In 7:45-53 we see him THE DAWN OF CONVICTION. He was willing to listen to Christ and John the Baptist. In 19:38-42 Nicodemus was with Joseph of Arimathaea to claim the body of Jesus. We see Nicodemus in DAYLIGHT OF CONFESSION.

In other words, he was openly identifying himself with Christ. That’s what we need. Nicodemus answered the two most important questions: Who can purify? Who is Master? Nicodemus made Christ number One or great in his life. As with Nicodemus, often, our problem is not so much conduct, as it is our condition. So, how can I make Christ great or number One in my life?

REALIZE ALL GOOD THINGS COME FROM HIM.

James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

RECOGNIZE CHRIST MUST BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE.

That is, He must be on the Throne. John said, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’

REMEMBER ONLY HE CAN BRING JOY INTO YOUR LIFE.

RECALL THAT ETERNAL LIFE COMES ONLY THROUGH HIM.

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 29-31, Proverbs 23, Complete___

                   December 22nd   

              Did you forget to Vote?

2 Timothy 3:1-17, Romans 13

Thomas Paine said about government: “It has been thought a considerable advance towards establishing the principles of Freedom, to say, that government is a compact between those who govern and those that are governed: but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for as man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with.  The fact therefore must be, that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.” I believe the government is as much a part of God’s plan as the family. God established three institutions: The home, church and the government. Here in America we are given the God given responsibility to choose those who will lead us. You say, where does the scripture say that.  For one we are commanded to be subject to the higher powers in Romans 13, etc. Voting is not only our responsibility as far as the elections are concerned. But I want to speak to you about a much greater election. This is one we too have the privilege to be involved in; however, much more than one Country, one State or one man is at stake. In this election or vote your entire eternity is at stake. In a pre-election newspaper column, William Safire posed the question, “What do you do when the candidate you support takes a position you don’t like, or when the candidate you oppose takes a stand that you admire?” Safire suggested three options: Switch candidates. Stay with your original choice and put on a button that says, “Nobody’s perfect.” Be like the old woman that says, “I never vote. It only encourages them.” Now think about the spiritual parallel. What are our choices when Jesus, our Leader, takes a position we don’t like, or when the enemy we oppose takes a stand more to our liking? Some will switch and walk with Christ no more (John 6:66)). But that’s not a valid option for those who know Him (v. 68). Neither can we wear a button that says, “Nobody’s perfect.” We must decide what we believe and stick to it. WILL YOU CAST YOUR VOTE TODAY?

Daily Assignments

Read 2nd and 3rd John, Proverbs 22, Complete___

              December 21st      

Read yesterday’s devotion

Job 16:8, “And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face.”16:22, ”When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.” 14:2, “He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.” 7:1, “Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?” Psalms 39:4, “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.” 144:4, “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.” Ecclesiastes 4:2, “Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive:” Read James 4:14

Their life is like dying grass. Self-glory fades quickly…popularity is like a fading flower…beautiful for a short time. Don’t get used to glory. “Our sufficiency is of God.” How soon they forgot…You take the Glory from God, and you will forget as well. Without Him we are nothing. The more we get stuck on self-glory…the further we get from God. John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Moses said, “Woe is me…” The closer you get to God, the less you think of yourself. When Nebuchadnezzar’s heart was lifted up…he fed on grass and lived like an animal in Daniel 4:30-32.

BUT DEDICATED (BORN AGAIN) MEN ARE LIKE HIS WORD WHICH ENDURES FOREVER VERSE 25.

Endureth for ever is unmoved, fixed, and permanent. Among all the revolutions on earth, the fading glories of kingdoms, and the supposed strength of man, God’s truth remains unaffected. Its beauty never fades; its power is never weakened. The gospel is as great now as it was when it was first revealed to man, and it has as much power to save as it had when first applied to a human heart. We see the grass wither at the coming of fall; we see the flower of the field fade; we see man, though confident in his own strength, but cut down in a second; we see cities destroyed, and kingdoms lose their power; but the Word of God is the same now as it was in the beginning, and, in the middle of all the changes that are certain to come on the earth, His Word will remain the same. Whatever you do…base it on the Word of God, because all God does, He does through His Word.

Read Acts 25-26, Proverbs 21. Write down one truth that really spoke to your heart in the services last week. Complete_

                              December 20th             

Vanishing Christians

Read 1 Peter 1:23-25

Heroes come and go. They don’t mean much to the next generation anymore. I wonder how many of our readers could even name their first Sunday school teacher, preacher or for that matter the principal of your school 20 years ago? Try to think of heroes you had as a child. You would not recognize most of them if you saw them today. The same is true of many Christians in our country…many of them just seem to vanish. BUT, THE BIBLE IS NOT SO; IT NEVER CHANGES: Psalms 119:89, “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

MEN OF THE FLESH ARE AS DYING GRASS. For all flesh is as grass. It was not unnatural for Peter to dwell upon the feeble, frail, and fallen nature of man, in contrast with God; and he therefore, says, “all flesh (every human being) is like grass.” There is no stability in anything that man does or produces, but God and His word endure forever. The comparison of a human being with grass, or with flowers, is beautiful, and is also very common in the Bible. The contrast turns on the fact that the grass or the flower, however green or beautiful it may be, soon loses its bloom; is withered; is cut down, and dies.

Psalm 103:15-6, “As for man, his days are as grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourisheth, For the wind passeth over it and it is gone, And the place thereof shall know it no more.”

So in Isaiah 40:6-8 evidently referred to by Peter in this text.

 Here in 1 Peter, He is talking about all flesh. He is talking about you and me and not only the natural man. Today, more and more we live in days of the flesh. Psalms 89:48, “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.”

Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation 12-17, Proverbs 20. Realizing that all men are flesh, list some people that you think in some way you could imitate, and the qualities that you see in them. Complete___

                              

December 19th            

 

Preparing for Jesus!

 Read Luke 1:13-17

Think about a bride preparing for her (Knight in shining armour) – husband, during her engagement. She will get married whether they have made any preparation or not. One major difference is that there may be a lot of unforeseen things that could hinder a smooth marriage ceremony.

Here is the application: you are going to heaven whether you are prepared or not (assuming of course that you are saved). But certainly there ought to be some preparation before you make the trip. In other words we ought to go to heaven prepared. The Pastor must prepare before he preaches his sermon and the Sunday school teacher must prepare before he/she teaches the lesson, etc. John the Baptist was prepared while he was being prepared, and that is the job of the pastor of the church – to prepare a people for heaven; while he himself is being prepared. May I say that it is also the job of every teacher and every Christian in the local church. There are always those around us who are babes in Christ. How can we be of help in preparing others for heaven and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?

IT IS THE JOB OF THE CHRISTIAN LEADER AND THE CHRISTIAN LAYMAN TO TEACH PEOPLE TO LIVE HOLY. HOW?

By teaching them to FEAR GOD. By teaching them to have FAITH IN (TRUST) GOD. By teaching them to FOLLOW GOD. IT IS OUR JOB TO TEACH PEOPLE TO LOVE GOD.

IT IS OUR JOB TO TEACH PEOPLE TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Jesus Christ gives it as a command. It is the second greatest command of all.

IT IS OUR JOB TO TEACH PEOPLE TO LOVE THE BIBLE.

To read it. To apply it. To proclaim it.

IT IS OUR JOB TO TEACH PEOPLE TO SERVE GOD.

It comes through loving God and His Word. It is an honor to serve Him and has eternal blessings. I have often said that it is truly an honor to serve God and to teach people to share in this honor is truly a privilege.

Daily Assignments

Read Song of Solomon 5-6, Proverbs 19. On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel you do in training others to be ready for Christ? What are some things you could do to improve in this area? Complete___

                                             December 16th            

 

Let’s Get Back to Soul-Winning!

Read Ezekiel 33:1-21

We are to be like the watchman on the wall. One thing we have noticed in the bus ministry is that you don’t have to seek children; they will usually come if you ask them. Not so with adults, in fact big people often get in the way of little ones coming to the Lord, as well as to Sunday school. This is an important principle for us to understand: people go to hell because they love to sin, not because of the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. You cannot send anyone to hell nor keep him or her out of heaven. Nobody can send anybody to hell because they are already going there. We are going to look at six important truths about this matter of our responsibility verses their responding.

PEOPLE GO TO HELL BECAUSE THEY REFUSE TO HEAR THE WARNING.

People were going to hell before you were born.

Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men.”

GOD HAS OBLIGATED HIMSELF TO GIVE A WARNING TO EVERYONE ONCE.

Every man must choose for himself. Every man must come on God’s terms. Throughout history God has given prophets to sound the warning to people. “Whether they will hear or forbear,” Ezekiel was given the responsibility to give warning. He was about 25 – 30 years old at the first writing.

God gave Ezekiel THREE PURPOSES for writing:

  • To point out sin that resulted in captivity.
  • To preserve the people from idolatry.
  • To encourage the faithful to continue in faithfulness.

Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 25-28, Proverbs 16. Write down two verses that give the blessings of soul winning. Complete___

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant

December 17th     

Read yesterday’s devotion

Before God could ever use Ezekiel, he had to be prepared for this difficult task.

  • He saw God’s face.
  • He heard God’s voice.
  • He felt God’s hand.

We will never feel the presence of God (or feel His hand) unless we seek His face first and listen to what God is trying to tell us. Ezekiel was a Jew and lived in the southern part. In 606 BC the captives were carried away to Babylon. The strong, rich and intelligent (like Daniel) were among those taken. In 597 BC Ezekiel himself goes into captivity. In 586 BC (11years later) Jerusalem was conquered and burned.

The people were a hard, stiff-necked people and God therefore made Ezekiel hard. God will always give a people the leadership they deserve. Not that Ezekiel was a bad leader, but God had to harden him in order to reach the hardened hearts of these children. In chapter one Ezekiel was given a vision of fire picturing the holiness and judgment of God. Each of the four living creatures visualizes truth about Jesus, the Glory of The Lord.  That’s really what these visions picture – the Glory of The Lord.

This is amazing: In the Book of Isaiah we see the principles of the Throne of God; in Jeremiah we have the practice of that throne; and in Ezekiel we have the Person who is on that throne. We need to remember that this is not a vision of God Himself, but a vision of His glory or of His presence.

  • The lion – king of the beasts symbolizes Jesus as King in Matthew.
  • The ox – king of burdens symbolizes Jesus as servant’ in Mark.
  • The man – symbolizes Jesus as His perfect humanity in Luke.
  • The eagle – Pictures Christ as (Deity) God in John.

These four faces resemble the cherubim who were in the Garden of Eden to guard the way of the Tree of life. They were not shutting man out from God; they were keeping the way open. Glory! Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Esther 1-3, Proverbs 17. List some of the excuses people use to avoid going soul-winning. Complete___

December 18th  

Read the last two devotions

Verses 1-5 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. Then in 1:15-21, a vision of the wheels, pictures eight wheels a wheel in a wheel.Certainly one thing these wheels picture is the constant energy and activity of an Omnipotent God. They are also set to guard the throne of God in Revelation 4. They do basically two things:

  • That no man in his sin comes into the presence of God.
  • That they indicate the way that man is to come – that is the way of the cross. The cherubims show the way.

GOD COMMANDS US TO GIVE THE SECOND WARNING.

  • We have the intercessory work in soul winning.
  • We can never give warning to the wrong person.

ANYONE CAN SOUND THE WARNING.

  • Anyone can be a soul-winner.
  • You can do it anywhere.
  • You can do it anytime.

GOD WILL NOT HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE IF THEY ARE WARNED.

Let’s go soul warning and warn people of the coming judgment!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 146-147, Proverbs 18. How long has it been since you personally led someone to Christ? Complete___

                                              December 14th             

 

The Biblical Tithe is Holy! 

Read Acts 5:1-11

In chapter four Barnabas had given a large amount of money to the church. It was the talk of the church as well as the whole city. Everyone was talking about it, because Barnabas was a true man of God and set the example for the others to follow. Then in chapter five Ananias and Sapphira probably thought this is a good way to get attention for them.

I believe it was their pride that caused them to lie about the giving. The amazing thing is that they did not have to lie because the money they gave was a promise and not a required amount. Their promise was to give some money from land they had sold. They gave less than their promise and lied to the Holy Ghost about it. The end result was that God killed them for lying about the amount they had given. They did not have to make the promise but chose of their own free will to do so. The service must have lasted quite some time, because God killed Ananias three hours before Sapphira. In verses 5-11 fear came on all them that heard these things. Why did God kill them? In the Old Testament it was always a sin to touch that which was holy.

The word holy is synonymous with sanctified, and it does not mean perfect or without sin. It simply means to be set apart for a particular purpose.The pulpit, piano and pews in the church are sanctified or set apart for a particular purpose. Even the pastor of the church is set apart for a purpose, even though he himself is not perfect and God’s call is without repentance. Holy means sanctified for the Lord forever. There are two ways that something can be sanctified:

First, God can sanctify it and set it apart. Second, when we make a promise to sanctify ourselves. God never sanctifies anything without using it. He uses all those things that have been set apart as well as the tithe. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 23-24, Proverbs 14, Complete___

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant

           December 15th         

Read Yesterday’s devotion

You will recall the story of the Philistines stealing the Ark of the Covenant for seven months and used it for their own purposes. Whenever and wherever they took the Ark people would get sick or even die on the spot. It was taken to Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron and sent it back to the Israelites because death and destruction followed wherever they took it. The Ark was sent back on a cart, and Uzzah the son of a priest reached out to keep it from falling. God killed him for touching what belonged to God. The Ark should never have been put on the cart, because only the Kohathites were allowed to move it. They were not allowed to even look at it, because it was holy and belonged to God. Uzzah died for the same reason that Ananias and Sapphira; he touched that which was holy, sanctified and set apart.

You will remember Nadab and Abihu; sons of Aaron were killed for profaning the Altar of Incense. They offered strange fire before the Lord and God killed them for it in Leviticus 10.

It is not a matter of not giving the tithe, but the matter of taking what belongs to God. Using the tithe for personal advantage is like using God’s Altar for sinful purposes. Could it be that it is no more sinful to cuss and drink than it is not to tithe.

Romans 12:1-2, 6, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. V. 6, Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;”

If you have ever presented your body as a living sacrifice, your life becomes as holy as the tithe. Why? Because it belongs to God! If you gave your life to God, you decided to set it apart for God, and if you take it back you are committing a sin, because the word sacred means belongs to God. Those who never surrender all to God and sanctify themselves will never know what true sanctified living and giving is all about.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 John 5, Proverbs 15, Complete___

                                           December 12th      

Make a Vow!

Read Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

Some men object to making a vow, yet in the Bible we see many illustrations of covenants, promises and pledges. Vow means a voluntary pledge to fulfill an agreement in Psalm 56:12, “Thy vows (promises) are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.”

Most of us do not want to make a commitment; therefore we refuse to make a vow. We want to be free, at least so we think. Think of this, a bum in the street is free, but then look at someone who is committed and will take responsibility for his actions. These are not completely free, but they are bound to a cause. Tozer said, “There are many religious tramps in the world that will not be bound to anything. They have turned the grace of God into personal gain. These great men have gone reverently to God with the understanding that in the flesh is no good thing, but are all of God. But they took certain vows, stuck to them and had spiritual power: What are theses vows?”

DEAL THOROUGHLY WITH SIN.

Sin has gone underground these days and come up with a new name. It used to be called conviction, now it is called a “guilt complex.” Now they confess to man rather than God. Sin is still the ancient enemy of the soul. It has never changed, and we have to deal firmly with it. The Bible says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” We are not speaking about sinless perfection; however, every known sin is to be named, identified, rebuked and repented of. Do not call your sin by some other name. Call it what the Bible does – SIN. If you are jealous call it jealousy, self-pity, etc. If you commit a moral sin don’t call it a mistake, but adultery. Homosexuals are not “gay” they are living perverted life-style and the Bible calls them by their proper name, “Sodomites.” If you are resentful admit it. Don’t blame others, but take responsibility for yourself. If you have a temper don’t call it “righteous indignation.” Let’s learn to deal with our sin and call it what God does. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Song of Solomon 3-4, Proverbs 12, Complete___

December 13th              

Read yesterday’s devotion

NEVER OWN ANYTHING.

I don’t mean you cannot own anything, but you ought to be delivered from possessing them. The sense of possession is what hinders us in our position. Now, don’t think you have to sell all you own and give it to the poor. No, God will let us have our car, home, business, material things, etc. as long as you know that it all belongs to Him. And you and I are just working for Him. This way you never worry about what belongs to others.  If it is yours then you will always look in your hand to see if it is still there, but if it belongs to God you will not worry.

NEVER RETALIATE OR DEFEND YOURSELF.

We are all born with the desire to do so and if we insist, God may just let us. On the other hand, if we just turn it over to Him, He will defend us Exodus 23:22, “But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.” I don’t have to fight because the Lord will do the fighting for me. Here is the lesson: never try to defend a rumor that has gotten out about you, because the harder you try to disprove it the guiltier you look. Let God defend you, Isaiah 54:17, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” God will be an enemy to your enemy and a friend to your friend.

NEVER SPREAD ANY RUMORS OR GOSSIP TO HURT OTHERS.

If you know something about somebody that would hurt them to pass it along, bury it forever. If you expect God to be good to you, you are going to have to be good to His children. Grace gets you into the Kingdom of God and that is UNMERITED FAVOR, but after you are seated at the Father’s table you have to go by His rules of etiquette.

NEVER ROB GOD OF HIS GLORY.

God is a jealous God and will not give His glory to another. He will not even share it. Never display your talents; never try to seek a reputation. Our Lord gave up His reputation and so must we. Do not vow unless you are ready to keep it. There is a price and self-will must be totally surrendered.

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation 7-11, Proverbs 13. Write a thank you note to someone who does volunteer work in the church.

Complete___

                                                 December 11th                                     

Read Psalm 41

There are three walks in Psalm One: Our Walk, God’s Walk and the Devil’s Walk. “Blessed is he that considereth.” We will look at three things:

First – Our privilege is to help others.  Many of today’s churches go after the rich, elite, educated; however, blessed is he that considereth the poor… That is, he that has compassion, kindness and understanding for the poor, needy and weak. Who are the poor among us? Not only the poor financially (that’s most of us), but the lost in the world. Go to the rest homes and the hospital and see and hear who are the poor among us. God is not saying to finance the poor, but to consider them.

When God says the poor, he is not speaking about finances. This includes the businessman, as well as, the bartender, and the drug addicts; the doctor, as well as, the drunkard; the politician, as well as, the prostitute. Most do not consider themselves poor. Jesus had compassion on the sick, poor, and grieving families in Matthew 14.  Why not take some poor child in church and buy him a pair of shoes, or some poor lady a dress who does not have a dress to wear for church. Why not carry a pocket full of quarters and give them to children; why not give some money to a poor college student struggling to pay his tuition?

Secondly, there is our problem – we are all basically selfish. Look at verse 4-7 for all the personal pronouns. His problem here is that he is thinking about himself. Your pastor has needs.  Every one of our staff members has needs.  We all have needs. Our lot in life is to meet the needs of others and not “my” needs. Then

Thirdly, there is our promise – He will deliver and protect us. “He will Strengthen and keep me.” He will preserve and keep me when I care about needs of others. Strengthen: Comfort, refresh, and rescue. Every great church and pastor I have known considers the poor. All over the world we see the poor, lost, needy and the weak.  Let’s learn to have compassion on them; be kind to them; and understand them. We all have needs, but let’s be considerate of others’ needs and God will take care of ours.  We are prone to meet the needs we see, but many of the needs I am thinking of; we cannot see.

I believe most of us will be happy when we forget ourselves and learn to meet the needs of others- the poor, needy and the weak. Why not put a certain amount of money aside to help the needy.  Have you ever bought a sack of groceries and put it on someone’s doorstep? This is the way to have fun and be happy. How many of our readers will say: “God, You can count on me to be a worker, a soul winner, and support my church with my tithe, praying faithfully so that we might reach the poor, needy, and weak in my area”?

Read Psalms 143-145, Proverbs 11, Complete__         

         December 9th 

          

Working as a Team

Read Exodus 17:8-16

Think about Moses, Aaron and Hur. When they worked together they always won – look at Jericho. When they worked individually they always lost – look at Ai. When they stood together they always prospered – look at Nehemiah. They had a mind to pray, work, fight and surrender all to God together. We must to take a stand, but we must do it together. Amalek (warlike), grandson of Esau (Brother of Jacob, sons of Isaac). Esau had a son named Eliphaz (God is his strength), but he certainly did not live according to God’s strength. Amalek had a concubine (which is like a secondary wife with certain rights). Her name was Timna (restraint).

She bore Amalek – out of wedlock… “born after the flesh” (Galatians 4:22-29).  The Amalekites were a persistent enemy of Israel. Amalek is a type of flesh in the Christian. The man under the law could fight the flesh and pray, but under grace the Holy Spirit gains the victory over the flesh for us; however, victory only comes as we walk in the Spirit. If we act independently, Amalek (the flesh) gains the victory. If we are going to fight Amalek we had better do it in the spirit – together. Here are some examples:

Do you remember when Saul fought the Amalekites? Saul spared Agag, then Samuel slew him and yet the Amalekites popped up again. And later it was an Amalekite soldier that claimed to have killed Saul. Do you remember when David returned to Ziglag? They were burned with fire and invaded by the Amalekites. They took their wives and children captive. David went after them and “recovered all,” including his families and spoil. But, guess what? 400 young men (Amalekites) got away on camels. Continued tomorrow!

 

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 21-24, Proverbs 9

Complete___

          December 10th     

Read yesterday’s devotion

Four important lessons at this point:

  • The flesh is still with us and that is why we must fight in the Spirit.
  • Get back into the battle.
  • Let the Holy Spirit fight through you.
  • Walk in the Spirit.

So, what happens when we work together as a team?

WHEN WE WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM WE UPLIFT CHRIST.

God said lift up the rod – a type of Christ. So how can we uplift Christ? Keep our relationship with Christ right. Support His work – the church. Support God’s man.

WHEN WE WORK TOGETHER EVERYTHING GOES BETTER AND STEADY.

Pray for one another. Love one another. Walk with Christ as you did when you were first saved. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus so walk ye in Him.” Be careful about immorality and gossip. Stay in love with Jesus by going soul-winning.

WHEN WE WORK TOGETHER SOULS ARE CONSISTENTLY BEING SAVED.

Everybody gets involved and the church becomes stronger.

WHEN WE WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM WE WORK BY HOLDING UP OUR LEADERS’ HANDS.

Let’s work together as a team, upholding our leaders and go for a great revival in the coming year.

Daily Assignments

Read Nehemiah 10-13

Read Proverbs 10

Make an outline of the Wednesday Bible study.

Complete__                

                   December 8th  

   

What did God Get When He Purchased You?

 Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-20

Today Christianity exists for one benefit – “what can I get out of it, or what’s in it for me?” Your life is no longer your own. Your body is always with you, you do not go anywhere without it. You stopped owning yourself when you first called yourself a Christian. Don’t say, “well, I think this or that,” rather say, “what wouldst Thou have me do?” You are not your own, you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. Did God get all He purchased when He purchased you, or have you put some of you on a “layaway” plan

Here are two questions for you to consider:

  • Do you love what God loves?
  • Do you hate what God hates

What does God love? Two things:

GOD LOVES HOLINES

Can you say you love holiness, or do you tolerate it? We are talking about personal holiness. Did He get all He purchased when He purchased you? Did you surrender it all to Him? Ladies, do you dress holy? Men do you teach her to be holy? Let’s all ask God to give us holiness and love holy things; and then live what we were given. Love what God loves – what does God love?

GOD LOVES SINNERS – SOULS

The question here is – do you love souls? Let’s look at what God hates:

GOD HATES SIN

The question is, do we hate sin? Remember, it is sin that put Jesus on the cross. Sin makes young people turn out bad.

GOD HATES A STATE OF LUKE-WARMNESS

God hates it: Look at Revelation 3:14-22, where God gives us a message to a lukewarm church – Laodecea.

Did God get all He purchased when He purchased you?

Daily Assignments

Read 1 John 3-4, Proverbs 8. Pray and ask God to show you some sins in your life that need to be confessed. Complete___                       

                    December 6th                    

You Will Have Opposition

Read Acts 4:1-21

Here is a very familiar passage with some real dynamic principles.  Pentecost had just taken place and Peter had already been on the scene to preach his two famous and powerful sermons. Most of you have read this passage many times.  There is hardly a verse about which we couldn’t preach an entire message. Pentecost had just taken place.  Many multitudes of people had just been saved and started following the Lord Jesus Christ, many with great sacrifice.  Three thousand were saved at one time.

Peter and John in preaching the Word of God boldly paid a high price for doing so. I like what they said when they were commanded not to preach.  They said we cannot help but speak.  It was in them.  Not only did they have the call of God, but they also had the passion in their hearts.  We can’t help but speak, whether or not it’s right in your eyes, we’re going to preach; we’re going to teach salvation and the Lord Jesus.  Peter and John had already been placed in jail. Peter had already preached his two famous messages, the most powerful sermons in the entire Word of God, if not in all history.

The first part of this chapter tells of the persecution of Peter and John as they were jailed.  Sometimes God allowed bad circumstances to come into the lives of the apostles.  Going to jail gave them the opportunity to preach to the Sanhedrin, which would not otherwise have been possible.  Then the Sanhedrin issues the big warning and forbids them from preaching in the name of Jesus.

There’s a reason for that, because they knew that there is power in His name.  In verses 12 and 13, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

The three evidences were first, that there was much boldness with them.

They were not afraid to speak.  They were not afraid to preach to the Sanhedrin the same Gospel they preached out in the woods.  Nothing had changed. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation 1-6, Proverbs 6. Spend some extra time in prayer tonight for the services this week and asking God to speak to your heart in a special way. Complete___

December 7th

Read yesterday’s devotion

Secondly, there was power in their message.

Not only in the words they spoke, but also in the power that was behind these words.  The power that God had given them was the power of the Holy Spirit.  The final evidence was that healing had taken place.  So there was boldness, power and healing. This was the evidence that man needed to see that something different was happening.  Read verses 14-16.

Isn’t that the same opposition that the devil uses today to silence churches?  He’s constantly threatening, “You don’t have to mention His name . . . You don’t have to be a fanatic about this . . . I mean, go to church on Sundays if you want, but don’t talk about Him on Monday when you’re at work.” He is always threatening and constantly opposing, not just the message, but also the messenger.  You’ll quiet the message if you can quiet the messenger.  But you will never do away with God’s Word.  It abides forever, but you can certainly silence a church.  You can silence the messenger. Some people go to church with the attitude of getting it over with for another week.  The devil has done a good job of silencing you as far as being a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

The religious power behind the Sanhedrin was such that they thought to silence Peter and John so their message would become ineffective.  “We’ll spread some humanism.  We’ll tell them you don’t need their God.  You don’t need to be a Baptist to go to Heaven.”  No, but the Bible says you need Christ to go to Heaven.  The Bible says there is no salvation in anyone but Christ.  “Let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.” Notice the way they say that, “in this name.”  They won’t even name the name of Jesus.  The devil doesn’t like the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord.  The devil wants to silence the message.  He doesn’t mind so much if we use His name in church; just don’t take it into the streets.  Just don’t take it to work, because when you are at work, you are supposed to work. That is certainly true, but what about during breaks or lunch?  That is when you can be a testimony, a lighthouse for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 21-22, Proverbs 7. Please remember to spend a few moments thinking about the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese on this day in 1941. Teach it to your children so that the generations to come will never forget that day in Infamy.

Complete___

December 5th      

 

How to Experience All the Fullness of God

 Read Ephesians 3:16-21

Often, I am asked, “How can I know I am growing in my Christian life?” and, “How does God help me to grow?”  Of course, there are many principles in Christian growth; however, there are four basic things God uses to help the Christian grow.

Before we look at these four things, let’s consider the four petitions Paul makes on behalf of the Ephesian believers: He is asking God that, His spirit may strengthen them. This was always my desire as a Pastor for my people – that the spirit of God strengthen all Christians. That Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith. That is our desire for each Christian also – not only for salvation, but also day by day, dwelling in your heart for guidance and direction. He also speaks of the breadth (in other words, His arms are reaching out to all of us), and the length (beginning with Christ’s sacrifice) the depth (that’s all the way to the cross), and the height (reaching all the way to the throne of God) of God’s love. That they may know the love of Christ. That too is our desire for each Christian – that we may truly know the love of God and share that love with others. That they may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Our greatest desire for each and every Christian in the local church, as well as each Christian reading this devotional, is that you may truly know the fullness of God. Here are the four basic ways for the Christian to grow and to know the fullness of God:

God always uses His Word to cause a Christian to grow.

God always uses the power of the Holy Spirit to teach us the Word of God.

God often allows and uses trouble, trauma, and trials to cause us to grow.

God uses the preaching of the Word of God to cause a Christian to grow.

It is my prayer that each of us will ask God that we would be strengthened by His Spirit, that He may dwell in our hearts by faith, that we truly know the love of God, and that each of us would be filled with His fullness by daily Bible reading and prayer, in the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing that we may be tested and tried, but also taking in the preaching of the Word of God by committing to be in every service of the year. If all of us will do these things, I believe we could see the blessing of God in our churches.

Daily Assignments

Read Song of Solomon 1-2, Proverbs 5. What are some areas of your life that you would like to see improved? Complete___

December 3rd

Walking to Please God

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Most of us get really excited when we think about the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and take great encouragement in verses 13-18. Of course, that is as it should be because we are commanded to watch and pray; however, it is interesting to note that there are several things mentioned that must happen before He ever returns. These things cause us to ask several questions: Will He find us loyal at His coming? Will He find us pure at His coming? As we study the practical application of this chapter we will see that Paul is exhorting the Thessalonians to make progress in their Christian walk. He exhorts them to practice the commandments that Christ gave them when He was with them. He also reminds them that they must be careful to abstain from all impurity and uncleanness, as this was prevalent in their former lives as Gentiles. Here is what God is saying, if we are going to be without blame in holiness then we must strive to live holy lives. When He called us to be His followers, it was not that we should lead lives of impurity, but of holiness and fulfill the purposes for which we were called into His kingdom. The word uncleanness means: impurity, filth; and then, in a moral sense, polluted, the opposite of purity. It is required of a Christian to increase in godliness, so ye would abound yet more and more. Paul recognizes that they have already begun their walk and admonishes them of the necessity of making further increase in holy walking. In his teaching, Paul gives four ways in which to walk holy. HE EXHORTS (ASKS) THEM TO HAVE A DESIRE TO PERSEVERE. He constantly reminded them of his intense love, thankfulness and prayer for them; but now he beseeches them to persevere. He recognized their difficulty in trying to keep a good testimony for the Lord in this sinful world. He also understood that many of the problems in their lives would depend on how much they persevered, so he used all the means possible to persuade them to persevere. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Nehemiah 5-9, Proverbs 3. List an area in which it is hard for you to yield to God and pray and ask God to help you yield in that area.

Complete___

December 4th

Read yesterday’s devotion

HE EXHORTS (URGES) THEM TO PURSUE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

He now urges (a little stronger word) them to pursue Christ. They needed all kinds of encouragement, comfort and exhortation, much as Christians do today.

HE EXHORTS (REMINDS) THEM OF THEIR PAST.

What Paul is doing now is really interesting. He first ASKS, URGES and now REMINDS them of his former teaching. In other words, he appeals to their recollection. They already knew many of these things but he reminds them that knowledge involves responsibility. In the Gospels, Jesus Himself tells us of the condemnation that hangs over the servant who knows His will but does not do it. And that is the reason Paul uses the words, Ye know. Let me say that if knowledge brings obedience then knowledge is good, but if it brings disobedience, then that knowledge is vain and can be a curse. This is the reason that we must use the knowledge according to the Will of God and to hear the wonderful words, well done, thou good and faithful servant, rather than the terrible words, Thou wicked and slothful servant.

HE THEN URGES THEM TO MAKE CONTINUED PROGRESS.

Now that he has taught them how to walk to please God and to walk in the Spirit, he exhorts them to go even further and continue to make progress. That is the key to the Christian life today – continue to make progress, no matter where you are in your Christian walk. Our attitude ought always to be, speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth.

What I am saying is that pleasing God ought to be our highest purpose because it brings joy and blessings. Walking always implies that progress is being made, while standing still can be very risky. We must go from strength to strength in our walk with God. Paul reminded them and us that we must continually be forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. Here is a wonderful thought, the grace of God will always abound without limit, because He giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.  So that simply means that we must abound more and more in our daily walk and progress with God.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 140-142, Proverbs 4. Write down one truth from last Sunday morning’s sermon that spoke to your heart in a special way. Complete___

December 1st   

  

A Recipe for Contentment

 Read 1 Timothy 6:1-10

All of us know a Christian who is unhappy – and in some cases it may even be understandable.  This brings up an important question: “How can we be content?” Well, let’s first of all look at what contentment is not:

First, contentment is not anxiety over what God has already promised.

Secondly, contentment is not murmuring over what we do not have: 1 Corinthians 10:10, Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

Thirdly, contentment is not greed: Hebrews 13:5, Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’

Fourthly, contentment is not envy: James 3:16, For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Where envying and strife is, everything is unsettled and uptight. There is no common confidence; there is no drawing together of direction and effort; there is no cooperation in promoting a common goal; there is no stability in any plan. There may be something good started by one person and defeated by another.

And every evil work, no one who has seen the effects in a family or church where a spirit of strife prevails can have any doubt of this truth. Love and harmony are driven out; all happiness disappears; all prosperity comes to an end. In a place where peace ought to prevail, there springs up every evil passion that tends to spoil the peace of a family or church, or even a nation. Where this spirit prevails, it is impossible to expect any progress in spiritual things; and in such a family or church any effort to do well is vain. Someone said, “The Spirit, like a peaceful dove, flies from the realms of noise and strife”.  We also know that if a Christian loves the world, discontentment will surely come. The Bible teaches that we are to be therewith content. We are to follow after righteousness verses 11-12. We are to exhort the rich of the world verses 17-19. The rich need help just as much as do the poor among us – they need God’s grace. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 1 John 1-2, Proverbs 1. Pray tonight that God will use these devotionals this month to show you things in your life that need change. Complete___

December 2nd    

Read yesterday’s Devotion 

There are many examples of unhappiness in riches. One need only look at some of the rich people in the world to be convinced of this fact. Look at some of the movies stars, rock stars, etc. Much of the world is trying to find happiness in sex, drugs, alcohol, excess, money, power, reality Television, etc. But, let’s not look at what many are seeking but what God says in His Word. How can I be content?

HAVE AN INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF AND RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.

Try anything you want – only the Saviour brings contentment. Paul points out several times the fact of “dying to self.” Think of the sufferings of Christ. Many who have known Christ for years are still light in their attitude toward His suffering. We need the mind of Christ. Many will not acknowledge the reality of Christ, yet each day of their lives Christ makes Himself known to them: look at the calendar; it starts with Christ. Think about your daily fellowship with Christ. Think about the fact that Jesus is coming again.

HAVE A CONSISTENT FAITH THAT GOD WILL SUPPLY YOUR EVERY NEED.

We must start with work on our part. I believe that my God will supply every need we have, but I also believe that we must supply the conditions:  He will supply if I am honest in paying my tithe and bills. He will supply if I ask Him. He will supply if I will share it with others. The sin of selfishness will sever our prayer line.

HAVE AN UNCONDITIONAL DESIRE TO HELP OTHERS.

Here is an important lesson for us to learn: personal contentment will grow as we learn to help others. There will be contentment even as we are burdened about others, even while we may be lacking some of the “so called nicer things” in life. Let’s see what Paul wrote on the subject of others in Romans 15:1-7. Help the weak and baby Christians. Help the skeptical Christians. I can help others by being strong in my own conflicts in life. Help the suffering Christians God sends your way. Help those unsaved and without Christ. Contentment comes from faith in Christ, loyalty to Christ, loyalty to our convictions, and faith that He will supply our every need.

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 17-20, Proverbs 2. Make a list in some areas of your life in which you have problems with contentment.

Complete___ 

November 30th

Praising the Lord

Psalm 16: 1-7 Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners:

Often in speaking to Christians, I am told, “I’m just going to praise the Lord anyway.” The Bible says it is good to give thanks unto the Lord. The Word of God commands us not only to thank Him, but also to praise Him. Praise in the Word of God is not a request; it is a command; however, we can only praise Him as we feel a true thankfulness in our hearts.

God has not given us over to the lusts and the desires of the world, but He created us for the purpose of seeking Him and as Christians, of praising Him. Praising the Lord is not an easy thing to do if it is not from the heart. It is from the heart that come “the issues of life”. So if there is not constant praising in the heart, there will certainly not be true biblical praise from our lips.

We are to praise the Lord in good times and in bad. We are to praise the Lord if we feel good or if we are in ill health. As a matter of fact, it has been proven that much of the healing process has a great deal to do with our attitude toward the illness, as well as our attitude toward God.

I believe that one of the great sins of Christians in this modern time is that they have failed to appreciate the goodness of God. It is for this reason that we also take others for granted. One tends to take care of things that he has learned, for which he labored and sacrificed. We cannot begin to appreciate the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us, until we are at least willing to give a sacrifice back to Him as well as to others.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 19-20, Proverbs 30, Complete___                                                        

                            November 29th                                     

It’s How You React that Counts

Read Isaiah 27:1-8

It is not what happens to you that counts, but how you react to what happens to you.

A Martyr once said, “There is one thing you cannot take from me, that is the right of my freedom to react in the way that I choose.”

The Hebrew term for east is: Kedem and means that which is before or in front of a person, and was applied to the east from the custom of turning in that direction when describing the points of the compass, before, behind, the right and the left representing respectively east, west, south and north. The word generally refers to the lands lying immediately eastward of Palestine, Arabia, Mesopotamia and Babylonia. The East wind was thought of with superstition, because some eighteen times it is mentioned in the Bible and is criticized as something bad. It is never mentioned in a good sense, but always in adversity.

Some believe that the east wind brings disease and affects the liver, lungs, and spleen and that people are less moral when the east wind is blowing. God has chosen to associate the east wind with adversity. He does not say the east wind will not come, but will give strength and power so that it will not be too hard on you. Cain and Abel had the same parents yet reacted differently. Jacob and Esau and the two thieves on the cross, each reacted differently in faith and in doubt.

Nobody ever enjoys anything painful – the key is to keep at it though it may be painful. When you think about it the worldly life style can be much more painful. So, what I am saying is that the east wind is as necessary as the south wind. We need the east wind of persecution to appreciate the south wind of pleasant warmth. We need the west wind of cleansing as well as the north wind of cooling.

Everybody has east winds, but it is how you react that really counts. One family may lose a child and say, “I’ll never serve a God like that,” while another may say, “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” Each one suffers equally but one reacted differently from the other. Paul said, I rejoice in persecution, while others fled from persecutors. We may be facing a lot of east winds in the future.  But the east wind of trials and persecution will only give us an opportunity to know Him better. The reaction can be more important than the action, because it is how we react to any given situation that will determine the outcome.

Daily Assignments

Read Malachi, Proverbs 29, Complete___

                

                November 25th             

 

Where Can I Go?

Read Hebrews 4:12-16

My entire outline is based upon a song written by our pastor, the late Dr. Jack Hyles.

Where can I go when trouble comes?

Where can the little widow lady go?

Where can the one struck with cancer go?

Where can the one experiencing financial setback go?

Where can the one looking for employment go?

Look at verse 12 again, For the word of God. 

The intent of this and the following verse is obvious. It is to show that we cannot escape the notice of God; that all our insincerity, unbelief, hypocrisy, will be noticed by Him; and that since our hearts are open before Him, we should be sincere, and should not attempt to deceive Him. The sense is that the truth of God is all penetrating and searching, and that the real thoughts and intents of the heart will be brought to light; and that if there is insincerity and self-deception, there can be no hope of escape.

Sharper than any two-edged sword.

Literally, two-mouthed sword. The word mouth was given to the sword because it seemed to devour all before it. It consumed or destroyed, as a wild animal does. The comparison of the Word of God to a sword, or to an arrow, is designed to show its power of penetrating the heart. The fact that it has two edges makes it easier to penetrate, as well as to cut with precision.

Piercing even to the dividing asunder. Penetrating so as to divide. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 13-16, Proverbs 25, Complete___

November 26th              

Read yesterday’s devotion 

Soul and spirit

There is the body in man – the animal life and the immortal part that leaves the body when life is gone. Mysteriously united, they make up one man. When the animal life is separated from the soul, or when the soul leaves the body, the body dies, and life is destroyed. To separate the one from the other is, therefore, the same as to take life and this is the idea that the Word of God is like a sharp sword that inflicts deadly wounds. The sinner literally “dies;” that is; he becomes dead to his former hopes, or is “slain” by the law. This is the power referred to here – the power of destroying the hopes of the sinner; cutting him down under conviction; and humbling him, as if a sword had pierced his heart. Matthew Henry

And of the joints and marrow

It would separate the joints, and pierce through the very bones to the marrow. A similar effect, Paul says, is produced by truth.  It seems to penetrate the very essence of the soul, and lay it open for all to see.

And is a discerner of the thoughts

It shows what the thoughts and intentions are and means that the Word of God sees the thoughts and intents of the heart. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Nehemiah 1-4

Read Proverbs 26

Make an outline of the lesson Wednesday night.

Complete___

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant

November 27th              

Read the last two days’ devotion. 

Several questions – all point to the same place.

WHERE CAN I GO WHEN LONELY?

WHERE CAN I GO WHEN SAD?

WHERE CAN I GO WHEN BURDENED?

WHERE CAN I GO WHEN GLAD?

IS THERE A PLACE OF COMFORT?

IS THERE A PLACE OF CARE?

IS THERE A PLACE OF REFUGE?

IS THERE SOMEONE TO SHARE?

IS THERE A SEAT OF MERCY?

IS THERE A VEIL THAT’S TORN?

IS THERE A HEAVENLY FATHER?

HELPING THE TIRED AND WORN?

Yes, there’s a Throne in Heaven. Where nothing is denied and we may just by asking have all our need supplied. Where is this place that I can go? Where can I go? Come boldly to the throne of grace. What a beautiful expression! A throne is the seat of a sovereign; a throne of grace is designed to represent a sovereign seated to give out mercy and pardon. God is represented as seated in the most holy place on the mercy seat. The high priest approaches that seat or throne with the blood of the atonement, to make intercession for the people, and to plead for pardon. The great High Priest for the Christian is Jesus Christ, having shed His own blood to make atonement, is represented as approaching God, and pleading for the pardon of men. To a God willing to show mercy He comes with the sacrifice sufficient for all, and pleads for their salvation. We may, therefore, come with boldness, and look for pardon. We come not depending on our own merits, but we come where a sufficient sacrifice has been offered for our guilt, and where we are assured that God is merciful.

That we may obtain mercy.

This is what we want first. We need pardon–as the first thing when we come to God. We are guilty and self-condemned–and our first cry should be for mercy. Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 137-139, Proverbs 27

List at least 10 things for which you are thankful to God. Spend extra time in prayer today praising and thanking God for His past blessings to you and to your country. Complete___

November 28th   

Read the last three days’ devotions

And find grace

Find favor, strength, help, counsel, direction, support, and for the various duties and trials of life. Even when pardoned, we need grace to keep us from sin, to help us in duty, to protect us in the day of temptation. So, we ought to:

Rejoice that there is a throne of grace. What a world this would be if God sat on a throne of justice only, and if no mercy were ever to be shown to men! He is on THE THRONE OF GRACE. Day and by night; from year to year; from generation to generation, He is on the throne. In every nation and in as many different languages all men may plead for mercy. In all times of trial and temptation we can be assured that He is seated on that Throne, and, wherever we are, we may approach Him with acceptance. We need the privilege of coming before the Throne. We are sinful, and need mercy; we are weak, and need grace to help us. There is not a day of our lives in which we do not need mercy and pardon, not a moment in which we do not need His grace. It is easy to be forgiven. All we need is to plead to our great High Priest, and God is ready to pardon. It is easy to obtain all the grace that we need. All we have to do is ask for it, and it’s done. How easy then to face temptation, if we would only ask! Isn’t it strange that any of us would rely on our own strength, when we can lean on the arm of God!

There isa THRONE OF GRACE, and it is always accessible.

There isa GOD andHe is always ready to forgive.

There isa REDEEMER, and He is the great High Priest of men.

He is always interceding and His work on the cross can always be pleaded as the ground of our salvation. Why should any of us remain unforgiven, and perish? Those who are yet unsaved and have been given opportunity, the blame must lie on themselves, because it is their own heart is the reason why they are not saved.

Daily Assignments

Read Ecclesiastes 11-12, Proverbs 28, Complete__   

November 24th

Love For One Another

Some time ago, someone came up to me and said, “Pastor I wish you knew how much I love you and your family. I also wish you knew how much I want to please you.” Of course, my first response was an expression of appreciation for his feelings. My second response was, “Brother, I too wish I knew how much you love me and my family, and I too wish I knew how much you want to please me.”

Let me pause a few moments to say that it is not how much we love our pastor and his family, but how much we love the Lord that is most important. Then we will properly love our pastor and his family. You will not be judged for how much you love other people, but by how much you love the Lord, and then other people. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” He also said that we ought to be willing to give our lives for our friends, as He did. Cultish leaders ask their people to be willing to die for them. Christian leaders ask their people to live for the Lord and be willing to die for Him. Your pastor is asking you not to die for him, personally, but that we live together in serving Him

Believe me, the opportunities have never been greater to show our love for the Lord, as well as your pastor. One of the greatest burdens your pastor carries is reaching his area for the Lord Jesus Christ, and secondly, their finances and facilities. I am one who believes that facilities ought always to be a good testimony in the community, rather than a reproach. The churches’ finances must always be above reproach. If all become faithful in serving and trusting Him by faith, moving ahead by faith; God will meet the financial needs.

Let’s decide to show our love for the Lord by our service, our faithfulness, our giving, and our faith. Let the opposition say what they may, but let us serve the Lord.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Peter 1-3, Proverbs 24. List some of the things for which you are grateful this Thanksgiving season. Complete___

            

                 November 23rd    

Read the last two days’ devotions

In this case the tree had only the leaves on it, just as the Jew had only the outward appearance of religion. He accuses them of a lack of faith for not bearing fruit while He was with them. So, He curses the fig tree to show them of the judgment coming upon these rebellious Jews. The young fig tree is known to fail if the ground is not properly cultivated and the old tree will fail when neglected. Wow, what a lesson!

Proverbs 27:18, “Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.”

This is the last chapter in Jeremiah where God calls His people to repentance. The fig represents the people and the good fig those who are willing to serve God. The bad figs are those that will not serve God, in this case Zedekiah and his followers. So, if you are willing to serve God you are a good fig and if you are living for sin you are a bad fig.

Those willing to go with Nebuchadnezzar were good figs even if it meant captivity for them, because it was God’s will that they go. They had everything in Babylon and prospered because it was for their good. The bad figs stayed behind and were killed. They trusted in human strength not in Divine power. When our troubles are God sent, then we can be sure they will end well – HERE ARE SOME OF THE PROMISES AS A RESULT OF THE CAPTIVITY:

THEY WOULD LEARN TO BE BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH GOD.

THEY WOULD BE ENTIRELY CONVERTED TO GOD AND HIS WILL.

THEY WOULD HAVE THEIR FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD RESTORED.

What a contrast: the bad figs were removed into other countries for their hurt while the good figs were taken for their good. The good were reserved for better times and the bad for worse.

Matthew Henry said, ‘God has a variety of judgments wherewith to prosecute those that fly from justice; and those that have escaped one, may expect another, till they are brought to repent and reform.’ It may be that God will want you or me to suffer some affliction and He will ask of us, ‘will you be a good fig or a bad fig?

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 17-18, Proverbs 23, Complete___

    

         November 21st             

 

The Good Fig

Read Jeremiah 24:1-10

This short chapter helps us to understand the many long chapters, by showing us that the same providence which to some is “a savour of death unto death” may by the grace and blessing of God be made to others “a savour of life unto life;” and that, though God’s people share with others in the same tragedies, yet it is not the same to them that it is to others, but is designed for their good. To us it is a correcting rod in the hand of a tender loving Father, while to others it is an avenging sword in the hand of a righteous Judge. In this short chapter, God encourages Jeremiah, by showing him that, though the despair seemed to include all, yet all were not involved in it, but God knew how to decide, how to separate between the good and the bad. Some had gone into captivity Jeconiah already, and Jeremiah wept over them, but God tells him that it will turn to their good. Others were hardened in their sins, against which Jeremiah had rightful indignation; but those, God tells him, should go into captivity, and it should end to their bad. Early suffering sometimes proves to be for the best for us. The sooner the child is corrected, the better effect the correction is likely to have. The good figs represent the Jews in captivity and bad figs those who remain in their own land. Jeremiah saw two baskets of figs set before the temple, probably as offerings of first fruits. The figs in one basket were very good, those in the other basket very bad. What creature is more depraved than man? On the other hand what more valuable than a godly man? This vision was to raise the spirits of those gone into captivity, by assuring them of a happy return; and to humble and awaken the proud and secure spirits of those yet in Jerusalem, by assuring them of an unhappy captivity. Even the captivity was for their good and God’s intentions are never in vain. By suffering they were convicted of sin, humbled under the hand of God, separated from the world, taught to pray, and turned from sins, especially from idolatry. God promises that He will care for them in captivity. The Lord will care for those who are His under all conditions. God assures them of His protection in trouble, and a glorious deliverance when the time comes. That’s why they should be thankful to have Him for their God, to pray to Him, and expect blessings from Him. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Ecclesiastes 9-10, Proverbs 21, Complete___

November 22nd    

Read yesterday’s devotion

The bad figs were Zedekiah and those with him still in Jerusalem. God has many judgments, and those that escape one, might expect another, until they are brought to repentance. Here is an important lesson. Without doubt this prophecy had its fulfillment in that age; but the Spirit of prophecy may look forward to the dispersion of the unbelieving Jews, in all the nations of the earth. Those who desire blessings from the Lord should pray that He would give them hearts to really want to know Him.

The fig tree and its fruit are well known. They were common in Palestine, and they are frequently referred to in the Bible. You will remember that Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with fig leaves. Isaiah gave orders to apply a lump of figs to Hezekiah’s boil, and he was immediately cured. Doctors agree that figs are useful in healing ulcers and sore throats. Remember the story in Matthew 21:19, “And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.” This tree was standing near a public road and was common property. Any one could legally use its fruit. It was not far from the road; but seeing it at a considerable distance, having leaves appearing healthy; they presumed that there would be fruit on it. Judging from the appearance of the tree, it was likely that there would be fruit on it.

“And found nothing thereon, but leaves only.” Again Mark 11:13 gives a reason for this, “the time of figs was not yet.” That is, the time of gathering the figs was not yet, or had not yet passed. It was a time when figs were ripe, or fit to eat, or he would not have gone to it, expecting to find them. But the time of gathering them had not passed, and we can assume that they were still on the tree. This took place on the week of the Passover, or in the beginning of April. Figs in Palestine are commonly ripe at the time of the Passover. The summer in Palestine begins in March, and it is a common thing that figs should be edible until April. There are several schools of thought as to why Jesus did this. I personally believe that He did this as a matter of warning to the Jews.

Daily Assignments

Read Zechariah 8-14, Proverbs 22. Think of some ways you can show your love for your church. Complete___

                     

                  November 20th                  

WHY WE HAVE TO BEG GOD!

 Read Luke 18:1-8

Answer to prayer is often the result of begging with God. Somehow we have lost the art of prayer. Verse 1 shows the necessity of begging God. Someone said, “to beg God day and night to begin to see the light.” Begging is given to get us ready to receive not for God to get in the mood to give.  When you are empty you are actually full. The more you beg the more you want it.

You beg and unload something else. Now that you are empty you are really full. Look for example at Jesus and the net of fish in John 21:6, 8, 11 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.  And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.

Many of us are too wrapped up in the things of the world and self that we have been filled with the wrong things in life. Maybe we all have to do as pastors do every time they step into this pulpit, “Lord, please empower and use me to help my people.” Look for example when Jacob wrestled with God all night long. Do you really believe that God had a hard time beating Jacob? It’s yours already; all you have to do is claim it. We need to say, “God empty me so that you can fill me.” When you buy an airplane ticket you get all there is with it. Your food or peanuts (ha) are included. All things are yours for the asking.

God told Joshua to take the land. We just don’t want it badly enough to do it God’s way. We need to beg and not let go until we get whatever we are begging God for. The average Christian in America has not prayed for five minutes this week. Several lessons today:

PERSEVERE AND DON’T LET DISCOURAGEMENT GET TO YOU.

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT GOD IS TRYING TO TEACH YOU.

PROCLAIM HIS GOODNESS WHEN HE ANSWERS.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 134-136, Proverbs 20, Complete___

            November 19th            

 

A RECIPE FOR JOY!

Read Ecclesiastes 9

Stop and think about the sadness in the world today. Even among Christians, there is not the joy and happiness that there should be. Ecclesiastes 9 gives a recipe for living that I believe is very important. In the first seven verses, the wise preacher discusses the problem of evil men who seem to triumph over those who want to do right. He addresses the fact that the man in the world supposes that when he dies, everything is ended. The wicked go their own way and never seem to be judged. At least, this is a common belief among the unsaved. The question, then, has to be asked, “Is there any reason to live holy and righteous?” Oh yes, there is! The preacher then gives a recipe for a life of joy. He instructs the righteous to go on living day by day in verse 7, then gives the following instructions;

  • It is OK to eat and drink (not speaking of alcohol) with joy and a merry heart.
  • Recognize that God judges not only our actions, but our motives as well.
  • Keep the garments white. That is, live a holy righteous life unto God.
  • Have a joyful life in the home. Here is a great command in verse 9. Every child of God needs to determine that he will do all he can to make his home happy and joyful; a blessing to all those in it, and one that glorifies God.
  • Put your whole heart in it. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Let’s follow this recipe and live the joyful life that God wants for His people.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezra 6-10, Proverbs 19. In order to help us be more attentive, write down the 3rd Bible passage that your pastor refers to in Sunday mornings.

Complete___               

                 NOVEMBER 18th              

 

LIVING IN VICTORY!

 Read Joshua 1:1-9

Ask the average person what life means to him, and you are very likely to get one of the following answers; pleasures, drugs, sex, liquor, parties, sports, bills, taxes, physical pain, marriage problems, financial problems, health problems, suffering, pressure from outside circumstances, unemployment, government, problems at work, etc.….

Ask the average Christian what life is all about, and you might get a somewhat different answer, something like: enduring, hanging in there, suffering, struggling, or sometimes, the blessing of God. Somehow, we get the impression that the average person feels like he’ll one day stumble, beat, exhausted, and worn out, into Heaven saying, “Thank God it’s all over.”

The goal that God has designed for the Christian life is not just enduring, but enjoying life. John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 15:11 says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

One of the greatest Old Testament books on victorious Christian living is Joshua. Picture what God can do with a yielded Christian. The principles in Joshua are as up to date today as they were thousands of years ago.

People ask me, “Why do you always seem so happy?” The secret to happiness is found only in Christ, and in the formula – belief in the Bible, reading obeying equals success and joy. God’s dealing with Israel is the perfect picture of what He wants to do in our lives. The ultimate goal of God was to deliver the people from enslavement and bring them into the land of promise. Spiritual victory, spiritual rest, and spiritual joy are God’s goals for us, not just enduring or simply existing, or even enjoying life, but living in victory.

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 9-12, Proverbs 18. Think of the last time you had victory in your Christian life. Possibly in your soul winning, your service, or maybe victory over sin. Write down the details:

Complete__         

             November 17th    

Review the last two day’s devotions

HIS BLOOD IS THE PRICE OF SALVATION Verse 7a.

1 Peter 1: 18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

That is the cost of redemption – salvation.

When we say it does not cost anything; it cost him everything.

FORGIVENESS IS THE PROMISE OF SALVATION Verse 7b.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

GRACE IS THE POWER OF SALVATION Verse 13.

Grace has been described as God’s Riches AChrist’s Expense. Grace is all of Christ and by Christ. We can do nothing to deserve salvation. It is totally bought and paid for by Christ. What have you done to share God’s grace with those around you?

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Peter 4-5

Read Proverbs 17

Write out your testimony and share it with at least two people in the next week:

Complete__         

November 16th                

Read yesterday’s devotion

We also see Jesus in the New Testament

In Matthew He is KING OF KINGS.

In Mark He is the SERVANT.

In Luke He is the SON OF MAN.

In John He is the SON OF GOD.

In Acts He is the POWER OF THE CHURCH.

In Romans He is the DYNMITE OF THE GOSPEL.

In Corinthians He is the RESTORER of the carnal nature.

In Galatians He is the RENT VAIL.

In Ephesians He is the HEAVENLY ONE.

In Philippians He is our SUFFICIENT ONE.

In Colossians He is the SHADOW.

In Thessalonians He is the COMING SAVIOUR.

In Titus He is the GREAT APPEARING GOD.

In Timothy He is the BLESSED HOPE.

In Philemon He is the FORGIVER of the wayward slave.

In Hebrews He is the BEST OF ALL.

In James He is the FULFILLER OF THE LAW.

In Peter He is the ROCK OF OUR SALVATION.

In John He is the ASSURANCE that we are saved.

In Jude He is the ONE that can keep us from falling.

In Revelation He is the ONE on the white Throne, and ABOVE EVERY NAME.

Jesus is the creation, everything in between and the ending.

JESUS IS THE PERSON OF SALVATION.

REDEMPTION IS THE PURCHASE OF SALVATION.

Redemption means: to deliver by paying a price. It comes from the Greek word: Agorazo: to buy in market place. Man is viewed as a slave sold under sin and under a sentence of death, but subject to redemption by the purchase price of the blood of the Redeemer. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 15-16, Proverbs 16, Do something kind for someone today.

What was it? Complete___         

                        November 15th                

What is Salvation all about?

Read Ephesians 1:1-11

Often I am asked the question, what is salvation all about?” “Which gospel is right? How do we know that the Bible is true? Why are the other religions wrong and we are right?”

I believe the Gospel is very clear in the scriptures. It is very logical and is not a man-made religion or tradition. But it is all about a person – the Person of Christ. He is often referred to as Jesus; Jesus Christ; The Lord of the Sabbath; Christ our Lord, etc. 

JESUS IS THE PERSON OF SALVATION. The Person of Christ in the Old Testament:

In Genesis we see Him as the PROMISED SEED.

In Exodus He is the PASSOVER LAMB.

In Leviticus He is the SCAPEGOAT.

In Numbers He is the BRAZEN SERPENT.

In Deuteronomy He is the GREAT LAW-GIVER.

In Joshua He is the PROPHET, PRIEST AND KING.

In Ruth He is the KINSMAN REDEEMER.

In Samuel He is the ANOINTER OF KINGS.

In Chronicles He is the GREAT HISTORIAN.

In Ezra He is the REBUILDER of God’s House.

In Nehemiah He is the BUILDER of the wall.

In Esther He is the SAVIOUR of the Jews.

In the Psalms He is the SONG OF AGES.

In Proverbs He is the TRUTH.

In Ecclesiastes He is the GREAT PREACHER.

In the Song of Solomon He is the WONDERFUL LOVER.

In Isaiah the WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD;

In Jeremiah He is the WEEPING PROPHET.

In Lamentations He is the MIGHTY STREET PREACHER.

In Ezekiel He is the REBUILDER OF GOD’S HOUSE.

In Daniel He is the STONE cut without hands.

In Hosea He is the FORGIVING LOVER.

In the Minor Prophets He is the ONE COMING to Bethlehem-Judah. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Zechariah 1-7, Proverbs 15, Complete___            

NOVEMBER 14th       

Read yesterday’s devotional 

It was THERE that a widow trusted God and shared all she had with Elijah. How did Elijah know this poor widow would be able to care for him? A widow in that day was completely dependent upon others for her food. Where would she get the food for Elijah? Well, we see verse nine God always has a PLACE OF PROVISION for His servants – the place is THERE.

God gave Elijah two commands:

  • Hide yourself 17:1.
  • Show yourself 18:1.

The widow trusted God for her supply and He saw to it that the supply was not ended until the famine was over. When her son died he was restored at the prayer of God’s man. We have here a perfect illustration of GOD’S PROVISION, THERE. We need to understand that we do not always seek His will but simply live it as He reveals it to us. In other words we need to live His will day-by-day and minute-by-minute. Several practical lessons for today:

  • IF THERE IS NO OBVIOUS DECISION TO MAKE – STAY WHERE YOU ARE.
  • START AND FINISH WHAT HE SENT YOU TO DO.
  • IF YOU ARE ON A CROSSROADS OF A MAJOR DECISION LOSE YOUR OWN WILL AND THEN DECIDE.
  • STAY IN THE BIBLE AND LIVE HIS WILL RATHER THAN ALWAYS SEEKING IT.
  • SEEK COUNSEL FROM WISER MEN THAN YOURSELF.

Here is an important principle of life: If the pastor or another wise counselor says “stay where you are”– GOD’S PROVISION IS ONLY PROMISED AND GUARANTEED THERE.

Daily Assignments

Read Ecclesiastes 7-8, Proverbs 14. Write a thank you note to someone on staff, expressing your love and thanks to them for all that they do. Complete___

      NOVEMBER 13th         

 

“There” – The place of God’s Provision

Read 1 Kings 17:1-16

Several times we see the word there in this text. Wicked King Ahab had just become king and did evil in the sight of the Lord above all who were before him. ‘Then Elijah came on the scene without any warning to speak to the king. It was a small thing for a man whose life was lived in the presence of the Lord to stand before Ahab. God raised up Elijah for a certain period of time. God always gives His greater prophets during the reign of the wicked. Elijah was a Tishbite, born in Tishbeh in Galilee; but he dwelt in Gilead. He wore a garment of skin or of coarse camel hair, which was girt about his loins with a leather girdle. When Ahab, influenced by his wife Jezebel, had given himself to worship Baal, Elijah suddenly appeared on the scene. He predicted an indefinite drought as a penalty for the rejection of Jehovah. Because of the drought he went to the brook of Cherith and it was THERE he was providentially cared for by the Ravens. I have commanded the ravens to feed thee.

The raven is an unclean bird and every species of this type is to be considered unclean and abominable. Is it therefore likely that God would use this unclean bird to feed his prophet?  Besides, where would the ravens get any flesh that was not unclean? Carrion is their food; and would God send any thing of this kind to his prophet?  There are at least three miracles here:

  • To give some clean flesh to the ravens.
  • To persuade the ravens to give it up.
  • To overcome its apprehension towards man, so that it could come to the prophet without fear.

Again God could not have used this means without working these three miracles at the same time, in order to accomplish one simple end, and this is never God’s method: His plan is always to accomplish the greatest purposes by the simplest means. When the brook was dry he was sent to Zarephath on the coast of the Mediterranean north of Tyre.

Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 131-133, Proverbs 13, Complete___

November 12th

 

The Greatest Person!

Matthew 20:26-28 “But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

People often ask, “Who is the greatest person in the Bible?” or “Who is the greatest Christian in America today?” or “Who is the greatest pastor, evangelist, or missionary?” or “Who is the greatest among us?”

In today’s text, we would have to agree that the greatest among us is the servant. Even Jesus came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. Jesus is the greatest servant of all. How can we follow His footsteps and be the greatest of servants? There are 3 things given about the servant.

  • The servant is the greatest among us. It is good to be waited on, to receive and to be comforted. It is even greater to be a servant, to give and to be a comforter. Jesus set the example for us to follow and gave us a command to follow His steps.
  • Great men are first servants. We have said many times, “One cannot successfully lead until he has first successfully followed.” Great leaders have always been great followers. A follower is someone who is given an order and obeys it immediately. Joshua faithfully followed Moses for forty years. Caleb wholly followed the Lord. He served under Moses and then under Joshua. He claimed victories in the Promised Land. The apostle Paul was a great leader because he was first a great servant. God’s tasks for the servant are important. Yet, to the servant, no job is too little because little things are important to him. Would you be mighty? Be a servant.
  • We should seek the servant’s job first. We should be first on the job, first to complete our work, and first to get things done. We should be first in faithfulness and steadfastness. God is looking for servants and blesses the lives of His servants. He who sweeps the place will someday rule the place. He that is the greatest of all is the servant of all. Now, the question is, “Are you a servant?”

Daily Assignments

Read Ezra 1-4, Proverbs 12, Complete___

November 11th

 

Doing Your Part!

Lamentations 3:40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.

God’s will has two parts: our part and His part. We see throughout scripture that God is always faithful to do His part. Although, the difficult part is that He often holds back in doing His part, because we have failed to do ours. Many times He will not do His part until we do our part. The Bible is full of illustrations that God will do His part if we will do our part. Let’s look at a few examples of this truth.

In Philippians 4:13, we read, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Take a close look at this verse. Did you notice that there are two parts to this verse? “I can do all things (our part) through Christ which strengtheneth me (God’s part).

We see this same truth in Romans 10:13, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” The calling is our part, the saving His part.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him (our part) and He shall direct thy paths (His part).

Read Proverbs 2:1-10 and you will see that the first 5 verses are our part and verses 6-10 are God’s part.

We read in John 11 in the raising of Lazarus, Jesus said, “Take ye away stone.” That is our part. “Lazarus, come forth.” That is God’s part.

We see another example in Luke 11:9. “And I say unto you, ask (our part) and it shall be given you (His part), seek (our part) and ye shall find (His part), knock (our part) and it shall be opened unto you (His part).

“Oh thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” How simple it is to get anything from God, if we will just do our part first. Why not just get busy in doing your part? Then God will surely do His.

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 5-7, Proverbs 11. Find and write out 2 verses that contain a promise and a requirement. Complete___

November 10th                    

Study to shew thyself approved

Read I Timothy 2:15-17

Did you ever think about this verse and what it really means?  Paul had just exhorted Timothy to be a good soldier. What are all the requirements of a good soldier?

  • He must first of all be enlisted, in the Christian’s case, a son verse 1.
  • He must be a good athlete verse 3.
  • He must be a like a farmer, labor in the harvest verse 6.
  • He must be a good workman verse 15.
  • He must be a vessel of honor verse 21.
  • He must be a servant verse 23.

These are also good qualifications for a soldier of the cross.

UNDERSTAND THAT STUDY IS A COMMAND.

Study means to give diligence. Rightly dividing means: to hold to a straight course. As you study the Bible you find that it does not just contain the Word of God but it is the Word of God. A good soldier knows his weapon better than his enemy. The Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword. The soldier who is approved unto God is one who studies the Word of God. He knows how to take orders. What happens when soldiers don’t obey orders? They may be shot!

UNDERSTAND THAT WORK IS COMPULSORY.

We go in for orders and out for service. You will never make it unless you are willing to work. Think of the rewards of good old-fashioned hard work. You watch the soldier who complains about his orders and on the other hand watch the one who is willing to obey and work hard to please his master.

UNDERSTAND THAT TRUTH IS COURAGOUS.

It takes courage to be different today. God can bless a person who is willing to take a stand for Christ and for right. Truth will give that courage needed in times of testing. Truth will keep you on the right course for the rest of your life.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Peter 1-3, Proverbs 10, Complete___

November 9th           

Review the last three day’s devotions

Most of us are not willing to go out into the deep.  It’s too stormy out there, too risky.  Someone may slam the door in my face; a dog may bite me.  I’ve been out soul winning for over forty years and a dog has never bitten me, but I was bitten several times as a milkman.  When I served the devil and myself, I was bitten several times. But I’ve yet to be killed or bitten out knocking on doors witnessing for Christ!  Why?  Because I am going out into the deep, I am going where God wants me.

It’s not easy to go out every week and knock on doors.  It’s not easy inviting people to come.  But, one of these days, if we would all get passionate about it, we would all go out in the deep, God would return the blessing we are all looking for. These men returned with their nets full.  But, they received much more than that.  They came back with a promise fulfilled.  “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” Psalms 126:6.

They went out.  We too must go out for people to come.  We must launch out and go where they are.  Then we will return with fruit and with rejoicing. If we will go out, we will catch men.  The problem with Christianity today is that we are not launching out into the deep. Jesus gave them so much they couldn’t handle it all.

How do we apply this Biblical truth?

First, Jesus has to do it.  Jesus told Peter what to do and Peter did it.  Jesus gave him the opportunity to return with a lot of fish.  God gave the blessing.

Secondly, people will follow if we will go out where they are with the purpose of bringing them in.  Don’t wait for others to go out, you launch out into the deep.

Thirdly, it is God that gives the increase.

When we get excited about what we have it’s like saying, nevertheless in spite of the heat or cold, I’m going to do what God has commanded.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 13-14, Read Proverbs 9. Write out an outline of last Wednesday evening’s message. Complete___

November 8th     

 Review the last two day’s devotions

THEN THEY HAD TO RETURN

Then He teaches the principle that they return.  In other words, He taught them to not only catch the fish, but to bring them in.  Look at verse 3, “And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land.” In other words, Jesus asked Simon if He could borrow his boat.  “And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.  Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.”

Here is another important principle for us.  “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”  Here’s the principle whether we’re fulltime Christian workers or new converts saved this week.  He said, nevertheless, in other words, immediate obedience. This could change our lives.  If we would just learn to do what He says.  Just do what He commands.  This obedience was the key to Peter’s entire ministry.  Had he not said nevertheless and done what Jesus commanded, he probably would not have been recorded in the scripture.  But he said, nevertheless, at thy word I’ll let down the net, I’ll give it a try. I’ve done this all night long, nothing happened, nevertheless.

Now look in verse 6, “And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.”  There were so many fish that their net broke!  Verse 7, “And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them.  And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.” It’s amazing how God teaches us, that due to Peter’s obedience, not only was he blessed, but all of the fishermen who followed, and those who were his partners were blessed as well.  If one of us is blessed of God, I am blessed also.  If one of us is blessed by the message, all of us are blessed, because God gave it. When we do the nevertheless, and do what God says, what God wills, go where the fish are and where the blessings are, then God will do His part to return the blessing.  It’s the obedience that makes the difference.  He said go out, thrust out, cast out where they are.  Go out into the deep.  But return.  And when you return, I’ll bless you. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Haggai, Proverbs 8. List some of the things you are doing or could be doing to shepherd new converts in the church. Complete___

November 7th

Read yesterday’s devotion

GO OUT INTO THE DEEP!

The second thing He says is to go out into the deep.  If you’re going to catch fish, you have to go where the fish are.  The fish are in the depths of the water.  They don’t stay near the coastline because of the turmoil.  You have to go out into the deep.  What He’s teaching the disciples is that if you’re going to be fishers of men then you have to go where they are.  They’re obviously not in church.  Sinners don’t often go to church.  Occasionally, if they do come, they sit in the back and they hear very little of the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.  They very rarely come forward to make a decision for Christ.  They must be caught and brought to church.  This is what Jesus is teaching in such practical way.

Psalm 107:23-24, “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.”

These see the works of the Lord.  The ones who go out into the deep; those are the ones who see the works of the Lord.  Those are the ones who return in victory.  This demonstrates the importance of going where they are.  Now look in verses 25-28, “For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.  They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.”

God troubles the water to bring up fish, much as He troubles the lives of the people He sends us.  Often you go soul-winning and they had just been praying due to troubles in their marriage, finances, health or something and here comes a soul-winner knocking on the door giving them calm waters; calmness through the Lord Jesus Christ.

He said to thrust out, to go where the people are. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignment

Read Ecclesiastes 5-6, Read Proverbs 7, Complete___

   November 6th

                  

Nevertheless!

Read Luke 5:1-11

The lesson of this text is about faith.  Jesus always uses a physical illustration to demonstrate a spiritual truth.  Likewise a preacher tries to take a message and illustrate it in such a way as to bring forth spiritual productivity in the lives of his people.  Here in this text, He uses the illustration of going fishing.  In verse 1, for example, “It came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesaret,” What is the teaching of that verse?  They were eager to hear the Word of God.  Also, they came to hear the Word of God.  Wow!  Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, Himself, preached the Word of God.  He did not preach a philosophy of men.  He preached God’s Word, just as He had written it thousands or millions of years before.

That is a principle in God’s Word; that it is the preaching of God’s Word that changes lives.  Verses 2 and 3, “And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.  And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land.  And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.”  He taught the people on the shore.  He uses the story of fishing.  The word He uses for “launch” is in the Greek “epanago” – to lead upon.  “Epa” means upon, and “ago” means to lead.

THRUST OUT – CAST OUT – GO OUT!

What He’s saying is that if you’re going to catch fish, then you must launch, you must lead upon.  In other words, it has the meaning of thrusting out or casting out.  He’s not going to catch a lot of fish along the shoreline.  He must cast out – whether in a boat or along the shore, he must cast out.  Jesus used this illustration of fishing to demonstrate a far greater spiritual truth.  If you’re going to catch fish, you’ve got to go out.  Here is the spiritual truth of catching men.  He’s talking about catching fish, but is illustrating catching men. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 128-130, Proverbs 6, Complete___ 

November 5th

THE LOOK OF FAITH, CONTINUED!

Read yesterday’s devotion

The sinner must realize that,

  • Christ must be accepted as the ONLY remedy for sin. (There was only one serpent)
  • He must be accepted as a full and SUFFICIENT remedy.  (The just for the unjust)
  • He must be accepted as a PRESENT day remedy.
  • He must be accepted as a divinely CERTIFIED remedy.
  • He must be accepted as one CRUCIFIED for the sins of men.

Secondly, Christ must be looked at when He is lifted up.

Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto me and be ye saved.”

It must be a look of faith and expecting God’s power to save. Looking to Jesus implies that we are looking away from self. Salvation must be the object for which we look.

Sinners must look to Christ for a remedy for all sin. Sinners must look at once (and only once) without delay.

Lastly, Christ must be accepted by faith.

A great multitude can be saved. Faith is here put to the test. Many perish because of unbelief. Many stumble by the simplicity of the Gospel. The natural man seeks for a way of salvation worked out by self. Many have religion but without Christ. Many are looking for signs or feelings. Many perish because of delay. Some are driven back into the wilderness because of despair. Others neglect to look because they think they are getting better. Many refuse to look because they are full of doubt. Sinners look every other way except to Christ. Look unto Christ in faith today.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 33-36, Proverbs 5, Use the space below to make an outline of Sunday’s sermon.

Complete__                     

                         NOVEMBER 4th                              

 

THE LOOK OF FAITH!

Read John 3:14-17

Numbers 21:8-9, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”

2 Kings 18: 4 “He (Hezekiah) removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.”

They went so far as to make an idol out of the serpent of brass. It was God that healed –not the serpent. It is God that gives salvation and not an image or even the cross. The serpents were killing the Jews so God commanded Moses to make one of brass. The serpent of brass pictures Christ on the cross. It is not the cross that saves, but faith in Christ that saves us. Notice the serpent was not connected to the Tabernacle in any way. This shows us that no amount of sacrifices could save them from certain death that would follow. Church attendance will not save nor will keeping of the sacraments, or other good works. Moses lifted up the serpent for a sinful, disobedient people. He lifted up the serpent in the midst of the camp. It was located in such away that all could see and know one would have any excuse for not looking up. It was not hidden in a corner somewhere. They first disobeyed God and then they disobeyed Moses.

When the serpent bit someone he had a choice:  He could humble himself and by a simple act of faith look and live. Or he could refuse to look on the serpent of brass and die. We are bitten by sin and have a choice because our sin is killing us as well. We have to humble ourselves and look to Jesus in faith. The sinner must come to Christ believing that Christ: Died for his sins according to the scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again. The object of the serpent was to save them from perishing. How does this affect us today and how does this apply to you and me? First, Christ must be lifted up just as the serpent was in the wilderness. Sinners not only walk in darkness but they love it and will not part with it. They refuse to come to the light where their sin is exposed and can be forgiven. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments!

Read Deuteronomy 1-4, Read Proverbs 4, Complete

November 5thRead yesterday’s devotion

                            November 3rd                          

God is for us!

Read Psalm 56

The background of this psalm is found in 1 Samuel 21:10-15. David had fled to Gath, where Achish was king, because Saul was threatening his life. He thought perhaps he could find safety in anonymity there. But Achish’s servant recalled the song that had been sung about David. This is the song regarding Saul and that he had slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands.

That servant put a question to Achish, “Isn’t he king of the land?” and David, in fear of his life, had to pretend he was mad. He drooled and spit all over himself. If the leaders of Gath had thought he was sane, they would have slain him, because he had slain their giant, and he was the future king. They knew that Saul was on the throne, but they recognized that David was truly “The king of the land.” It was in this time of fear that David prayed this prayer. Enemies surrounded him. Perhaps hope seemed small. But then we read verse nine. There was one thing that David knew – “for God is for me.”  God was on his side. God wanted him to have the victory.

If we could only remember this verse when things seem to go against us, how it could change our life. God is on our side. Remember the verse – “if God be for us, who can be against us.” With God on our side, we are always in the majority.

Imagine, the God of creation; the God who made heaven and earth; the God who created the plants and animal; the God who created man and woman; the God who made something when there was nothing. He is on our side; He is for us. He wants us to succeed. This does not mean that we will not have problems. This does not mean that we will always win and never fail. But even when we fail, God is for us. Who greater to have on our side? Bro. Ken Starlin

Daily Assignments

Read James 4-5, Proverbs 3. Write out one truth from the Sunday evening service that spoke to your heart. Complete___

November 2nd  

                     

Bear ye one another’s Burdens

Read Galatians 6:1-5

Here is a great truth: sometimes we need a gentle reminder not to be critical of others or other groups, though we may not agree with them. Sin is a transgression, an overstepping of the law, which is the divine boundary between good and evil. It can be summarized as follows, an act, or violation of the will of God. It is a state or an absence of righteousness and nature or enmity towards God.

When it comes to our brother in Christ we ought to be like Deacon Brown: he spread good gossip about two men who were bitter foes and who then became better friends.

Gossip – used to mean “God sib” or a relative in the sight of God. The term was applied to Godparents and thus it became to mean to confide something good. Look again at verses 1-2; Overtaken means: by chance, not deliberate like a lost sinner or a sudden giving in to temptation. Spiritual means: not carnal, under influence of the Holy Spirit. Restore means to repair and is used for an arm out of joint.

What should be our attitude in restoration?  It should be a meek spirit (considering yourself) and a forgiving spirit and surrendering self-will.

You must realize the difference between forgiveness and pardon: You and I can forgive, but only a higher authority can pardon. God looks at the forgiven sinner as though he never sinned.

You must also realize the results of an unforgiving spirit: bitterness, much heartache, as well as physical, emotional and spiritual.

You must have an understanding spirit: hate the sin, but love the sinner. What should be our attitude in restoration?  Confess – our own faults and sins. Correct – our wrongs against each other and the church as a whole. Continue – our walk with God. Yes, there are some burdens we can share and others we must bear.  But, let’s be there for those who need us to share their burdens. What we need in our churches are some burden bearers of other’s burdens.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 11-12, Proverbs 2. Who are some people in your life you have burdens? What can you think of to do to help share those burdens? Complete___

November 1st  

               

How to Do Great Things for God

Read 2 Kings 2:1-12

1 Kings 19:19 is the only place in the Bible where one man anointed another to be a servant of God. Here in chapter two the power is transferred from one to another. Elijah asked Elisha what he wanted most from him and his answer was, “a double portion.” Jesus said in John 14 “Greater things than these shall ye do.” God has given the power of anointing men to man – to the prophet of God. The Lord had let Elijah know that his time was at hand. He therefore went to the different schools of the prophets to give them his last exhortations and blessing.  The removal of Elijah was a type and figure of the ascension of Christ, and the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

Elisha had long followed Elijah, and he would not leave him now when he hoped for the parting blessing. How can we apply this great truth to us? How can you and I do great things for God? First of all I believe we have to ask and ask Him in faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. God requires faith on our part in order for Him to work through us. But having faith is difficult sometimes. It can be a help to us if we find examples in our friendships or acquaintances that have exhibited faith. Find people of faith and follow them. Find those who are Men of Prayer, Men of Principle, Men of Practice, and Men of Power.

Look at Joshua and Caleb; and David & Jonathan. In Exodus 24:13, Joshua is called Moses minister, servant. In Numbers 27:18-23 He is Moses successor. In Numbers 13, Caleb is sent as a spy and came back with a good report. Caleb “wholly followed the Lord” in Joshua 14. He was given Hebron as a reward for his faithful service, but also because he believed God for great things – the mountain. Once you begin to follow and imitate those who have faith, expect great things from God. Expect God to work through you. Expect God to move in your life, because Jeremiah 33:3 is the only hope we have. Be a success and do great things for God. God is looking for people to stand in the gap. Will you be that person? Will you trust Him to do something great with you?

Daily Assignments

Read Zephaniah, Proverbs 1. List some people that you feel exhibit faith.

Complete___

October 31st 

                               

What a wonderful CHANGE in my Life!

Read John 3

If there ever has been a true expression of a songwriter’s feeling of the heart, it is the song “Since Jesus came into my heart.” One of the first and most important changes in the Christian life is just that – change. One of the things that I have noticed about born again Christians is that there is a definite change. In other words, they have been truly born again. To be born again simply means to be born from above. In other words, there is a tremendous change that has taken place in the life of a Christian.

Now think of it, if you were truly born again, there must have been a dramatic change in your life. No, you did not become perfect, but changed. There must have been a change in seeking to please God, in desiring to walk with Him, and of course, in seeking to obey Him. These are some of the basic changes that take place in one who has been born again. He lives no longer to please himself, but he strives to please God. No wonder the songwriter said, “What a WONDERFUL change in my life has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart.” Every one that is a genuine blood bought born again Christian ought to have experienced this kind of change. No, the change is not the same in every person, and no one can make a list of how you have to change; however, there is a change. How has that change affected you?  FOUR THINGS or changes ought to be made: Read Acts 2:41-47.

CONVERSION– A CHANGE IN DESTINATION verse 41.

CONSECRATION – A CHANGE IN LIFE verse 42.

CONVICTION– A CHANGE IN ATTITUDES verse 43.

COMPASSION – A CHANGE IN HEART verses 44-47.

  • UNITY in the home and church.
  • SACRIFICE to help others.
  • WITTNESSING to the lost.

Why not make it a practice to let God have His way for any changes in your life. Someone said it is a changing of guard in life.

Daily Assignments

Read Ecclesiastes 3-4, Proverbs 31. List some of the things that have changed in your life (attitudes, actions.) since salvation.

Complete___

October 30th

REAL FAMILY VALUES!

Read 2 Chronicles 7:14-22

Much of what is on my heart today has been well expressed by the Lord in this chapter. It is my prayer that God will work a mighty change in the heart of America.

It’s amazing how we have changed. When they speak of family values, they do not have Biblical values in mind. Today, family values are found in abortion rights, socialism, feminism, and all the other isms. Why don’t we humble ourselves and get honest about the matter? Until mothers return to the home, and children obey their parents, we are going to see our nation deteriorate beyond recognition. Let us not be guilty of becoming a part of the system which disobeys and dishonors our Lord. Let us obey these verses and preach them from the rooftops.

You will remember that Eli lost his priesthood because he would not judge or discipline his sons. You may call it love, but you’re sinning against God when you fail to discipline your children properly. The Bible says love is stronger than death and “Many waters cannot quench love…”

How can one have and develop love and real family values in the home?

  • By having the right respect for God and putting Christ in His proper place as Head of the home.
  • By having an open and honest relationship with each other.
  • By speaking kindly to one another and striving for an attitude of togetherness.

A lack of Biblical love in the home should be recognized in Biblical terms: it is sin! The good thing about sin is that it can be confessed and forgiven. The Lord will give you that spiritual heart you desire and enable you to demonstrate and experience the blessings of true Biblical love in your home.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 125-127, Proverbs 30, Complete___

October 29th

James 4:13-17 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Notice the words of Job 7:6-7, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.  O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good.”

The psalmist said in Psalm 89:47, “Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?” The psalmist said the same thing in Psalm 90 and 102. Peter said the same thing in 1 Peter 1:24 and in 1 Peter 4:7. One would get the impression from these verses that time is just a whisper. It is a wind that passes away. Time is but for a moment, here today and gone tomorrow.

The Bible says in Ephesians 5:16, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

When we stop to think about it, we really do not have a lot of time on this Earth. It would seem that Christians would make use of their time as never before. If young people only realized the importance of their youths, as well as their time, how much the better would they be for it. Let’s remember to stay busy for God, redeeming the time, doing all that we can do for our Master.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 29-32, Proverbs 29. Keep a record of the following for one day: Time watching TV; time listening to music; time reading Bible. Complete___

October 28th  

                   

 THE RIGHT KIND OF FOLLOWER!

Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

I believe we all realize the importance of good old-fashioned hard work. I like what Henry David Thoreau said, “If you’ve built castles in the air, your work need not be lost. That is where they should be, no with the foundations under them.”

The Bible says, “For other foundations can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Someone once said that the best things are the nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eye, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand and the path of God before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.”

The Bible well says in Proverbs 17:24, “Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool in the ends of the Earth.”

Someone said, “Where there is a willing heart there will always be an eager spirit.” Why? A change in heart will bring a change in behavior.

BE AN ENTHUSIASTIC FOLLOWER.

Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

The word fully implies that he has been a diligent follower of these things, and so ought we.

Lee Iacocca said, “Either lead, follow or get out of the way.”

BE A FAITHFUL (WORKING) SERVANT.

James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Verse 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Matthew 20:27-28 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Matthew 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

It is said of Jesus in Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men

It is my prayer that God’s people everywhere will have a “mind to work”.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 34-36, Proverbs 28, Complete___

October 27th

 

1 John 15:12-15 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

We have all heard the expression, “If you have one friend in a lifetime, consider yourself very lucky.” Many people have acquaintances, but no friends. A friend is someone to be cherished. Someone said, “I will be a friend to my friends.” I wonder if most of us are really willing to pay the supreme sacrifice for our friends. The Bible says, “A friend loveth at all times.”   “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.” And “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

How can one be a friend to his friends?

  • Love him with all your heart
  • Give him/her the best and purest love possible
  • Find out what love is
  • What does it mean to lay down one’s life for his friend?
  • First, it does not necessarily mean physical death
  • Start by laying down sin and self love
  • It does not necessarily mean my time or physical energy. A dead friend is no good to his friends. A dead man cannot help to comfort. Jesus spent His life living for His friends and then died for them. In Heaven, for thousands of years before He came to Earth, He fellowshipped with His Father, and He gave that up when He come to die for us. His fellowship was broken for you and me.
  • It does mean that one must be so consumed with the life of his friend that he keeps up a close relationship and fellowship with God.
  • One can spend his life walking with God and communicating with Him and the Holy Spirit moment by moment, in order to be a better friend.
  • One can spend his life loving God and sharing that love with his friends.

Let’s work on developing our acquaintances into close friendships.

Daily Assignments

Read James 1-3, Proverbs 27, Complete___

October 26th                           

Psalm 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

I’m sure that all of us have faced a time in our lives when we felt there was absolutely no hope of things ever getting better, when everything seemed to go wrong and God seemed to have forsaken us. Yet, we can always know His constant presence. Have you ever had a night when you thought morning was never going to come? Or a problem that had no hope of an end? Have you ever gone through so much weeping that you literally ran out of tears? Not only does God carefully take every tear and place it in His heavenly bottle, but also He said, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” I find several promises in this verse:

Weeping only lasts for a moment.

I can recall many long nights in my own life. Often we thought daybreak would never come, but praise God, weeping only lasts for a night. You may not understand it now, but hereafter it will all make sense to you. The Bible teaches that we must suffer to be righteous, we must be willing not only to pay the price, but also to bear the cost. It seems that those who have suffered the most are the most dedicated.

Joy will come in the morning.

Do you remember those long nights that never seemed to end? Look back, dawn always came. As sure as there is night, so there is day. As sure a darkness, so there is light. As sure as sunset, so is sunrise. As sure as weeping, so is joy. In the Hebrew, “joy” literally means singing. Singing in the morning. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 9-10, Proverbs 26, Complete___

OCTOBER 25th      

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

It is the will or command of God that we should be holy. This text does not refer to the purpose or decree of God, and does not mean that He intended to make them holy; but it means that it was His command that they should be holy. Therefore we should not use this text as a proof that God intends to make His people holy, or that they are sanctified. It is a proof only that He requires holiness. The word here “sanctification” (agiasmov) is not used in the Greek classics, but is found several times in the New Testament. It is used as “holiness,” in Romans 6:19, 22; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 12:14; and “sanctification,” in 1 Corinthians 1:30;1 Thessalonians 4:3, 4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2. It means purity of life, and particularly abstinence from those sins which disgrace and degrade the soul. Sanctification consists in two things, “Ceasing to do evil.” “Learning to do well.” In other words, the first work of sanctification is in overcoming the tendency to evil in our nature, and checking the unholy habits we practiced before we became Christians; the second part of the work consists of cultivating the positive principles of holiness in the soul.

There are basically four principles we want to discuss in this lesson.

IT IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR ALL TO BE SAVED . Verse 1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

IT IS THE WILL OF GOD IS FOR ALL TO BE SPIRIT-FILLED. Verse 8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit. Quench: Greek: Sbennumi … Extinguish, gone out.In Matthew 25:8, the foolish virgins did not take enough oil; their lamps had “gone out.”

IT IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR ALL TO BE SANCTIFIED. Verses 3-4 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; To walk to please God … verse 1. To abound more and more … verses 1, 10.

1 Corinthians 15:58 … be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always  abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Daily Assignments

Read Habakkuk, Proverbs 25, Complete___

OCTOBER 24th

STEADFASTNESS! 

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I suppose we could spiritualize this statement, or we could look at it in a very practical way, which is how I believe the Lord intended it. There are basically four important lessons in this text.

  • Be STEADFAST in the work of the Lord. The word steadfast means to be firm and persistent in what we do for the Lord. For example, as Moses was persistent in getting the children of Israel through the wilderness into the Promise Land and Joshua was persistent in claiming the Promise Land, so we are to be firm and persistent in our labor for the Lord, spiritual things as well as physical things.
    • Have a goal (Philippians 3:12-14)
    • Live a disciplined life (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)
    • Stay in the race (Hebrews 12:1-2)
    • Don’t ever quit or give up (Galatians 6:9)
    • The Bible also says that the truth will make us free (John 8:31-32)
    • We are sanctified through truth (John 17:17-19)
    • We are purified through truth (1 Peter 1:22)
    • We are established in truth (Ephesians 4:15)
    • To grow in knowledge of the Word of God
    • To grow in our relationship with our Lord
    • To grow in our yielding to the Holy Spirit
  • We are to be UNMOVEABLE. That is, to stay true to the Word of God. The Bible says they that worship him must worship in spirit and it truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
  • We are always to be ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD. That means to keep on going as well as to keep on growing. No one wants to be mediocre or just average. A Christian who is abounding in the Lord will continually strive to grow in the Lord.

It is my prayer that each Christian will realize these truths.

Daily Assignments

Read Ecclesiastes 1-2, Proverbs 24

Make an outline of the Bible study on Wednesday night. Complete___

OCTOBER 23rd

UNITY IN THE CHURCH!

Psalm 133:1-3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

 

I like what the Bible says in Hebrews 13:1 “Let brotherly love continue.” This is not speaking of the Agape love, but of Phileo – human affection and fondness. In other words, there is to be affection towards one another in the church of God, not only to those who are suffering, but also to all brothers and sisters in Christ. As the Bible says, “especially to those in the household of faith.” Romans 12:10 tells us, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.” Here again the word “phileo” is used, meaning that we are to be fond of one another, as family members would be. Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through strife of vainglory: but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

Each of these verses speak of putting others before ourselves, esteeming others better than ourselves. Human nature teaches man to take care of himself. There is a philosophy of survival of the fittest; however, the practice is not necessarily right for the Christian. The test of true Bible character is to seek to care for the needs of others. “Others Lord, yes others, let this my motto be. Help me to live for others, that I may live for Thee” said the poet.

So, what does it mean in Psalm 133:1, “for brethren to dwell together in unity”? Certainly it means for us to love one another, to nurture one another and to care for one another’s needs. The purpose of the church is first of all to see people saved, to disciple those who have been saved, and to care for the needs of others. This is the life lived by our example, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Unity is a wonderful thing to experience in our church. Thank God for all the opportunities we have to be kindly affectioned one to another, and the great privilege we have to carry out the truth of the gospel. Then it will be truly pleasant for us to dwell together in unity.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 123-124, Proverbs 23. Do something kind for someone in the church. Write a note or call them. Take them a small gift. Do something to show your affection for them. Complete___

OCTOBER 22nd

                     WHAT DID ISAIAH SEE?                             

Read Isaiah 6:8

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

General Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, once said of this verse, “If you have no call, put your ear to the Bible.” I like what John Burroughs said, “The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive, the great opportunity is where you are.” The Bible says, “The eyes of the fool are in the ends of the Earth.”

A story is told of Gutzon Borglum, who cared the head of Lincoln from a block of marble that had been in the studio for years. The bust is now in the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. One day a lady came into his studio and observed to her astonishment, the unmistakable lineaments of Lincoln in the stone. She hastened to ask Borglum’s secretary, “Is that Abraham Lincoln?” “Yes” was the reply. “How did the sculpture know Abraham Lincoln was in that stone?” she asked. “Vision” was the reply. When a friend asked the famous sculpture, “Which is your greatest statue?” he replied, “The next one.” Sir Winston Churchill said, “The farther you look back, the longer you look forward.”

Someone said, “Hats off to our past, coats off to our future.” In other words, past accomplishments are good, we ought to speak of them, we ought to look back at them and rejoice; however, people that look backwards does not build the world. We must learn to look back while moving forward. As we look to the past to glean from the lesson we have learned, we need to roll up our sleeves, catch the vision, and go for the future. There are literally millions of people in most of our areas who need to be reached. Let’s ask God to give us a vision and to show us what Isaiah saw. What did he see?

  • He saw the world condition as it really was
  • He saw the Lord Himself
  • He saw his sin
  • He saw the remedy for his sin
  • He saw the word of God
  • He saw his own relationship with God

Let’s ask God to give us that type of vision and then the faith to say, “Here am I, send me.”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 25-28, Proverbs 22, Complete___

OCTOBER 21st   

Review yesterday’s devotion

  • Constant unbroken fellowship with God.
  • No known sin unconfessed sin; it must be dealt with. Psalm 66:18
  • Daily fellowship, Bible reading, prayer, witnessing, meditation, memorization.
  • Continual spiritual progress.
  • Learn more about God by studying His word.
  • Grow closer to Him through prayer
  • Disciple others
  • Consecrated separation
  • From the world, the flesh and the devil
  • Unto God.

We need all kinds of Christians, young and old, who will walk close to the Lord. Will you be one of these who will be like Enoch – One who walked with God?

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 31-33, Proverbs 21

Write out an outline of the last Sunday school lesson:

Complete___

     OCTOBER 20th

Read Hebrews 11:1-7 & Genesis 5:18-24

Many times I am asked the question, “Preacher, what does it mean to walk with God?” Many have the idea that walking with God is only for the older or more mature Christian, or someone who has walked with God for many years. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, it is true that Enoch was a more mature, older Christian; however, the Scripture is filled with examples of young Christians walking with the Lord.

Walking with God simply means;

  • A dying to self-. John 12:24 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
  • To be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
  • A broken heart. Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

In other words, there must be an awareness of sin.

Now, what does it mean to walk with God?

  • A complete surrender of self.
  • Dedication or yielding to the will of God Romans 6:13, 16, 19.
  • Conformity to the Word of God Romans 12:2, 8; 1 Ephesians 5:8, 15.

Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Hebrews 11-13,  Proverbs 20

Write out the following verses: 1 Thessalonians 4:1, 2 John 4, Complete___

OCTOBER 19th    

Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Someone said, “To be well seasoned is to cover up the real thing.” Well, one thing we can say is that this is an account of a true shepherd. Few chapters in the New Testament reveal the heart of Paul as this one. Here we see him admitting his fears and failings as he tells of the sufferings he endured. An age-old question is “Why must the righteous suffer?” It is a question that runs from Genesis to Revelation, from Job to John. Paul gives us three reasons from his own personal experiences.

That we might comfort others

Read verses 3-7 again. The word comfort is used ten times in these verses. Consolation is the same word, and literally means to call to one’s side. It is the same word Jesus uses for the Holy Spirit in John 14, the Comforter, and the Paraclete. What a joy to know that God always stands at our side when we are in trouble. God is the God of all comfort just as He is the God of all grace. There is comfort and grace for every time we are in trouble, and our trials will become triumphs. This comfort is not given for our enjoyment; it is given that we might be able to help others. Paul went through tribulation that he might be able to minister to other people. God prepares us for what He is preparing for us. We cannot lead others where we have not been. Paul looked at these trials as sufferings of Christ. He states in Philippians 3:10 “the fellowship of His sufferings”. Think of it, as our trials abound, so does His grace and comfort. We ought to be partners with Christ in suffering, since this partnership leads to comfort and to helping others.

That we might have confidence in God alone

It takes a great man or woman to admit failure. Paul opens his heart and shares with the believers the troubles he endured in Asia. He isn’t writing to win their sympathy, but to teach them the lesson that he learned, to trust God and to trust Him alone. Paul is quick to acknowledge the prayer and help of his friends. He says that his deliverance in answer to their prayers will cause many to praise God and to give Him the glory He deserves. We need to learn to put our faith in God, not in circumstances or in self. Abraham took Lot with him, and Lot left him. Moses insisted on Aaron’s help, and Aaron led the people to sin. David’s choice advisors deserted him. The man or woman who fears the Lord and lives to please Him enjoys peace and confidence. What a lesson to learn.

That we might claim the promises of God

We will not say much about this, except that all the promises of God find their “Yes” in and through Christ. In other words, the promises of God are true and Christ fulfills them. He gives us faith to claim them.

Daily Assignments!

Read Acts 7-8, Proverbs 19, Complete___

OCTOBER 18th  

       

FAITH IN HEBREWS!

Read Hebrews 10:33-35

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

THE PROSPECT OF FAITH – RECOMPENSE

Verse 26b … for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.  Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

THE SEPARATION OF FAITH – FORSOOK EGYPT

Verse 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, Hebrews 6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

THE COURAGE OF FAITH – NOT FEARING

Verse 27 Not fearing the wrath of the king:

It takes courage to say no to sin and take a stand for Christ.

THE FEAST OF FAITH – KEEP THE PASSOVER

Verse 28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

No one knows who among us has the most faith; however, all of us have been given “a measure” of faith. It is not how much faith we have, but are we courageously using the measure of faith given to us?

Daily Assignments

Read Nahum, Proverbs 18. Think about the last decisions you made at the altar. Have you faithfully kept them? Pray and renew your decision today. Ask God to help you keep these decisions. Complete___

 

OCTOBER 17th                           

Psalm 126:5-6 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

The greatest news in the entire world is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The most tender, most loving, most caring man in all of history is none other than our Lord and Saviour. It is He who gives peace and joy and victory. It is He who made the tremendous sacrifice to give us our eternal home in Heaven. It is He who shed His blood to forgive us of all our sins. It is He who is calling out to mankind to be saved. It is He who gives you what you have been searching for who will fill the emptiness and the void in your heart. It is Jesus, the Messiah, and the Saviour of the world who is calling unto you to call unto Him. It is Jesus who is the answer to every problem in the world. It is Jesus who gives us the power to serve Him. Glory to God

As we live for others, we are actually living for Him. Every kind deed, every expression of love, every act of sacrifice for others, is really a kindness, an act, and a sacrifice unto the Lord Himself. Since He loved, sacrificed, and did all for us, it’s only right that we follow His example and willingly give ourselves to others in the same manner. Why?

  • The love Christ has for us causes us to love others.
  • It causes us to know Christ more intimately.

That is, to know the indwelling God in the person of the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah! He lives within us.

Won’t you serve Him? Won’t you love Him? Won’t you obey Him? Won’t you honor Him with your life?

Daily Assignments

Read Proverbs 17. Write out the following verses: 1 John 1:9, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Matthew 11:28, Jeremiah 33:3, Matthew 28:18-20.

Complete__

OCTOBER 16th

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

The world is not for God or Christ.  We need to face the fact that they hate God and the Christian. They live in a different world; they are headed for a different destiny; they serve a different master. We are not to be like the world, and God says, “Be ye not conformed to the world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

No wonder God says we are “not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”

The world is not the way of the Lord, because the way of sin leads to death and destruction.

Our jails are overcrowded. We are plagued with terrorism and war. We are a nation of divorces, drugs, alcohol, and suicide; they often go together!

The Bible warns that the way of transgressors is hard, and be sure your sin will find you out. The final verse of Frances Ridley Havergal’s songs, “Take my life and let it be” is

Take my life and make it thine it shall be no longer mine

Take my heart, it is thine own it shall be thy royal throne

Take my love, my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store

Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee.

Let’s live a separated life from the world unto God, with our whole hearts.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 120-121, Proverbs 16, Complete___

       

OCTOBER 15th

LIVING BEYOND, DISCOURAGEMENT, DISTRESS AND ANXIETY!

Psalm 119:113 I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.The Psalmist said, “Thy law do I love.”

This expression tells it all concerning my love for the Bible. When I think of all the Bible has done for me, I cannot help but love it. Think of it, were it not for the Bible, I would not know of our wonderful Saviour. Were it not for the Bible, I would not have the joy and the peace in my heart that I am able experience through His word. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Today so many of our people seem to be downhearted, discouraged, or distressed and seem to live a life with anxiety. Often, I am asked, “How can I overcome this life of anxiety?” There are 3 basic principles to consider.

  • We must humble ourselves before God.

  • Tell Him how you feel
  • Tell Him of your heartaches
  • Tell Him of your needs and your hurts
  • By faith, call on Him to uplift you through His word
  • By praying. Pray the prayer of faith, for healing of not only the physical body, but the also the spiritual
  • By trusting. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey
  • By forgetting. Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”
  • We must resist the devil.

  • We must cast our cares upon Him

Our problem is that we often listen to the devil and refuse God’s help and refuse to believe Him, and therefore comes distress and anxiety. Learn to resist the devil and his cunning seeds of doubt.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 21-24, Proverbs 15. Write down the things that have caused you anxiety and distress lately. Then take each one and pray and ask God to help you with them. Complete___

                         

                                   OCTOBER 14th                                 


A DRINK OF WATER!

 

1 Chronicles 11:16-19 And David was then in the hold, and the Philistines’ garrison was then at Bethlehem. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate! And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD, And said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? For with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest.

In this passage, David’s burden was heavy. The war with the Philistines had been long and exhausting. As he was in the hold, he was thinking about the cool water that was in the well at Bethlehem. The Philistines had their garrison now in Bethlehem, and David knew that it was impossible to go there. Three of David’s mighty men heard his dream and decided to meet his longing. These three fought through the Philistines, drew water from the well and brought it back to David.

These three men set an example that we all can follow. Let’s be sensitive to the needs and longings of our leadership. I thank God for people who have done things to finish projects and meet the needs of the church. They truly got a “drink of water” for their pastor.

God honored these three men who went to get David a drink, and I believe He will honor anyone who tries to meet the needs of others.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 28-30, Proverbs 14. Look around the church and list some needs that have to be taken care of, even if they are beyond your capabilities. Pray for someone to meet those needs if you cannot.  Complete___

OCTOBER 13th

2 Timothy 2:2-5 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.  And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

I am writing this from my heart today in the hope that God’s people will truly allow the Holy Spirit to speak to their hearts. We have so much for which to be thankful. We have salvation, we have the Holy Spirit, and we have been chosen to serve Him. What an honor! What a privilege to be a servant of God! One need not look far in Christian circles to see that many soldiers have gone AWOL. My brethren, these things ought not to be. Everyone must be a soldier of Jesus Christ if we are to win the battle. Several thoughts about a soldier:

  • A good soldier endures hardness. Though times are difficult, we cannot quit in the midst of the battle.
  • A good soldier is not entangled with the affairs of this life. Of course it is important for us to care for our homes and properties. Remember, however, that God rebuked the children of Israel for building their own ceiled houses while allowing the house of God to go to waste. Let us remember that one responsibility does not cancel out another.
  • A good soldier realizes that he must please the one how has chosen him as a soldier. If we could understand this truth, that God has chosen us to serve in His place, how it would change our lives.
  • A good soldier does not quit in the line of duty but strives on to victory. Let us remember that He who died for us has also chosen us, and remember also that the gospel is a trust requiring faithfulness.

Daily Assignments

Read Hebrews 8-10, Proverbs 13. As a test of memory, write down anything you can remember from last Sunday morning’s sermon. Complete___

OCTOBER 12th

Ecclesiastes 11:9 – 12:2 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

Several thoughts about this text in Ecclesiastes.

  • Rejoice and enjoy God’s blessings today (11:9).
    • Don’t fail to realize and see the blessings of God daily
    • Don’t forget to praise Him for His blessings, especially while you are young. So many times we are discouraged only because we failed to recognize blessings of the past. The songwriter said it well, “Count your blessings. Name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”
    • Remove the sin that causes sorrow (11:10). Such things as bitterness, hatred, animosity, vengeance, criticism, only cause the heart to become colder. Take those things to the Lord and remove the doubts, fears, and frets, which cause sorrow.
      • Be careful no to run around with the wrong crowd. This goes for the old as well as the young.
      • Be cautious not to yield to temptation
      • Remember to serve and obey God as a habit (12:1). It is especially good to remember God in the younger years. Remember Daniel? In chapter one, he purposed in his heart to:
        • Obey God
        • Do what was right
        • Walk in the Spirit

It is my prayer that we as God’s people will learn to apply these things.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 5-6, Proverbs 12

Complete___

OCTOBER 11th 

   

TWENTY WAYS TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF!

Read Philippians 3:11-16

  • Be a self-starter. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. YOU DO IT. A self-starter has a plan, counts the cost and gets started.
  • Learn not to worry. Worry won’t accomplish anything. If you worry about things, you can’t step out by faith.
  • Increase your initiative. If you do a job, try to do more, or do it better. Don’t settle for mediocrity.
  • Develop sympathy for people. Care about them.
  • Make your motto, “This one thing I do.” Do it as well and as diligently as you can. Then learn to do more than one thing at a time.
  • Be God-reliant. God is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Trust Him.
  • Be willing to stand alone, but stand for God.
  • Be sacrificial with your time and money. Pray and trust God.
  • Be soul-conscious, ready to give the gospel.
  • Hate the word, “can’t”. You CAN do it.
  • Be willing to die for Christ.
  • Look at obstacles as stepping-stones. At the very least, an obstacle is an opportunity to grow in Christ. Move on.
  • Determine to be your best. Change your thinking, and give God the glory. Be consistent.
  • Believe in what you are doing. A salesman can’t sell something he doesn’t believe in. We have something to share that works.
  • Do it for God. Don’t seek recognition. Your reward comes at the judgment seat.
  • Dare to be different from the world.
  • Grow and apply what you know. What good is it, if you don’t use it? Let God use you.
  • Be a hard worker. Live your life to the utmost. Be the best you can be.
  • Have a sense of humor.
  • Learn to READ. Otherwise you may miss many of the joys of life.

To sum it up, forget yourself and follow Him.

Daily Assignments

Read Micah, Proverbs 11, Complete

October 10th

The Christian school!

Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and he will not depart from it.” The importance of a Christian school cannot be measured. But occasionally, it is necessary to review why it is so important for Christian parents to send their children to a Christian school. Dr. Paul Kienel, former radio speaker and Christian lecturer, as well as a father of Christian school children, gave these reasons.

  • What your children are taught in school should be a direct extension of your beliefs. The teachers who teach your children should be the kind of teachers that you would personally hire if your children were being taught in the home.
  • Christian schools offer a better level of instruction. The annual Stanford Achievement Test shows Christian school to be consistently above the level of public schools.
  • We are to “train UP” a child, not point him downward. There is no such person as a neutral teacher, who neither advances nor inhibits religion. The 20% of your children’s time that they spend in school is prime time. The Christian school education represents a positive Bible centered form of instruction that will build up your child in the faith, not tear his faith down.
  • Without the Bible, education is nothing more than the blind leading the blind. The Christian school has not cut itself off from THE most important book – the Bible. Standards for morality must be taken from Scripture alone, not from situations, as is often taught in secular schools.
  • The Christian school provides an opportunity for your child to witness for Christ.
  • Christian school educators train students to respect their parents.
  • Christian schools support the family as the number one institution of society.
  • In a Christian school, discipline is carried out in love. This important aspect of education is rapidly disappearing from the public schools.
  • Our children are gifts from the Lord. We are responsible as parents to train them according to His word, not only in the home and at church, but in school as well.

Read Proverbs 10. Write a note to one of the staff members of the school, thanking them for their sacrificial service. Complete___

October 9th

 

1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Today, I want to share three things about the blood of Christ:

It was costly.

Yes, it is free to us, but it cost Christ everything. He left Heaven to live among men as a man. While He was on the earth, He gave up or laid aside many of His characteristics of deity. The knowledge of what Jesus gave up ought to make us love Him more and want to serve Him more.

It ought to convict us.

Jesus is our example. He loved us enough to go to the cross and give His life for us, while we were yet sinners (His enemies). We need to love others; to let Him love them through us, and just to simply love Him. We need to take time for Him, to read our Bibles, to pray, and to go soul winning. If you want to stay in love with Jesus, go with Him in His trial to His crucifixion. See again what He suffered and what He did for us. It will convict your heart. We get so busy and forget what He did.

 

It is continually cleansing.

Aren’t you glad you don’t have to get re-saved every time you sin? Christ’s blood is always effective. It never quits. Man’s blood decays, but His blood never fails. It just keeps on cleansing us as we confess our sins. We can go to the cross anytime, whenever we sin, to confess and be cleansed by the precious blood.

Don’t forget what the precious blood has done for you. If not for His blood, we could not have salvation. Praise God for it.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 119, Proverbs 9. Look up and write out 3 verses telling us about the blood of Christ. Complete___

OCTOBER 8th

HIS POWER AND HIS PRESENCE!

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you I, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

It is a wonderful time to reflect on the Lord’s goodness and mercy in our lives. Jesus said, in Matthew 28, “I am with you always even unto the end of the world.” When you think of this wonderful promise He gave to His disciples and followers of that day, realize that it is given to us as well. He said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” What a wonderful thing to have His constant presence. Did you ever stop to think that we have an intercessor, which intervenes for us and on our behalf? He knows our every need; He knows our every heartache, and He intercedes with God for us. Not only do we have Jesus interceding for us, but, according to Romans 8, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities, for know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

The Holy Spirit intercedes with “groanings that cannot be uttered”. When you come to the place when you don’t even know how to pray, don’t be discouraged; sit tight. The Holy Spirit will intercede and pray for you. What a wonderful promise in the word of God. He intercedes on our behalf to make sure that everything turns out for good. Thank the Lord for His wonderful presence, His wonderful promises, and His wonderful protection. And as we praise Him for much past deliverance, let us remember to praise Him for what we know He is already going to do in the future. He has given us the Great Commission, promised His presence, and given us His power, so we cannot help but prosper.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 16-20, Proverbs 8, Complete___

OCTOBER 7th

RUN THAT YE MAY OBTAIN!

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

An overweight lady once prayed, “Lord, why don’t you just take away my desire to eat?” God told her in her heart, “Then what would be left for you to do?” God has not made it easy for us to learn character and overcome our weaknesses. We must discipline ourselves in every area of life. If we want to lose weight, we must discipline ourselves in diet and exercise. In our spiritual lives, regular Bible reading, prayer, church attendance and other worthwhile spiritual activities will help us to keep our spiritual bodies and minds under the discipline of the Holy Spirit.

I think Paul put his finger right on the need of everyone today. Look at his words again in verse 24, “Know ye not that they which RUN in a race RUN ALL, but one recieveth the prize. So run that ye may obtain.”

I believe the secret of Paul’s success, in spite of many obstacles, trials and testing, was that he kept on running in the race. He strove for the mastery. Paul refused to get off track. His goal in life was not joy, not happiness, not comfort or any such thing, though these things are not wrong. But his goal was one of two:

  • His entire existence and goal was God
  • He centered his existence on his goal

Paul had a God given goal in his life and he realized that he must strive to win in order to accomplish anything for God. The same is true today. More and more we are hearing that we must depend on government, on welfare, on bureaucracies, education, philosophy and humanism. Let’s realize that God wants to make us successful. He wants us to prosper; however, we must continue to strive, keeping our goal before us and staying in the race. God can use you to make a difference in your home, on your job, and in your church.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 25-27, Proverbs 7, Complete___

OCTOBER 6th 

                                

CONSIDER YOUR WAYS!

 Read Haggai 1

The children of Israel, 50,000 of them, had just returned from a 70-year captivity under Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. When Cyrus, a Persian, destroyed the Babylonian Empire, he favored the Jew’s return to the land of promise, to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. The foundation of the new temple was laid, and the work was begun. It wasn’t long, however, before the hostile neighbors put a stop to the work, so God sent the prophet Haggai, to motivate the people to go to the work and finish the House of God. The temple had laid waste with only a part of the foundation in, so Haggai was sent to awaken the people, stir them, and undertake the restoration of the temple. There are three characteristics of the backslidden Christian found in this text:

There was no desire to serve God with the whole heart and life. (verse 2) There was neither time nor money for the work of God. 1 Corinthians teaches us that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost. The children of Israel obviously failed to realize that their lives were not their own, that they had been purchased with a price, and that they were to give themselves to the service and building of the Temple of the Lord.

They did not see the need to serve God. There was no desire to go in the service of the Lord, but their houses were finished. The Bible says they were ceiled houses, meaning that they were completely decorated, literally paneled and luxurious. Haggai says, “Consider your ways”. Oh, how we need to heed and consider our ways today. It is certainly not wrong to repair and improve our own houses, making them lovely. The problem with the children of Israel was not that they repaired their own houses, but that they left God’s house unfinished. What an indictment for the Christian today. We must stay busy for God in our spiritual service; however, one of our responsibilities is to keep the House of God in good repair. They did not consider what God had done for them. They did not see God’s chastening hand on them. They did not consider that their dissatisfaction came upon them because they were not serving the Lord. All of us need to realize that life is not worth living until we are serving the Lord first. What is the solution? Consider your ways, or give attention to your ways. As Haggai preached, they began to obey the voice of the Lord and the fear of the Lord was restored once again. The people began to work and the House of God was completed. What a lesson for us. Yes, keep up our houses, but never at the expense of the house of God.

Read Hebrews 5-7, Proverbs 6, Complete___

OCTOBER 5th   

Review yesterday’s devotion

The Bible says not to provoke your child. Provoke means to agitate, or to be angry at another soul.

Forgive and forget: Christ forgave you. Correct and forgive their wrongdoing

Express your love often, Show and tell dailyDo not have a favorite childListen to them when they are troubledLet them know you are interested.Express your love in many ways

Listen to them: Put your Bible or paper down when they are trying to communicate.Remember that it is important to themAppreciate what they have to sayLet them have a part of the conversation

Teach and give them responsibility: Show them exactly what and how to do itRepeat yourself oftenMake sure they understandMake them accountable for their learning and actionsFollow through and follow upRemember, with every privilege also comes responsibility, but with responsibility comes privilege. They cannot be responsible Christians or citizens if they are not taught responsibility as a child.

Cooperate with the maturity level of your child

  • Don’t treat them like babies if they are teens
  • Don’t talk baby talk to them, especially if they are learning to speak

Admit your own strengths and weaknesses

  • Never make them feel like they are not wanted or you are sorry you had them
  • Don’t make them feel you are too busy for them
  • Let them see your weakness in some area, but never make them responsible
  • If the husband and wife get in a fuss, tell them it was not their fault.

Look up these verses and write down who is provoking each other: 1 Samuel 1:7, 1 Chronicles 21:1, Romans 10:19, 2 Corinthians 9:2, Ephesians 6:4. What do the following verses say is the root cause of these problems? Deuteronomy 4:25, 1 Corinthians 16:2,

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 3-4, Proverbs 5, Complete___

                    

                        OCTOBER 4th                        

PROPER BIBLICAL DISCIPLINE OF CHILDREN!

Read Ephesians 6

I have often been asked for advice on this subject, so I thought it would be appropriate to address it. It is my prayer that every parent, parent to be, or teen would take some notes on this devotion and put them in your Bible. Think about your children for a moment. Do they feel good about themselves or is there a feeling of little worth or discouragement? I firmly believe that our children will never be more than we teach them to be. We ought to have a goal to make our children feel good about themselves and to feel important, because they are important to God. What can we do to encourage a child?

Be Complimentary.

Don’t just get after them when they’re wrong, but give them a pat on the back when they do right. We all need attention, our children ever more so. I see a real need for parents dealing with their children in a spiritual manner. Jesus made people feel good about themselves.

Spend time with your child.

  • Individual attention does wonders.
  • Spend at least 10 minutes a day teaching your children.
  • Don’t try to buy them. They see right through our actions to our motives.
  • Have daily devotions with the Dad leading if possible.

Establish boundaries and live by the rules

  • Enforce the rules consistently
  • Live by the rules yourself
  • Do not have double standards
  • Children do what they see
  • Let them know what they are allowed to do
  • Abolish rules that are not adhered to

Avoid criticism

  • NEVER, NEVER discipline in anger
  • Never discipline out of need, but always out of principle
  • Never tell them how bad they are. They’ve been told that enough already.
  • Never criticize others in front of them, especially those in leadership
  • Never criticize, always correct out of principle
  • Never belittle them in front of others, build them instead. Continued tomorrow!

Read Jonah, Proverbs 4, Complete___

                             

                                   OCTOBER 3rd                                    

Read Acts 16   

Many people yearn for a vision. It may be that you have been pleading with God, and He is knocking at your heart’s door even now, but you are confused as to the ingredients of a vision. If you study Acts 16, you will see that Paul’s vision will help you to find your vision, because:

  • Paul had a personal vision. (Verse 9 “And a vision appeared to Paul”)  What did he see? He saw an angel. He saw the lost
  • Paul had a pressing vision (verses 9-10 “beseeching him”)
    • To preach Christ
    • To preach Christ at this time and place, to this people
    • Paul had a prayerful vision (verse 7 and 9 “the Spirit allowed them not”)
      • Notice he saw a man. God often uses man to give Holy Spirit direction
      • He responded. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:13 “I had no rest in my spirit…. I went from thence into Macedonia”
      • Paul had a plain vision (verse 9 “Come over into Macedonia and help us”)
        • He was obedient to the Heavenly vision
        • He did not turn aside; he did not get sidetracked

How important it is for us to have a PERSONAL vision for the lost, a PRESSING vision, a PRAYERFUL vision, a PLAIN vision, and

  • Paul had a positive vision in verse 10 “Immediately we endeavored to go”
    • As Paul followed Christ, the others followed him
    • The results are seen in verses 14-15. Lydia was the first convert in Europe, and the gospel was brought into the European nations because Paul had a vision

If we are going to make it in our homes, our church, our nation, we must have some Christians who have a vision. Do you have one?

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 28, Proverbs 3. Write out a vision you have for your church and home. Perhaps a ministry that your church does not currently have, or something you would like to see it start. Write out something that you could do to see that vision come to pass. Complete___

OCTOBER 2nd  

Read Psalms 117-118 & Proverbs 2

What Kind of Light are we?

As we journey through life

With it’s darkness of sin

Among sin hardened hearts

Without Christ within

We’re told to be lights

Shining in the night hat those who are lost

May be guided by our light

Are we an ornamental lamp

That can’t cast a beam

Whose only function is to see and be seen

Are we a tiny little candle

On someone’s birthday cake

And only shine when it’s time to celebrate?

Are we a perfumed candle

With a softly scented smell

Who only seem to shine forth

When things are going well

Are we a beacon or a lighthouse

Brightly beaming ever more

To warn tired, weary travelers

Of life’s rough and rocky shore

Are we a plain and simple “oil lamp”

With a light that’s dim by lack

With oil that’s low, wick untrimmed

And a globe that’s sooty black

Are we a glaring spotlight

And show one object clear

And only seem to focus on what to us is clear

Are we a shining chandelier

That fills a room with light

Yet we ourselves show forth to be

The center of all sight

Are we “Christmas lights” and beam good cheer

But only shine one time a year

Even the tiniest light

If it’s steady and burning bright

Can easily be seen in the darkness

Guiding lost souls to it’s light.   Unknown

OCTOBER 1st

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

In his book, God’s Cure for Anxious Care, Dr. Rice makes the opening statement, “God’s people are not always happy, but they should be. They can be. The God who feeds the birds who have no barns or banks; who clothes the flowers who do not toil or spin; the God who keeps a record of the number of hairs on every head, can surely provide for His children. God, who “spared not His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not freely give us all things?” – Romans 8:32 Thank God a Christian need never be unhappy, need never be defeated, need never be discouraged.”

Also read Philippians 4:5-7. When God says, “Be anxious for nothing,” literally He is saying we are not to be full of care. Then God gives the whole secret of the cure for anxious care and tells how the child of God can cease to worry forever and have constant peace. Dr. Rice says, “Does that seem too good to be true? So precious is the promise that we marvel that every Christian doesn’t seize it, try it, prove it, and glory in it.

Think of it. God has given us the peace that passes all understanding. Often I am asked how I handle all the responsibility that falls on a pastors shoulders and keep on going even though I am not feeling well. Praise the Lord, my hope and my strength is not found in my own will, or in my body. My strength is in none other than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I believe that herein lays the secret for every Christian: to constantly and consistently realize that absolutely nothing in this world can harm us outside of His perfect will.

The Lord is at hand. God knows what He’s doing in your life, as well as in mine. God knows where we are and He knows the way of the future, as well as the way to the future. Let’s learn to trust in Him.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 11-15, Proverbs 1. Write out as best as you can the outline from Sunday morning’s sermon. Write whatever you can remember: verses, title, stories, illustrations, points, etc. This will help you to think on the sermons during the week. Complete___

SEPTEMBER 30th

         

HOW TO KEEP FROM SORROW!

Read Lamentations 1:1-22

Matthew Henry said, “Jeremiah stood among the ashes of Jerusalem weeping, but it was not all sorrow. The question Jeremiah was asking, ‘Why was the city destroyed?’ There were two reasons – because of sin, and because God is righteous. But, above the clouds of his weeping over the sins of the people, God’s sun is shining.  Jerusalem had sinned, yet God loved the city and the people, with an everlasting love. Jeremiah laments the former Excellency and present misery of Jerusalem for her sin. The nation complains of her grief.  Jeremiah confesses God’s judgments to be righteous: and prays to Him. The description shows the suffering of the Jewish nation. Jerusalem became a captive and a slave, because of her sins; and had no rest from suffering. If we allow one sin, the devil will soon have dominion over us, which will lead other sins and lead to further dominion. The people endured the famine and distress. In this sad condition Jerusalem acknowledged her sin, and begged the Lord to look upon her condition.  This is the only way to ease our burdens; because it is the righteous and just anger of the Lord for man’s transgressions that has filled the world with sorrows, lamentations, sickness, and death. Jerusalem, sitting depressed on the ground, calls on those that passed by, to consider whether her trouble did not concern them. Her outward sufferings were great, but her inward sufferings were harder to bear, through the sense of guilt. ‘Sorrow for sin must be great sorrow, and must affect the soul.’ Here we see the evil of sin, and should take warning to flee from the wrath to come. Whatever may be learned from the sufferings of Jerusalem, far more may be learned from the sufferings of Christ. Does He not from the cross speak to every one of us? Does He not say, ‘Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?’ Let all our sorrows lead us to the cross of Christ, lead us to mark His example, and willfully follow him.”

You have to remember that it was Solomon who said that sorrow is better than laughter, and it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting. God’s grace always shines above the clouds of sin and it will always shine in the heart that is trusting in Christ who gives, “…beauty ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”.  So, how can we keep from sorrow? STAY AWAY FROM ALL TEMPTATION TO SIN. KEEP YOUR HEART RIGHT IN YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE. REMEMBER THAT OTHERS ARE WATCHING YOU. STAY HUMBLE AND DEPENDENT ON CHRIST.

Daily Assignments!

Read Numbers 22-24, Proverbs 30, Complete___

SEPTEMBER 29th     

Read the last two day’s devotions

How then can we convert our churches?

WE NEED TO CONVERT OUR CHURCHES FROM COLDNESS TO COMPASSION.

Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.”

Ezekiel 11:19, “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:” Matthew 15:18-19.

We must protect our hearts from coldness. We must preserve the right kind of Spirit. We must (watch) what goes in.

WE NEED TO CONVERT OUR CHURCHES FROM GREED TO GENEROSITY.

Learn to give and by example teach others. Look at the church of Laodicea – they did not give. They were rich, yet poor. Let’s compare this church with the Church of Smyrna. This was a very poor church yet had great riches because they were generous.

They were faithful unto death. Learn to give with a compassionate heart. Let your riches be in Christ.

WE NEED TO CONVERT OUR CHURCHES FROM MEDIOCRITY TO EXCELLENCE.

Someone said, “The menace of the ministry today is mediocrity”. Look at the church of Philadelphia. They were a tremendous soul-caring church. We have seen thousands of people converted over the past forty years in the ministry. Now let’s have a conversion service in all our churches. How?

  • CLAIM GOD’S POWER.
  • DON’T MISUSE THE PRIVILEGES.
  • PASS IT ON TO OTHERS.

Verse 32, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of the that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”

Daily Assignments

Read Hebrews 1-4, Proverbs 29. Pray for our military, our President, and our nation. Complete___

SEPTEMBER 28th    

Read yesterday’s devotion

Neither said. That is, they did not regard it as their own, but to be used for the benefit of the all the people.

And with great power. The word power here shows effectiveness; and means that they had ability given them to bear witness of the resurrection of the Saviour. It refers to their preaching not to their miracles.

Gave the apostles witness. The apostles bore testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This was the main point to be established. If it was proved that the Lord Jesus came to life again after having been put to death, it established all that He taught, and was a demonstration that He was sent from God.

And great grace. The word grace means favor, and the expression here may mean either that the favor of God was remarkably shown to them, or that they had great favor in the sight of the people.

That lacked. Or whose wants were not supplied by the others.

As many as. “The word used here is used in a large, indefinite sense; but it would be improper to suppose that every individual that became a Christian sold at once all his property. The sense doubtless is, that this was done when it was necessary; they parted with whatever property was needful to supply the wants of their poor brethren. That it was by no means considered a matter of obligation, or commanded by the apostles, is apparent from the case of Ananias. The fact that Joses is particularly mentioned, shows that it was by no means a universal practice to part with all their possessions. Here was one instance in which it was done. There were probably many other similar instances; but all that the passage requires us to believe is, that they parted with whatever was needful to supply the wants of the poor.”

And laid them down. That is, they committed the money received for their property to the disposal of the apostles; to distribute it as was necessary among the poor. This soon became a burdensome and inconvenient office, and they therefore appointed men who took charge of it. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 1-2, Proverbs 28. Show someone a kindness today without expecting anything in return. Complete___

SEPTEMBER 27th

                  

HOW TO CONVERT A CHURCH!

Read Acts 4:31-37

We can try all kinds of methods, but we need the Master. He has the Master Plan. Look at verse 31. “And when they had prayed –” The event that followed was regarded by them as an evidence that God heard their prayer.

“The place was shaken.” The word that is translated “was shaken,” commonly means violent disturbance, as the raging of the sea, or earthquake, or trees shaken by the wind.  The language seems to express the idea of an earthquake. Whether the motion was confined to the house where they were, is not said. They probably regarded this as an answer to their prayer, or as evidence that God would be with them, first, because it was sudden and violent, and was not produced by natural causes, and second, because it occurred immediately, while they were seeking God’s direction.

“They were all filled.” Their being filled with the Holy Ghost indicated that they were inspired with confidence and boldness, rather than being filled with new powers, as in Acts 2:4.

“And the multitude.”  The number of believers at this time had become large. In Acts 4:4, it is said that it was five thousand, and the number was constantly increasing.

“One heart.”  This expression indicates a loving union. They felt alike, or were attached to the same things, and this preserved them from division and dissensions.

“One soul.” Wow, this is good. No expression could prove it more outstandingly than to say of friends they have one soul.  Plutarch cites an ancient verse in his life of Cato of Utica, with this very expression, “Two friends, and one soul.”  Diogenes Laertius also says respecting Aristotle, that “being asked what was a friend, answered, that it was “one soul dwelling in two bodies.” The Hebrews spoke of two friends as being “one man.” There can be no more striking demonstration of union and love than to say of more than five thousand suddenly drawn together, that they had one soul!  And they evidenced this union in every way possible: in their conduct, in their prayers, and in their property. How different would the church have been if it had continued this way through the centuries? Continued tomorrow! 

Daily Assignments!

Read Obadiah, Proverbs 27. Spend an extra five minutes tonight praying that God would speak to your heart in the Sunday and Wednesday services. Complete__

SEPTEMBER 28th    

Read yesterday’s devotion

Neither said. That is, they did not regard it as their own, but to be used for the benefit of the all the people.

And with great power. The word power here shows effectiveness; and means that they had ability given them to bear witness of the resurrection of the Saviour. It refers to their preaching not to their miracles.

Gave the apostles witness. The apostles bore testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This was the main point to be established. If it was proved that the Lord Jesus came to life again after having been put to death, it established all that He taught, and was a demonstration that He was sent from God.

And great grace. The word grace means favor, and the expression here may mean either that the favor of God was remarkably shown to them, or that they had great favor in the sight of the people.

That lacked. Or whose wants were not supplied by the others.

As many as. “The word used here is used in a large, indefinite sense; but it would be improper to suppose that every individual that became a Christian sold at once all his property. The sense doubtless is, that this was done when it was necessary; they parted with whatever property was needful to supply the wants of their poor brethren. That it was by no means considered a matter of obligation, or commanded by the apostles, is apparent from the case of Ananias. The fact that Joses is particularly mentioned, shows that it was by no means a universal practice to part with all their possessions. Here was one instance in which it was done. There were probably many other similar instances; but all that the passage requires us to believe is, that they parted with whatever was needful to supply the wants of the poor.”

And laid them down. That is, they committed the money received for their property to the disposal of the apostles; to distribute it as was necessary among the poor. This soon became a burdensome and inconvenient office, and they therefore appointed men who took charge of it. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments!

Read Acts 1-2, Proverbs 28. Show someone a kindness today without expecting anything in return. Complete___

SEPTEMBER 29th     

How then can we convert our churches?

Read the last two day’s devotions

WE NEED TO CONVERT OUR CHURCHES FROM COLDNESS TO COMPASSION.

Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.”

Ezekiel 11:19, “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:” Matthew 15:18-19.

We must protect our hearts from coldness. We must preserve the right kind of Spirit. We must (watch) what goes in.

WE NEED TO CONVERT OUR CHURCHES FROM GREED TO GENEROSITY.

Learn to give and by example teach others. Look at the church of Laodicea – they did not give. They were rich, yet poor. Let’s compare this church with the Church of Smyrna. This was a very poor church yet had great riches because they were generous.

They were faithful unto death. Learn to give with a compassionate heart. Let your riches be in Christ.

WE NEED TO CONVERT OUR CHURCHES FROM MEDIOCRITY TO EXCELLENCE.

Someone said, “The menace of the ministry today is mediocrity”. Look at the church of Philadelphia. They were a tremendous soul-caring church. We have seen thousands of people converted over the past forty years in the ministry. Now let’s have a conversion service in all our churches. How?

  • CLAIM GOD’S POWER.
  • DON’T MISUSE THE PRIVILEGES.
  • PASS IT ON TO OTHERS.

Verse 32, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of the that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”

Daily Assignments

Read Hebrews 1-4, Proverbs 29. Pray for our military, our President, and our nation. Complete___

SEPTEMBER 26th   

Read the last two day’s devotions 

HIS HEART IS ENLARGED IN JOY AND PRAISE.

HE WILL SPEAK OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS AND SALVATION 

HE WILL SPEAK OF HIS WONDER IN ADMIRATION 

HE WILL SPEAK WITH JOY AND EXCITEMENT.

NOTICE TWO IMPORTANT STATEMENTS

I WILL GO!

The meaning here is active, frequent and glad in moving forward. But, he is saying that I will go with the proper balance – in the strength of the Lord. We need to understand what the strength of the Lord is: We see His strength in the mountains and all of His creation. He is infinite in power and His strength is everlasting. But, the outpouring of His strength is in His arm. The Bible often speaks of His right arm.

Someone said the arm of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the strength of the Lord to man is Jesus and to walk with Jesus is to walk with God in Christ. GLORY! In Him even weakness can become strength. “My strength is sufficient for thee.”

IN THE STRENGTH OF THE LORD!

The presence of God is strength. His promises are strength. There is a result with His strength and that is victory.

Psalm 98:1, “O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.” “Blessed is the man whose strength is in Him.”

The question is, “Are we putting our hope and strength in anything other than Him?” If not, no wonder we are weak.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 26-27, Proverbs 26. Make an outline of Wednesday’s Bible study. Complete___

                 

SEPTEMBER 25th           

Read yesterday’s devotion

Verse 17, “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.”

What he had done for God when he was middle-aged:

He had declared all God’s wondrous works. Those that have done well when they were young must be doing well when they are grown up, and must continue to communicate what they have received. We must declare that all the works of God’s goodness to us are wondrous works. He has done so much for us who are so undeserving.  Then we must make it our business to declare them, to the glory of God and the good of others.

What he desired of God now that he was old:

Now that I am old and gray-headed, forsake me not.  This is what he earnestly desires and confidently hopes for.  Those that have been taught of God from their youth, and have made it the business of their lives to honor him, may be sure that He will not leave them when they are old and gray-headed, will not leave them helpless and comfortless, but will make the evil days of old age their best days, and such as they shall have occasion to say they have pleasure in.

What he designed to do for God in his old age:

 “I will not only show thy strength, by my own experience of it, to this generation, but I will leave my observations for the benefit of others. He hopes that God would revive him and raise him up out of his present low and melancholy condition. He hopes that God would not only deliver him out of his troubles, but also would advance his honor and joy more than ever. Sometimes God makes His people’s troubles contribute to the increase of their greatness, and their sun shines the brighter for having been under a cloud. If He makes them contribute to the increase of their goodness, that will prove in the end to increase their greatness. He hopes that all his enemies would be put to confusion.”  He speaks of it with the greatest assurance as a thing done, and triumphs in it accordingly, “They are confounded, they are brought to shame, that seek my hurt.” Some of these thoughts were taken from Matthew Henry Commentary. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 114-116, Proverbs 25, List some things for which you can praise the Lord. Complete___

 

SEPTEMBER 24th       

 

I WILL GO IN THE STRENGTH OF THE LORD!

Read Psalm 71:14-24

David is in a holy transfer of joy and praise, coming from his faith and hopes in God; where there is a sudden and remarkable change of his voice; his fears are all silenced, his hopes raised, and his prayers turned into thanksgivings. He is saying, “The more they reproach me the more closely will I cleave to thee; I will praise thee more and better than ever before.” The lesson for us is, the longer we live the more we should grow in praising God and the more we should grow in our rejoicing. When we have said all we can, to the glory of God’s grace, there is still more to be said; it is a subject that can never be exhausted; therefore we should never grow weary of it.

HIS HEART IS ESTABLISHED IN FAITH AND HOPE.

In what does he hope? In the power of God:  “I will go in the strength of the Lord God.”  We must always go about God’s work in His strength, having our eyes on Him to work in us both to will and to do.

In the promise of God: “I will make mention of thy righteousness.”  We must depend upon God’s strength for assistance and upon Christ’s righteousness for acceptance.

For what does he hope? He hopes that God will not leave him in his old age, but will be the same to him to the end that He had been all along.  Notice:

What God had done for him when he was young: “Thou hast taught me from my youth.” The good education and good instructions which his parents gave him when he was young he feels obliged to give God thanks for “as a great favour.” It is a blessed thing to be taught of God from our youth, from our childhood to know the Bible, and it is another reason for which to bless God. Continued Tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 6-10, Proverbs 24. Write a thank you note to someone in the church who has done something for you or for the church lately. Complete___

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant

                     SEPTEMBER 23rd         

IT PAYS TO SERVE JESUS!

 Read Malachi 3:11-18

No, this is not a study on tithing.  Though the tithe is an important part of this text, it also teaches several other important truths. Malachi answers these important challenges in THREE WAYS:

THE LORD REMEMBERS HIS OWN.

These days they call us freaks, fanatics, fools and fundies. But in Genesis 8:1, we read that God remembered Noah. There are several things God remembers: God remembers our character – those that fear God. God said about the lost in Romans 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  God remembers our contemplation, which is thought upon His name. God remembers our conversation, “the Lord heard it.” Somebody said that there are three books in God’s library:

  • His BOOK OF REVELATION – Where God has written His last things.
  • His BOOK OF REDEMPTION – Where God has written of His Lamb.
  • His BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE – Where God has written our good things not our sin.

THE LORD REJOICES OVER HIS OWN.

We are His children, servants, stewards, witnesses, friends, and ambassadors and now… we are His jewels! “I will make up my jewels.” In other words – I have PURCHASED them. I will POLISH them. Just like a diamond is cut and polished, so I will polish or clean you. Think of it, it costs you something to be a jewel for Him.

You lose a part of the diamond, just like you lose a part of your life to follow Him.

I will PROVE them. I will PROVIDE for them.

THE LORD WILL RETURN FOR HIS OWN. Then we will see the proof of the fact that, it pays to serve Jesus!

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 19-21, Proverbs 23. Make an outline of the next Sunday school lesson. Complete___

             

              SEPTEMBER 21st        

HOW TO LIVE A YIELDED LIFE

Read Romans 6:1-13

In Romans chapter three we learn how to become a Christian; in chapter four we learn we are justified by faith and in chapter five we learn the results of that justification.

Now in chapter six we are taught how to live the Christian life. It is one thing to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and to be blessed by what He has done for you; but, quite another to experience it as personal and real. In chapter six there are four different words I would like for us to notice: KNOW, RECKON, YIELD and OBEY.

KNOW THAT CHRIST DIED FOR YOU.

Now, that is basic. We died with Christ according to verse 8. Before you can live like a Christian you must determine and KNOW that Christ died for you and that you are saved. You do not have to hope so, but you can know it.  Not only can we know, we can  …

RECKON ON THIS.

If I told you that I had $10,000 deposited in your account for a trip to Hawaii or Europe and that you can draw on it at anytime; you would count on it. I am sure you would though you never actually saw the money. You relied upon my word. If you questioned what I was telling you and never checked it out it would never be yours. If you reckon it yours by signing a check and passing it on, that which you have never seen becomes a reality.

Reckoning is what makes a thing real. Reckon means to totally rely upon. Since we are dead to sin and alive unto God, how shall we then live? That brings us to … Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read John 19-21, Proverbs 21. Make a list of people that you feel you influence by your actions and lifestyle. Complete___

SEPTEMBER 22nd

YIELD YOUR LIFE TO GOD

Read yesterday’s devotion

Yield means, “to let go” of your life and “let God live through you.” The Christian soon finds a new standard for his life. He does not try to live up to the law, for he is no longer under the law. But, he strives to please the One Who dwells within him. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” And “do all to the glory of God.” Actually, Romans chapter six reveals the secret of a life of victory. I am living in Christ! I am dead to sin, but alive to God. Self was a condemned thing, unable to be good and never righteous. We are saved by faith and we cannot live by our own efforts. This sad truth is revealed in chapter seven. It tells how we cannot live a victorious life. Notice the little word “I” is used 28 times in 25 verses. The Holy Spirit is never mentioned. Although “I” tries, it finds only defeat. And so will you and I. Someone said, “It is not hard to live the Christian life, it is impossible.” Paul said, “It is not I that lives, but Christ liveth in me.” Notice the words of a man who tries to live by self-effort in Romans 7:24-25. Finally, “I” finds that there is One Who is sufficient and struggling yields to His power. Defeat is changed to victory.  Misery is transformed into joy and when “I” get out Christ comes in.

OBEY HIS WORD.

You knew all along that would come. The life of Christ is a wonderful life. When you step into a jet you are free from the law of gravity. The higher the law operates in the plane to lift it above the clouds, although the law of gravity a few minutes before held you fast to the earth. Listen, the law of gravity is not destroyed but rendered inoperative. This is exactly what happens when I step “In Christ.” The law that operates by the Spirit in my life lifts me above the world and sin. Then sin no longer has dominion over me. I am free! ‘There is therefore no condemnation.’ Have you stepped into Christ? Remember “I” brings failure. It is the “I” in sin that must be removed and “O” put in son. He will give victory. Step out of the self into the spirit life. In chapter eight instead of “I” we see “Spirit” used 21 times. We must “KNOW, RECKON, YIELD and OBEY” our lives to Him … that is our part … and He fills, which is His part. Chapter eight starts with “no condemnation” and ends with “no separation.” All this is ours IN CHRIST.

Daily Assignments

Read Philemon, Read Proverbs 22. Spend an extra 10 minutes in prayer for the church and God’s power upon your pastor. Complete___

SEPTEMBER 19th 

       

IS THERE ANY WORD FROM THE LORD?

 Read Jeremiah 37:1-21

Verse two tells us that the people would not hearken to the Word of the Lord. If there is anything men of God across America need to realize is that the people of God often still will not listen, and the lost are comfortable in the social and religious activities of the world. People today are no more interested in hearing the Word of God than they were in Jeremiah’s Day. I do not have the answer, but I do know if the people of God will not listen and refuse to follow the Word of God, they will turn to their own wicked devices. With the unrest we have in our society today it would seem wise for people to listen to God and to the voice of God’s man. I would not want to live in this ungodly world without the Lord. I would not want to face terrorists and cold-blooded killers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine without the protective Hand of God. There are THREE THINGS that stand out in this chapter and in our text that I would like to call to your attention.

THE WORD OF REVELATION

The word revelation means to uncover something that has been hidden. Is there any word from the Lord? There is! It is the Word of Revelation. God never does His work without first revealing His will and purpose for doing that which has to be done. The Bible is full of examples of this truth:  Look at Sodom and Gomorrah before the angels destroyed it. God first spoke to Abraham. The people ignored his message.  I believe before judgment ever falls God will first try to find a man who will stand in the gap and make up the hedge. Ezekiel 22:30, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” I saw that there was a serious break made in the moral state and feeling of the people, and I sought for a man that would stand in the gap; that would faithfully exhort, reprove and warn with all long-suffering and doctrine. But I found none! Not that there was not a righteous man in the city. Because Jeremiah and Baruch were still there; but Jeremiah had been forbidden to pray for the people. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 25, Read Proverbs 19. Pray for the spiritual strength and faithfulness of your Pastor.

Complete___

SEPTEMBER 20th             

Read yesterday’s devotion

The second example is Noah. Before the flood he warned people for 120 years, but they also ignored his message. Our third example is Jonah and Nineveh. First Jonah ignored God and had to be chastened to pay attention.  Just as God gave His word in Jeremiah’s day He is speaking to America today. I believe we need to heed the warnings, and do something in this generation to save the next one.

THE WORD OF WARNING

Proverbs 29:1, “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

God’s message today is still “stop or perish.” “Prepare to meet thy God.”

THE WORD OF JUDGMENT

Is there any word from the Lord? There is! The Word of Judgment! Judas repented, but it was too late. The people in Noah’s day had to face it, but it was too late. The men of Sodom ignored the revelation of warning. I can recall another man in the New Testament who ignored the revelation and built his house upon the sand. When the storm came it was too late. Will America listen? Is it too late for America? Can you imagine what it will be like for those who ignore His Revelation and warning? God’s people must awake out of sleep, trim their lamps, and let their light begin to shine. God is still looking for faithful dedicated Christians who will stand in the gap to make up the hedge. We need to say, “Oh God make this the time of repentance and revival in America. Make this the time of turning and of harvest in America. Make this the time of coming back to the values of the original founding fathers of America.”  God wants it to be that way and His people must believe Him, listen to Him and obey Him. The results will come and come only when God’s people respond to His Word. As God spoke through Jeremiah He is now speaking through us. Again, “Is there any word from the Lord?” Rulers all over the world have asked that question in the past. God’s prophet said, “there is.” Don’t ignore – but obey His Word!

Daily Assignments

Read Amos 5-9, Proverbs 20. Pray that God will heal our nation, return it to His paths and that it would begin with you. Complete___

              SEPTEMBER 18th                   

Read yesterday’s devotion

HE WANTED TO REVEAL THEM TO THEMSELVES VERSE 38b.

Think of Job and all he went through. God wanted Job to see himself, as he was – weak and selfish. When Job saw himself he no longer could plead his own righteousness. He saw who he was and saw his own need before the Lord, “I abhor myself.” God’s desire for every one of us is that we could literally see and come to the end of ourselves. Job saw himself, confessed and repented. As we see the Glory and Majesty of the Lord, we will see ourselves as needy and helpless.

How does God reveal Himself to us? Four ways – Through His Word; Through the Holy Spirit; Through Miracles; Through Suffering

HE WANTED THEM TO REALIZE HOW MUCH THEY NEEDED HIM.

All the while He was enjoying being needed.

HE WANTED THEM TO REST IN HIM.

In other words, He was setting an example for them. This is the only place in the Bible where He slept – right in the storm! Rest and peace can be experienced despite a great storm. Lesson: Often storms come violently, like war, terrorist attacks, etc.

JESUS WAS THERE WITH THEM AND WILL BE WITH US.

Rest and peace are a concern to Jesus even more than to us. The disciples feared. Jesus took control. They tried to handle it themselves, but look what Jesus did. He arose. He rebuked the wind. He spoke to the sea, Peace, be still… and there was great calm. Rest and peace will come through two sources. Through Faith and His Word. Is your Lord sleeping?  Why not try THE Lord?

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 111-113, Proverbs 18. List some storms that you have been through in your life. Complete___

                                                       

SEPTEMBER 17th   

   

IS YOUR LORD ASLEEP?

Read Mark 4:35-41

The question today is, “Is your Lord asleep?” I don’t know about your God, but mine is very much awake and knows what is going on. In verse 35, Jesus was in Capernaum, a city at the northwest corner of the sea of Tiberias, or Sea of Galilee. The country to which He purposed to go was the region on the east of the Sea of Tiberias. He entered into a ship on the sea of Tiberias.

The ship in which they sailed was probably a small open boat, with sails, such as were commonly used for fishing on the lake. Not only the disciples were aboard, but probably many others. There were also many other ships in company with him. A great storm of wind arose. It was a violent storm, or a wind so strong as to endanger their lives. This sea was subject to sudden storms; and the ship was covered with the waves.

The waves beat against the ship, so that it quickly filled with water and in danger of sinking.  But, Jesus was asleep, because it was in the night, and He had retired to rest.  He was probably weary and slept calmly. He felt no danger and showed to His disciples how calmly one can sleep with a pure conscience and feel safe in the hands of God. The others thought they would perish so they went to Jesus. This actually showed great confidence in the Saviour. It shows also, where sinners and Christians should always go when they are in danger.

There is none that can save from the storms of Divine wrath but the Son of God. He rebuked the wind and reproved them, or commanded them to be still. What power was this! What irresistible proof that He was Divine! There is not a more dynamic description of a display of power, nor could there be greater proof that He was truly the Son of God. Then there was great calm and the winds were still. The sea ceased to beat against the ship, and Jesus asked them, “How is it that ye have no faith?” You should have remembered that the Son of God, the Messiah, was on board. You should not have forgotten that He has power to save, and that with him you are safe.

So we as Christians should never fear danger, disease, or death. With Jesus we are safe. No enemy can reach us, because we are in His care. They asked – “What manner of man is this?” How unlike other men! What a display of power and how far exalted above humans He must be? He spoke to the winds; rebuked the raging and the sea was suddenly calm. What was Jesus trying to teach the disciples? Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 1-5, Proverbs 17, Complete___

                                         

                                        SEPTEMBER 16th

I WANT IT NOW!               

Read Luke 15:12-24

This short story reaches the extremes on both sides; from the extremes of riches to poverty; from happiness to sorrow; from peace to humiliation; from humiliation to dignity. Every human emotion can be seen here. It starts out well and ends in tragedy. As a young person he had all he could ever have wanted. He saw the strength, wisdom and leadership of his father. No doubt for a time he wanted to be just like Dad and follow his footsteps. I am sure he thought about many things as a young boy, as most young boys do even today. This young man had a great future waiting for him. No doubt he had some good schooling and his parents talked with him on a regular basis about meaningful, productive, worthwhile goals in life, as a leader in the community, as a person of influence, visions and dreams. But, this young man thought he was wise enough to make his own plans. But something began to change as his heart and mind began to think of bigger things for himself. He began to develop new relationships as he matured outside of his faith. He began to make plans and live his own life, but not according to his fathers teaching. The things of the world and pleasure began to dominate his life. The music of the world became a part of his life. The drive of lust of the flesh caused him to seek out those living loosely in their behavior as well as their dress. These sinful habits had started to take control of his mind and appetites. He felt that he was missing something and said to his father, “GIVE ME”. He would not listen to his father. He did not consider the high cost of low living. He already had his mind made up to go in this direction and had made his decision, regardless of his father’s teaching. He gathered all his things and went into a far country and “wasted his substance in riotous living.” He not only contemplated where his limits would be, but there was no change in his heart and decided to go into the world with all its pleasures. What a tragic story; yet it is repeated by thousands of young people all over America even today. You may think it is all “living it up,” cars, dope, sex and all the rest of it. But, as this young man, he would have been better off to listen to his father. Thousands are making the choices that this young man did. Think of how humiliating it must be to have lived a life of lust like that? Think of him filling his stomach with what the swine ate – especially coming from the beautiful home his father had. The bright lights of the world got to him and now we find him on the bottom. No man helped him. It is bad enough to be down, but with no one caring. Can you think of humiliation greater than this? You and I have choice today.

Read Numbers 16-18, Proverbs 16, Complete___

 

SEPTEMBER 15th     

HOW CAN WE ANGER GOD?

 Read Hebrews 10:26-31

Does God ever get mad? How can we anger God? We cannot begin to compare God’s anger with man’s carnal anger and madness. I believe there are at least three cases in this text where we can anger God.

First, when we disrespect the purity of God’s only Son. Jesus is without spot or blemish. As He was two thousand years ago, He still is today. It is not His sin that needs to be judged, He has no sin. It is our sin that needs judgment. Thank God He Judges sin.

Proverbs 23:29,  “Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes?”

The world teaches us to go ahead and sin but don’t get caught – safe sex, drink but don’t drive, etc. Sin makes God angry!

The second thing that angers God is when we disregard the price of God’s sacrifice. When we treat the blood of Christ as ordinary. The blood of Christ is not ordinary.

Isaiah 52:14, “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:”

He did not look human because of all the suffering. “We hid as it were our faces from Him.” The crowd said, “Crucify Him, and crucify Him.” Pilate found no fault in Him, “Then Pilate took Him and scourged Him…soldiers platted a crown of thorns and put it on His head.”

Today people want a religion of convenience and not conviction; of self-indulgence and not sacrifice; of experience and entertainment in place of obedience and obligation.

The third thing that angers God is when we despise the pleading of God’s Spirit. We say no to God in church more than any other place. Think about that for a moment! God draws a line when we reject His Word and the closer we get to the line the greater the danger of judgment. Our attitude toward sin ought always to be “no.” Don’t cross that line and don’t make God angry at your sin. Don’t be guilty of willful rebellion.

Daily Assignments

Read Titus, Proverbs 15. Look up 3 verses in the Bible where it says God became angry with man. What were the circumstances?

Complete__                       

             SEPTEMBER 12th                

 

HOLY IS THE LORD!

Read Psalm 46

If you look at the world and the things in the world you will soon realize that there is not much to live for outside of the Lord. This Psalm was probably written during the siege of Jerusalem under Sennacherib because it fits no other period in history. Notice three things that God is to us in verse one:

  • He is our REFUGE.
  • He is our STRENGTH.
  • He is our PRESENCE in time of trouble.

Notice also in verses 2-3, we need not fear: Though the earth be removed. Though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though the waters roar. Though the mountains shake.

Psalm 46 encourages us to hope and trust in God, and His power, providence and presence with His church in the worst of times, and directs us to give Him the glory of what He has done for us and what He will do. It was probably written upon David’s victories over the neighboring nations, and the rest that God gave him from all his enemies around about him. We are taught three things:

First we learn to take comfort in God when things look threatening.

Second, to point out the great things He has produced for His church against its enemies.

Third, to reassure us that God will glorify Himself.

It is said of Martin Luther that, when he heard any discouraging news, he would say, “Come let us sing the forty-sixth psalm.” Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 23-24, Proverbs 12. Please take a few moments of refection on the terrible tragedy suffered by our country on September 11, 2001.  Please pray for the families of the innocent civilian men, women and children who were murdered by Islamic terrorists. Pray for our military as they fight the war on terror.  Write a letter to a serviceman, firefighter or police officer, thanking them for their service to our country. Mail it today. Complete___

SEPTEMBER 13th    

Read yesterday’s devotion

There is not much for us to depend upon in this life BUT GOD…because:

HE IS RIGHT IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Genesis 18:25 “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

Jesus prayed in John 17:25, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee, but I have known Thee…and these have known that Thou hast sent me.”

In Genesis 18:25, “Abraham pleading with the righteous Father.”

“Righteousness – justification is a forensic term, as opposed to condemnation. As regards its nature, it is the judicial act of God, by which He pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set-aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law. The sole condition on which this righteousness is imputed or credited to the believer is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is called a ‘condition,’ not because it possesses any merit, but only because it is the instrument, the only instrument by which the soul appropriates or apprehends Christ and his righteousness.  The act of faith which thus secures our justification secures also at the same time our sanctification; and thus the doctrine of justification by faith does not lead to licentiousness. Good works, while not the ground, are the certain consequence of justification.”   Easton’s Bible Dictionary Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Amos 1-4, Proverbs 13, Complete___

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant

SEPTEMBER 14th        

Read the last two day’s devotions

HE IS JUST IN HIS JUSTICE.

2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

Revelation 20:13, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”

“The justice of God is that essential attribute which makes His nature and His ways perfect.  The justice of God could not leave the world without laws, and cannot fail to vindicate them by executing their penalties; and as all mankind perpetually break them, every human soul is under condemnation, and must perish, unless spared through the accepted ransom, the blood of Christ.” American Tract Society Dictionary

HE IS TERRIFIC IN HIS TRUTHFULNESS.

Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

HE IS FIXED IN HIS FAITHFULNESS.

His faithfulness is everlasting in Psalm 119:90.

                  “                     established in Heaven. Psalm 89:2.

                  “                     enduring (never fails). Psalm 89:33.

                  “                     endless. Psalm 36:6.

                  “                     external, all around us. Lamentations 3:23.

                  “                     exceptional. Psalm 89:8

Holy is the Lord!

Daily Assignments

Read John 16-18, Proverbs 13. Write down a time when God showed you His faithfulness. Complete___

SEPTEMBER 11th 

    

Righteousness Still Exalts A Nation!

 Read Isaiah 30:1-7; 31:1-9

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

One of the main motives of our forefathers to leave England and sail for America was the opportunity of breaking away from the Church of England to enjoy religious freedom here. While this was not the only reason, all who came to America found a new beginning and opportunities. The same opportunities are given us today as we look back to the terrible day of the attack on America, September 11, 2001.

Some important principles given by Solomon in Proverbs 14:34 almost three thousand years ago are as true today as they were then. Sin is the opposite of righteousness, and sin will hinder our country from being blessed of God. Sin turns a country away from God so that God removes his hand from that nation. Remember: we are living in the greatest country in the world, but what made this country great? Not all the credit goes to our forefathers, but our Father in Heaven because it was He that instilled within their hearts a belief because of their willingness to practice it. That was then, this is now. When you think of how far we have gone to abusing America contrary to God’s Word. We have taken God out of the classrooms and have passed laws contrary to God’s Word. We have allowed the humanists to re-write His laws and called them translations of the Bible. We have allowed them to murder millions of babies. We have taken our freedoms from the saints, and given them to the Sodomites. Now we see the result in homosexual marriages. May God help us! I am of the firm belief that one of the problems in America is that we have become a nation of not being able to recognize the real heroes of our land, and we have made simple talent or sporting ability our heroes. We have stripped our nation of the real heroes and replaced them with Hollywood actors, rock stars and sportsmen (I am using the terms loosely). We are now living in a day when our current President shows far greater respect for Islam than Christianity, while ushering in his socialistic ideology. Don’t you wonder why God has withheld judgment on our nation? Read Isaiah 30:18-21. What our country needs is some old fashioned revival in righteousness and righteous living. Our beautiful red, white and blue flag represents some spiritual truths for us.

Read Psalms 108-110, Proverbs 11, Complete___

SEPTEMBER 10th  

Read yesterday’s devotion

David acknowledges the great goodness of God, and prays for help. He prays for the prosperity of his kingdom. I like what Matthew Henry said about verses 1-8, “When men become prominent for things as to which they have had few advantages, they should be more deeply sensible that God has been their Teacher. Happy are those to whom the Lord gives that noblest victory, conquest and dominion over their own spirits. Man’s life is as a shadow that passes away. In their highest earthly exaltation, believers will recollect how mean, sinful, and vile they are in themselves; thus they will be preserved from self-importance and presumption. God’s time to help his people is, when they are sinking, and all other helps fail.” He continues concerning vs. 9-15, “Fresh favours call for fresh returns of thanks; we must praise God for the mercies we hope for by his promise, as well as those we have received by his providence. The public prosperity David desired for his people is stated. It adds much to the comfort and happiness of parents in this world, to see their children likely to do well. To see them as plants, not as weeds, not as thorns; to see them as plants growing, not withered and blasted; to see them likely to bring forth fruit unto God in their day; to see them in their youth growing strong in the Spirit. Plenty is to be desired, that we may be thankful to God, generous to our friends, and charitable to the poor; otherwise, what profit is it to have our garners full?” Ten rules for happier living:

  • Give something away no strings attached.
  • Do a kindness for someone and forget it.
  • Spend a few minutes with the aged (their experience is a priceless guidance).
  • Look intently into the face of a baby and marvel.
  • Laugh often (it’s life’s lubricant).
  • Give thanks (a thousand times a day is not enough).
  • Pray (or you will lose the way).
  • Work (with spirit and vigor).
  • Plan as though you’ll live forever (because you will).
  • Live as though you’ll die tomorrow (because you will on some tomorrow). Author unknown

One thing we know for certain, HAPPY IS THAT PEOPLE, WHOSE GOD IS THE LORD!

Daily Assignment

Read 1 Chronicles 25-29, Proverbs 10. Write a thank you note to one of the church staff members.Complete___

SEPTEMBER 9th 

          

Happy is that People Whose God is the Lord!

  Read Psalm 114:1-5

David wrote this Psalm after one of the deliverances from King Saul, or possibly after the time of Absalom’s rebellion. This was the only time David’s people rebelled against him. David realized he needed two things from God: strength and skill. The psalm also looks prophetically at a time when the children of Israel will suffer during the Tribulation. If we think that we can do without the protection of God, we will become as many other nations that tried and ended in ruin. I am thankful for our powerful military, but even more thankful that God is our Protector, Fortress and High Tower, Deliverer and Shield. These days everybody wants to be happy, and many will do whatever they can to pursue happiness. They work hard to make riches, accumulate wealth, and buy fancy cars and big homes and even work at being religious. But something is still missing. They sign up for all kinds of self-improvement courses and even get involved in some worthy activities. No matter how hard they try to pursue happiness it always seems just around the corner. Well, may I say this: they are looking in the wrong places. In this text we see the way to deep and lasting happiness: Dennis Wholey, author of Are You Happy? Reports that according to expert opinion, perhaps only 20 percent of Americans are happy. According to How To Counsel From Scripture by Martin Bobgan, Moody Press, 1985, p. 123, Bernard Rimland, director of the Institute for Child Behavior Research, conducted a fascinating study on the principle of the Golden Rule. Rimland found that “The happiest people are those who help others.” Each person involved in the study was asked to list ten people he knew best and to label them as happy or not happy. Then they were to go through the list again and label each one as selfish or unselfish, using the following definition of selfishness: a stable tendency to devote one’s time and resources to one’s own interests and welfare – an unwillingness to inconvenience one’s self for others.” In categorizing the results, Rimland found that all of the people labeled happy were also labeled unselfish. He wrote that those “whose activities are devoted to bringing themselves happiness…are far less likely to be happy than those whose efforts are devoted to making others happy” Rimland concluded: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Continued tomorrow!

Read Numbers 13-15, Proverbs 9. Look up the word happy or happiness in a concordance and write out 2 verses telling us how to be happy. Complete__

SEPTEMBER 8th  

 

GET BACK INTO THE BATTLE!

Read Ephesians 6:10-15

Your problem is not your husband, wife, boss, etc. Your problem is the flesh and the devil. We have been taught four spiritual lies by the devil, the world or maybe even our brethren.

THAT ALL YOUR PROBLEMS ARE ADDRESSED IN THE BIBLE.

THAT ALL YOUR PROBLEMS ARE SOLVED BECAUSE YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN.

THAT IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM YOU ARE UNSPIRITUAL.

THAT BIBLE READING AND TEACHING WILL SOLVE ALL YOUR PROBLEMS AUTOMATICALLY.

Wow, have you been sold a bill of goods. As a matter of fact only obedience and trust will help to solve our problems. And notice I said, “help.” Yes, if you stay in the Bible you can do a much better job in solving your problems, but by no means will it solve all of them. What we need is a time of self-examination, determining God’s will and then doing it. Stay in the battle and you will do a better job more consistently. All of us can do a better job at whatever we may be doing. Determine to stay in the battle or get back into the battle before the end of this month. And then do your best.

FOUR IMPORTANT LESSONS:

  • Acknowledge your personal condition.
  • Start something, anything.
  • Return to Jesus.
  • Do it now!

I like what Billy Sunday said, “Get right with God and do it now.”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Timothy 3-4,  Proverbs 8

List some things that you used to do faithfully, but perhaps have let up a little in lately.  Pray that God would help you to get back to doing these things.

Complete___

SEPTEMBER 7th    

Read yesterday’s devotion

Our second example is Joshua in Joshua 24:14-25.

In this chapter Joshua once again gathers the people together to review the history of the children of Israel, as well as the graciousness of God towards them. We as men and fathers must make a covenant with God to be the leaders in our homes. How?  By serving Him! Because Israel failed to destroy the occupants of the land (their enemy), they, as well as their idolatry surrounded them. So, God and Joshua call them to a complete and real dedication to God. I like Joshua, because he was just an “average” man, but totally committed and loyal to God and his leader. This shows what God can do if we are average men and women who will completely dedicate our lives to God. This also teaches that an average man or father can be mightily used of God. The sad thing is that there was no one to take Joshua’s place as he did with Moses. So, from his death to the time of Samuel, they were under a trial Theocracy and Judges. As during the wilderness wanderings the children of Israel had a Cycle of History during the time of the Judges. We must be careful to guard our homes and be the leaders God commands us to be so that we do not follow this same cycle. What else does a happy Christian home have?

THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN HOME HAS THE INGREDIENT OF A PRAYING MOTHER.

The mother of D.W. Lambert gave a tea for a group of pastors. All of a sudden there was a burst of laughter. Lambert thought, “Men of God ought not to indulge in such laughter.” The mother answered, “When God makes you holy He gives you sense of humor and makes you happy.”

THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN HOME HAS THE INGREDIENT OF A FAMILY ALTAR.

THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN HOME HAS A CHURCH FOR INFLUENCE.

Our Missionary effort must begin at home.

Daily Assignments

Read John 13-15, Proverbs 7

Complete___

SEPTEMBER 6th  

 

FIVE INGREDIENTS TO A HAPPY HOME!

Read Ephesians 5:22-32

We must understand that for the Christian, the home begins with Christ. In the Lord’s Supper we are thankful for the sacrifice paid by our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is that kind of love which is necessary to make a home a real Christian home. In verse 22, God starts with a woman’s submission to her husband. In verse 25, the husband is commanded to love his wife. In chapter 6 and verse 1, children are commanded to obey their parents. In chapter 6 and verse 4, a father is commanded to train and teach his children by way of discipline. Five ingredients are necessary for a happy Christian home:

 

THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN HOME HAS THE INGREDIENT OF LOVE FOR CHRIST AND EACH OTHER.

 

THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN HOME HAS THE INGREDIENT OF LEADERSHIP BY THE FATHER.

In the Bible, the father taught the son what a Christian was like. Sadly today, a child would often have to ask, “Daddy, have I ever seen one?” Our children have rarely seen a Christian who acts like a Christian. Today, we will study two great Fathers and leaders of their homes:

First, Abraham in Genesis 18:16-22.  Remember that God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees because of the idolatry in the land. His father Terah was heavily involved in it also. He also called him because God wanted to make of him a great nation through which Messiah would come. Sometimes God has to take us away from family and friends and maybe even a nation to make something out of us.  This is especially true if there is any kind of wickedness there to keep us from serving God. Look at the example of Abraham: God knew that he would command his family after him. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Joel, Proverbs 6, Complete___

SEPTEMBER 5th

  

PRIESTS?

Read Hebrews 13:15-25

The Bible says that as Christians we are priests. As priests, we  can offer our sacrifices to God in four ways: You can sacrifice your PERSON Romans 12:1. When we truly give ourselves to the Lord all other giving becomes easy. You can sacrifice your PURSE 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. If He doesn’t have your purse He does not have you. You can offer the sacrifice of PRAISE. You can offer the sacrifice of PERFORMANCE or doing good. God has equipped the saint for service. There is nothing we cannot do for God if He has equipped us. Let’s think about that for a few moments.

First of all we need to be aware of THE PROVISION GOD MADE FOR ALL OF US.

Understand God will never call you without taking responsibility of equipping you. Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them? We are to walk in good works. How does God equip us? In the very beginning He made you equipped Genesis 1:26-28. He made you and created you with talent and ability. God has given us a gift of grace, motivation to use that gift or talent, prophecy, etc. Get involved with other people. God has equipped you for it. You say, “I’m just not the type.” Well, be the type and just do what God has equipped you to do. Others are going through what you did and you can help them. He has equipped us to build they Body of Christ. As we do, maturity will develop. We are not only to enjoy life but also to worship and service God.

Second, HE PREDESTINATED US TO BEAR HIS IMAGE.

That means simply to do His work and will. What are you doing to build others and the Body of Christ? What about your schedule? Do you serve only when it is convenient to do so?  He can change your schedule and often does by means of a visit to the hospital, sickness, money problems, etc. We are here to serve God, and one servant equips others. Spiritual growth leads to spiritual service. Not only Bible studies, but to give to others. We have a responsibility to get involved. He predestinated us to serve Him. He will hold us accountable for “Deed done and not done.” All our experiences are a part of our equipment. What are you doing with it? Can you justify not serving God? We will give account to God for our time. How many people have a better relationship with Christ because of you? How many are saved, baptized, in church because of you? You cannot separate spiritual growth from service. We must get involved to serve Him daily. Decide now, not to live one more day for self.

Read Acts 22, Proverbs 5, Complete___

SEPTEMBER 4th 

       

FIVE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS!

 Read Jeremiah 2:1-8

Think about being given the opportunity to go on a shopping spree. Would you look for empty boxes or spoiled items? Well that is exactly what Israel did; they exchanged God’s Glory for worthless empty gods of their own making. Therefore God uses Jeremiah to give a threefold message: He reminds Israel of past blessings and deliverances. He rebukes them for forsaking God. He accuses them of turning to false gods. There are twenty-one questions in this chapter and all of them are important. These questions remind us of the questions that will be asked of unbelievers at the Judgment Seat of Christ. These 21 questions of Jeremiah are grouped under five headings:

First, there is the question of ingratitude.  Iniquity is not found in God. Ingratitude was found on the part of Israel. The ingratitude is seen in their forgetfulness of His mercy. It is seen in their ignoring the present goodness of God. (They were eating the good fruit of the land given by God while they rebelled against Him).It is seen in their turning to false gods. It is seen in the character of their false gods. It is seen in the mistreatment of God’s blessings and gifts.

Second, there is the question of Idolatry. Israel changed her glory. They committed two evils. They forsook the fountain of living waters. They hewed them out of cisterns that hold no water.

Third, there is the question of insincerity. Their hypocrisy was evident: Israel says, “I have not sinned.” They had a false sense of self-confidence. Hiding was impossible for them.

Fourth, there is the question of incompetence. Their gods cannot help them. Their appeals cannot be regarded. The remembrance has left out the true and living God.

Fifth, there is the question of inconsistency. They compromised their position. They catered to their enemies for pleasure. They changed their ways for power. How do you and I measure up along side these great questions? We ought to add one more question from the New Testament, Hebrews 2:3, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?”

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 105-107, Proverbs 4, Complete___

AUGUST 3rd

ARE YOU READY FOR HIS COMING?

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say  unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

After having boarded a plane from New York to San Diego (by way of Chicago) I could not help but be thankful for these wonderful days of transportation. Imagine, we can have breakfast in New York and lunch in San Diego. It’s pretty miraculous, to say the least.  But that is nothing compared to the trip I am getting ready to take when Jesus comes. Glory! One of these days He is going to break the eastern skies with the trump of God and we are out of this sin-cursed world. In our text the Bible tells us to comfort one another with these words.

I cannot think of a greater comfort than to know that one-day we will be with Him forever. How many are packed and ready to go on that great trip? But, remember that He commanded us to “Occupy till I come,” and to “watch and wait” for His coming, much as we wait for the plane to arrive to take us to our destination. We know that it is going to be there at the appointed time and so will Jesus be coming for us at God’s appointed time. The question is, are you ready for His coming? That is, are you packed up and ready for travel?’

When I prepared to leave my room, I not only prepared myself for the trip but also had to pack all of my belongings. When we take that final trip there will be nothing but our bodies to go with Him. All things will be left behind and that will make it possible for us to travel lightly (that’s some wonderful news). No more baggage, security checks, crowds and schedules to meet (or miss), but this trip comes without notice or time of arrival. It will happen in the twinkling of an eye, or 1,000th of a second. Let’s make sure we are ready and stay busy until He comes.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 20-24, Proverbs 3, Complete____

SEPTEMBER 2nd

Read yesterday’s devotion

Then he found satisfaction in God, verse 5.  Friends would not stand with him and it was in vain to call to them. But, he said, “I cried unto the Lord.” David tells us what he said to God in the cave. There is enough in God to answer all the necessities of this life.  We live in a world of dangers and needs; but what danger need we fear if God is our refuge, or what needs do we have that can trouble us if He is our care? Then in this satisfaction, he addressed himself to God. We can apply it spiritually: the souls of good men are often troubled by doubts and fears, confined through the weakness of faith. Then he tells how much he expected his deliverance would be a tribute to the glory of God.

DAVID POURED OUT HIS COMPLAINT BEFORE GOD.

He complained of the subtlety, strength and spite of his enemies – mainly Saul. David then laid two things on God:

  • His distress – “I showed before Him my trouble.”
  • His desire – in verse 1, when he made his complaint he made his supplication.

Everything Saul did for David, including giving him his daughter Michel was to trick him. He was disowned and deserted. As long as he was in the palace they were his friends, but now that he was an outlaw they deserted him. He looked around to see if any would open their door to him, but refuge failed him. None of his friends would even give him a night’s lodging. When winter came they became cold of heart. But no wonder, look at Jesus Himself who was forsaken of all men, “for there was none to help, none to uphold Him.”

But, he found satisfaction in God and Him alone. God knew his case, and was his refuge. David knew God would hear and deliver him. He knew also that his true righteous friends would join him in giving praise to God. Let it never be said that, “NO MAN CARED FOR MY SOUL.”  GOD CARES AND SO SHOULD WE.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 10-12, Proverbs 2. Think of another time in David’s life when it seemed all had forsaken him.  Did God bring him out of that as well? Complete___

        SEPTEMBER 1st              

 

NO MAN CARED FOR MY SOUL!

Read Psalm 142:1-7

Adullam is an old town in Canaan and later became a part of Judah. It was conquered by Joshua and is a symbol of Israel’s glory. This Psalm was probably written in the cave of Adullam with Saul in pursuit and seeking to kill David. Some believe it to be written in Engedi. David only had his 400 men who were considered, as was David – lawbreakers. In verse four David is saying, “I looked around for human help, but no one would even know me. I felt completely deserted in my trouble. Prayers and tears are my only weapons. Refuge failed me. I had nowhere to flee, no safe and sure place to hide. This cave is a miserable place to hide in and no man cared for my soul.” It is not the business of the world to care for our souls. Oh yes, the world can care for our physical wellbeing, our social wellbeing, our national wellbeing and protection from the enemy, etc. They can help care for our intellectual wellbeing. But, this is where the world stops and it can do nothing for our souls.

Caring for men’s souls is our business. The physical needs of men are not our first business, but to win souls and bear testimony of His loving care. The psalmist here tells us how he was disowned and deserted by his friends in verse four.  When he was in favor with Saul, he seemed to have a great interest, but when he was made an outlaw and it was dangerous for anyone to harbor him, then no man would know him, but everyone was afraid of him. He looked on his right hand for an advocate, some friend or other to speak a good word for him, but, since Jonathan’s appearing for him had almost cost him his life, nobody was willing to speak in defense of his innocence, but all were ready to say they knew nothing about the matter. He looked around to see if any would open their doors to him, but refuge failed him. None of his old friends would give him a night’s lodging or direct him to any place of safety. How many such has hurt good men, shallow friends who are gone when trouble comes!  David’s life was exceedingly precious, and yet, when he was unjustly accused, no man cared for it, nor would move a hand for the protection of it.  Here David was a type of Christ, who, in His sufferings for us, was forsaken by all men, even by His own disciples. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments!

Read 2 Timothy 1-2, Proverbs 1, Complete___

August 31st     

CHRISTIAN LIVING!            

Read yesterday’s devotion

Now, let’s get to the heart of the issue.  Lest he leave the impression he has already arrived, Paul indicated that he was still much involved in the race of life. In verse 12, that which Paul had already not attained was the complete and final knowledge of the Lord. In verses 13-14, the “not yet” state of a Christian does away with any kind of complacency, and demands continuous striving. “But one thing,” expresses the single purpose. “Forgetting” the past accomplishments, because they may hinder in way of self-satisfaction. “Reaching forth,” portrays a runner who draws upon his remaining strength and stretches out toward the goal. In verse 14, “I press (squeeze, pursue) toward the mark,”

His eye is fixed and distraction would be fatal. The Prize belongs to those who respond wholeheartedly to His upward call. We too must put away self and move toward a new height of spiritual attainment. In verse 15,  “perfect,” is to be complete, mature.

Be mature in your goal, make Christ your standard, and don’t look to people, especially those of the Judaizers and legalism, etc. But, “be thus minded”, or have this belief, that: past success does not remove the necessity of future striving.

This is good, Look at verse 15b, if you are not convinced that this is true, God will reveal even this to you. In verse 16, here is what Paul is saying, “Let us not turn from the principles that have brought us this far in our Christian life.” Remember this principle: “The condition of future light is to walk according to present light.”

Back to verse 17 in bringing this devotion to a conclusion: The presence of those who were a hindrance to the gospel and its effectiveness led Paul to exhort the Philippians to imitate him and others who were striving for this Goal of living as citizens of Heaven; and conforming to the true image of Christ; because, He is the standard of our Christian living.

Daily Assignments

Read John 10-12, Proverbs 31, Complete___

AUGUST 30th

Read Philippians 3:17-21

The Philosophy of Christian living is “For me to live is Christ…” The Pattern of Christian living is “Let this mind be in you…” And in verse 17, we see the Prize of Christian living.  We hear much about standards in some of our churches today and they are good, but to what are we comparing ourselves. Here in verse 10, we see the goal. There must be a consistent effort to reach His standard. This is what this whole chapter is all about. Our goal is not man’s law and his standard, but Christ is our standard for Christian living. In her book, “Let’s get Well,” Odell Davis teaches a principle that works. Most people put emphasis on losing weight, her comment to a particular weight problem is; “Put your emphasis on increasing your energy level and you will lose weight slowly, but effectively.”

That’s just like a Christian: He is trying to get the excess fat off by subscribing to someone’s standard, and frustration and failure result. Make Christ your energy level, because He is the standard of our Christian living. Paul could boast in his accomplishments. He teaches for them to follow him. Paul is saying, “Don’t follow me because I have subscribed to a particular standard or religious background.” But, follow those who have made Christ their standard and are pointing others to Him.

Here is why, look at verses 1-3, he warns the Philippians against the Judaizers and those who mutilate the flesh, rather than circumcision. In verse 4, he compares himself even to their standards, but he had superior grounds for confidence. In verse 7, whatever he gains (verses 5-6) he counted as loss. They were worse than useless is what he is saying – actually a hindrance, because they had to be unlearned. In verses 8-10, he is actually saying it was confiscated and put in a dung hill, refuse, or as Lightfoot says, “that which is thrown to the dogs.” Isn’t it interesting that Paul compares the evil worker to the dogs in verse two?. His motive was only to gain Christ. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Hosea 8-14, Proverbs 30, Complete___

AUGUST 28th – 29th  

              

First the thought, then the act, then HABIT,

then character, then consequence, then destiny!

Read 1 Peter 2:20-25

Habits means, “A way of life.”  “Ye shall know them by their fruit.” Think of the things we do by habit: Getting up in the morning, getting dressed, eating, washing, brushing teeth, etc. Good habits have to be learned and practiced. Bad habits seem to come automatically, but they do not. They too must be learned and practiced. Good habits make good character; bad habits make bad character.  Habits make character: First the thought, then the act, then the habit, then the character, then the consequences, and then the destiny. Habit means custom. Character means to engrave. The more we live by doing right automatically, and the more good habits we have, the better we will be and the more we will accomplish. Discretion is character and must become a habit to be successful. How then can we form good habits?

First, we must get into a routine. We must organize our lives. Do right again and again, keep doing it automatically and regularly. Someone said, “If you would make a thing a habit, do it.” Do regularly now, what you want to do by habit later in life. Learn to be on time now. Be kind to people now, etc.

Second, live by a schedule. You show your character by your promptness or vice versa. People who have good habits are disciplined people who live by a schedule. A schedule makes one feel secure, not to mention those around you. Do something long enough and it will become a habit. It is the little things in life that steal your time. A schedule will help you set priorities. Most people spend most of their time on least important, and vice versa. Once you are on a schedule, learn to do the things you do not like to do first. If you do only what you like, you will only develop many bad habits. Many of us save the best till last in eating a meal. Do the menial tasks first and save the best till last. The real key is to not start bad habits in the first place.  If you do not start, you’ll not have a problem in later years. Don’t tell the first lie and you will not become a liar. Don’t steal the first time and you will not become a thief.  Don’t have bad thoughts and you will not have a moral problem when older, etc. Watch the crowd you run around with. You will sooner learn their bad habits, and then they will your good habits. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 102-104, Proverbs 28, Complete___

AUGUST 29th

Read yesterday’s devotion

Look at Elisha, he made sure of being around the right crowd. The works of Elijah and Elisha have often been contrasted: Elijah was a fiery prophet who suddenly appeared in a dramatic fashion, while Elisha was a faithful pastor-prophet who ministered in a personal way to his people.

Elijah belonged to the rugged hills, Elisha to the peaceful valleys. Elisha had promised to follow Elijah faithfully, and this he did in spite of opportunities to depart. He had been serving his master for about ten years when he was told that Elijah was going to leave him. Had Elisha taken an easy route and stayed behind, he would have missed the blessings. It pays to be faithful to your calling.

You will remember years before Elijah asked God to kill him in the wilderness. Isn’t it wonderful that God does not answer all of our prayers? Elisha was a faithful follower, who followed his leader and then God gave him more than a double portion for his faithfulness, not only to God but also his master. Think of it, instead of God answering Elijah’s prayer to kill him, God took him home by a chariot of fire and whirlwind. “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.” I like what Dr. Lee Roberson said, “There are four groups of people in every church:

Leaders: Someone who does what you tell him one time.

Workers: Those who carry out the vision of the leader.

Followers: Dr. Roberson only expects five things from this group: Go to church three times a week, tithe and go soul winning.

To be reached: That is anyone who is not in the first three groups, be they lost or saved.

The third step in having good habits is to consider the consequences of not having good habits. Associate these words: Drink with Drunkard; dope and addict; lazy and poverty; bad habits and bad character, etc. Remember a good rule to follow: Always think before you act. And remember that character is habit – good or bad. Habits are formed by the proper and continuous repetition of doing the right thing.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 20-21, Proverbs 29.

Call someone tonight who is not faithful to church and remind him or her to come to church on Sunday. Call them back on Saturday to remind them again.

Complete___

AUGUST 29th        

Read yesterday’s devotion

Look at Elisha, he made sure of being around the right crowd. The works of Elijah and Elisha have often been contrasted: Elijah was a fiery prophet who suddenly appeared in a dramatic fashion, while Elisha was a faithful pastor-prophet who ministered in a personal way to his people.

Elijah belonged to the rugged hills, Elisha to the peaceful valleys. Elisha had promised to follow Elijah faithfully, and this he did in spite of opportunities to depart. He had been serving his master for about ten years when he was told that Elijah was going to leave him. Had Elisha taken an easy route and stayed behind, he would have missed the blessings. It pays to be faithful to your calling.

You will remember years before Elijah asked God to kill him in the wilderness. Isn’t it wonderful that God does not answer all of our prayers? Elisha was a faithful follower, who followed his leader and then God gave him more than a double portion for his faithfulness, not only to God but also his master. Think of it, instead of God answering Elijah’s prayer to kill him, God took him home by a chariot of fire and whirlwind. “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.” I like what Dr. Lee Roberson said, “There are four groups of people in every church:

Leaders: Someone who does what you tell him one time.

Workers: Those who carry out the vision of the leader.

Followers: Dr. Roberson only expects five things from this group: Go to church three times a week, tithe and go soul winning.

To be reached: That is anyone who is not in the first three groups, be they lost or saved.

The third step in having good habits is to consider the consequences of not having good habits. Associate these words: Drink with Drunkard; dope and addict; lazy and poverty; bad habits and bad character, etc. Remember a good rule to follow: Always think before you act. And remember that character is habit – good or bad. Habits are formed by the proper and continuous repetition of doing the right thing.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 20-21, Proverbs 29, Call someone tonight who is not faithful to church and remind him or her to come to church on Sunday. Call them back on Saturday to remind them again. Complete___

AUGUST 27th

                              DISCOURAGEMENT!                                   

Read Psalm 73

Psalms 73 and 37 are much alike in that both cover concern over prosperity of the wicked, etc. We need in this world of wealth and materialism to count our many blessings. How can we learn from this Psalmist (believed to be Asaph), and what did he learn? He learned several important lessons.

  • LOOKING AROUND BRINGS DISCOURAGEMENT

Confucius said, “A man who does what he likes will never have to work a day in his life.” Discouragement is simply depression of one’s spirit. Some of the causes of discouragement are displeasure, defeat, downheartedness and disillusionment. Think about what happened to Moses when he was displeased and discouraged. Think about Joshua after the loss at Ai. Think of Elijah under the juniper tree. Being a servant of God does not protect you from these feelings. But, there are some remedies.

The first remedy is getting in the presence and power of God.  God said to Elijah, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” Why wasn’t he seeking God? Why was he hiding, depressed? So Elijah fled to Mount Horeb, the mountain where God met with Moses.

The second remedy is knowing where to cast. “Cast thy burden upon The Lord, for He careth for you.” Dear Abby can’t help you. The Television cannot remove a burden. Only God can take your burdens.

The third remedy is a personal prayer life.  Mark 6:31, “Come ye apart and rest awhile.” Jesus often went alone to pray and rest. Sometimes, you just need to get away and get with God. Remember this little outline when you are depressed.

  • LOOKING WITHIN BRINGS DEPRESSION
  • LOOKING UP BRINGS DELIGHT
  • LOOKING AHEAD BRINGS DIRECTION

Have you been looking around, within? Look up and experience delight and God’s direction. LOOK UP!

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 15-19, Proverbs 27, Complete___

AUGUST 26th  

OR

         

SECURE CHRISTIAN HOMES!

Read Proverbs 30: 1-20

This is a wonderful text and reveals to us some great truths. In verses 11-14 God speaks to us about a wicked generation. This generation is spoken of in four ways and all of these speak of the moral and spiritual state of the last days. This is a generation that has no respect for their parents.  You would think that this statement was taken out of the evening news. How very true of our generation today when we have children killing their parents, parents killing their children. What has happened to us? Look at 2 Timothy 3:2 as one of the reasons – “disobedience to parents.”

Parents must make your children obey when they are young.

Make them do right by you doing right. Church attendance is very basic and don’t expect your children to do it if you are not willing to pay the cost. These in our text were a generation that had no regard for holy living.  They were – “..pure in their own eyes..”

Look at verse 5 “every Word Of God is pure“ Paul told Timothy to, “keep thyself pure….” in1 Timothy 5:22,but, also read verses 1-8. If this generation would heed and read the Word of God, they would realize how impure they really are.

They have never seen themselves as sinners, filthy in God’s sight and therefore they think themselves to be something when they are nothing…deceiving their own selves. Jesus said in John 9:41, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” The generation that is pure in their own eyes is sinful in God’s sight; those sinful in their own sight can become pure in God’s eyes. They were a generation that is reckless in pride.  Also 2 Timothy 3:1-5 – “heady, high minded..”

The Bible says, “pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Man loves to boast – “thinking himself to be something when he is nothing.” They were a generation that is ruthless in practice.  We are surrounded with it today as we see the mockery of politics and the new emerging churches.

LET’S KEEP OUR HOMES IN SUCH A WAY THAT THE INFLUENCE OF THIS GENERATION DOES NOT AFFECT OUR HOMES. How?

BELIEVE GOD.  

LIVE BY HIS WORD.

STAND ON HIS PROMISES.

BE WILLING TO PAY THE COST.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 7-9, Proverbs 26.

Write down everything you can remember from the Sunday school last week.

Complete___

AUGUST 25th

             THE WAY OF AN EAGLE!                        

 Read Isaiah 40:28-31

Eagles are included among the unclean birds mentioned in the Bible Leviticus 11:13, but they were admired as majestic birds. The golden eagle, which is really dark brown with sprinkles of gold, has an eight-foot wingspread. It nests in high places that are inaccessible. There, in a nest that the eagle makes larger each year, the eagle hatches two eggs. Usually only one eaglet survives to adulthood. An eagle has keen eyesight. He can spot his prey while soaring hundreds of feet in the air. Like a lightning bolt, he drops to seize it, killing it quickly with his powerful claws. Then he swoops back to his nest to rip the meat apart and share it with his young. A mother eagle carries her eaglet on her back until it masters the art of flying. Moses used this familiar picture from nature to describe God’s care for His people.  God stirred up Jacob (the nation of Israel), and carried His people on His wings Deuteronomy 32:11-12 as He delivered them from slavery in Egypt. Solomon marveled at “the way of an eagle in the air”. An eagle can stay aloft for hours, rarely moving his wings and riding wind currents. But many passages in the Bible also speak of the swiftness of the eagle’s flight. In the Old Testament, prophets spoke of the eagle as a symbol of God’s judgment.

The demands of our life require more than our own power. Yes, we get tired, but we must serve Him when tired and He will give strength. You will never get weary serving Christ. You will get tired, but it is a good tired. Sin will drain us. Our ministry must be to The Lord Jesus Who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. How can we minister unto The Lord?

  • LONG FOR HIM.
  • LOOK TO HIM.  Psalm 124:1-8.
  • LIVE FOR HIM.

Renew:  To exchange for, to trade in your weakness for His strength. If we do that, God will allow us to fly above our circumstances, instead of being weighted down by them. He will allow us to face impossible obstacles, but,  “they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Timothy 4-6, Proverbs 25. Make an outline of the sermons on Sunday. Complete___

AUGUST 24th   


                             

EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH!

 Read Jude 1-4

Think about the Olympics and gold medals. The word “contend” is used for athletes as they contend. We are to earnestly contend for the faith (Christianity) and not issues. Contend –is to struggle, to be vigorous and our word AGONY comes from this noun form of word. The Greek athletes exerted themselves to the point of agony to win the contest.  With such effort Jude says we should defend the faith. Why?  Verse four is the answer. Jude warns these Christians for the coming Apostasy: Apostasy is a “falling away” and is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth. They reject His Deity. They reject His redemption through the atoning and redeeming blood. Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity. This is why Jude tells them to earnestly contend for the faith.

Struggle to defend it! Remember 1 Timothy 4:1-2, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter time some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” I think most will agree that today we have religion without conviction; relaxation has taken the place of revival, etc. Most men want to be saved but on their own terms – so, there is no change. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us,  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Someone said that this Book is a call to arms.

First, remember the word of the Apostles. What does the Bible tell us? What do the lives of great Christians of the past tell us?

Second, remember who the enemy is. Remember what those who oppose Biblical Christianity are like.

  • They are DIVIDERS verse 19.
  • They are DEPRAVED verses 19, 10.
  • They are DEAD, no spirit verse 19.
  • They are DECEIVERS.

Third, they retain the love of God.

  • Build your faith on the Bible verse 20. (Compare (Revelation 3:1-6).
  • Pray in the power of God verse 20. That is faith in action Romans 8:26-27.
  • Look for His coming verse 21.
  • Be soul-conscious verse 22.

Read John 7-9, Proverbs 24, Complete___

     

AUGUST 23rd

          CHARACTER = LIBERTY!      

Read Deuteronomy 27-28 

One of the most exciting, notable and character periods in history of the world was the era of the birth of our nation. Independence Hall, The Declaration of Independence, The war against the Red coats, and the Liberty Bell; all speak of a character, responsible people who paid a great price in order to give birth to a nation which was totally committed to the principles of freedom. We often speak of Liberty, but, we cannot have liberty without responsibility – they are interrelated. Think about a child wanting to drive a car at an early age. He or she wants liberty, you give them some and they want more. You do not give him more liberties until he learns to accept responsibilities. Liberties must be earned. At a later age he wants the liberties of adulthood, but must also accept the responsibilities. Those who do not assume responsibility live unsuccessful lives and often end up in jail, where both responsibility and liberties are limited. Character development precedes levels of responsibility, because it takes character to assume responsibility. The very essence of character therefore is the willingness to assume those responsibilities, which are in reality liberties in disguise. Here is the order:

CHARACTER – RESPONSIBILITY – LIBERTY. In other words, “liberty is the assumption of responsibilities, which is dependent upon character. Character is reflected in the individual quality of convictions, objectives, and is fundamental to his basic philosophy of life.” For every liberty there is a corresponding responsibility. The more responsible one becomes, the more liberties they assume and enjoy. The less responsible a people are, the less liberties they retain. When the people were responsible, they ruled the land independently.

When they drew back from obeying God’s Law, they became less and less responsible and eventually lost their liberties, either to a wicked king or foreign power. When Israel sat under the preaching of the prophets, studied the Word of God, and heeded His principles, they were a people with character.The more character they had, the more internal strength the nation possessed.“Blessed is the nation whose God is The Lord.” The more strength Israel had, the more their enemies fled from them. The less they obeyed, the less character they had, the less strength they possessed, and the more they fled before their enemies. In every respect, the loss of character resulted in a loss of liberty.

How can I get character?Set a regular time to take care of routine responsibilities. Never avoid responsibilities to obtain liberty. Always deal honestly in all responsibilities and liberties.

Daily Assignments!

Read Hosea 1-7, Proverbs 23, Complete___

     

            AUGUST 22nd

     

      ATTITUDE!

 Read Philippians 2:1-6

If you will ask God to change your mind and heart, it will change you life. A well-known Christian worker once said, “If I had to choose between talent and attitude, I would choose 90% attitude and 10% talent, not 90% talent and 10 attitude.” Attitudes have broken our homes, split our churches and ruined many a nation. But, when we have good attitudes, problems are far fewer. If there are problems, they are easily solved with a right spiritual attitude. How many times have you heard a child or even an adult say, “I don’t care what you say” or, “I don’t care what anybody thinks” or, “What makes you think you’re so smart?” These are all bad attitudes and must be handled in a spiritual and biblical way. A good attitude with proper motivation and self-discipline can accomplish far more in God’s work and will than any talent ever could. The word attitude itself does not appear in our Bible, but the idea is all over in the Greek: Phroneo – which is mindset. Attitude is a state of mind toward something or someone.

Attitude, feeling and behavior are often confused.

Feelings are those emotions that ride the waves of conduct and performance. Feelings can be good or bad, according to performance. Fail a test and you feel terrible, but score a point and you feel great. Feelings can be changed by conduct.

Behavior is a part of us and must be recognized and acknowledged. Attitude is a combination of all these, or a combination of, convictions, opinions, beliefs, etc.  It is a state of mind toward something. Attitude is a mental framework upon which a person builds his thoughts and actions. The Greek word used so often in the New Testament means to have ones mindset, “Let this mind be in you.” Mindset does not mean intelligence – intelligence is the ability to think. Paul tells them in verse five that they are to have their mind set on Christ, who was a servant. He was ready and willing to serve. He did not come to be served. A Christian is not to think of himself more highly, but to think soberly. He is not to be proud.

Paul is saying, “Think of yourself with a saved frame of mind.” It is impossible to use our spiritual gifts with a wrong frame of mind and without a right attitude toward self.  A mature attitude cares for the needs of others. Immature attitude cares only for self. Can attitudes be changed? Absolutely Yes! Attitudes can and must change, but only through the spiritual mind. Feelings depend upon conduct. Conduct is greatly influenced by attitude. Attitude determines effectiveness, usefulness, fruitfulness and helpfulness to others.

Daily Assignments!

Read Acts 19, Proverbs 22, Complete___

AUGUST 21st

                       

CASTING A LONG SHADOW!

Read Acts 5:11-16

Think of this, we influence people we don’t even know. A mirror reflection is a reflection of the real thing. That’s a good definition of the Christian; we are supposed to be a reflection of the real thing – our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. You are at best passing by. Our people in church are just passing through.  Look again at verse 15. When I studied Spurgeon’s Notes, I realized that he is still casting a long shadow today – he is still winning souls more than a hundred years after his death. Fanny Crosby, you did not realize the shadow you are still casting today. Marilyn Monroe is still casting a shadow many years after her death – she made more money thirty some years after her death than in her entire life. Look at Elvis Presley; he too is still casting a shadow today. His estate is still making a fortune. They are casting a shadow.

All of us are casting a shadow for good or for bad. Yes, we will give an account to God. We ought to pray daily: Please God, help me cast a shadow for good. The dictionary defines shadow as “The dark figure cast by a solid object when it intercepts the rays from a source of light”.

A shadow symbolizes the brevity of life and the impermanent nature of things.  We should remember three things about our shadow. First, remember that the first impression is the lasting impression. Yes, I agree, that’s just not fair, but that is usually the way it is. You have heard the saying: “ You will never get a second chance to leave a first impression.” Remember – ONLY CONSISTENT CHRISTIAN LIVING CHANGES THE FIRST IMPRESSIONS. Only the power of God can change the heart of one who has made a lasting impression. Our influence for Christ is determined by how holy a life we live.

What kind of a shadow are you casting? Is it a shadow of encouragement to others or a shadow of discouragement? Have you placed yourself under THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY? That is where it all starts.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 99-101, Proverbs 21.

Make a list of people that you feel you influence by your actions and lifestyle.

Complete___

         

AUGUST 19th           

CONTROLLING OUR PASSIONS!

 Read Romans 6:10-22

A father shouted in anger at his frightened son. His anger increased and finally, pounding him with his fist, he knocked him to the floor unconscious. At a motel, a nervous man signed the register “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” His attraction to his best friend’s wife is about to blossom in a shameful, adulterous relationship. Tragically such things do not occur only on Television, but all too often they occur in real life and in respectable homes. Even those who claim to be Christians are involved. In fact, many born-again believers have called out to God over and over again for relief from powerful, passionate emotions. These emotions lead to outbreak in violent temper, jealousy, greed and lustful thoughts and deeds. Emotions that God built into man for his own good, when distorted by sin are often channeled into deeds that are destructive. The natural appetite for food or drink becomes gluttony; the proper sexual drive becomes adultery and the desire to succeed often becomes selfishness and pride. I believe, however, that victory over these passions is possible.

We are not dealing with some mystic power, or uncontrollable force, or guilt in weakness to which we have to surrender. As believers we are on the battleground with Satan, the enemy of our soul and we are on a constant struggle with our nature. Nevertheless, sins of passion such as anger, jealousy, greed, pride, and the Christian who sincerely wants to be victorious can overcome immorality. How can we control our passions that lead to defeat?

The first step is to admit your weakness. To try to excuse or justify our weakness because of failure in the past is not the answer. Rather facing up to it is the most important step, then confess the weakness to the Lord. Admit to yourself that you gave control to that sinful nature, and desperately need God’s help to overcome the passion. Paul faced himself after describing the conflict between the old and new nature. He did not avoid it by “sticking his head in the sand”, but said, Romans 7:24-25 “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death. I thank God through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”

Step number two is to obey the Lord.  Make a conscious, willful decision to obey His commands. He is the Son of God and has the authority to demand it of us. When we are truly willing to follow Him, there can be no room for our own selfish emotion. John 14:15, “If ye love me keep my commandments.” Continued tomorrow!

Read Numbers 4-6, Proverbs 19, Complete___

   

AUGUST 20th       

Read yesterday’s devotion

Paul told the Roman believers; “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God.” Romans 6:13. Obeying the Lord involves the will. We must decide to obey in all things. Realize we are responsible for our own behavior and doing His will must be more important to us then to give in to some wicked habit.

The third step is to call upon God.  Claim the spiritual help God has provided. As you know, the Bible spells out how to live, right and wrong. The Holy Spirit dwells in us to give us spiritual power. Through prayer we commune with God, drawing upon His help. We can also receive guidance and help from other Christians. Plenty of help is available but we must use it. Be involved in church, prayer meeting, devotions, close friends, etc. PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS:

  • Avoid surroundings that cause you to fall or think about your weakness. If you get angry when tired, get more rest. If being around certain people causes you to be dissatisfied avoid them like the plague. Paul said, “Neither give place to the devil.” Don’t give Satan a chance to tempt you.
  • Maintain a true perspective. Some things are just not worthwhile getting all upset about. If a little argument arises, don’t let it become big; it does not deserve the attention.
  • Also, a fleeting moment of pleasure is not worth a broken marriage. Watch that your mind does not focus on things that bring spiritual defeat.
  • Finally, as a practical means of controlling emotions of passions you must maintain your self-worth and self-esteem.

If you are a Christian, you must remember who you are; a child of God, therefore live like one. Many of us go through life living like peasants when we could be living like royalty. Memorize Romans chapter eight to help you. Don’t live like a peasant, you are a child of the King. Think about it!

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 10-14, Proverbs 20, Complete___

AUGUST 18th        

Read yesterday’s devotion

Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME – DAY BY DAY.

As a rule we have our hands full of today’s problems, why take on tomorrows?  Much of what we worry about never happens anyway. When we trust in God, pray and live day by day we feel His undergirding and strengthening, “My grace is sufficient for the.” Why worry for our tomorrows when God so graciously supplies our needs today.

REMEMBER THAT GOD IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL.

Jeremiah said in Lamentations 3:22-23 “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

BE AWARE OF HIS PRESENCE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE.

I can be certain there is no lonely road, no darkened house, no hospital waiting room, no place at all that He is not there to comfort, sustain and strengthen me.

BELIEVE GOD FOR EVERY NEED.

Matthew 6:30-33 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Once we believe that most important step to victory over worry. Then we will understand: Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Not our wants, but needs. Then we will find rest for our souls and not wait for a rooster to crow.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Timothy 1-3, Proverbs 18

Complete___

AUGUST 17th        

 

Read Philippians 4:1-13

The pressures of our society can be discouraging: competition, money problems, family problems, drugs, sex, tragedies, indifference, violence in our cities, war and rumors of war, temptations, enticements to do evil, etc. Life has become more difficult as the economy has become weaker and weaker. More and more people are struggling with emotional stability. Every age group, social standing, race or income status is affected. Even Christians are falling to the overwhelming barrage of trials and troubled situations that they must face daily.

Does this mean that we must cave in under these circumstances? Must we become victims of our fast paced society? No! We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within. We have a living hope, an anchor for our souls. We have the Bible, God’s Word. Experts tell us that worry originates not from the outside, but from within. It is not the job, schedule or pressure from other people that produce it; rather; it is how we respond to outside pressures that lead to anxiety. So, when you analyze it carefully, and honestly you realize that the responsibility is on you to handle worry successfully. How?

TRUST IN THE LORD RATHER THAN MAN OR SELF.

If you tend to worry a lot you are probably tying to solve problems in your own strength. The wise person has learned to trust in God. I like what the psalmist said in 43:5, “Hope thou in God.” That’s good advice for all of us. Most important – trust in God.

DON’T FORGET TO PRAY SPECIFICALLY.

In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul gives us some good advice. I realize that sometimes we don’t feel like praying. That’s the time to pray. You say, “What’s the use it won’t do any good anyway – why bother?” I like what the Hymn writer says: “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” Prayer not only changes things, but also it changes people. The indwelling Holy Spirit brings calmness to your soul. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read John 5-6, Proverbs 17

Complete__

AUGUST 16th 

    

AT A TIME OF GRIEF!

Read I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Many are going through some kind of sorrow. It may be in losing a loved one, someone sick, injured, etc. You feel like giving up, or if it were possible to remove the sorrow by taking it for someone else. We are going to focus our attention on sorrow and how to cope with it. Yes, even when we lose those who are more precious to us than anyone or anything else in the world. Follow these three guidelines.

REMEMBER THE PAST BLESSINGS

Reflect upon past times when you and your loved one rejoiced together. Recall the precious hours you spent together, in the church, children growing up as well as the tender moments that belong to the two of you. Yes, even recall the trials, though difficult at the time, but drew you even closer together. This may cause the tears to come, nothing wrong with that. We have too much dry-eyed Christianity today. We should not hold back on our tears, but remember that God stores each one in a bottle. Don’t ever teach your children to be brave at a time of death and sorrow, but allow them to release their emotions.

RECOGNIZE THE PRESENT REALITIES

Yes, take comfort in past blessings, but also, know that he or she is or will be in His presence. This is only our temporary home and one day we are transported to glory. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 he was willing to be with The Lord. Just think we close our eyes in sleep down here and open them up there. We breathe our last breath down here and inhale first breath up there. Sure, we feel emptiness in sorrow. Certainly we are saddened that there is pain in separation. But the hurt is lessened and the burden is lightened when we remember past blessings and realize their present reality that our loved ones are in Heaven. They are better off than we are and it would be selfish to wish them back to this sin-cursed world. Rather, look ahead to the day we can join them, never again to part. No more disappointments, no tears and no more heartaches etc. Don’t wish you had told them “I love you,” tell them now while you can.

REJOICE OVER THE FUTURE

Anticipate that future reunion with love ones. Death does not separate believers forever.  The day is coming; perhaps today that Jesus is coming with a shout. The souls who are redeemed will descend toward the earth. The graves of departed saints will open and the resurrection bodies and souls will be rejoined. Together they will rise and meet the Lord in the air and be in the presence of Jesus forever. I know it hurts to lose a loved one because no one can take his or her place. Only Jesus can fill the void in the heart. We have that bright and blessed hope in sorrow.

Read Daniel 7-12, Proverbs 16, Complete___

AUGUST 15th 

 Read 2 Peter 3:9-17

One of the most common problems among Christians is guilt, which leads to discouragement. Many feel beaten down by it. They dwell on their inadequacies and failures. They fret about their weaknesses. He who feels guilty would like to undo the past, but knows he cannot. In looking at others he sees that they are all carefree, while he is burdened down with feeling of wrongdoing. As a result, such people are spiritually crippled. They are falling far short of their potential as servants. They brood, dwelling in dark valleys of self-condemnation simply because they have never learned to face and resolve the problem of guilt. Because this affects so many Christians we need to learn to overcome it. If we deal with it in a courageous manner, I believe it will help us to live the Christian life at its best:

WE MUST UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REAL AND IMAGINARY GUILT (OBJECTIVE and SUBJECTIVE). Objective is real the other is not. The first is judicial the second is emotional. The first has direct cause; the second involves a misunderstood effect. In the first we are guilty of violating some law, in the second we only feel guilty. Yes, it is important to understand the difference. Objective guilt is result of disobedience to God – broken His biblical principle or law. We did something wrong and this produces guilt. We feel guilty because we are guilty.

We feel like no one cares to be around us anymore, because we are so bad. It is never wise to deny the reality of that guilt, but to deal with it before we can be at peace with Him, others, or ourselves. Dealing with imaginary (subjective) guilt is a different story: It is not real: you are not guilty so do not feel guilty. Understanding and overcoming this is not quite as easy. This guilt is often the result of making unrealistic expectations for us.

The standard is set too high that it is impossible to reach. When they fall short of these expectations they are disappointed and discouraged. They feel guilty because they have failed again. Caught in a vicious circle, the guilt is not real. Again, it came from unrealistic goals, comparisons or having a super oversensitive conscience. The result of this guilt can be tragic and must be dealt with. Let’s look at real guilt. God did not intend for us to be constantly overcome by failure. But, He has provided a way for us to be happy and free from guilt. Yes, you can escape from those dark clouds of remorse.

The way for freedom is to appreciate and appropriate His forgiveness. If you are born-again and believe the Bible, then believe God for this.

Read Acts 17-18, Proverbs 15, Complete___

  AUGUST 14th 

          

FAITH!

 Read Romans 10:13-21

The words “faith” and “believe” occur hundreds of times in the New Testament. Faith is a noun and believe is a verb. Faith is something you have and believe is something you attain. Both words are from the same New Testament Greek word: Pistis – trust. Everyone has faith and believes in certain things, or trusts in something or someone. An atheist believes and trusts that there is no God. I believe that there is one Holy, Righteous and Loving God as the scripture reveals. All men have faith, but the Bible teaches, “all men have not the faith.” 2 Thessalonians. 3:2. All men believe, but not all men believe (trust) in God, in God’s Word or in God’s Son Jesus Christ. There are three basic elements in genuine faith. First, there is knowledge. Faith is not an end in itself. It must have an object. There are certain facts, which must be known. Example: In order to be saved a person must know that Christ died for all sins and rose again. The second ingredient is agreement. Faith is more than just knowing the facts. It must also include mental assent or agreement with the truth of those facts. The Bible teaches that men and even demons can know and agree with the facts but still not be saved. In order to be saved, you must agree with God that you are a sinner. You must agree that you need to repent. You must also agree that you need to trust in the Saviour. The third ingredient is reliance.  Faith involves the intellect but it must also involve the will.

The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” Acts 16:31. A person can know the truth. He can agree with it, but he also accepts or rejects the truth by an act of his own will. So the saving faith includes KNOWLEDGE of the truth, and AGREEMENT with the truth and RELIANCE on the truth of the Gospel as revealed in the Bible. We are saved by God’s grace through faith. Our faith is not a work of which we can boast. It is simply a channel through which we receive the gift of eternal life provided by Jesus Christ. We are saved though faith and we are to live by faith. The Bible says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” In other words, we trust Christ for salvation and we should trust Him for every detail of life. Faith in God and in His Word causes us to be sure of the future and certain of the things we cannot see right now.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 96-98, Proverbs 14, Complete___

AUGUST 12th

              

DO WE LIVE TO GLORIFY GOD?

Read Matthew 6:19-24

It is a sad commentary that Christians in America have billions of dollars of “assets” which will be left behind at the rapture, while many other nations hunger for the Bread of Life. Missionaries spend 3-5 years just for deputation, while the J.W’s and Mormons spread their false doctrine. Somehow we think we have a right to a standard of higher living than 95% of the world. We think because we give 10% that we can do what we want with 90%. We rationalize by giving 10% as being the standard because the children of Israel gave 10% under the law.

The true New Testament standard is:  “I Corinthians 6:19 What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

As born-again, purchased with the precious blood of Christ, all that we are, hope to be, have, hope to have, belong to Him. As “bond slaves” we have no rights to anything He gives or blesses us with. If we gave Him every penny that passes thru our hands it would not be enough to repay what He did for us. Too often our comforts are more important to us than the great commission. No wonder Mission Boards are crying for volunteers and more than 50% never make it to the field, or only stay one term.

Where are the C.T. STUDDS, who not only gave up fame as one of England’s greatest athletes to take the Gospel to India, China, and Africa?  He and his wife determined to use every cent for God, part of which was used to start Moody Bible Institute. Our Saviour has some hard questions for us, not that they should be hard, but are hard because we have let the world’s values creep in and control us. “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” How do we go about ridding ourselves of the worlds standard? We need to stop and ask, “What Would Jesus Do?” If we did what Jesus would, eyebrows would be raised.

The guilt of the American Church of this age is that we have accepted the world’s standard of living acceptable, while the world cries out for the Saviour. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 1-3, Proverbs 12, Complete___

AUGUST 13th     

Read Yesterday’s Devotion

If Jesus should return today or visit your home tonight, would your conscience be clear in the following areas:

DOES THE TIME AND MONEY WE SPEND ON OUR HOME GLORIFY GOD?

Do we love it so much that we would hate to part with it at the rapture? Could we leave it if He called us to a mission field? Do we really care about the billions without Christ?

Is it my house, or His House? Is it dedicated to Him in actuality, not just words? Does what goes on in it glorify Him? Should we get rid of some items in it? Can we get along without a new sofa or Television or the latest gadget? Are we giving our Tithe begrudgingly? Will we use it for a missionary or other Christian worker?

DOES THE TIME AND MONEY WE SPEND ON OUR HABITS GLORIFY GOD?

Let’s face it Christians like to fellowship and eat, but how much money do we spend on eating junk food? Most of us are guilty of eating too much, eating wrong things and spending too much for what we do eat. Do we even take that which belongs to God to feed our habits?

DOES THE TIME AND MONEY WE SPEND ON HOBBIES GLORIFY GOD?

What do we spend our money on in entertainment and leisure time? To be perfectly honest, there is nothing wrong with entertainment of the right kind, on your time and with your money and not God’s. In fact many would do well to have some leisure time with their families, but as His children, our time, talents and tithe belong to Him.

Would Jesus spend His time on our kind of entertainment? How much it would be for most of us to be involved serving Christ. Let’s give more time to eternal profit. Peter, James, Andrew and John left their nets to follow Jesus. Matthew left the I.R.S. to follow Jesus. The Son of God left Heavens glory for a stable.

God help us to learn what true joy is by letting go of the things of this world and using all time, talent and tithe to Glorify God!

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 5-9, Proverbs 13. Write a thank you note to one of the church staff members. Complete___

AUGUST 11th

Hope (Elpizo) means to trust, expect, or confide. Some of you will remember that when Florence Chadwick could not finish swimming the English Channel in 1954, she told the news media “because I could not see the shore.” She was only a few hundred yards away from victory. Practical lessons:

  • Christians may endure suffering in their lives – 1 Peter 2:21-25.
  • Trouble comes because we all are fallen men on a cursed earth.
  • Often trouble is the price for our sin.
  • Jesus set the example of suffering for us. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
  • Suffering is only for a short time.

As with Paul, a realization that suffering is only for a season but the consolation is that the rewards will be eternal. Praise God from whom all blessing flow …

For the Christian faith and hope is a daily walk with God. For those not yet saved and living a life of faith; it is a matter of a simple four- step plan:

Realize that all have sinned.

Roman 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Realize that the penalty for sin is death.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Realize that Christ paid the penalty for you.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Realize that you must ask Him to save you.

Romans 10:9-11 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Why not ask Jesus to save you right now?

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Thessalonians 1-3, Proverbs 11, Complete___

AUGUST 10th

Verses 17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

ENDURANCE IN SUFFERING

Because he realized it was only for a moment, and he calls it our light affliction. Paul experienced four things in his life because of suffering:

  • Personal victory
  • He strove to win.
  • He did not look back.
  • He never quit.
  • Proven friends
  • He was a friend.
  • He proved his friendship.
  • He was loyal to his friends.
  • He stuck with them.
  • Purpose in life
  • He lived to glorify God in his life.
  • He praised God for answered prayer and blessings.
  • He witnessed to the lost.
  • He tried to obey in little things.
  • Promise of hope
  • He looked at material things as a means not the way.
  • He lived for eternal things.
  • He leaned on God for the future.
  • Hope can bring – purity in 1 John 3:3.
  •             “            – patience in Romans 8:25.
  •             “            – pleasure or joy in Romans 12:12.
  •             “            – proven courage in Romans 5:6
  •             “            – pardon or salvation, Romans 8:24.

As with Paul, a realization that suffering is only for a season but the consolation is that the rewards will be eternal. Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read John 3-4, Proverbs 10, Complete___

AUGUST 9th

Continued from yesterday:

In verses 5-11, we see that Paul always bounced back. Many of our readers have had a resilient (flexible) spirit. Many years ago, somebody asked me “Are you resentful or resilient?”

A RESILIENT SPIRIT

Paul used his problem to build his people as well as the ministry. God never promised health, wealth, and happiness, though we may have them all. But He does not want us to be too comfortable here in this world, because we are not of this world; our citizenship is in heaven. In the heat of the battle many years ago the Lord gave me a thought which is now known around the world, “If there is no cross here, there may not be a crown there. Use your problems to promote the purposes of God.”

A SPIRIT OF SELF-SACRIFICE

Verse 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We must invest our lives for the benefit of others – literally die to self, much as we saw in the self-sacrifice of those fighting to save our lives in the San Diego Firestorm 2007.

Today, most Christians are afraid of burning out or getting tired. We say, “I put my life in this person, and he betrayed me.” Let me say this: It is normal to feel that way, but it is normal to grow tired and older too.

Look at what they did to Jesus? Let’s invest our lives in others, even at our own expense. In the long run, you will benefit by living for others. This is what it means to give ourselves and lose our lives for His sake according to John chapter thirteen.

A DAY BY DAY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

Verse 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

The new man is renewed day by day, because the Word of God is our renewal according to 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

If there is a veil over our faces, the Glory of God is not penetrating. Come to the Book and let His Glory shine. If not, we will become even more selfish. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Daniel 1-6, Proverbs 9, Complete___

  AUGUST 8th

Continued from yesterday!

While I must confess that the at times the ministry has been testy, God has stirred our hearts over the transition from the pastorate to teaching in a Bible College; which at times can also be very trying. On the other hand, we have had the great privilege of seeing God working in miraculous ways, along with our strong sense of duty that has kept us going for the Lord and for the people we love – the people of the church of Jesus Christ.

HONESTY IN THE MINISTRY

Verse 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Paul’s life matched his profession, by truth in his life. Honesty and purity in our lives are two big yardsticks indicating where we are in our Christian walk with God. Paul realized that people were watching him, and that is what helped to keep him honest and accountable. Wow, think about that for a moment!

COMPETITION WITH THE DEVIL

Verses 3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

God has a plan for us; the devil has a plan for us, and too often, we too have a plan for us. The devil has only one plan for you, and that is to destroy you. He may do it through a direct act of sin or gradual backsliding.

Paul knew the enemy would not quit. We need to learn to say, “I don’t want to lose to the devil.” We can have victory over him if we will learn to resist him while drawing near to God first and remembering that Christ is our message, not a philosophy, belief, or creed.

Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 16, Proverbs 8, Complete___

  

                                AUGUST 7th                        

We Don’t Regret a Moment!

 THIS WAS THE LAST MESSAGE PREACHED BY DR. NIKOLEY AS PASTOR OF

THE GREAT POMERADO ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH.

 2 Corinthians 4:1-18

2 Corinthians 1:7-8 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:

Often people have asked, “What has kept you going in the ministry?” I believe one reason folks cannot understand someone who just keeps going for the Lord is because they seek out all kinds of substitutes for the Saviour, salvation, and serving God. The main teaching of these verses is that no sufferings or persecutions have caused Paul to turn aside.  And the belief is that the suffering of Paul, as well as others, should lead to their consolation, or exhortation and comfort. In fact, Paul was certain that the suffering of those who served alongside him would increase their consolation. Wow, as we suffer in serving God, we are certain to rejoice as well. Paul realized that they were partakers of his suffering, and saw that this had caused them to patiently endure, which gave him hope that they would soon be rewarded with comfort and strength. This is exactly what has kept us going in the ministry – that the suffering endured for the cause of Christ and His church would always be accompanied with great consolation and increase our potential for the future. We do not regret a moment of serving our wonderful Saviour and His local church because we realize that all things we have endured are for the consolation of those coming after us. So, what has kept Paul, and what has kept us, going in the ministry?

A STRONG SENSE OF DUTY

Verse 1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.

God’s mercy never fails if we faint not, but we did not want to do it just for duty; however, when the desire was weak, we did it because it was our duty. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 93-95, Proverbs 7, Complete___

              AUGUST 6th               

Eternal City!

Read Revelation 21:1-27

Nowhere in the Bible are we given details of the life in the eternal kingdom of God. Occasionally the curtain is drawn back to give a slight glimpse of that life of which our present experience with Him is only a “foretaste of glory divine.” What can the Christian expect in, “Life in the Eternal City?

A LIFE OF FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM!

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

A LIFE OF REST! Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

A LIFE FULL OF KNOWLEDGE!

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

A LIFE OF HOLINESS!

Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

A LIFE OF JOY!

Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

A LIFE OF SERVICE!

Revelation 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.

A LIFE OF ABUNDANCE! Revelation 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

A LIFE OF WORSHIP!

Revelation 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God. Let’s live life looking forward to the Eternal City!

Read 1 Chronicles 1-4. Proverbs 6, Complete___

         AUGUST 5th           

Read yesterday’s devotion

WHY CAN’T I INDULGE IN WORLDLY PLEASURES AND FUN?

Why can’t I do anything I want with my body?  Why can’t I do anything I want with my time, my life? You can! But, you will also have to suffer the consequences. The immoral are suffering from Aids and venereal diseases. The violent suffer with violence. Jails are overcrowded. Prisons are full: Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

WHY DOESN’T MY CONSCIENCE TROUBLE ME LIKE IT USED TO?

You have become so used to sin, that it is natural. It could be that you have a reprobate mind or a seared conscience. You need something supernatural to be right with God: 1 Timothy 4:2, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”

WHY CAN’T I BE SAVED DOING MY BEST?

Salvation never involves doing your best. Almost everyone starts talking about his or her good deeds. Do you want to know what God says about your righteousness? Read Isaiah 64:6.

WHY CAN’T I JUST FOLLOW CHRIST AND BE LIKE HIM?

You can’t without being born again, then Christ living in you. Your efforts to follow Jesus will come to naught, because you have a sinful nature and need a transformation.

WHY CAN’T I JUST TAKE MY CHANCES WITH GOD?

You can! It is not chance, but a choice, when it comes to God. Choose Christ. John 1:12  “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION YOU SHOULD ASK, 

What must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:31, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.”

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 25-27, Proverbs 5, Complete___

                          AUGUST 4th                                     

The Social Gospel

Job 25:4 How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean [that is] born of a woman? “How can a man be just with God?” Is a question posed by Bildad, a “friend” of Job over 35 Centuries ago. People sometimes ask preachers about their common problems and their ideas concerning religion.  Here are some questions many preachers have heard.

WHY DON’T YOU PREACH A SOCIAL GOSPEL?

If a social gospel would save people, I would be the first to do it.   But it won’t! A social gospel just deals with the problems of poverty, tragedy, and human suffering and seeks to alleviate these with philosophy, money, health care and material things. But, Mark 8:37 is still true. A person can die and go to hell from a mansion with a full stomach and surrounded by friends, money in the bank and cars in the garage. A person can die and go to hell in poverty, sickness and suffering.  A person can die and go to hell with fame and fortune and position. Are we against all these, No! We are concerned about the rich and the poor, but that is not the Gospel.

WHY DON’T YOU PREACH ABOUT SELF-ESTEEM?

Don’t you think we would feel better about ourselves if we felt good about ourselves, and be better people? No! In fact, you have to first feel very bad about yourself. You don’t need self-esteem; you need self-condemnation; you need to realize you are a sinner; you need to realize you are lost. Only then can you be saved. Christ came to save sinners: I Timothy 1:15“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”  If you think your “self” is O.K. and you don’t need salvation, you will only deceive yourself. Your “self” is not O.K. “Ye must be born again.” Only then can you have self-acceptance, because God accepts you in Christ. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Thessalonians 4-5, Proverbs 4. Make an outline of the Sunday school lesson next Sunday. Complete___

     

                  AUGUST 3rd            

The Spirit-filled Church!

Read yesterday’s devotion

Recently I had another young man tell me that he went through years of his life thinking that he was saved, when he was not.   Let’s be careful to always show them the scriptures. Remember God said, “His Word shall not return unto Him void,” not your word. Think of it, several members of our local churches are involved in one person receiving Christ.

The church will be multiplied and believers added as each member faithfully witnesses for Christ. In Chapter four of Acts we are introduced to Barnabas whose name means “son of encouragement.” Barnabas had sold his possessions and gives the money to the church to meet the needs of the believers. He was a spirit-filled man who gave his all to the Lord. Spirit-filled believers today will emulate the spirit of these early believers and give willingly to the work of the local church. Barnabas act of generosity filled two people with envy. Annanias and Sapphira’s sin was not that they did not give all their possessions to the Lord. Their sin was hypocrisy – a deliberate deception to have people believe they were spiritual when really they were not.

Satan worked to destroy the church from within by causing Annanias and Sapphira to put on a “lovely front” in order to conceal the ugly sin in their lives. Satan energized this deception. Satan is a liar and a murderer.  He lied to and through this couple and their lie led to their deaths. When God judged Annanias and Sapphira He was letting everybody know that He would not tolerate deception in His church. Satan wants to divide the church, disgrace the church, decrease the church and the ultimate goal is to destroy the church. But just like those believers, the church can completely triumph, as we remain spirit-filled and unified, magnified and multiplied.

Daily Assignments

Read John 1-2, Proverbs 3. Write a thank you note to your Pastor for all his hard work, and leave it on the pulpit on Sunday. Complete___

                                              

             AUGUST 2nd 

THE SPIRIT-FILLED CHURCH!

 Read 2 Corinthians 11:3, 13-14

1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil,as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.”

In studying the New Testament we can see that Satan tried continuously to silence the church. When the attack from without failed, Satan changed his strategy and began a plan to divide the church from within. His tactics have not changed. If he does not succeed as a roaring lion, he will come as a deceiving serpent or as an angel of light.

The early church was spirit-filled.  As you study the book of Acts, you find some outstanding characteristics of a spirit-filled church. They were a unified church.  This God given unity does not simply imply a well-organized institution. This unity involvestrust, a giving spirit, and an “others orientation.”The church at Jerusalem was unified in doctrinal beliefs, as well as in fellowship, giving, and worship. Acts 2:42 – And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

They were not only a unified church, but they were a magnified church. Satan attempted to disgrace the early church. The religious rulers of the day opposed the work of believers, but many people were drawn to them because of their testimonies of faith. It was the fear of the common people that restrained the religious leaders in their attack. A spirit-filled church will have its enemies, but what the Lord is doing will attract those who are seeking to know God. In that first church evangelism became the ministry of every Christian, not just a chosen few. They were not only unified and magnified, but they were a multiplied church.  Why? It was a multiplied church because every member sought to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ.

Most people who come to church are saved or walk the aisle because one of the members took of their time to invite them to come. Then, after they came forward in the invitation, someone led them to the Lord with the Bible in hand.  Too many times people come forward, and are never shown from the Bible, but convinced that they are saved. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 43-48, Proverbs 2

Complete___                             

                            AUGUST 1st                            

SELF-MADE STORMS!

Read Acts 27:9-20

All of us have had storms in our lives at one time or another. I believe there are basically three kinds of storms. There are storms we cause, there are storms that God causes, and there are storms that are caused by others. Today we will focus at the storms that we cause, because they are the most common.

We don’t like to admit that, we love to blame others for our troubles. But when we honestly look at our lives, self causes most of our problems. We see a storm in our reading this today and it gives us some things to consider. We most often have storms in our lives because of bad decisions that we make. There are some common reasons for bad decisions. First, we often take the wrong advice from so-called experts. Dear Abby is not a good source of decision advice. The horoscope is not a good source of decision advice. We need to get advice from God and His man. Get good godly counsel prior to major decisions. Another source of poor decisions is when we listen to the majority. The majority is not always correct. Better to be alone with God than with a group away from God. And of course, we always make bad decisions when we base them on our circumstances. We should live by principle and not by circumstance.

When we make these bad decisions, then we find ourselves making three tragic mistakes. These mistakes were made in our story as well.

We begin to drift verses 13-17. We begin to live a haphazard life, with no direction.

We begin to discard our cargo verses 18-19. We drop our God-given responsibilities; we let up on our marriage, church, soul winning, bus route, Sunday school class, etc. We have to keep all our precious cargo.

We begin to get discouraged.

When you throw all overboard then comes despair, etc. You lose all hope, and say;  “what’s the use.” And then you begin to compare yourself to others. When you get so discouraged, that you cannot go on; remember, God is always there even in our self-made storms. So, how do we handle these storms:

Remember, there is deliverance, verse 21.  How? Listen to God and His man. Have a good attitude. Rely on His presence verses 23-25. Simply have faith and believe God.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 14-15, Proverbs 1

Complete___

      

                     JULY 31st                        

Facing our Problems!

Read Psalm 32:1-6

While David is conscious of his sin, he is conscious even more of this pardon. I realize that everybody reading this has problems. Your response to those problems determines the outcome. What do we do with our problems?

James 5:16, Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

WE MUST SEE THE PROBLEM

After you see it the key is – don’t avoid it. Confess it. Study it – don’t rush to action too quickly. Wait before you act. Never make a decision while down. Never make a life changing decision while in doubt and deep problems.

WE MUST RECOGNIZE THE PROBLEM

That is, state it, define it, and ask, what is the problem? Here is a great truth and principle in life: Don’t blame everybody else but say, “it is my fault.” What is the problem? What are the possible solutions to this problem? What is the best solution? Act upon it.

WE MUST LEARN TO SOLVE OUR PROBLEM

In one of Napoleon’s greatest battles his young trumpeter was told to sound the retreat. The young man replied I do not know how, you never taught me to retreat. So he blew the trumpet the only way he knew how. Everybody charged thinking they had reinforcements coming to help and so did the enemy. They won this battle. Why? One young man made the difference, he did not know how to retreat, and don’t you do it.

WE MUST NOT RUN FROM THE PROBLEM.

Running is not the answer. We focus too much about our problems and not the solution. When we run from it, the problem always seems to keep up with us and becomes harder to solve as time goes by. Face your problem head on and you will not be sorry for it.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 90-92, Proverbs 31, Complete___

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant                                                      

                          JULY 29th               

 

I AM GOOD!

 Please Read Luke 18:1-14

This is a story of two great sinners: One knew he was and acknowledged it before God. The other did not, and boasted of his righteousness. It is a story of a good man who went to hell and a bad man who went to heaven. The one walks down to sit in the front row of the temple and says: “Lord, I thank Thee that I am not as other men.” The other felt so sinful and needy that he did not even go into the temple and says, “Lord be merciful to me a sinner.” Here we see the two different attitudes. One boasts of himself, the other pours out his heart to God. One saw his great need of a Saviour; the other saw his great self. One put himself on a pedestal the other is penitent and cries out for mercy.

We have two types of people today: One says, “I am good,” the other says, “I am a poor sinner.” When church was over one proudly said he was in church. The other thanks God for forgiveness. The first was a Pharisee in church. He prayed with himself, not to God. “The Pharisee’s loved to stand praying in the market place so that men might hear them.” He boasted of his morality. He says, “My life is clean, I have never been immoral.”  Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We cannot see Him if we are not pure. Remember a telescope can see the stars, but if a speck of dust is on it is blurred, just like our sight. Let impurities enter in and the sight of God slips away. Personal purity is good, but not good enough to get us to heaven. He boasted of his business honesty. “I do not cheat; I pay my bills; I am honest.” But, it is not enough to save your soul. He boasted of his religious life. Away with the man who thinks he is good. We should never make a display of our belief. He boasted of his generosity. “I pay my tithe.” That’s good and you should; however, if we are depending on our generosity, we may be lost forever. He saw no flaws in himself – “Thank God I am not like others.” He despised others. He hates the sinner. We are all sinners. CONTINUED TOMORROW!

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 22-24, Proverbs 29. Call someone who is not faithful to church and remind him or her to come to church. Complete___

 

            JULY 30th

             

Read yesterday’s devotion! 

We are commanded to hate the sin, but love the sinner. Your love for God is measured by your love for man. But, he went away lost – not justified or saved, why?

  • He trusted in himself and was lost forever.
  • He did not acknowledge he was a sinner.
  • He did not cry out to God for mercy. He told God how good he was.

You may not be a great sinner, but just as lost without Christ. Then notice the Publican in church. He came to God humbly. He stood afar off and did not boast in his own righteousness.

Someone said, “A man must kneel very low to enter into the Kingdom of God. He came to God confessing his sin – sorry for his sin”.

Why did he beat his chest? because his sin was in his heart. I often pray, “Give me a clean heart, O Lord. Take away this heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh.”

David cried, “I have sinned” and so did the prodigal son. Today some will be in hell because they refused to confess their sin. The Publican left the church a saved man. Jesus said he was justified – saved. Any man who comes to God as this man: repent, confess, cry, and will be saved from his sin.

If you are not saved, why not throw all your pride and self-confidence away and fall at Jesus feet – like this Publican? He set the example for other sinners to follow. Can a sinner pray? Yes! “Lord, save me a sinner.” After you have prayed this prayer – then claim other promises. Do it and He will bless your life forever. If you are saved, why not attempt to live your life in a manner that is free of pride and self worth. Let’s live in a way of servantship and sacrifice. God will truly bless those who do.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 21-25, Proverbs 30, Complete___

  

  JULY 28th 

                        

Read Matthew 13:3-9

Life can become very interesting and challenging when we face a future of uncertainty that rests entirely in God’s hands. Man can never change a sunrise or a sunset. Man can predict the weather (sometimes) but never change it. Even the word “change” has great meaning. The Greek word is Aloasso, meaning to make different. We can talk about things but never seem to influence in any way.

There are some things in life we definitely can change or keep form changing. But we must also realize that change can bring distractions. Here in this text a farmer went out into his field to do some sowing. The number one problem he faced was that some seed would fall by the wayside. Every one of us has some wayside experience in life. The distractions, or outside influences, can make or break us.

We get concerned about what others will say if we faithfully follow Jesus Christ, or we are afraid we cannot live up to it. After awhile, we run out of excuses and the wayside has choked us. These distractions should make us realize that we need to change our direction.  It can be very disheartening when we face problems without any solutions.

We pray and nothing changes. We trust and all the doors are shut. We look for sunrise and find it is sunset. There is no depth and life becomes dry as a bone. The lost man says that he has to make some changes before he comes to Christ, but he becomes discouraged and soon goes back to his old ways, because he tried to reform his own life. The Christian is not bearing fruit and “wondering what in the world is happening to me?” So, what is the answer?

First, God’s word gives us hope and second, we need to go back into the prayer closet and change our direction. God has the power to change our stony heart. If God can feed Israel manna from heaven for forty years and give water from the rock, then God can meet our needs today. Every man needs to head in the right DIRECTION, if he is to reach the right DESTINATION. The sower threw some seed on thorny ground and could not produce. Are you going in the right direction and heading for the right destination? You tried so hard to sow, but nothing but thorns. Again, the sinner could say he prayed and nothing happened and the saint could say that he kept on sowing but nothing but stony ground, thorns, wayside, rotten seeds and nothing else. I know just how you feel; however, after you get rid of the distractions, go in the right direction for the right destination, then – you need some good old fashioned DETERMINATION. Get rid of the distraction, go back in the right direction, head for the right destination with determination and go the DISTANCE – the finish line.

Read 1 Thessalonians 1-3, Proverbs 28, Complete___

             JULY 27th                 

Read yesterday’s devotion

Ephesians 6:10-11, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Let’s look at some of the weapons the devil will use against us:

  • The weapon of confusion.
  • The weapon of doubt.
  • The weapon of fear.
  • The weapon of despair, helplessness and failure.

We look to ourselves rather than the Lordship of Christ. The weapon of fear destroys many, because they are fighting their battle in the arm of the flesh. Will fear take you from the battlefield of faith? The more you stand the more the devil hurls at you. Why not fight the good fight of faith without fear and stand. 2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

The devil says he is more powerful than God. The Bible says, “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” The devil tries to convince us that God has lost and the devil has won. He tries to get you in the battlefield of confusion, doubt, fear and despair.

Paul was on the battlefield of faith and he finished the course. Many of us have been soldiers who have gone AWOL. The battlefield of faith has some frightening consequences for the devil. Let’s be good soldiers of the cross and say with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Are you fighting on the wrong battlefield?

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 23-24

Read Proverbs 27

Pray tonight for God’s power on Sunday’s preaching.

          JULY 26th

THE BATTLEFIELD OF FAITH!

Read 1 Timothy 6:1-16 & 2 Timothy 2:2-6

Every blood bought Christian is to be a soldier of the cross. In 1 Timothy 3:19 a soldier is commanded to “war a good warfare.”

Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

As you can see in the photo above, these soldiers are fighting in their battlefield, but what happens to those who miss the battlefield of faith? You can do all to stand and still miss it. Some say, “Just do your best and do what you can.” There are those who love to fight or pick a fight, but that is not the Christian’s battlefield of faith. God will not bless the fights on the wrong battlefield. He blesses the fight of faith. The question is, on which battlefield have you been waging your warfare? We must learn that the fight of faith defies all rules of self-effort. Any confidence in self must be put aside.

The songwriter said, “The arm of flesh will fail you…” If we trust in our own manliness at the expense of faith, it will mean defeat in the warfare. Look at 2 Timothy 2:1-6 again.

Here is a good outline of a soldier of the cross:

  • In verses 3-4 he is a soldier – endure hardness.
  • In verse 5 he is an athlete – strive lawfully, go by the rules of the game. It also requires training.
  • In verse 6 he is farmer – keep planting and reaping.

We must also learn that we are fighting an invisible enemy, not one of flesh and blood. We are not in warfare with the Sodomites, Liberals, NOW, NEA, Abortionists, Planned Parenthood. These are enemies we can see; they are emissaries of Satan. If we try to defeat them in the flesh, we will surely fail. It is a battlefield of faith. Only a handful is fighting this battle. Others would rather fight an enemy they can see. The battlefield of faith is in your heart; it goes where you go. Many make the mistake of getting in one battle, but forsake the battlefield of faith. Which battlefield are you on? We need to get our course from God. Every man must choose for himself which one he will be on. Our adversary is an enemy we cannot see. That is why God supplied armour of faith in Ephesians chapter six. CONTINUED TOMORROW!

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 37-42, Proverbs 26, Complete__                  

                    July 25th                 

Read yesterday’s devotion

There are also sweet consequences in keeping all of His words. John 14:23 “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

So, if I don’t keep His words, not just His word, I will not know the love and abiding of the Father and Son in my life.

John 12:47,48 says, “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

If I don’t receive His words, then I will be judged on the last day by His word. I am told by the self proclaimed Bible scholars, the great religious leaders of our day, that I do not have His words. They tell us that the Bible just contains His word and that we do not literally have every word of God today. If I do not have His words how can I be condemned for rejecting them, if I don’t have them to reject. If there’s no judgment day, then I can do anything I want without consequences? I think not! John 15:7 “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

If I abide in Christ, and His words, He will answer my prayers. If I don’t abide in His words, because they say, “we don’t have His words,” then I can’t get my prayers answered. There goes my whole prayer life! God places great importance on His word. Psalm 138:2b says. “for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” Was Jesus perfect? That is His name. Then His word is also perfect; after all He has magnified His word above His name. We do have His perfect word in our language, where we can count on every word on every page, to be exactly every word that he wants us to hear. So we might learn instruction, rebuke, reproof, and exhortation. Psalm 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever.”

Praise the Lord for his word! Praise the Lord for His word in our language! This precious King James Bible!

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 13, Proverbs 25, Complete___

JULY 24th

Psalm 12:6-7 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shall keep them, 0 Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Psalm 119:140 says, “Thy word is pure.” The word pure means; “free from adulterating or extraneous matter. ABSOLUTE! Clear, spotless, and nothing else. Untainted with evil or guilt.” Gods Word is absolute authority, I think we can all agree on that, but do we live it? Do we trust in Him with our whole heart over all the issues that so easily beset us? Being completely confident in Christ? O Lord, I know I fall short so many times. Mathew 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” So, since the earth and the stars are still here so is God’s word. Not just His word, but also all of His words. Notice the “s” on the end. God preserves every single word, from this generation and forever.

Mathew 4:4 “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

We cannot live without the word of God. If we cannot live without His “every” word, then we must have every word. Where then is every word of God, pure and preserved, so that we might live? After all we cannot live without it according to what Jesus said.

I believe the King James Bible is God’s Word for us. 1 Timothy 3:16 says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” The King James Bible is the only one that tells us how God literally manifested himself in the flesh. All the other versions water down his Deity, make him a mere man, or backhandedly deny that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Who is the father of all lies? 2 John 1:7, “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” I don’t know about you, but I am going to trust the Lord because He said He would preserve every word from this generation, when it was written, forever! Why should we believe and count on every word? There are consequences for not keeping all of His words. Not just His word in general, but every single word. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 87-89, Proverbs 24, Complete___

         JULY 23rd               

 Read Proverbs 6:20-29, 7:21-27, 15:1

Before the time of Christ, humble used to mean weakness or one would feel insulted to be called humble.  Humility was not really known until Christ.  Today, to call someone humble is to honor him.  Words change in meaning, but principle never changes. You can always tell the character of a society by the words they use.  We have allowed the hippie crowd to influence us for the last four decades or so.  Let me say this, a nations language is more sacred than the flag.  It is sickening how we profane and curse God and His language. We are so limited that we cannot express ourselves. Read the old books and see the difference. What has happened to humility, honesty, decency, integrity, character  and equity?  What has happened to humility?

JESUS TAUGHT THAT RESTRAINT WAS MORE POWERFUL THAN RETALIATION.

He showed us what a macho man really is. It is certainly not the Hollywood kind of macho-man.  How about Christ-likeness?  You are a real man if you exercise restraint; not when you give in. Be a macho-man that restrains.  Yes, he has the same passion; but he says “no”. The quiet man is stronger than the bully.  Real power is when you conquer yourself – your greatest enemy. When you know you are right and could fight, but don’t; you are on your way.

Proverbs 16:3 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.Jesus never sinned, though He was beaten, etc.  It was love that put Him on the cross, and that is the kind of strength we need.

JESUS TAUGHT THAT RESTRAINT IS MORE POWERFUL THAN FORCE.

When you restrain, you will always stand-alone. Your friends will advise you to retaliate or get even. You may want to attack, but restrain and withhold your anger. You are not a man because you hit a ball, win a race, lift weights, bounce a ball, or have big muscles. These things are not wrong, but they are not a signs of real manhood.

What makes a man able to control his passions?

CONQUER SELF!

Being courteous, gentle with ladies and children are proper and are real strength and beauty.  Being rude is weak, not strong.  A real man is gentle. The secret to strength is to be around those who are stronger than you.  The greatest enemy is in you and me. How are we doing?  Will we cheat on a test?  Call in sick?  Tell a lie? Make fun of someone who is trying to restrain and control himself?  We need some strong Christians who are Christ-like and practice self-control.

Read 2 Kings 16-20, Proverbs 23, Complete___

     

        JULY 22nd 

                                           

WORTHY TO SUFFER!

   Read Acts 5:41-47

Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

All of us are called upon to suffer occasionally in one way or another. Unfortunately, much of our suffering goes to waste because we do not tie it to a great purpose or goal. A great cause, such as freedom, chooses men and women who are big enough to suffer, men and women who can “take God.” God chooses those who have the qualities to endure hardness, those that can laugh at lack, who are willing to give up privileges, comfort, and ease. God chooses men like the apostles who when treated in a terrible way, tortured and flogged, come away from that experience rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer.

God has a way of choosing those who are worthy to suffer. And it is through those that suffer, that great causes and goals meet their completion. The greatest victories come through the suffering of someone.

In time, some are being called upon to suffer again. Some in battle, some with health problems, some with financial problems. God is looking for those who will not only suffer without quitting, but those who will rejoice that God has chosen them. Do not feel that God has deserted you when you suffer. He not only remembers, but also specifically chose you for that suffering, in order to bring victory in your or someone else’s life.

Praise the Lord when we suffer. We don’t like it; we don’t want it to come. But, God has a purpose for it. Instead of complaining, ask God what the purpose is for your suffering. If the suffering is not a result of our sin or neglect, He has a purpose in it. It may be to correct us, or to train us, or harden us, or soften us.  He may not tell you, but you will know when the time comes. Just don’t quit, and rejoice. You have been counted worthy. Bro. Ken Starlin

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 19-21

Read Proverbs 22

Complete___

   

          JULY 21st 

                               

A Holy Calling!

  Read Jeremiah 1:1-10

Jeremiah was a priest, a native of Anathoth, in the tribe of Benjamin. He was called to the prophetic office when very young, about seventy years after the death of Isaiah, and exercised it for about forty years with great faithfulness, till the sins of the Jewish nation came to their full measure and destruction followed. The prophecies of Jeremiah do not stand as they were delivered. The general subject of his prophecies is the idolatry and other sins of the Jews; the judgments by which they were threatened, with references to their future restoration and deliverance and promises of the Messiah. In verse ten Jeremiah’s early call to the work and office of a prophet is stated. He was to be a prophet, not to the Jews only, but to the neighboring nations.  He is still a prophet to the whole world, and it would be well if they would listen to these warnings. The Lord, who formed us, knows for what particular services and purposes he intended us.  But unless He sanctifies us by His Spirit, we will neither be fit for his service on earth, nor in heaven. It is a humbling thing for us to have low thoughts of ourselves, and the young should consider their youth and not attempt to go beyond their years. But though a sense of our own weakness and insufficiency should make us go humbly about our service to God, and it should not refuse when God calls us.

Someone said, “Those who have messages to deliver from God must not fear the face of man.” The Lord, by a sign, gave Jeremiah the gift that was necessary for his calling. God’s message should be delivered in the power of God and the scripture.

Matthew Henry said, “Whatever worldly wise men or politicians may think, the safety of kingdoms is decided according to the purpose and word of God.” Some of God’s choicest servants were reluctant to take the tasks to which God called them. Moses was one such a man and Jeremiah was another. But certainly God knows best what we are qualified to do and He wants to empower us to do it. Is God speaking to you about a particular job or calling? All he wants is someone who is willing. Give your life to Him and see what He will do in your life.

Daily Assignments

Read Colossians 3-4, Proverbs 21, Complete___

           

                      JULY 20th                                  

Read 3 John 11-12

What is verse eleven saying? Do not imitate Diotrephes; regard him not as an example of good, but imitate the good. Take Demetrius for an example and pattern, copy, and conduct, imitate or mimic. I offer three important things about imitating the good.

WE WILL IMITATE OTHERS.

Of course Jesus is our example, but we need people as well. We need heroes, role models, etc. Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; it is implied that Gaius would imitate either the good or evil Diotrephes or Demetrius. The desire to imitate is one of the strongest human desires. We imitate others unconsciously and the extent of our conscious imitation is very small as compared to our unconscious imitation.

WE SHOULD IMITATE ONLY THE GOOD.

This means doing good naturally and truly, as a matter of practice and not exception; but as a rule of life. We prove we are children of God by our conduct. God inspires us both as to our inner life and as to our outward practice. The godly man is the man who does good and his good works are the evidence of his godliness. We should imitate the good because of their good relationship with God. Evil works is a characteristic of one who is evil. When a man has seen the Lord he cannot continually live in sin or practice sin. Once you have seen God you will not settle for less. Sin will disgust you. Someone said, “He who has tasted the high joys of Divine vision and communion can never be content with the pleasures of sin or satisfied in things of the world.” One Commentary said, “Do not imitate the evil; for the practice of it darkens and destroys the vision of the soul; it excludes from the highest and most divine knowledge.”

WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE GOOD EXAMPLES TO IMITATE.

It is rare when we do not have someone to point to as an example worthy of imitation. This is where Demetrius comes in. He was probably a member of the same church as Gaius. Good character is not always accompanied by a good reputation, but Demetrius had both. During one of his sermons, Hudson Taylor, missionary to China, filled a glass with water and placed it on the table in front of him. While he was speaking, he pounded his fist hard enough to make the water splash onto the table. He then explained, “You will come up against much trouble. But when you do, remember, only what’s in you will spill out.”

Someone said, “When trouble grows, your character shows.” Demetrius had a good reputation. The most precious testimony is that of truth itself. This is a testimony Demetrius had and we should do likewise.

Read Luke 21-22, Proverbs 20, Complete___

  JULY 19th   

                                          

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS?

  Read Psalm 77:1-6

In Verse 2 what Asaph is saying is, “My hand in the night season was stretched out, and ceased not.” In other words, he stretched his hand out to God until weary and yet he refused to rest. The cause of sleepless nights is usually burdens on the mind, rather than pains in the body.

We begin to think and worry, and our sleep goes from us. In the text Asaph suffered with mental depression, because of his anxious condition over his nation. Times of mental depression are not always wrong. They are the natural response of the mind to physical conditions and outward circumstances.

They mean…there is “sensitivity” and quickness to respond, and these differ from person to person. Some are easily depressed, they see, or think they see black clouds gathering in the sky. Some are unrealistically hopeful and fail to respond when circumstances do call for anxiety.

Sometimes I think we make the mistake of failing to recognize Divine working through the anxieties of the mind, as well as through the pains of the body. We deceive ourselves by thinking these mental trials are abnormal; and so we fail to associate God with them and lose what would be our best comfort and relief.

THE TRUTH IS THAT GOD IS ABLE TO USE OUR ANXIETIES TO WORK IN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS. Anxieties keep us convinced of the spiritual: Suppose we took everything in stride, never troubled, never brooded over them. We have to understand there is a world of thought and feeling.

This world is very intense and real to some people. Anxieties also keep us convinced of the battle we are in. Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  But, mental anxieties can bring us closer to God as well.

The question really is – Do we yield to our anxieties or do we resist them and let God work His work of grace through them? Notice verse three again. He remembered God, or thought upon God. Read Psalms 4:4 andPsalms 63:6. Why is it that so many of us lose our sleep over anxieties and worries?

Most worry over their circumstances; there is nothing more hopeless. They think only of the dark, depressing side of things. Remember, most of what we fear at night never comes to pass in light. Wise Christians, however, keep their thoughts on God and that is a hopeful condition.  Even the worst of circumstances seem more hopeful when we can see God in them.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 31-36, Proverbs 19, Complete___

 

                                           JULY 18th               

Read yesterday’s devotion

The thing that hurts Christ the most is not committed by the unbelieving world. He expects that! But it is the inconsistency committed by His own people; that is, to talk one way and live another. Confess with the lips and deny in the walk is another way of stoning Jesus in our churches today.

Secondly, there is HATRED.  These Jews were full of hatred for Jesus. The first time they cast a stone was in chapter eight and again in our text. Then they cast words of abuse at Calvary. Are we casting any of these at Christ in our lives?

Thirdly, there is INDIFFERENCE. This is one of the first thrown at Him.Someone said,Indifference is the invincible giant of the world.” George Bernard Shaw said, “The worst sin toward our fellow man is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That’s the essence of inhumanity.” John Muir said, “Most people are on the world, not in it. They are undiffused, alone like marbles of polished stone, touching, but separate.”

It started in the manger, to the cross and it is still being rejected today. “Is this not the carpenters son?” When He was on the cross, they said, “He saved others; now let Him save Himself.” “The two thieves cast the same in His teeth.”

Have you been indifferent to Christ? There is a story told about a man laying on a track in Indiana because the bridge is out up ahead. The train stopped and he explained. He realized that the train would probably not have stopped if he had not taken this drastic action. Those people who were saved should be glad he was not indifferent.

Lastly, there is UNBELIEF.

Psalm 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God.” Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” Hebrews 3:12, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Indifference was hard to bear; hatred cut like a knife, but unbelief was the crowning sin of the Jews.

He promised to save if we only believe. Have you been guilty of these things? Won’t you make it right today?

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 11-12, Proverbs 18, Complete___

                                                   JULY 17th                                                   

Read John 10:31

The shining of the sun produces two effects in the world, one exactly opposite the other. In one place it enlightens, beautifies and strengthens; in another it darkens, deadens, mars and decays. So it is with the Gospel of Christ. It is unto some a “savor of life,” unto others it is a “savor of death unto death.” So it was with the coming of Christ into the world. He brought to light the truest affection and the deepest hatred. Men loved darkness rather than light, so Christ’s coming into the world could only trouble them. Christ’s coming provoked the worst kind of prejudice and called forth the deepest devotion. Look at the Wiseman; they were happy about the coming of Jesus. Then look at Herod, he slew all the children two years and under in Bethlehem and surrounding area, in hopes of killing the baby Jesus. John’s Gospel is the Gospel of love. But you will also find hatred: Think about whom they were stoning; Jesus the Son of man, the Son of God and He who went about doing good. He had just said, “I and my Father are One.” They should have rejoiced at the good news, but did not. They stoned Him and He gave a tender answer in verse 32. Men are still stoning Jesus today. How terrible it seems for them to stone our Lord. We are shocked at this; however, there is a worse way to stone Him. We might think Christ’s worst suffering was the stoning, scouring, nails in His hand, spear in His side? I do not believe so, but rather when He came “to His own, and His own received Him not.” And when they called Him, “this fellow.” When He was in the garden at Gethsemane and on the cross and felt so forsaken that His heart literally broke. I believe there are things that caused Him to suffer far more than the actual physical stoning would have. Consider four things worse than stoning.

First, there is INCONSISTENCY. Someone said, “Some persons do first, think afterward, and then repent forever.” Another said,”We are always complaining that our days are few and acting as though there would be no end to them.” Think how Jesus must have felt when He said, “One of you shall betray me.” Or walking with his disciples toward the garden and said, “all of you shall be offended this night because of me.” Or, when He was in the garden and we hear Him saying; “What, could you not watch with me one hour?” Continued! 

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 84-86, Proverbs 17, Complete___

                     

                       July 16th              

      WALKING ON WATER!

Read Matthew 14:22-33, 28-31

In verses 28-31, we see Peter’s courage and Christ’s compassion. It took some courage for Peter to say, “If it be Thou”. He did not say, “bid me walk on the water.” Peter loved Jesus and was anxious to be with Him, “Let me come to you, no matter how.” True love will break through fire or water to come to Christ if called to do it. When Christ comes to us in way of mercy we must respond to meet Him in way of duty.

First it was Peter’s love and affection for Christ that he desired to come to Him.

Secondly, he wanted to come to Christ by invitation – bid me.

Thirdly, it was Peter’s bold faith that caused him to walk on the water when Christ called him.

PETER DID THE IMPOSSIBLE THING – he walked on water by faith. He did not do it for miracle’s sake, but to go to Jesus. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was upheld by His strength. When he got his eyes on self he realized his own weakness. When our souls follow after God His right hand upholds us.

PETER DID THE UNDERSTANDABLE THING – he saw the storm, which gave him second thoughts and caused him to doubt. Christ had him come not only to know His power, but so he could know his own weakness. What was Peter’s weakness in this case? He was afraid. It is my belief that fear is a good thing and possibly a gift from God. How? The strongest faith has some fear. Those that can say, “Lord I believe” must also say, “Lord, help Thou my unbelief.” Nothing but perfect love will cast out fear. But there was a consequence of his fear – he began to sink. While faith kept up, he stayed above the water, but when his faith wavered he began to sink. Peter walked as he believed, “according to your faith be it unto you.” The good news is that there was a cure for the fear – “Lord, save me.” When faith is weak our prayers should be strong.

PETER DID THE NATURAL THING – he feared – doubt always brings fear.

PETER DID THE EXPECTED THING – he began to sink.

But, HE DID THE RIGHT THING – he cried out to the Lord. Jesus stretched forth His hand. Then Jesus rebuked him, “O thou of little faith.” Peter had enough faith to get on the water, but not enough to carry him through. Why? We are all of little faith until we grow. To believe more, we must doubt less. Yes, it is true He does not cast us off, but He is not pleased with our little faith. He should not have doubted because God is a “very present help in time of trouble.”

But look, PETER ONCE AGAIN DID THE IMPOSSIBLE THING – he walked on the water with Jesus. How else would they have gotten back in the boat? His failure gave him a greater faith. We need a faith bigger than the storms in life – we need Jesus.

Read 2 Kings 11-15, Proverbs 16, Complete___

       JULY 15th        

ARE YOU HOLDING A GRUDGE?

Read Matthew 6:12-15, 5:38-48 

“A soldier was astonished when he heard General Robert E. Lee speak complimentary of a fellow officer. “General,” he said; “do you know that the man you spoke so highly of is one of your worst enemies, and that he misses no opportunity to slander you?” “Yes,” said the General, “but I was asked for my opinion of him, not his of me.”

Lincoln said, “The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend.” Returning good for good is commendable, but returning good for evil is Christ-like.

Here in 5:43-48 Jesus goes even further than is required in the Old Testament in requiring restitution. How can we ask God to bless us when we have ought against a brother or sister in Christ? The Bible says that Christians ought not to take advantage of the law to get revenge, but the principal meaning is this: if a man thinks you have mistreated him and you owe him the privilege of smiting your cheek, then let him smite both of them.

Settle every case out of court if possible, even by giving more than is required. Do whatever is necessary to gain the good will and friendship of those who believe you have wronged them. And not only meet people half way, but all the way. This does not teach that I ought to give someone anything he asks of me. It does mean that if someone makes a claim against something I legitimately owe and do not have the money that I ought to be willing to sell or give him what he asks for.

I ought to be willing and then quickly pay what I owe, even to my own hurt. We ought also to go to any length to make restitution to someone we have hurt in some way. So, what am I saying? I believe that we need to take the Bible literally, and like our Father in heaven, we must partake of His loving attitude toward sinners, toward enemies as well as friends. Until we can love, forgive and pray for our enemies and do good to them, as Jesus did, we will not be worthy of the name of Christ. Love your enemies and do good for their evil. We should attempt to be Christ-like in our actions and responses. We will never attain this until Jesus comes, but we ought to strive for it. 

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 16-18, Proverbs 15, Complete___

                               

                              JULY 14th                             

 

WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO?

 Read Genesis 3:1-13

What happens when we refuse to listen to God?

WHEN WE FAIL TO LISTEN TO GOD WE BEGIN TO LISTEN TO OTHER VOICES.

These are voices that pollute our minds. 2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Voices to pull us away from God. Voices to please the flesh.

WHEN WE FAIL TO LISTEN TO GOD WE ARE EASILY DECEIVED.

By listening to Satan twist the scripture. By yielding to Satan. 

WE BEGIN TO MAKE INDEPENDENT DECISIONS THAT APPEAL TO THE FLESH.

Our wrong decisions lead to Spiritual decline, Spiritual defeat, Spiritual division and disagreement in the church and home, and finally spiritual death (or often physical death). Right decisions lead to Agreeing with God, following God and loving God.

WHEN WE FAIL TO LISTEN TO GOD WE BEGIN TO MAKE EXCUSES.

We make excuses in our attitudes (Trying to cover our sin). We make excuses for our actions (Trying to correct our own sin). Who are you blaming for your sin? Who have you been listening to? What did you do when Satan tempted you? Why don’t you listen to God? God never questions to get information, but to bring us to repentance.

Daily Assignments

Read Colossians 1-2, Proverbs 14, Complete___

         

        JULY 13th     

                                       

“COME AND SEE”

Read John 1:43-51

 “Come and see” is an invitation to all. 

It is THE GREATEST INVITATION! This was good advice for Phillip to give to Nathanael and for every true friend to give to men whose mind is possessed with prejudices regarding the claims of Christ. Phillip did not try to convince him, but told him to “come and see” for himself. He understood the human nature of man. The Bible says, “Come and see what Christ is”.

Many do not believe on Him, because they do not know Him. He is only a name to them. Study His character and you will surely stir things up. Few have searched the scripture without seeing the profound character of Christ. Look at the character, claims and the work of Christ on Calvary; and you will be convinced of His Divine nature and authority. Men who judge Christ by hearsay or human reasoning find Him to be a good man, but this is not the case with those who “come and see” and allow Him to make His own impression on them. The Bible also says,

“COME AND SEE WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE”.

Look at Paul of Tarsus on Road to Damascus – changed him from persecutor to preacher. Look at Augustine; a pleasure seeking man and almost broke his mother’s heart. Look at Martin Luther, who brought the reformation. Jesus does not only give His power to the great and famous, but to all who “come and see.” Look at the poor widow lady, the woman at the well, the sick, and the poor, those with leprosy. Look at the well educated, they have even a wider range of proof: The history of Christianity, the influence of Christianity on history and society, upon morals, slavery, war, and women in society.

Next, “COME AND SEE WHAT CHRIST WILL DO FOR YOU”. This is not a mater of speculation, but a moment of truth. It is good to study His character, compassion, etc., but it is better to take the benefits He offers to all who will “come and see.” Come and see if He will give you peace by offering you forgiveness of sin and acceptance of Him against whom you have sinned. Multitudes will tell you that He has done it for them. He says, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Don’t take my word for it, “come and see” for yourself. See if He will not give you victory over death, take the sting out of it and give you immortality. I believe that apart from Him the future is very dark. Try His power to illuminate that darkness with rays of His heavenly light. Thoughts from Matthew Henry.

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 19-20, Proverbs 13, Complete___

                             

                                    JULY 12th                                 

        DON’T LET YOUR HURT, HURT OTHERS!

Read 1 Peter 5:2-11 

One of the hardest things in the Christian life is to learn to cast our care on Him, and not on others. All of us have enough hurt to talk about for a month, but how can I keep my hurt from becoming your hurt. Many years ago, the late Dr. Jack Hyles revealed a truth that will help us to allow our hurts to help rather than to hinder.

REALIZE FIRST OF ALL THAT THERE IS NO WAY TO STOP HURT FROM COMING INTO YOUR LIFE. Hurt is not a respecter of person; it affects the rich as well as the poor, the strong as well as the weak, the healthy as well as the sick.

REALIZE THE REASONS FOR HURT COMING INTO YOUR LIFE. To hurt you and your work whether you are a housewife, businessman, etc. It comes to hurt others through you. The main purpose is not to hurt you, but others through you. Don’t make your wife or husband or children or pastor or boss hurt because you hurt. Go to God with it and let hurt – hurt, but don’t hurt others through it. If you don’t let it hurt then it will not hurt your ministry, family, job, etc.

REALIZE THAT YOU CAN MAKE HURT WORK FOR YOU. You become partners with it. Tell yourself you have hurt long enough. Your children need someone who can hurt without hurting. Pastor, your people need someone who can hurt without hurting. Your church needs people who can hurt without hurting. Learn to hurt without hurting. Don’t let it hurt and it will not hinder you. Lean on Him: Casting all your care upon Him for he careth for you.

REALIZE YOU CAN STOP THE PAIN OF THE HURT. How? Just keep on going! You say, how can I keep from hurting? Don’t let it hurt you. The same way you tell truth and keep from lying? By telling the truth all the time. Christopher Morley said: “Never despair, but if you do go on in despair.” I think we need a powerful revival in not letting our hurts hurt. Don’t talk about your problems all the time. You will have them, but they are designed by the Architect of your life to help you.

WHEN A HURT FAILS TO HURT YOU IT WILL BEGIN TO HELP YOU AND OTHERS AROUND YOU. You can go ahead and quit everything, but you won’t quit hurting. Go ahead quit your job, marriage, raising kids, etc., but your hurt will never quit hurting. Don’t go to church for what you can get out of it, but what you can give to your family, job and country. President Kennedy said it right years ago, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

NOW THAT YOU HAVE PUT THE LID ON YOUR HURT IT WILL HAVE A HARDER TIME HURTING YOU. We all hurt, but rise above your hurts and use them to help others that hurt. 

Read Ezekiel 25-30, Proverbs 12, Complete___

     

        JULY 11th 

                      HOW TO BE A BETTER CHRISTIAN!                           

Read Ephesians 5:1-18 

One of the questions I am asked most, “Dr. Nikoley, how can I be a better Christian.” My answer is always much the same, quit trying. Give yourself to The Lord and His will and allow Him to mold and make you in the image of Christ. Another question: How can I be a good follower? Look again in verses 1-2. There is really a mixing of metaphors here. In chapter four the church is called a new man, and now the church is to be a bride. The emphasis in this chapter is on the future – the church will be a bride.  The church is not a bride today.  The church is a new man walking in the world and is engaged to Christ, but is not yet wedded to Him.  The wedding has not taken place as yet.  We will be the bride after the rapture according to Revelation 21:2, 9. On this earth we are to walk as a future bride.  We are engaged now.  This is what Paul was saying in 2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 

When a young lady is engaged and preparing for her wedding, she doesn’t have time for her old boyfriends. She will not be going out with Tom tonight and with Dick tomorrow night and with Harry the following night.  SHE IS ENGAGED AND HAS NO INTEREST IN THEM ANYMORE.  How can we who are engaged to Christ live as the world lives? We are going to be presented to Christ someday. We are going to live with Him throughout eternity and He is going to be our Lord and Master. We are to be imitators of God, especially in the matter of forgiveness; however, this applies to all aspects of the Christian walk. The Gentiles who formerly walked on a very low plane are now lifted to the high level of love.  They are now called “dear children” or beloved children.  The plane of love to which they are lifted is the love that Christ exhibited when He loved us enough to give Himself as an offering and a sacrifice for us. So, how can I be the FOLLOWER OF GOD I ought to be?

First, BE FERVENT IN SPIRIT.  Learn to have a positive outlook on life. Learn to be a problem solver rather than dodger. Have a cooperative spirit. Be loyal to your Church. Be supportive of your Pastor.

Second, BE UNFAILING IN PURITY.  God’s people need to keep themselves pure. Separation is standing for Christ in an ungodly world. Anybody can live in isolation or give in to the devil. Romans 13:14  “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Last, KEEP GROWING IN YOUR FAITH. What are you doing to grow, to keep growing, to help others?

Read Acts 10, Proverbs 11, Complete___

            

                    July 10th                     

GLORY IN CHRIST!

Read Galatians 6:11-17

Every one of us has something in which to glory. If we get to know people long enough we eventually find out what they glory in. In case of a grandmother and father it will not be long before they start showing off the pictures of their grand children. The same is true with young married couples with their newborn babies. For a musician it may be a new instrument or his voice; for an artist his newest work of art. For a young man it may be a new car, with not one speck of dust on it. To another it may be a garden, not one weed or bug stays. He is very proud of his fruit trees, flowers and says people come from all over the neighborhood to see it. It may be a gun collection. He keeps them polished to show off at the local gun show. He glories in his gun collection. To a housewife it may be her home or her children. While to the husband it may be that he glories in his job or accomplishments. What am I saying? Everybody glories in something.

Paul said, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is not that he had lack in which to glory. He could have gloried in his education, in his degrees, how he studied at the feet of one of the world’s best teachers in that day, Gamaliel. He could have gloried in his preaching that even the demons in hell knew his name in Acts 19. He wrote half the New Testament or 14 out of 27 books (including, I believe Hebrews). He could have gloried in his travels. Look at all his missionary journeys.  He could have shown slides forever. But, Paul overlooked all that and said, God forbid that I should glory, except in one thing, in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine if your pastor had even written one book, the entire world would know about it. Can’t you just see the advertising? “The Pastor who wrote a book in the Bible.” Let’s Glory in Christ!

Daily Assignments!

Read Psalms 81-83, Proverbs 10. Write down one thought from the Sunday sermon that spoke to your heart. Complete___             

               JULY 9th              

Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-4 

What is God’s number one desire concerning His people and their relationship with Him? I believe that God is interested in us, our work, our lives our family and business, etc. What is God looking for in us?  First of all God is not looking for a bargain. You will never find Him looking for a blue light special when it comes to servants of God; yet He will use anyone. Notice that Paul was not interested in being their leader, but servant. God is looking for men and women who are willing to be used as His servants; however, I also believe that He has high standards and expectations for those who are called His servants.

GOD IS LOOKING FOR HIS SERVANTS TO BE FAITHFUL VERSE 2.

God is not shopping in a bargain basement. He is not trying to get two for one, or one size fits all. A man must give account for his ministry. He does not say successful, but faithful; however, success will come if we are faithful. It is not how much money we have or what we own, but our life as it is related to Him. Think of all the material things that He has given us. As a result, He only wants our faithfulness. Faithful as a pastor, principal, teacher, deacon, choir member, usher, bus worker and nursery worker. Also, to be faithful in our marriage vows, to our church, our job, etc.

GOD IS LOOKING FOR SOME FAITHFUL MEN TO BEAR FRUIT.

In John 15 we are ordained to bring forth fruit that remains. We will only go on as we bring forth fruit that remains. Here is a shocking thought: God might put a curse on us if we bear no fruit.  Jesus said, “We are his witnesses.” Not only the preacher and staff, but all are to bear fruit. God has every right to expect fruit from those who are His. And He has a Sovereign right to put a curse on any one who does not bear fruit.

GOD IS LOOKING FOR SOME FRUGAL CHRISTIANS.

God never wastes anything! Remember when Jesus fed the five thousand in John chapter six with a boy’s lunch?  After all were filled He gathered the fragments. God is interested in the leftovers. God created everything for His Glory and wants nothing lost. When we have done our best, there will always be some leftovers. What a shame, millions of Christians have no leftovers.

GOD IS LOOKING FOR FOLLOWERS. In Luke 9:23-27 God gives the terms of discipleship. In verses 57-62 God gives the tests of discipleship. God is not looking for a bargain, but for surrendered faithful men, fruitful men, and frugal men. We need to say, “Here am I Lord, use me.” How about you?

Read 2 Kings 6-10, Proverbs 9, Complete___

     

                 JULY 8th          

Read 2 Samuel 11:27-12:14      

Many times “I have sinned” is used in the Bible.

Pharaoh in Exodus 9:27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous and I and my people are wicked.

Baalimin Numbers 22:34 And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.

Achan in Joshua 7:20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:

Judas in “I have sinned and betrayed innocent blood” in Matthew 27:4.

We must take responsibility for our own sin. The Bible is faithful to recount the sins as well as the virtues of its character, thereby teaching us good lessons, as in the case of David’s sin when he recognized his sin in Psalm 51. He repented and was restored. There are several lessons we must learn from David’s sin:

WE LEARN THAT EVEN A VERY GOOD MAN, IF HE GETS HIS EYES OFF GOD AND HIS WORD MAY EASILY FALL INTO GROSS SIN.

David stayed home when he should have gone to battle in 11:1. Tarried means lurking, ease one self, to remain. We are better off to stay busy for God.

WE LEARN THAT GOD NEVER LOOKS UPON ANY ONES SIN IN ALLOWANCE.

God sent Nathan to rebuke David of his sin 12:7. About a year had passed, a year of no joy or victory.

WE LEARN THAT “WHATEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP.”

For example, a farmer always reaps more than he sows as in Galatians 6:7. God is saying to David your sin will not be avenged with just one slaughter, but many and your punishment will cease only at your death. There was also open disgrace on his royal dignity, “Before the sun and in open daylight.” This is always the case, the sin that follows are always worse than the first.

WE LEARN THAT OUR SIN GIVE GREAT OCCASION FOR GOD’S ENEMY TO BLASPHEME 12:14.

In other words our testimony is shot. But, we learn the brighter side of this story, that there is full and abundant pardon upon confession in verse 13. We must come to the place where David was; “I have sinned.”

Read Leviticus 13-15, Proverbs 8, Complete___

                  JULY 7th                                 

Read Ezekiel 16 

Chapter 16 is the longest in the book and is an important chapter in that it reveals what God did for Israel and what Israel did to God. It presents the Grace of God and a picture of God’s people leaving their first love. Ezekiel gives a complete outline of God’s ways and grace with Israel from the very beginning, as well as their ungrateful response to His loving kindness.

Much of what is said here goes against our nature and is revolting to the natural man, but we need to remember sin is the vilest thing in the universe. Israel’s sin from turning away from the true and loving God to idols was revolting to God. This is why God used the method given here, to portray the filthiness of such sin. In verses 1-5 Israel is likened to an unwanted female baby thrown out by it’s parents immediately after birth and left to perish in uncleanness Nevertheless, God in His mercy and kindness reached out to Israel. In the first five verses, God tells what Jerusalem was.

She was in her sins and abominations without hope. She did not belong to The Lord. This is a perfect picture of the lost sinner. In verse 6, God came to the people and said “..live..”  Then He made it perfectly clear by adding, “yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, live.” Israel did not receive life because of her merit, but because of the matchless, marvelous grace of God. Instead of letting her enemy destroy her, He put a mantle of protection on her and took her up in His grace and nourished her as a mother would a child.

In His love He cleansed, clothed and cared for her making her His most favorite nation, but instead of responding to His grace and goodness by loyalty, she once again turned faithless. Verse 15 states that Israel trusted in her beauty, rather than trusting in the promises of God. In verse 43, Israel forgot God’s grace and left her first love, as did the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:4. Pride is in all of us. We who have nothing to be proud of are prone to take credit for ourselves for any success or “favor” God bestows upon us while forgetting all we have is of God.

So, Israel became vain and trusted in her own glory and beauty. Instead of turning from her corrupt ways, or even practice restraint, the pleading of the Prophets had the very opposite effect. She increased her wickedness. It shows how very low a people can get who turn their back on revealed truth and learned to love darkness rather than truth, because their deeds were evil. Therefore judgment could no longer be held off, because it is God’s way of reproving and cleansing. He delights in mercy. Thank God, He remembered His Covenant and we have Jesus.

Read Philippians 3-4, Proverbs 31, Complete___

   

   JULY 6th

                                 ARE WE OUTCASTS?                                 

Read Isaiah 56:1-12

Every one of us is an outcast. Ninety percent of our churches are made up of outcasts. God specializes in outcasts. All of us are nobody’s; there is hope for all of us. One of the faults of the Christian world is that we blame God. We have the wrong view of God. We look at God from the material standpoint; God looks at us from the spiritual. We say, “God has been good to me,” if we have a lot of material things and we will usually blame the devil if things don’t go just right or bad happens to us. We equate His goodness to how He treats us.

We make a mold for God and expect Him to fit in it. Much of what we equate to the devil is from God or is of the flesh. Woe to God if He does not do things our way. We want a God we can understand and count on. That’s humanism of the worst kind. We tell Him what we think of His performance; then we become our own God and become idolaters. Then we say God has been so good to me. God is as good to a man who drives a Ford as the one who drives a Cadillac. Why not let God be God and thank Him that you do not always understand His ways because, “His thoughts are not our thoughts neither are His ways our ways,” Isaiah 55:8.

What if you gave someone a gift and he did nothing but complain? Don’t decide when God is good or bad. He is always good. We are OUTCASTS in verses 8-9. Mary said, “Just do what He says.” Forget what kind of car you drive. Put Him back on the Throne. Quit telling Him what to do. Congress tells the White House and the White House tells Congress what to do and neither is getting anywhere, because a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Parents are told what to do by their children. Inmates try to run the prison. Students try to run our University. The church is not a democracy. This is the reason I am not for most radio talk shows because they teach people to complain. God was on the Throne when John lost his head as well as when he baptized Jesus. We need to stop equating God’s goodness according to our view.

Be bitter at God? How dare we! Who do you think you are? Who do you think God is? He was the man of sorrows, beaten, suffered on the cross, etc. What? Be bitter against Him who died for me? Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” He knows your needs. I was once an outcast – and so were you.

Daily Assignments!

Read Luke 17-18, Proverbs 6. Spend some extra time in prayer tonight for the services this week and asking God to speak to your heart in a special way. Complete___

     

        JULY 5th                 

Read Matthew 20:26-28

There are six corporal acts of mercy given in Matthew 25:42-45: Feed the hungry. Quench the thirsty. Help the stranger. Clothes the naked. Care for the sick. Visit those in prison.

There are a total of seven in the scripture, the 7th is not given in this text: care for the dying; because our Saviour was not dead and we serve the living. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to be with Jesus? To serve Him as did John and Martha. But, we can serve Him (verse 45) by serving others. Every time we feed another we are doing it to Jesus. Now, who is the greatest among us? Luke 22:27 “For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” 

The greatest among us is HE THAT SERVETH. We are His servants.  You recall the story of Abraham sending his servant to a far country for a Bride for his son Isaac? The duty of the servant was to bring the bride. Abraham is a picture of the Father, The servant is the Holy Spirit; the country is the lost world; the bride is the souls of men and Christians; the son is Jesus. God the Father tells the servant to get the bride. Use the gifts and bring her back.

So the job of the servant was to bring the bride for the son. Let me illustrate: You send your son to the store for bread, milk and butter; you tell him be sure to show love, joy, peace – he comes back without the bread, milk, butter; you say, why? He says, “but I told the butcher, that I love him and that Jesus loves him, and I had joy – but no bread.

What was the boy’s mission? You can love someone, but have you led him to Christ? “No, but I sowed some seed.” Here is what we do, we seek the gifts, but the giver says to get the bride, give them the gospel. A Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit will brag on Jesus, not the gifts. A Christian who does not win souls brags on the gifts, because he has not been obedient in bringing the bride – souls.

Unless we win souls, we are not filled because winning the lost is a result of filling of the Holy Spirit.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 19-24, Proverbs 5. List some of the people you know in your church who are servants. Complete___

   

          JULY 4th

AMERICA’S PLIGHT!

Read I Kings 17

Many years ago as I was talking to a publisher regarding the possibility of publishing an annual devotional and several other books that were in the works. One of the things he told me was the great need of men of God in America. I could not help but think about the desperate need for men of God who have the power of God upon them. Of course, I am using men generically, since the fact is that we also need women and young people, some children, who are indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do that which is right.

Certainly, all of us would agree that Elijah was such a man. In the study on Elijah in 1 Kings 17, I learned that God not only had a place of provision for Elijah, but he also gave him the promise of power. We saw that wicked King Ahab had just come on the scene, and he did what the Bible calls, “evil in the sight of the Lord, above all who were before him.”

God sent Elijah to give warning to the king, because it is a small thing for a man who lived his life in the presence of the Lord to stand before a wicked king. Elijah was a Tishbite, born in Tishbeh, but he dwelt in Galilee. I believe God raised Elijah for this period of time – as the Bible says, “for such a time as this.” God always gives His greater prophets during the reigns of wicked kings. It is important for us to look at three factors regarding Elijah in this text:

Elijah’s Plight!God called the nation of Israel into being, as I believe God called America into being. It is my firm belief that God was not only in the leading of Christopher Columbus and others, but He was certainly in the establishing of this great nation. Elijah’s plight was that God had commanded him to speak to the wicked king who had no intention of bowing down to God, much less the prophet Elijah.  Ahab did not want to hear it, much as America does not want to hear the preaching of the Word of God –  “Oh yes, make me feel good, but don’t tell me how to live.”

Elijah’s Power. Look at verses 17-24. God said in Chapter 17, verse 3, “… hide thyself,” then,in 18:1, He said, “Go, shew thyself to Ahab.” God needs some Elijah’s in America today. He not only proved Himself through Elijah, but He also revealed His power to the wicked king, the prophets and all those who followed them.  It is for this reason that the preachers and the Christians of America must not only live a Christian walk with God, but must also faithfully allow the power of God to live through with them. We must have some men who can call down the fire of God, but we’ll never do it unless we stay faithful in the day of preparation, realizing America’s plight is completely hopeless without Christ. Our preparation must be completely yielded to God, with His power working through us day by day. 

Read Acts 8-9, Proverbs 4. Pray for America’s Leaders, Complete__

     

                JULY 3rd   

                                

YIELDING OURSELVES TO GOD!

Read Romans 6:10-13

Yielding yourself to God is probably one of the most difficult tasks in your Christian life, because we have three enemies: The world, the flesh and the devil. Moody said; “God used me because I gave myself to Him.” Yielding to God is not what you know, but what you do. God is saying: “I want you.” Think all you want to – it is what you do, not what you think. That is, when you do it unreservedly, unconditionally, etc. When we yield to God three things begin to happen:

First, we stop using God, and let Him use us. “I know what I want God, and I want you to help me get it.” Second, we stop making deals with God. “God, I’ll do this if you do that.” Or, we tell our child to be good at church and he says, “If you will give me a toy or candy.”

Last, we will stop manipulating God. “If I do this or that surely God will bless me.” We manipulate Him to get what we want. Yield says, “Not what I want, but what you want.” We do what He wants and we are not even afraid. Yield is probably the most difficult command. Why?  Because, when God says yield, we are yielding to the unknown.

We expect our wives to yield to us, but we will not yield to God. The command says, yield ye, He does not ask us first. Here is what we ought to say, “I’ll do whatever you want.” It’s a done deal! If we as parents and leaders do not yield we cannot expect our followers to yield to God.

In John 7:17, Jesus is saying that if you really want to know the will of God, start practicing it; you will find that it is because of God that I am doing it. If you begin to practice my Doctrine, acknowledge it by giving glory to God, and receive me as your Messiah, who was promised to your fathers. To do His will and yield to it is showing obedience and respect for God and His Son.

The blessing for the Christian is to know whether it is of God or not, and if they do not know, it is because they do not yield, love, or obey God. Because the Jews were not willing to do the will of God, they refused to recognize Jesus Christ as Deity and thereby refused to heed His teaching. The People’s New Testament Commentary has some good thoughts on this: “This spirit of disobedience is the source of most, if not all, skepticism.

Unbelief is due, not to the head, but to the heart. He who in his heart says, ‘Thy will be done, give me light and I will walk in it,’ will find that Christ is just what was demanded by his soul, and that the gospel meets his soul’s need. Jesus will meet the needs of his soul that he will be satisfied and will know the doctrine that it comes from him who made the soul.” Spurgeon said, “How plaintive are these words! The loving heart of Jesus was wounded at their ingratitude and wonton malice.”

Read Psalms 78-80, Proverbs 3, Complete___

        

                         JULY 2nd                               

Read Jeremiah 5:1-5

This is a great statement – “I will get me unto the great men.” Jeremiah was very young, only 20 years old at his calling. No wonder he said he was just a child. He said he could not do it. God said, “I will put the words in your mouth”. Then in chapter 5 Jeremiah said “I will get me unto great men.”

Maybe we should be a little more like Jeremiah. Jerusalem was the Capital City and center of worship for Judah, but God told Jeremiah there might not be one fair and honest person in the entire city. God was willing to spare the city if one such person could be found.

You will remember the Greek philosopher (Diogenes) who went through the streets of Athens with a lantern looking for an honest man. He never did find one. You could almost say the same about us today. Nothing but truth is acceptable to God. When we pray, sing, speak, or even serve, nothing closes the door of God’s acceptance more than hypocrisy, lying, or pretense.  God sees through us and refuses to listen. To be close to God, we must be honest with Him as well as with our fellow man.

The sad part of the story is in verses 4-5. Even those who were close to God and understood His laws of judgment had rejected Him. They were supposed to teach and guide the people, but instead they led them into sin. Jeremiah noticed those who were poor and ignorant as well as uninformed of God’s ways, and realized that they were not learning God’s laws from their teachers.

Sad to say, there were no true followers in any segment of society. But look in verse 7, God held parents responsible for the sins of their children, because the children had followed their example. The sin of leading others astray by our bad example will not go unpunished, and God will hold us accountable. The people refused God’s message by saying that it could never come true, that the prophets did not really have the authority and that the punishment would fall on others. This refusal was not because the prophets did not do their job, but because the people refused to listen.  The prophets and the people both have responsibilities: the prophets must proclaim the message faithfully and the people must apply the message to their lives.

No wonder Jeremiah said, “I will get me unto the great men.” Everyone needs some great men after whom he can model his own life. Take the best of each of them. No matter who you are you need to find someone to whom to look for counsel and example.

Read 2 Kings 1-5, Proverbs 2 Complete___

                JULY 1st                               

 Read Luke 19:1-10 

Someone said, “The cause of the present drought of conversions in our churches was the absence of evangelistic preaching. It may be biblical without being evangelistic. It may be a power-filled message and lack a Holy Spirit-filled invitation, or personal appeal.” Such was certainly not the case here.

The circumstances here suggest that the call of Jesus to Zaccheus was, first, an INVITED CALL. Zaccheus himself invited the call, by his action in climbing into the tree. He put himself in the path of Jesus. The unsaved today may come to Christ in the same way, by our inviting them to a church service, prayer meeting etc. These things cannot save them, but may put them in the path of Christ. I am reminded of George Whitfield preaching in Philadelphia in 1740. So popular was America’s first great Evangelist that he had to preach outdoors, because no church was large enough to hold the crowds. So he stood on the Courthouse steps and preached to thousands of people.  History records that 23,000 coal miners attended one revival meeting out in a field.  In his Court House message he preached that, “salvation was available to anyone, high-born or low, self-righteous saint or miserable sinner. And what must one do to be saved? Just ask God’s forgiveness for your sins, known and unknown, accept Christ as your Savior, and turn your life over to Him.”  A simple choice to make, yet the most important one a man could make, and it had never been put that simply to Americans before.

The call to Zaccheus was also a PERSONAL CALL. Out of that entire multitude surging around Jesus, He singled out just one man. He teaches us our individual importance and responsibility in God’s sight.

It was a GRACIOUS CALL. Zaccheus was a notorious sinner, yet Christ noticed him. Zaccheus was invited to come the way he was – a sinner.

It was an IMPERATIVE CALL. Imperative because it fell from the lips of One who had the right to command and because it placed the obligation of response on the one who heard it. The Saviour was passing by and with Zaccheus it was “now or never.”

It was, of course, a RESPONSIVE CALL“He made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.” Look at the blessing for his obedience – salvation. Verses 8-9. Look again to the words George Whitfield preached on the steps of the Court House that day: “Father Abraham!” He cried out. “Whom have you in Heaven? Any Episcopalians?”  “No!” shouted Whitfield, answering his own question. “Any Presbyterians?”  “No!” “No!”  “Well, who have you there then, Father Abraham?” “We don’t know whose names are here!” “All who are here are Christians, believers in Christ, men who have overcome by the Blood of the Lamb, and the word of His testimony.”

Read Leviticus 10-12, Proverbs 1, Complete___                       

                   JUNE 30th                  

Read Colossians 3:12-15 

Forgiveness of sins is part of the blessings Christians receive from God in Christ. What is forgiveness? It is defined as the act of excusing or pardoning another in spite of his slights, shortcomings, and errors. As a theological term, forgiveness refers to God’s pardon of the sins of human beings. No religious book except the Bible teaches that God completely forgives sin. The initiative comes from Him because He is ready to forgive. He is a God of grace and pardon. Sin deserves divine punishment because it is a violation of God’s holy character, but His pardon is gracious. In order for God to forgive sin, two conditions are necessary. A life must be taken as a substitute for that of the sinner, and the sinner must come to God’s sacrifice in a spirit of repentance and faith. Forgiveness in the New Testament is directly linked to Christ, His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection. He was the morally perfect sacrifice and the final fulfillment of all Old Testament sacrifices. Since He bore the law’s death penalty against sinners and those who trust in His sacrifice are freed from that penalty. By faith sinners are forgiven or “justified” in Paul’s terminology. Those who are forgiven sin’s penalty also die to its controlling power in their lives. Christ’s resurrection was more than proof of His deity or innocence; it was related in a special way to His forgiveness. Christ’s resurrection was an act by which God wiped out the false charges against Him. It was God’s declaration of the perfect righteousness of His Son, the second Adam and of His acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice. We have been acquitted and declared righteous and this is true for all those He represents. Thus, Christ’s resurrection was a necessary condition for the forgiveness of man’s sins. To be forgiven is to be identified with Christ in His crucifixion and resurrection. Christ has the authority to forgive sins. This forgiveness is an essential part of the gospel message. God’s forgiveness of us demands that we forgive others, because grace brings responsibility and obligation. Jesus placed no limits on the extent to which Christians are to forgive their fellowmen. A forgiving spirit shows that one is a true follower of Christ. The word for forgiveness is Charizomai or to be gracious and pardon a person who has wronged us. Some important questions: Can I thank God for the person who hurt me or for the lesson I learned in pain? Can I thank God and the offender for it? Have I accepted my part of blame? Can I face it and revisit the scene without bitterness? Can I love the one who hurt me? These are important questions. The need and art of forgiveness is more real today than ever. As Christ forgave, so must we.

Read Philippians 1-2, Proverbs 30, Complete___

             

                                        JUNE 29th                           

WE OWE A DEBT!

Read Romans 1:1-17 

Most would agree with Paul that we owe a debt. There could be a debate as to whom we owe this debt.

First, we owe a debt to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Second, we owe a debt our Forefathers and the Constitution.

Third, we owe a debt to our families, our teachers, our pastor, etc. Paul said, “I am a debtor, I am ready, I am not ashamed.” I would say that Paul had the right order: He realized his debt of love. He was prepared. Then, he was not ashamed. The word ashamed is an interesting word: Epaischunomai is to feel shame for something or be ashamed. 1 Peter 4:16 – Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.  1 John 2:28 – And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

We are not to be a part of something of which we are ashamed. Our Constitution for example requires of us to guard it and defend it at all cost. And, we are not to be a part of anything that undermines it. You have no right to tear it down. We have no right to burn the American flag or tear our country down. People like that used to be called traitors or be guilty of treason. Now we call it freedom of expression or cultural diversity. Now, we need to apply these beliefs to our ministry:

WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO UNDERMINE OUR MINISTRY; IT IS OF GOD! WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO UNDERMINE OR CHANGE OUR STANDARDS.

WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO CHANGE THE GOSPEL OR OUR PREACHING. WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO CHANGE OR UNDERMINE OUR MUSIC.

My philosophy has always been the same, we ought never to lose our culture; however, we have no right to change the culture in America if we have come from another land. The same is true in God’s churches. We are heathen by background and have no right to change God’s commands in the Bible. An American is an American before he is anything else. But, I believe a Christian is a Christian before anything else. Don’t divide America or your ministry. We have no right – we have an obligation. We owe a debt.

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 15-16, Proverbs 29, Complete___

  

               JUNE 28th             

Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-18 

Tremendous heat was generated on the exterior of the Concorde airplane when it flew at supersonic speeds. The temperature on the outer surface of the plane can get to 261 degrees even though the outside temperature is 69 degrees. The expansion caused by this heat makes the plane 9 inches longer at cruise speed than at rest.  The cabin floor of the aircraft is built on rollers and doesn’t expand, and four air conditioning systems keep the inside comfortable. While the outside of the plane is undergoing tremendous stress, the inside climate remains constant.

In this text Paul describes our “outward man” as perishing under the heat of great pressure, while our “inward man” is renewed day by day. Paul had enemies, but the right kind of enemies.  I am confident that some of us have the right kind of enemies also.

Bob Shuler (Father of the late Evangelist Phil Shuler) and pastor of the Los Angeles downtown church was known as “fighting Bob” and he used to say, “I measure a man by the enemies he has.” It is important to have the right kind of enemies. Jesus said that if we would love Him and follow Him, the world would hate us. In verse 10, Paul is saying I am under a sentence of death for Jesus and am likely to die at anytime for His cause.

We may actually be the strongest at the moment we feel the weakest. Notice verses 10-12 again, Paul is saying we live a dying life that we might live. So that the resurrection the life of Jesus might be made manifest or visible in our body and by the miracles we prove the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is interesting to note that Paul did not consider death to be the end.

He is looking on beyond. Death is merely one of the experiences that he will have. In the next chapter he will speak of the comfort in the ministry of martyrdom for Christ. There is a comfort in laying down our life for Jesus’ sake He is saying here that he is joined to a living Christ.

He is dead to the things of the world because he is joined to a living Christ. “He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus.”

He counts all his sufferings as nothing in order to win others to Christ and see the abounding grace of God causing them to give praise to the glory of God. For the sake of winning souls and glorify God, we suffer all things without fainting.

The outward man is slowly dying through trials and sufferings, but the inward man is being renewed daily. When faced with trials we too can have an inner strength through Christ. Our part is to look beyond the temporal to the eternal (verse 18) and to renew our minds daily through the Word of God and prayer. 

Daily Assignment!

Read Ezekiel 13-18, Proverbs 28, Complete___

           

                        JUNE 27th                        

FEAR YE NOT!

Read Exodus 14:5-14

In verse 13 God instructed Israel…”Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” Several things God told Moses and his people:

First, he said, “Fear ye not”. This is always God’s instruction to His people. God want’s His people to trust Him and not fear. Fear Not! God said to Abram in Genesis 15:1, to Joshua in Joshua 8:1, to Gideon in Judges 6:23, to the Shepherds at Bethlehem in Luke 2:10, and to us today in Luke 12:32.“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” How do we come to this place of not fearing? Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed  on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Second, he said, “stand still”. Israel was to see that she could do nothing without God. Israel was closed in and faced a very serious trial. The power of the flesh could not overcome. Self-help was worthless. God must undertake. All that any of us can do at times of severe testing is, “stand still,” and let God work.

Third, He also told them to “see the salvation of the Lord.” This was an act of faith. They could see what God was going to do. The waters actually parted when Israel came to enter the sea. As they stood still, they were seeing by faith what God could do. They, like Moses, were trusting “as seeing Him who is invisible.” In verse 15 Moses was given a further command.

Fourth, He was to “speak.” God always wants His man to speak up as he leads God’s people.

Fifth, He says, “go forward.” They were to stand still, relying upon God’s power and strength to perform the miracle. Then by faith they were to go forward and watch God work. Faith will have us stand still, and then faith will have us go forward. Men who stand still before God still stand for God. Proverbs 23:11 For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 7, Proverbs 27. Write a thank you note to your pastor thanking him for a specific truth you remember from Sunday’s message. Complete___

       

              JUNE 26th

 

WHAT IS THE BIBLE CALLED?

2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 3:15-17 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 4:1-8, Acts 17:10-17.

The Book – Mark 12:26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?Luke 3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

The New Testament – Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

The Scripture – 2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.Galatians 4:30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

The Word of God – Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.                  

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 75-77, Proverbs 26. Complete___

             

                JUNE 25th                                

Read Hosea 5:1-15

Hosea is the first book of the section in our Bibles that we often refer to as The Minor Prophets. Reason:  The last 12 Books in Old Testament are shorter books than Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or Daniel–not that they are any less important. In fact, their messages are very relevant today. One could almost put the Minor Prophets in one hand and today’s Newspaper in another and they fit together. Hosea is pleading with Israel to turn back to The Lord, as the nation had been unfaithful to The Lord.

Hosea had an unfaithful wife, but he still loves her. With deep compassion Hosea was able to plead with Israel to return to the Lord. The Prophet warned the nation that judgment would come. No nation can separate from God without paying a bitter price in judgment. This judgment comes in various ways. God presents one of these ways in 5:12, “Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.”

Moths eat slowly and rottenness moves slowly, but, when a nation fails to be faithful to God, judgment may move slowly; but judgment will move certainly unless some drastic action is taken to correct it. Finally judgment may come in another way; as a young lion snatching the prey Hosea 5:14, “For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion unto Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away: I will take away, and none shall rescue him.”

America has been in the moth and rottenness stage.

I believe unless there is revival in America, she too will move into the young lion stage. Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

IT SHOULD BE CLEAR THAT FOR A JUDGMENT TO BE MADE THERE MUST BE AN ABSOLUTE STANDARD OF RIGHT AND WRONG. THE ONLY STANDARD IS THE BIBLE – GOD’S WORD.

Thankfully, those who trust in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross “shall not come into condemnation.” Believers “in Christ” will never stand in judgment concerning heaven and eternal life.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Kings 19-22, Proverbs 25, Complete___

        

JUNE 24th

GETTING ANSWERS TO OUR PRAYER!

Read Philippians 4:14-19 & Hebrews 14:14-16 

We need to learn how to approach and appeal to God. There may be a good reason we do not get what we ask for. Remember what James said in chapter four “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

Certainly there is more to it than that? We failed to get because we failed in asking? Have I asked God for anything amiss today? There are two ways in which we ask amiss.

First that we may consume it upon our own lust, or for our own desire, not to glorify God!

Second we fail to properly identify the nature of our need. All our needs are created by sin or by obedience to God. Think about this:

WE WILL HAVE NEEDS CREATED BY OUR SIN. Israel had times of famine with no rain, etc. God will not answer until they acknowledge what created the need. Our need is directly related to our obedience to Him. What are you saying? Let’s look at Jonah for an example: God told him to go to Nineveh, where did he go? He took a cruise to Tarshish. His being swallowed by a whale was not a test or a trial, but his disobedience that caused it. Jonah made it right with God, and immediately, the whale spit him up. Ask yourself, how did my need arise? Someone goes to his pastor with marriage problems, and the pastor’s question is: “Did you seek godly counsel before marriage? Whatever is not of faith is sin. What should you do with sin?   Confess it! All sin must be confessed.

WE WILL HAVE NEEDS CREATED BY OUR OBEDIENCE TO GOD! Think of Israel by the Red Sea with Pharaoh on one side; the wilderness on the other and the Red Sea in between. How did they cross? By obeying and following God! They were there in obedience to Him. They obligated themselves to God, and God obligated Himself to them. He opened the Red Sea. A little later in the wilderness they needed water … God gave them water; He made the bitter water sweet at Marah. They followed Moses and needed food; God gave them manna. When the need is created by sin — confess it! When the need is created by obedience to God, appeal to Him by His promise of provision in Philippians four. This truth could change our life. In Philippians 4, their need was created by sacrificial giving to Paul; he accepted and said: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Is there sin in your life? Confess it! Did you obey God? Claim His promises.

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 7-9, Proverbs 24, Complete___

              

                 JUNE 23rd                

Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-5

Often People come to me asking about happiness and joy in the Christian life, or how to be satisfied. Let me first of all say that we will never find satisfaction, joy, happiness by seeking it, and even more so by seeking it for self. We can only have these blessings as we seek to live for others.

Please allow me to be very practical in these thoughts. Someone has said, “to stay on fire for God, continually practice and follow 2 Corinthians 8:9.”

Look again at our text verses.  I believe seeing them again will encourage you. Look at verse two for example. These Christians were under great persecution and in deep poverty, but notice they were abundant in joy! According to verse three they were willing to give of themselves and of that which they had. We are just not going to be happy and have joy if we seek to use the things, and even the blessing, which God has so graciously bestowed upon us as the source of joy.

I believe God gives His blessings to the Christian not only for self, but even more importantly, to share it with others. God has given the soloist the ability to sing, to share it with others. He has given the teacher the ability to teach to share with others; the preacher the ability to preach to share with others; the artist the ability to create to share with others. God has bestowed upon us the grace of God to share it with others. Now, how can I be happy and enjoy my Christian life? Three important things:

FEEL LOVE. Spend some time each day thinking about and feeling for other people and their need of love. Think about gratitude to God and to people.  Then feel love. Share your love with people who are unlovable, or appear to be; those who are less fortunate than yourself, and those who are suffering affliction. Soon, you will begin to feel love.

SHOW LOVE. Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. He came to minister to others. He was a servant of servants. He paid the supreme sacrifice. He showed His love. Don’t keep your love a secret. Show it to others by daily doing some kind thing or deed for someone else. We can all show love to one another and to those who are needy.

TELL LOVE. Someone recently told me how much he appreciated my wife and how he has watched her over the years and found her always faithful in showing the love of Christ. I said, “Why don’t you tell her? It may encourage her to keep showing love.”

Someone else said, “The Pastor and so many people are such hard workers and so faithful at doing their jobs.” My response was,  “Why don’t you tell them how much you appreciate all they do? Oh how we all need to be loved and appreciated. How we need love, joy, happiness, but, let’s cease seeking and find it by giving ourselves to others. Read Eph. 4-6, Proverbs 23, Complete___

                              JUNE 22nd                                         

GOD’S WORD, THE KJV!

Read Acts 8

Very few of us have really suffered persecution because of our faith. We may have been insulted, laughed at, mocked, or possibly threatened for what we believe. But in reality, very few have truly suffered because of our faith. In the first verse of this chapter, we see that there was a great persecution against the church. So great was this persecution that believers had to flee for their lives, leaving behind what they had built up over a lifetime. Many were killed. Many were imprisoned. It would seem a time of great disappointment and defeat. But look again at verse 4. God used that persecution, that scattering, for the advancement of the gospel. People took the word of God to areas that had not heard it.

They went to cities that had never heard a clear presentation of God’s love for them. And when they got to those cities, they didn’t hide. They didn’t take cover in fear. They went everywhere preaching the word. God was glorified, people were saved, and lives were changed. And God used that scattering in another way. As the people moved to new areas they took the Bible with them. They took the word of God to the far reaches of the Earth. And there, over time, God protected His word. No longer could someone just gather the scriptures in one city and destroy them. No longer could a charismatic leader change the word of God by influencing one city. God preserved His word by spreading it everywhere, until one day, a godly group of men could examine these manuscripts, compare them, and see the miraculous preservation of God.

These manuscripts became the Textus Receptus from which we get the King James Bible. We can hold the Bible in our hands today, read it, memorize it, and study it because God allowed His people to suffer for a time. We can have full confidence that it is what God originally gave because God used a method of preservation that prevented corruption. A man could change one or two manuscripts (Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus for example, from which we get the NIV and other modern translations), but he could not change them all. And now we can have the Word of God. Praise God when persecution comes in your life. God is using it for His purpose. It may be hard, it may hurt a bit, but God knows what He is doing and He cares for you. Trust Him! Bro. Ken Starlin

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 13-14, Proverbs 22. Pray for God’s power on your pastor’s messages.

Complete___

      

        JUNE 20th

 

FULLNESS OF JOY!

No one would deny that this is one of the most trying times in our nation’s history. Many are overcome with grief and anxiety the future of our country and its economy, etc. There is no joy in many lives; however, as Christians we need to remember that circumstances should not control our joy. Our joy should come from the Lord. I am reminded of George Muller who would not preach until his heart was happy in the grace of God. Jan Ruybroeck would not write while his feelings were low, but would retire to a quiet place and wait on God till he felt the spirit of inspiration.

It is a well-known fact that the elevated spirits of a group of Moravians convinced John Wesley of the reality of their religion, and helped to bring him a short time later to a state of true conversion. A.W. Tozer said, “Do you have the joy of the Lord in your life? Would others want to be saved because of your joyful attitude? Do you have hope and happiness in Christ – despite your circumstances? The Christian owes it to the world to be supernaturally happy.”

There are three areas in which we ought to show joy regardless of the circumstances.

SHOW JOY IN THE SALVATION OF THE LORD.

Look what Habakkuk prayed: Habakkuk 3:17-19 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments. We ought to,

SHOW JOY IN THE WORK OF THE LORD.

How should we serve The Lord? Psalms 100:2-5 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

SHOW JOY IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD.

Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. There are many reasons to show our joy because it is IN THE LORD! How is your joy today?

Daily Assignments!

Read Ezekiel 7-12, Proverbs 20, Complete___

             

                                      JUNE 19th                       

Read Psalms 42:1-11 

David was in straits of difficulties and trials.  He declared this in verse 1. The hart, a deer, pants for water when it is being chased or hunted. David felt like a hunted man, and he panted for the water brooks in knowing the Lord.  The water brooks for the children of God are found in His precious Word, the Bible.

We need to come to the water of the Word of God and be refreshed and cleansed. David said his soul thirsted for the living God. This One, the living God is The One who answers prayer and is one of two times used by David. David recognized that his only hope was in God. Three times he repeated, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul…”

The Psalmist said that we should hope in The Lord. When the trials and burdens get too heavy, we need to place our hope in God and praise Him for the help of His countenance. He is always ready to smile on us and lead us through the deep and dark waters. David states that God will show His loving kindness in the morning and His song in the night. Are your burdens heavy today? Does it seem like you are in a dark place with no hope? Trust in God! Pray that He will lead you to the water of comfort.

Remember, most of what we worry about never happens. The storm is seldom as violent as it seems from the appearance of the clouds. God gives us a bitter cup at times, but He also puts some sweetness in it. Please take a few moments to meditate on Exodus 15:23-25. God used a tree to make the bitter waters sweet, and the tree is a picture of Calvary. What is that sweetness?

In His PRESENCE. God always provides for us and is always with us. Life has many bitter cups, some days perhaps more than others. There is sadness as well as gladness, but God will give us His presence. If depression comes, flee into His presence, and don’t be concerned about the problems in the world. Your worrying will not change them one iota. Moses was told to put the tree in the bitter waters to make them sweet. Take the tree of Calvary, and let it sweeten the bitter times in your life. I’ll not say that because you are saved, you will not have times of bitterness, but you will always have His presence.

In His PROMISES. Don’t worry about the wicked and their prosperity; they do not have His presence or His promises. He does not promise pleasure or prosperity, but He promises plenty. 

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 72-74, Proverbs 19, Complete___ 

               JUNE 18th   

                      

IN THE BEGINNING GOD!

Read Genesis 1:1-31 

God is the creator and sustainer of the universe who has provided mankind with a revelation of Himself through the natural world and through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible does not seek to prove the existence of God; it simply affirms His existence by declaring, “In the beginning God…” God has revealed Himself through the physical universe. It offers proof of God’s existence. It makes more sense to accept the idea of God as Creator of the universe than to assume that our orderly universe came into existence apart from a divine being.

The greatest revelation of God; however, comes through the Bible. Through the inspired written record, both the existence of God and the nature of God are revealed in and through Jesus Christ. Jesus stated, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father”. Although the full revelation of God was in Jesus Christ, the human mind cannot fully understand God.

One reason for this is that Scripture does not record all the actions and teachings of Jesus. Another reason is the limitation of the human mind. How can man’s finite mind understand the infinity of God? It is not possible. Although we cannot fully understand God, we still can know Him.

We know Him through a personal relationship of faith and through a study of what the Bible teaches about His nature. God may be described in terms of attributes. An attribute is an inherent characteristic of a person or being. While we cannot describe God in a comprehensive way, we can learn about Him by examining His attributes as revealed in the Bible. All of us have attributes as human beings.

We think, we act, we speak, we dream. God has attributes as well. He heals, He forgives, He comforts, He rebukes, He is just, and He is holy. Have you thought about the attributes of God? Do you realize that He Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient? Have you studied His word to find out more about Him? Let’s make it a goal to do that this week.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Kings 14-18, Proverbs 18. Spend about 5 extra minutes in prayer tonight before you go to bed asking God for His power on the Sunday services. Complete___         

                          JUNE 17th                       

THE FLESH!

Read 1 Peter 1:23-25

Heroes come and go. They don’t mean much to the next generation anymore. How many could even name the coach of the 1960 Packers, much less the players. Try to think of heroes you had as a child. You would not recognize most of them if you saw them, but, the Bible never changes: Psalms 119:89 “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

We are like dying grass!

He is talking about all flesh. He is talking about you and me. Today, we live in days of the flesh. Look Job 16:8 And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face. LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Your life and mine is like aging skin, aching back and acute pain.

We are like vanishing flowers!

Self-glory fades real quick…popularity is like a fading flower…beautiful for a short time. Don’t get used to glory. “Our sufficiency is of God.” Deuteronomy 8:10-14  ” When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.  Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein]; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;”

Take the Glory from God and you will forget too. Without Him we are nothing. The closer you get to God, the less you think of yourself. This is an enduring truth! Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Whatever you do, base it upon the Word of God, so that you do not become like a vanishing flower!

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 4-6, Proverbs 17, Complete___

                       June 16th                 

SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP/FOLLOWSHIP!

Read yesterday’s devotion 

The only way for a church to glorify God is to live in a state of continual harmony, service and unity. Thank God for the sweetness of Christian fellowship and unity that glorifies the Lord, but the devil would like nothing better than to disrupt such a church. 

THE CALIBER OF A SPIRITUAL LEADER 

One of the greatest attributes of a spiritual leader is honoring God in service to the Lord.  Several such attributes are seen in the life of Timothy: 

The influence upon his life 

Despite being brought up in a pagan society (Acts 16:1, 14:6-21), Timothy lived a life well-pleasing to God. 

He came out of a divided family. His father was a Greek and his mother and grandmother were Jewish, 2 Timothy 1:5, 3:14. 

He was brought up in the Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:14-15. 

Paul was his mentor. 2 Timothy 3:10-11 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 1 Corinthians 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. 

The illustration of his growth. 

He had genuine faith, 2 Timothy 1:5.He had a good testimony, Acts 16:2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 

The preparation of his service. 

Acts 16:3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. A spiritual leader must be prepared to give up some of his rights and preferences. He must be willing to endure some pain. He must be prepared to leave his home and comforts in life. 

Daily Assignments

Read Ephesians 1-3, Proverbs 16, Complete___                                             

                                             June 15th                                   

2 Timothy 2:1-7 

Also read Matthew 9:36-38, Acts 16:1-13. How could one possibly overstate the importance of being a spiritual leader in the home, on the job or in the church? The purpose of this devotion is to check ourselves to see whether we are leaders or followers. There is nothing wrong with being a follower, most of us are; however, do not attempt to take a leadership role if God has placed you in a followship position.

Someone recently shared the following illustration of the difference between a leader and follower: When leaders make a mistake, they say, “I was wrong.” When followers make mistakes, they say, “It wasn’t my fault.” A leader works harder than a follower and has more time; a follower is always too busy to do what is necessary. A leader goes through a problem; a follower goes around it and never gets past it. A leader makes and keeps commitments; a follower makes and forgets promises. A leader says, “I’m good, but not as good as I ought to be”; a follower says, “I’m not as bad as a lot of other people.” Leaders listen; followers just wait until it’s their turn to talk. Leaders respect those who are superior to them and try to learn from them; followers resent those who are superior to them and try to find chips in their armor. Leaders feel responsible for more than their job; followers say, “I only work here.” A leader says, “There ought to be a better way to do this;” followers say, “That’s the way it’s always been done.”


Notice the importance God places on being faithful like a good soldier or to be a noble soldier; one who entangleth himself not with the world, and one who will strive for masteries as athletes in Greek games, 2 Timothy 2:2-6.

THE CALL FOR BUILDING SPIRITUAL LEADERS

  • The call to pray to the Lord of the harvest.
  • The call to train in the home, job or the church.

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Imagine what the church would be like if everyone worked together as a team. God has much to say about Christians working together because God’s work is based on teamwork. Continued tomorrow! 

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 11-12, Proverbs 15, Complete___

                       

              JUNE 14th                  

Two in One Devotion!

Read Habakkuk 3:1-2. 

In this chapter we see the prayer of a prophet, who sees his nation in distress. Habakkuk realized that he could not keep his nation from experiencing God’s judgment. In his prayer we see the phrase, “…in wrath remember mercy.” Thank God for His mercy, without it we would be under the judgment of God. The definition of mercy is not receiving that which I deserve. Sometimes we have heard people say, “I wish that I would just get what I deserve.” Praise the Lord we are under the merciful hand of God. The truth is that as sinners we deserve to pay the penalty of our own sin in Hell forever; however, because of the mercy that God demonstrated to man, we have forgiveness of our sin. Just as the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk prayed for mercy. You and I ought to pray for the mercy of God each day. Our nation is in need of the mercies of the Lord. Our families are in need of God’s mercy. The church is in need of the mercy of God. As you go through your day today. Remind yourself that you are in need of the mercy of God. Thank Him for His merciful kindness that He demonstrated on the cross for you. Praise God for His mercy! Matthew Nikoley

Read Romans 12

Throughout the Old Testament, man was required to offer a sacrifice for the atonement of his sin. Beginning in the book of Genesis, God required a sacrifice. In order for the sacrifice to be accepted or approved by God it had to meet several qualifications. First, it had to be a male lamb. Second, It was to be 1 year old, and third, it was to be without spot or blemish. In the giving of the sacrifice we see a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the New Testament in (John 1:29) John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God. It was this Lamb, Jesus who gave of Himself and offered His life as a sacrifice for all men. Because of this, it is the teaching in this chapter that we are to give ourselves as a “living sacrifice.” A dead sacrifice is not needed nor is it useful. God desires us to give ourselves back to Him as a living sacrifice. A child of God who surrenders himself as a living sacrifice is one that gives up his will and seeks to do the will of his Master. A surrendered Christian is dead to the things of this world and alive unto the things of God. A surrendered Christian seeks to follow God each day. A surrendered Christian has a desire to live for Him. Have you presented yourself as a living sacrifice? Or are you still relying upon the dead sacrifices to appease God? Matthew Nikoley. 

Read Ezekiel 1-6, Proverbs 14, Complete___                       

                                  JUNE 13th                                  

Don’t be a Partaker!

 Read 1 Timothy 5

It is never good to do anything in haste. Someone said, “Haste makes waste.” Paul is telling Timothy not to lay hands on any man suddenly, “neither be partaker of other men’s sins.” God’s judgment falls not only on those who drink, but also on those who serve it, those who make it. The tobacco companies as well as the tobacco farmers, the liquor companies as well as the farmer who grows the grapes, or the one who serves it on the airplane and the bartender. Each has a part in another man’s sin. Not only is the reader of pornographic magazine going to be judged by God, the publisher will be judged as well. Paul says, “Lay hands suddenly on no man.” The father who does not properly train his children becomes a partaker of his children’s sins. “Refrain” means to retrain. The husband who does not place his wife in submission is a partaker of his wife’s sin. The grocery store owner who sells liquor is a partaker of the drunkard’s sin, who has destroyed his own family. The bartender who serves the alcohol to the drunk and causes his home to be broken will have to give account at the judgment seat, as well as the drunkard. The makers of the cigarettes are partakers in the sin of every man who smokes them and has cancer and eventually dies and leaves his family fatherless. Don’t be a partaker of other men’s sins, because you will also be responsible as you are a partaker of their sin. There is always more than one who is responsible for those who have fallen into sin. The harlot is not the only one guilty, but also the parent who failed, in most cases, to teach their child to be holy. Paul commands Timothy to “keep thyself pure,” and not only yourself, but also others, so that you will not be a partaker of their sin. Are you helping anybody to go wrong? Keep thyself pure. Are you a partaker in other men’s sins? Someone said, “There is no shuttling or chance in the moral world. Impulses lead to choices. Choices become habits. Habits become character, and character determines destiny.” Henry Thoreau said, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Keep thyself pure not only from your own sin, but also from being a helper in other men’s.  Again, Matthew Henry said, “We must keep ourselves pure if we will be pure. The grace of God makes and keeps us pure, but it is by our own endeavor.” The word “partaker” comes from “koinos”. In 1 Timothy 5:22, it means to share with others, to communicate, to distribute, to be a companion, to associate with or to be a partner of.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 4, Proverbs 13, Complete___

                                

                                             JUNE 11th                                            

Fruit Bearing! 

  Read John 15

These events occur on the night that Jesus was betrayed in the upper chamber as they ate the Last Supper, and Jesus washed their feet. In chapter 14:31, Jesus said, “Arise, let us go hence.” Chapter 15 was given as He walked with the disciples from the upper room to the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane was on the lower slope of the Mount of Olives, where Jesus often went to pray. He is the True Vine and we are the branches of that Vine. We are a part of Christ. We are held closely in Christ’s hand and no one can take us from Him. So, it should be normal for the Christian to be in touch with Him every single day. It should be normal to have His joy, His power, and to know His will and get our prayers answered. But Christians do not always live and abide in Christ as they should. Christ has in mind that His mighty power of the Holy Spirit flows from Him through us to win souls. To understand this passage, you must remember that the subject here is fruit bearing (verses 2, 4, 5 and 8). Do not get away from what God is talking about here. The Christian is to bear fruit and to not bear fruit is being a sad failure. Do not confuse this fruit bearing with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” The work of a Christian is to get people saved and train them to win souls. That is what He commands us. The “fruit” of a Christian is to get people saved. It is illustrated in Psalm 126:5-6. The fruit of the reaper is the sheaves that he brings. Jesus said in John 4:35-36, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” The fruit of the Christian then, again, is to win souls. In the parable of the sower, we are told that the good seed is the Word of God. Every Christian is commanded to win souls. Revelation 22:17 says, “Let him that heareth say, Come.” Mark 16:15 – “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” “Every creature” is God’s plan. In verses 2 and 6 we are told that we are cast out if we do not bear fruit, not from heaven (Thank God!), but as far as fruit bearing is concerned. Continued Tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Kings 10-13, Read Proverbs 11, Complete___

                         

                                             JUNE 10th                                

JESUS, THE SERVANT OF SERVANTS!

Read John 13:1-20 

Jesus takes on the humble position as He teaches servantship through the washing of the disciples’ feet. Jesus did not necessarily start a new ordinance, but taught them a lesson in humility as well as serving.

The Bible says Jesus is the servant of servants. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. The reason for this lesson was that there was some contention among them as to who would have the chief offices in the Kingdom. In spite of Jesus’ repeated statements that He was going to be crucified, which they somehow took to be a parable even to the last, they seemed to think that with the triumphal entry five days before, it was about time for Him to erect the throne of the world empire in Jerusalem.

Jesus finally had to get down on His hands and knees to wash their feet, to burn into their hearts and minds that He had called them to serve, and NOT TO RULE. Oh, how the church has suffered through all the centuries because so many of its leaders have been consumed with a passion to rule rather than to serve. Great men, instead of humbly serving Christ have used the name of Christ to serve themselves. Jesus has laid aside His garments, which would present Him as a teacher or a Rabbi, to look and to work like a common slave. He girded Himself with a towel. Jesus said, “Whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”

WE NEED OUR FEET WASHED DAILY, because we walk in a dirty world. Let me explain – we are clean through Christ, but we walk in a dirty world, so we need our spiritual “feet” washed daily. In the sense of salvation, all of our sins are laid on Jesus: past, present, and future, and are counted as paid, but God still hates sin and must punish, so He “scourgeth every son whom he recieveth.” – Hebrews 12:6. We cannot lose our everlasting life, but we can lose our daily fellowship, so we need to come daily to plead, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors – Matthew 6:12.

CHRIST SET THE EXAMPLE AS A SERVANT by washing their feet. Again, Jesus is not setting up a new ordinance or an official church ceremony of public foot washing to show our humility. Jesus was speaking to the disciples, not to the multitude. There is no record of any church in the New Testament doing foot washing. It was simply a lesson in humility. We ought to be willing to wash one another’s feet; however, we ought to be willing to help one another in many areas, and that does not necessarily mean we make it a ritual or an ordinance. I believe one of the greatest acts of servantship, or of being a servant, is to be willing to do the menial tasks that bring no applause of men and no earthly reward. Let us do our best to live after the example of Christ. 

Daily Assignments!

Read Leviticus 1-3, Proverbs 10, Complete___

               

                         JUNE 9th                                  

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength!

We have thought much about the fact that “the joy of the Lord is my strength” and we find that to be filled with joy is to be filled with Christ and His Word. The same is true of peace. Jesus said, “My peace give I unto you.” So, it is recognized that peace and joy come only from Him.

Strength also comes only from God. In Isaiah 41:10, our Father says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” In other words, He literally will become our strength for us.

Asaph sought God’s strength in Psalm 80:2-3 – “Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”  David often sought the strength of the Lord. As a matter of fact, he asked for God to show His strength to this generation, so that the generation to come would also know the strength of the Lord.

This certainly ought to be the desire of every Christian today – not only to seek His strength in times of weakness, but literally to be consumed with he fact that He is our strength. In the days I pastored a church, I was constantly asked, “Preacher, where do you get the strength to do the things you have to do?”  My answer was always the same, as it is with many of our readers today, “It’s the Lord.”

When I think of the insurmountable problems, challenges, and, at times, disappointments of a pastor, I can only flee to the Lord and plead with Him to renew their strength.

Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” This, I believe, is the hope of every Christian seeking to have joy, peace and power.

Daily Assignments

Read Galatians 4-6, Proverbs 9. Spend about 5 minutes before leaving for church to pray for the services and God’s power on the preaching.

Complete___ 

JUNE 8th

JESUS NEVER CHANGES! 

Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

The world has changed greatly in our lifetime. Even those of us who are in our middle years have seen a tremendous decline in morality and spirituality in our country. Churches have become fellowship centers, Baptist churches have become Bible churches, and our “Bibles” have become the words of men instead of the word of God.

The message that Christ preached while on Earth has been watered down for the sake of convenience. The gospel that Christ proclaimed goes largely unheard in our nation. But, one day, Jesus will return. In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, Jesus will come back and take us out of this world. Then after seven years, we will return to rule and reign with him. This “same” Jesus will rule on the Earth.

This “same” Jesus, the One who cleansed the temple, the One who rebuked the Pharisees, the One who preached against sin, He will be in charge. Jesus hasn’t changed because the world changed. Jesus hasn’t compromised because others have compromised. Jesus is still the same. His goals are still the same. His convictions are still the same. His beliefs are still the same. Jesus hasn’t changed. This “same” Jesus will sit on the throne and rule the Earth. Are you ready to rule with Him?

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Bro. Ken Starlin.

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 9-10, Read Proverbs 8, Complete___                     

              JUNE 7th                        

Read John 11:1-44 

This is truly one of the greatest miracles of all time, where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. It probably took place about one month before His crucifixion, and it was His third raising of the dead. First, He raised Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:21-43), then He raised the widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11-17), and now Lazarus.

This was climaxed by His death and resurrection. The miracle brought the Sanhedrin to a final decision to kill Jesus (verse 53). Remember, the purpose of the Book of John is to show Jesus as the Son of God. This miracle is not in the other Gospels. Lazarus, Mary and Martha lived in Bethany, a little village on the eastern, back, side of the Mount of Olives, and about 2 miles from Jerusalem (verse 18).

In verse 1, it is interesting to note that Jesus refers to “the town of Mary and her sister Martha.” Did not any others live there? Oh yes, but the heart of Jesus turned to the place where He had been loved, fed and cared for, where Martha would do any service to please Him, and Mary, with eager eyes, sat and gazed at His face while He talked about heavenly things.

Wouldn’t it be a blessing if Jesus thought of us when He thought of our town, as a place of love and welcome for Him? In verse 4, Jesus makes it clear that the sickness came upon Lazarus for the specific purpose of glorifying God and Jesus as the Son of God. In verse 5, doesn’t Jesus love everybody? Yes, of course – John 3:16 and 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down His life for his friends.” But this is the love of grace, the undeserved love.

Jesus said in 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father...” Jesus promised to keep His commandments, “and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Jesus knew of and planned the death of Lazarus. This is why He waited two days before coming to Bethany. Lazarus had to die first. In verses 17-27, Jesus comforts Martha. In verses 28-37, Jesus comforts Mary and in verses 38-44, Lazarus is raised from the dead. Jesus will raise Lazarus. He will work the miracle, but they must have their part in verse 39,“Take ye away the stone.”

Do you want to see a soul saved? Then you must take him the Gospel. You must bring him to the house of God, using human means. The miracle of the rebirth is not our job; that is Jesus’ job, but He never saves anybody without the help of some human instrument or some kind of witness – Romans 10:14.      

Daily Assignments

Read Lamentations 1-5, Proverbs 7. Complete___

                         

                       JUNE 6th                                           

Read John 10:1-21

Verses 1-6, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.”

Verses 1-6 picture the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep. Christ, by way of a parable, shows what sheep are like. The sheepfold in the New Testament time would have a ten-foot wall, and an opening would serve as the door. The shepherds in the village would drive their sheep into the fold at nightfall and leave the porter to guard.  In the morning, each shepherd would call his own sheep, which would recognize their shepherd’s voice and come out of the fold.

This is wonderful! The porter (or the shepherd) would sleep at the opening and actually become “the door.” Nothing could come or go without going through the shepherd. Praise God! Christ points out that the true shepherd comes through the door. We also find that CHRIST IS THE DOOR AND LEADS “IN AND OUT” (verses 1-10). There are really three doors in this chapter:

The first is the door into the sheepfold (verse 1). This is not heaven, but the nation of Israel. Christ came to Israel through the Scriptural way, and the porter (John the Baptist) opened the way for Him.

The second door is the door of the sheep (verse 7). This is the door that leads people out of their present fold (in this case Judaism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. Christ opened the door of a new life by the door of the sheep.

The third door is the door of salvation (verse 9). The sheep using this door go in and out, which speaks of liberty. They have eternal life. They enjoy the pastures of the Word of God. Satan, through his false teachers (thieves and robbers or as a wolf in sheep clothing), wants to steal and kill and to destroy the sheep, but Christ gives abundant life and protection.  

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 2-3, Proverbs 6. Complete___ 

               JUNE 5th   

                                                                   

HOW TO PLEASE GOD!

Read John 8 

Jesus said,  “I do always those things that please him.” and in Luke 19:10 He came to seek and to save that which was lost and in John 1:14, the word became flesh; in Acts 10:38 He went about doing good. We ought always to try to do good and to do what pleases Him. David said in Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” God said in Matthew 17:5, “…behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Romans 15:3, “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” Jesus pleased God in His birth, in His life, in His death, in His prayer life and in His work`.   How can I please God?

EXALT HIS SON.

Colossians 1:18-19, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”

DO GOOD.

Hebrews 13:15-17, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. And to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Read 1 John 4:7-21.

BE FRUITFUL. Colossians 1:10, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

PRAISE HIM. Psalm 69:30, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.” God was pleased when the Old Testament prophets praised Him. God was pleased when Jesus praised Him. God was pleased when the New Testament prophets praised Him, and God is pleased when the New Testament Christians praise Him.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 66-68, Proverbs 5. Complete___

           

        JUNE 4th               

Review yesterday’s devotion

 Notice the progress the blind man made in trusting Christ:

  • He refers to Him in verse 11 as a man who is called Jesus.
  • He is a prophet in verse 17.
  • He is a “worshipper of God who doeth His will” in verse 31.

  • He said, “I believe,” and he worshipped Him in verse 38.

Why did Jesus use mud to heal blind eyes? God has no limitation on means that He can use. He can use Moses’ rod to open the Red Sea or bring a river of water out of the rock in the wilderness. Under Gideon, he can use three hundred men with pitchers and lamps to set to flight and defeat the multiplied thousands of the Midianites. He can use a boy’s lunch to feed five thousand. He can use “unlearned and ignorant men” to move the multitudes, to work miracles and to astonish the Jewish leaders, and to save many at Jerusalem.

1 Corinthians 1:27-28,  “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and the things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.”

Let’s remember that in healing, as in teaching, preaching and winning souls, God uses means. He can heal without physicians and medicine, but He more often uses them than not. Ordinarily, God’s people have food, clothes and money because they work and earn it. We pray for our daily bread, but usually we are asking God to help us to earn it. We pray for the healing of the sick, but God wants us to use the skill of the doctors and the nurses. This does not mean that we have to limit our faith to doctors and nurses, but God often does heal wonderfully beyond any human means or expectation.  J.C. McAuley once said, “Other blind men were given sight, but not by the same method. When God makes a man, He breaks the mold. We do not find Him using the same method twice, because He deals with men as men, not as “cases’.” Let’s remember that each Human being in the church is a soul whom Jesus loves.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Kings 5-9, Proverbs 4, Complete___

                                 

                                         June 3rd                                       


A BLIND MAN’S FAITH!

Read John 9:1-41

On a previous visit to Jerusalem (John 5:9), Jesus had healed an impotent man on the Sabbath, for which, and for His claim that He was the Son of God they attempted to stone Him (John 8:52-59). He now works a still more notable Sabbath miracle in verse 14. The Book of John is one sign after another to show that Jesus is the Son of God. This miracle is the healing of a man blind from birth. Jesus again is busy working in verse 4.

Hershel Ford illustrates this verse this way – it is said of Michelangelo that while he was working on his great statue of Moses, he slept in his clothes, kept some food at his side and ate a bite from time to time. It is said of John Milton that he arose at 4:00 AM in order to write his poetry when his mind was fresh. It is said that when the churches were closed to John Wesley, he went to the cemetery and used his father’s tombstone as a pulpit. Oh, that we were just as zealous in our work for the Lord! It won’t be long until night cometh when no man can work.  In verse 1, this man did not plead for help, no one interceded for him as far as we know, but Jesus knew that this man was in the plan of God, that the works of God should be made manifest in him.  In verse 3, his blindness was not because of the sins of his parents, nor of his own sin, but allowed of God for the glorious hour when Jesus will show His power and defy the Pharisees tradition and opposition about the Sabbath healings. This blind man will get more than he ever thought – not only will he see, but he will also receive eternal life. Often in the Bible, sin is directly related to parents’ sin, but not in this case (Exodus 20:5). It was so that the works of God should be made manifest in him. It had been in the plan of God when this child was born that the Saviour should heal him, and that this should be a sign of the deity of Christ.   In verse 6, many miracles of Christ were instantaneous. Compare the healing of the blind man in Luke 18 with the healing of this blind man. Both were supernatural, contrary to nature. In this case, the Lord chose to use mud. In the other case, He did not. There was no difference in the power that He used. There was no special power in the mud or in the pool of Siloam, but he was sent to show HIS FAITH IN JESUS. HE BELIEVED that he could be made whole, and he did what Jesus said. Blind Bartimeus had already shown his faith by calling out to Jesus. Continued Tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 37-40, Proverbs 3. List two Bible examples of people that Jesus healed. Complete___

                      JUNE 2nd                

Continued from Yesterday 

If the husband were in charge of the home, we would not need for the woman to go out into the world and do the man’s work.  So, the man’s first priority is to serve God, to do His work.  Why?  So he can care for his family.  The man does not stay home and care for the home.  However, he has charge of his home and must make sure everything in the home is both scriptural and obedient. An employer does not clean the toilets and sweep the parking lot.  He does not mind doing so, but if he is going to have a successful business, he must delegate and administer.  That is exactly what a husband must do.

The wife’s first responsibility is to her husband and to help him in his work.  The wife must free the husband to do his work by carrying out his wishes during the day.  In the running of the home, caring for the family, cooking the meals, doing the wash, etc., thereby freeing the husband to do his work. Now, I know that it is all backwards in today’s society, but it is still God’s priority.  The wife is to care for the husband, for the children and the home.  We need to return to some kind of models in our homes. Children need mothers and well-balanced diets.  Young mothers, it would be good to read some good Christian books on rearing children, proper diets and other things to help you become better mothers.  Is it any wonder that children do not like so many things to eat? Oh yes, they will always go for the fast food, because they are not used to eating good quality food cooked by mom.  Fruits and vegetables are good for the children and are absolutely necessary.

Wives, it is important for the children to see their mothers cooking, cleaning the house, ironing, dressing the little ones, planning for the holidays. Let’s get our homes in order.  The husband is the head of the wife; the wife in submission to her husband and the children obey their parents. We must simply follow the scriptural mandate.  Fathers, take some time for your children.  Mothers, teach your children to follow.  Yes, teach them the Bible, but also how to live it. Whew! Glad that went over so well.

Daily Assignments

Read Galatians 1-3, Proverbs 2. Make an outline of last Sunday’s Sunday school lesson. Complete___

  

JUNE 1st   

                          

WHEN DOING GOOD IS WRONG!

Read Luke 9:57-62

There are many things we could do to try to please God.  There are many things we can do to help one another.  There are many things we should do, and yet others, we must do.  How can we discern those that are a “must” between those that are a “may” in our lives?  It is my prayer that each of us will understand the importance of God’s priorities.  There are some very necessary things we can do, and still be doing the wrong thing. Take for example, the disciples at Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1.  Was it wrong for them to gaze at Jesus? No, but there are priorities. In Matthew 24:36-44, they were doing some very necessary things.  Was it wrong for them to eat, drink and marry? No, but in verse 39, “they knew not until the flood came.”

Noah preached to them for 120 years; they had ample warning, but they were not prepared.  Their priorities were all out of order.  They had the wrong things as priorities.  They did good, but at the wrong time.  You can be good, but not in the right way or the right time.  When you do good things and they wrong, then it is sin. It is good to have Christian fellowship, but a sin to have it on a Sunday morning, Sunday night, or Wednesday night, unless that fellowship is in church. We must also put our families in order, to effectively serve the Lord. Many may not like this, but the husband’s first priority is not his wife and children, but to serve the Lord.  However, the most important part of the man’s work is his family.  The husband must love his wife and children.  He must teach and train them and restrain them.

Every husband will answer to God for his wife and children. Wives are commanded to submit to their husbands and children are commanded to obey their parents.  Eve was given as a helpmate to Adam, not vise versa. Many homes are broken because of a lack of understanding.  God has a perfect order: the husband, wife, and then the children.  It is up to the husband to teach kindness, generosity, sacrifice, love, and affection to his family. Children ought never be allowed to talk back to their parents. Each member of the family is to serve the Lord with all his or her heart, but parents are to set the example and then teach their family to follow.  Here’s the line of authority: God, husband, wife, and children. The husband is not to be a taskmaster, but the master of the home. Continued Tomorrow!

Daily Assignment!

Read Luke 7-8, Proverbs 1, Complete___     

May 31st   

FEAR GOD!

Read Proverbs 1:1-7 and 19:23 

Hundreds of times the Bible tells us to fear God. Often the word fear is a reverential awe or trust of God. Sometimes it means we should fear God exceedingly. Why should we fear God?  What does it mean? We hope to answer these questions today

WHAT IT MEANS TO FEAR GOD. 

  • To fear God means to recognize his awesome power – Matthew 28:18-20
  • Think of it – wouldn’t it be foolish not to fear Him who has been given all the power in the universe.
  • He said, “All power is given unto me.” The power given to Him can be passed on to the Christian.
  • Fearing Him reminds us of where we were, where we are, and where we’re going. Psalm 9:20, “Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men.”
  • To fear God means to respond to His authority – not only to recognize His awesome power but also to respond to His authority scripturally.
  • When we fear God we recognize that He has complete power and authority over us.
  • He has authority over our body, our soul, and our spirit – Matthew 10:28.
  • Romans 9:20-23 teaches that He has the power and authority to make us as He pleases.
  • To fear God means to remember His law – Deuteronomy 10:12-13
  • God requires us to keep His commandments and to fear Him.
  • If we fear God, we will depart from evil, according to Proverbs 16:6.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 47-52, Proverbs 31. Read the following verses and write down the blessings that come from fearing God. Psalm 34:7-9, Proverbs 19:23, Psalm 103:17. Complete___                     

                                  MAY 30th                                       

THE GREATEST AMONG US – A SERVANT!

Matthew 20:26-28 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

People often ask, “Who is the greatest person in the Bible?” or “Who is the greatest Christian in America today?” “Who is the greatest pastor, evangelist, or missionary?” or “Who is the greatest among us?”

In today’s text, we would have to agree that the greatest among us is the servant. Even Jesus came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. Jesus is the greatest servant of all. How can we follow His footsteps and be the greatest of servants? There are three things given about the servant.

The servant is the greatest among us.

It is good to be waited on, to receive and to be comforted. It is even greater to be a servant, to give and to be a comforter. Jesus set the example for us to follow and gave us a command to follow His steps.

Great men are first servants.

“One cannot successfully lead until he has first successfully followed.” Great leaders have always been great followers. A follower is someone who is given an order and obeys it immediately. Joshua faithfully followed Moses for forty years. Caleb wholly followed the Lord. He served under Moses and then under Joshua. He claimed victories in the Promised Land. The apostle Paul was a great leader because he was first a great servant. God’s tasks for the servant are important. Yet, to the servant, no job is too little because little things are important to him. Would you be a mighty man? Be a servant.

We should seek the servant’s job first.

We should be first on the job, first to complete our work, and first to get things done. We should be first in faithfulness and steadfastness. God is looking for servants and blesses the lives of His servants. He who sweeps the place will someday rule the place. He that is the greatest of all is the servant of all. Now, the question is, “Are you a servant?”

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 1, Proverbs 30, Complete___

 

MAY 29th

 WHY WORRY?

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Worry can be defined as fear of imaginary future problems. We have often said that worry accomplishes nothing except the failure of handling the problems of today. Worry can cause you to lose sleep, can cause stress in relationships and can make you sick. The only thing it cannot do is to solve problems. There are two main reasons why we should not worry.

  • It is the practice of the heathen, who have no Heavenly Father.
  • It is unnecessary and God already sees the things that you need.

In the life of a Christian, we should replace worry with prayer. God can see the future far better than we can. He also knows the present better than we do. God knows the number of stars in the sky and the number of hairs on our heads. A sparrow cannot fall without God knowing of it.

For a Christian, worry is foolish. Prayer, however, is positive action. Prayer moves fear out of the way, it brings peace to the heart. Paul says, don’t worry about anything, but pray and pray thanking God in advance for victories He will bring. It would have been easy for Paul to worry. He was possibly facing torture or possibly death. He had already been through many trials and tribulations. However, he knew that God was in control. No matter what the situation, Paul was content, because he took his problems to God and left them in God’s hands. Oh that we could do likewise. Bro. Ken Starlin

 

Daily Assignments

 

Read Psalms 63-65

Read Proverbs 29

Complete___

   

May 28th

                                       

REVIVE THY WORK!

Habakkuk 3:2 O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

There is much preparation necessary for a successful revival, be it in the church or in the lives of individuals. In our text, Habakkuk is pleading for a revival not only in his own personal life, but also for his people. Habakkuk is pleading for God to preserve His judgment with mercy. Habakkuk had just gone through a series of questions for which he needed some answers from God. God was going to use the wicked Chaldeans to punish his people, and then He would punish and judge the Chaldeans. Here is the order: The Bible says that judgment must begin at the house of God. Before we can ever hope to stir up our city, we must stir ourselves for a revival. We must ask God to preserve His ministry and bring it to a new zeal in life through judgment in His mercy. There are three things needed to bring about revival in an individual or a ministry.

Complete honesty in the need of revival.We can find fault with others and blame anyone we want. However, we must individually look at ourselves and say, “It is my fault,” and admit honestly before God the need of revival. We must do our best to be honest in all our dealings and to have a pure heart before a Holy God.

A new obedience to His Word. We simply ask God to convict our hearts of sin and then make it right. It is better to obey than to sacrifice. It is better to obey than to rationalize. It is up to us to make things right in our own hearts and plead with God to revive the work.

A humble spirit before God. Think of sin as a nuclear bomb, not a little firecracker. Think about the consequences of sin, not the temporary joy of it. Think of the broken hearts and lives and humbly confess your need before God.

These are only a few of the things that we must do before we will see a personal revival and thereby a revival in the church and the area.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Kings 1-4, Proverbs 28, Complete___

                                                   MAY 27th

ARE YOU LYING?

1 Samuel 21:7-9Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul. And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste. And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.”

David, having just been driven from Samuel by Saul, fled immediately to the man of God for counsel. Of course this was a wise thing to do. David loved God’s servants and would not leave their company. Ahimelech suspected that something was terribly wrong.

In verse 2, David tells him a lie as he did in 20:6. Oh yes, he lied to protect himself, but it was still a lie. This error of David’s is recorded not for his honor, but for our warning. His lie and falsehood led to terrible consequences, as lying always does.

He trusted in his own flesh instead of Almighty God. In verses 10-15, he went to Achish, he fled to the Philistines, and he changed his behavior. When we leave the plain path of faith and doing right, there is no telling what we’ll do or how far we will go.

Look at David, acting like a madman. Think how truthful the Holy Spirit was to record David’s behavior, which was a man after God’s own heart, in order to give us a warning. There are 4 lessons from this passage:

  • Learn to be truthful at all times. Look at the consequences before you sin or lie.
  • Learn from past failures.
  • Realize your own weaknesses, avoid temptations and strengthen weakness through Christ.
  • Confess your weaknesses and trust in the Lord to deliver you.

If everyone would apply these basic lessons, there is no reason for anyone to be defeated because of the lies or temptations of Satan.

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 33-36, Proverbs 27, Complete___

MAY 25th   

A few things to think about for the next two days

Which are you?

In a past edition of My Daily Walk, we looked at a list that showed how people were like everyday common objects. I found the list again and thought it would be good for each of us to look at it and see where we fit into the list. A lot of people are like wheelbarrows, not good unless they are pushed. Some are like canoes; they need to be paddled. Some are like kites, if you don’t keep them on a string, they fly away. Some are like footballs, you can’t tell which way they will bounce next. Some are like balloons, full of wind and ready to blow up. Some are like trailers; they have to be pulled. Some are like good watches – open face, pure gold, quietly busy, full of good works.

The Right Words

Lord, give me the right words to say

To broken hearts that come my way

To those who have been hurt before

That, I not hurt them any more

To those whose hearts have hardened up

To those who won’t hold out their cup

That, Lord, You long to overflow

With love and mercy.  Lord, let me know

That I might have the words to say

That I might plant a seed today

That glory would be given to you

Through all I say and all I do

Lord, give me the right words to say

More hearts are breaking every day

They’re out there crying in the night

I long to help them see the light

But, fragile are those souls and weak

So this is why your words I seek

And pray Thee give me words to say

That I, not one soul, turn away.  By Susan Tier

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 5-6, Proverbs 25, Complete___

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant

May 26th

 

What hast thou done for me?

I gave my life for thee

My precious blood I shed

That thou might’st ransomed be

and quickened from the dead

I gave my life for thee

What hast thou given for me?

My Father’s house of light

My glory circled throne

I left for earthly night

for wandering sad and lone

I left it all for thee

Hast thou left aught for me?

I suffered much for thee

More than thy heart can know

Of bitterest agony

To rescue thee from woe

I’ve borne it all for thee

What hast thou borne for me?

And I have brought to thee

Down from my home above

Salvation full and free

My pardon and my love

Great gifts I brought to thee

What hast thou done for me?

                                                                                      Francis Havergal

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Corinthians 11-13

Read Proverbs 26

Complete___

                           

                                                  MAY 24th                          

DYING TO SELF!

Read John 12:20-36

According to John, chapter 15, it is very clear that, in order to bear fruit, more fruit and much fruit, we must abide in Christ and die to self. In verses 20-22 some Greeks came seeking Jesus, “We would see Jesus.”

Then, in verses 23-26, the Greeks and the Jews had seen Jesus glorified as Messiah, and He wanted to teach them that the way to glory is not through triumph and glory, domination or subjection, but through death to self, through service to God, as well as to man. Jesus did basically two things: He said His hour was come, but think of this – His glory was not man’s way, but the way of the cross and death.

Jesus must die before He can bear the fruit of eternal life, because His teaching in verse 24 is that, if it does not die, it will not bring forth fruit. So the way to have fruit is to die to self. In case of a young couple seeking marriage, it has always been my belief that the marriage ought never to take place unless the love is a biblical love so strong that they could not possibly live without each other. Otherwise, that marriage may be headed for destruction before it even begins.

It is God’s plan for man to have one wife for one life. God will always give His best to those who leave the choice up to Him. God’s normal plan is for people to be married, but in order for a marriage to be successful, there must be a dying to self by both the husband and the wife.

I heard someone say many years ago, “I would rather be single, wishing I were married than to be married, wishing I were single.” That’s a good principle. Young person, God will not lead you to someone you don’t love or like, but it is common sense to realize that you would not want to marry someone who does not share common goals.

In a marriage, as well as in our relationship to Christ, there must be a dying to and forgetting self and surrender in giving ourselves to the other person. The Christian must give himself whole-heartedly to his Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. God said His name His above every name in Philippians 2:8-11, Colossians 1:14, Hebrews 1:8-9, 2:9. Also, it is the cross that moves men to offer themselves as a living sacrifice – Romans 6:10-11, 14:8-9. Jesus not only said that His hour was come, but He is also saying that now man’s hour has come. Man must lose his life to gain eternal life – Mark 8:36, Luke 6:49, 9:23, Romans 8:13.

Man must serve and follow Jesus all the days of his life – Mark 10:43-44, Matthew 19:27-29. Remember to live is to die to self.

Daily Assignments!

Read Jeremiah 42-46, Proverbs 24, Complete___

MAY 23rd 

                  

THE SHINE OF FAITH ON YOUR FACE!

Read Acts 6:15 & 7:54-60

Stephen had a certain glow (shine) on his face and it makes one wonder what it is in the lives of some that seem to have a shine, while others do not. Therefore, I believe it is important for us to learn how to make our lives shine for Christ.

First of all, Stephen had a shine of faith. That is, he simply obeyed God.  The question for us is, “What did we believe God for today?” There is a certain kind of a shine on someone who has faith.

Second, Stephen also had a shine of wisdom.It is more than winning an argument or a discussion. It involves having a genuine love for people. Someone said, “You can only skin a sheep once, but you have to feed him or her many times.” John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” Wisdom helps us not to talk down to people, and it also helps us to recognize the difference between love and hate, bad, good and the best. Stephen, I believe sought the best, because he had a shine of faith, and he had a shine of wisdom.

Third, Stephen also had a shine of conviction. Read Acts 7:54-60. He lived a life of principle rather than preferences. He lived a life of Scriptural authority, rather than man’s answers. He had a conviction to have a Christ-like attitude. He realized that principles would make decisions for him. Constant practice will give us the right kind of biblical principles because practice builds character. Someone said, “Two ways to build good character are to get up early in the morning and fast one day a week.” There may be more to it, but these would certainly be helpful in the building of our character.

And last, Stephen also had a shine of a forgiving heart. Can it be said of you and me that we too have a forgiving heart? Let’s remember, it cost Jesus everything to give us the free gift of salvation, and it cost Stephen everything to receive it.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 41-42, Proverbs 23. Write down everything you can remember from the Sunday night sermon. Complete___

     

MAY 22nd

The White Line!

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Many times, while driving, I have encountered fog. Sometimes it is so thick that the only thing I can see is the white line in the middle of the road. All that can be seen is the road just in front of the car and the white line dividing the lanes. That line becomes a lifeline leading through the fog. How grateful we are when the fog lifts and once again we can see the complete road ahead. I thought about that white line in my devotions. It must be just the right width, just the right paint color, just in the right location. If it varied in direction, heading off towards the side of the road, or just ended, leaving 5 lanes of undivided road, chaos would ensue. We have come, without really thinking about it, to depend on that white line. Much money is spent on that white line, but it must be maintained so we can have safer driving.

Our faith ought to be like that white line. Jesus said to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify you Father which is in heaven.” Jesus told us that we are the “Light of the world”. We are the white line leading to the Father for the lost. We are the white line leading to recovery to those who are backslidden. They may not realize it all the time, they may not use us often, but we are so valuable when they need us. They may mock us now, but when troubles come, they need the straight white line to be there. In the light of day, we seem a nuisance, but let a little fog enter their lives and they seek us out.

How is your line today? Do you lead down the straight path, or are you a little wayward in your leading? Can men count on you to show them the path to safety, to God? Can others find guidance in you? It may cost you something, but how important it is when others are in need. It may take some sacrifice to maintain, but lives are truly at stake. Oh that God would help all of us to be that straight white line that God wants us to be. Bro. Ken Starlin

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 60-62, Proverbs 22, Complete___

       

                   May 21st         

The Discipline of Disappointment!

Read Lamentations 3:22-25

Lamentations is basically Jeremiah’s warning for Jerusalem, and he does it by weeping over the desolation of the city, that he shows his heart-brokenness, as well as his sharing of his nation’s affliction. He realizes that sometimes God must act in judgment in order to fulfill His Word, and in these wonderful verses he is consumed with the mercies and faithfulness of God. If you continue reading chapter three towards the end of the chapter, you will see that he realizes the value of a yoke. In verse 33, he realizes that God does not afflict His people willingly, but only to give them greater hope. This makes me realize the importance of the discipline of disappointment. It is my belief that the Lord suffers when His people suffer.

In the life of Jeremiah, I see first of all his pressure. Everything seems to be against him, but then notice Jeremiah 33:3. I believe God would have us to be continually asking, “What do you have for me to learn in this trial?”

Secondly, I see Jeremiah’s persistence. Look at 3:49, where he continually wept for his people. He prayed for his people. The lesson for the Christian is to look up to Jesus continually. Jeremiah reflects the feelings and the sentiments of society. It brought him frustration, but also a great revelation. For example, God has given us Romans 8:28 in the New Testament. Here’s the lesson – focus on God’s purpose, His power, and His promises.

Thirdly I see God’s glorious provision. God is not only powerful, but also very personal. God is interested in flowers and birds and the physical world, how much more in His people. Look at 5:19, Deuteronomy 7:9, Proverbs 13:15. God will never fail you. Don’t have self-confidence, but have Spirit-controlled confidence in Christ, because as we realize His pressure and we are persistent, trust Him for the provision, it will lead us to the verification of: truth, trust and triumph. Think of it, God does all of these things to develop you and me in the discipline of disappointment.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 20-24, Proverbs 21, Complete___ 

MAY 20th

The Need of the Hour!  

Please read and heed the following article by Charles G. Finney, published in Revival Lectures: “There are two kinds of means required to promote a revival; one to influence men, the other to influence God.

The truth is employed to influence men, and prayer to move God. Prayer is an essential link in the chain of causes that lead to a revival; as much so as the truth is.

Some have zealously used truth to convert men and laid very little stress on prayer. They have preached and talked and distributed tracts with great zeal, and then wondered that they had so little success. And the reason was that they forgot to use the other branch of the means – effectual prayer. They overlooked the fact that truth by itself will never produce the effect without the Spirit of God, and that the Spirit is given in answer to earnest prayer.

Sometimes it happens that those who are the most engaged in employing the truth are not the most engaged in prayer. This is always unhappy. For unless they or somebody else have the spirit of prayer, the truth by itself will do nothing but harden men in impenitence.

Probably in the Day of Judgment, it will be found that nothing is ever done by the truth, used ever so zealously, unless there is a spirit of prayer somewhere in connection with the presentation of the truth.”

Amen! I can add nothing to great this truth. 

Dr. Nikoley Saved 5/20/1971

Praise God for His Mercy!

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 29-32 

Read Proverbs 20 

Complete___ 

May 19th

The need, Men and Woman of Truth!

Jeremiah 5:1 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.

God, through His prophets, tried to get the people of Israel to realize that the greatest problem facing them was not the strength of the nations surrounding them, but the wickedness of their hearts. The Bible is full of examples of God protecting the nation from the enemies of Israel, but then the people allowing themselves to be destroyed because their wickedness.

But that is not all that God desired of His people. He was looking for someone, anyone, who loved justice and sought truth. So great would that person’s power for good be, that if just one such person could be found, the city would be saved.

What a great truth. The strength of a nation is having people of character. Imagine the greatness of a nation whose men and women love justice so much that they practice it; people who love truth so much that they desire it in preference to lies. But the greatest thing is that it does not take a majority of people like that, it just takes a few.

A handful of God fearing men and women, living lives that glorify God, can make a nation great. That is what America has always had in the past. God help us to be able to make that claim once again. Two things are very evident in these verses:

  • The hopelessness condition of the human race.
  • The Divine Redemption of God.

In other words, we see a vivid picture of the demoralization of a nation and its inability to produce a man who could revive or reform mankind. We find ourselves much in the same condition even in this generation.

Isaiah 63:5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. Look at Jeremiah 5:1 again. Bro. Ken Starlin 

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Corinthians 9-10, Proverbs 19. Make a list of some of the great men and women in this nation’s history. Complete___ 

MAY 18th    

NEEDS OF MISSIONARIES ON THE FIELD!

Read Matthew 9:36-38, II Corinthians 1:8-11

Dr. James Kennard, Military Director of BIMI, preached this message at one of our Annual Mission Conference and we are using the outline with his gracious permission.

PRAY FOR THEIR PHYSICAL NEEDS 2 Corinthians 4:7 & 11:23-28

  • Health
  • Safety (Protection)
  • Rest
  • Computer equipment

PRAY FOR THEIR EMOTIONAL NEEDS 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

  • Adjustments to culture
  • Loneliness
  • Depression
  • Family relationships

PRAY FOR THEIR SPIRITUAL NEEDS 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

  • Spiritual growth and wisdom
  • Overcome temptation  (I Corinthians 10:13)
  • Filled with the Spirit  (Ephesians 5:18)
  • Spiritual results – Lost souls (Proverbs 11:30)

PRAY FOR THEIR FINANCIAL NEEDS Philippians 4:10-19

  • Continued support for personal needs and ministry needs
  • Wants (Philippians 2:25)
  • Management of finances (Romans 12:11a)
  • Expense of Educational needs – language school, etc.
  • Special needs – taxes, visas, medical, equipment, etc.

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 3-4

Read Proverbs 18

Spend about five extra minutes in prayer tonight before you go to bed asking God for His power on the missionaries worldwide.

Complete___

                MAY 17th                 

REAL SUCCESS FOR THE CHRISTIAN!

Read 1 John 5:11, Joshua 1:8

I believe all of us understand that there is a difference between the success in the world and success in the Christian life. The world ordinarily brings success in one of three ways: money, power or fame. None of these would be especially harmful to the Christian walk, but they are not absolutely necessary to be a successful Christian.

The mother who cares for her family and her husband and her home is a successful Christian as far as her responsibility is concerned, but if she lacks in her faithfulness to God, she is not a successful Christian as far as her spiritual service is concerned.

It is not the lack of fame, power or money that makes a Christian unsuccessful. A successful Christian is one who does certain things, not to be successful, but because of his success in walking with God. If you are saved, you ought to want to be a success on your way to heaven.

That’s logical! Christianity centers on the person, not prosperity. It is eternal and either we have Jesus or not. Either we are saved or unsaved. Jesus knocked, you let Him in and He is in. Or He knocked, you refused to let Him in and He is shut out. Please read John 10:27-29 and Ephesians 1:13. Four basic principles to be a successful Christian:

You will never be a success until you know that you are saved for eternity – a very basic principle.

Now that you are on your way to heaven and know it, God wants you to be a witness to the lost. In other words, God wants you to boldly proclaim the Gospel.

You should read your Bible and learn to understand it. Psalm 1:2, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord;” and in verse 3, “and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Then you will have good success. Remember when you used to receive letters from home when you were away? What if you did not read them? The Bible is our letter from God. When you receive a letter from a loved one, you are anxious to open and to read it – perhaps even to answer it. The same is true of God’s word. You must open it, read it and answer it.

You ought to pray without ceasing – not spend hours and hours on your knees, but always be in an attitude of prayer. Pray in the morning, at noon, in the evening. If you will learn to pray in the morning, there is a good chance you won’t be defeated in the evening. Yes, God wants you to have good success, but never at the expense of neglecting God or His word.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 37-41, Proverbs 17, Complete___

                    MAY 16th                             

Why we have to beg God

 Read Luke 18:1-8

Answer to prayer is often the result of begging God. Somehow we have lost the art of prayer. Verse one shows the necessity of begging God. Someone said, “to beg God day and night to begin to see the light.” Begging is given to get us ready to receive not for God to get in the mood to give.

When you are empty you are actually full. The more you beg the more you want it. You beg and unload something else. Now that you are empty you are really full.

Look for example at Jesus and the net of fish in John 21:6, 8, 11 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.  And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.

Many of us are too wrapped up in the things of the world and self that we have been filled with the wrong things in life. Maybe we all have to do as pastors do every time they step into this pulpit, “Lord, please empower and use me to help my people.” Look for example when Jacob wrestled with God all night long. Do you really believe that God had a hard time beating Jacob? It’s yours already; all you have to do is claim it. We need to say, “God empty me so that you can fill me.”

When you buy an airplane ticket you get all there is with it. Your food or peanuts are included. All things are yours for the asking. God told Joshua to take the land. We just don’t want it badly enough to do it God’s way. We need to beg and not let go until we get whatever we are begging God for. The average Christian in America has not prayed for five minutes this week. Several lessons today:

PERSEVERE AND DON’T LET DISCOURAGEMENT GET TO YOU. 

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT GOD IS TRYING TO TEACH YOU. 

PROCLAIM HIS GOODNESS WHEN HE ANSWERS. 

Daily Assignments

Read Job 39-40, Proverbs 16, Complete___   

MAY 15th 

                          

JEREMIAH’S GIRDLE!

Read Jeremiah 13:1-11 

This is quite an illustration, containing very practical applications for today. God is speaking to Jeremiah commands him to get a linen girdle. Now, this is not the kind of thing Jeremiah would dare to go to the local mall to purchase, nor would he be able to find it at the local store, but I believe Jeremiah made an effort to locate a girdle fit for a man. A girdle was a part of a garment used to help hold up the clothing, much as a belt in our day, and it was also used for holding a sword, as well as a place to hold money. So the girdle had many different uses and was more commonly used by the high priest, warriors or men of great renown.

Amazing – God commanded poor Jeremiah, who, as Jesus, barely had a place to lay his head, to go out a find a girdle. A girdle was usually made of leather if it was to be exposed on the outside of the body, or of linen when it was worn under a longer garment. Now, here is the picture – God commanded Jeremiah to get this girdle, put it on, wear it but don’t wash it, take it to the Euphrates, bury it and leave it there until he was commanded to get it again.

Many months, perhaps years later, God had Jeremiah go to Euphrates and pick up the girdle, thereby giving him a great illustration of the people of Israel and Jerusalem. By this time the girdle was marred, dirty and probably smelled bad. According to verse 7, “it was profitable for nothing.” God compares it to the people of Judah. God wanted the people of Judah to cleave unto Him, as does the girdle to the body. They refused! The lessons are threefold:

  • God is saying, “I want you close to me, as the girdle is to the body.”
  • If the girdle gets dirty, it is separated from the body. God is saying, “If you get dirty, you will be separated from me.”
  • And, in Verse 10, it was good for nothing. God is saying, “You will then be good for nothing.”

How does this relate to us today? God wants us to stay close to Him. If we refuse to do so, we get dirty and then are good for nothing, or “profitable for nothing.”  

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 57-59, Proverbs 15, Complete___                                         

                                           May 14th                                          

 

God’s Amazing Grace!

 Titus 2:1-14

Verse 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Notice the many times God uses the word doctrine in this chapter. One of the most exciting doctrines in the Word of God is the Doctrine of Grace. The Christian must realize that only the Grace of God has saved him. I have chosen Titus chapter two for this devotion because of the words God gave us in chapter one, where the Apostle Paul had directed Titus on what to do in the churches of Crete. He also put him on his guard, by showing the character of the people he had to deal with. In chapter two he gives him instructions as to his own method of teaching, indicating what kind of doctrines he should instill, and what kind of instructions he should give to the various classes of people. But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: This is actually a continuation of chapter one and is given as an admonition to beware of the teachers that not only taught false doctrine, but led ungodly lives. Again, Titus was to act completely opposite and teach the things that become sound doctrine. He must proclaim and illustrate that truth.  The people must be well taught and live holy in their lives.  In other words, principle and practice must go hand in hand. He was to speak only the things of sound doctrine, and instruct the aged men to be sober, grave, and temperate and act in a mature manner in verses 1-2. Then in verses 3-5 he instructs the aged women to be good examples to the younger women and help to care for their spiritual needs. In verses 6-8 the young men were to be sober-minded, and Titus himself would be considered a young man. He was to be an example to them in all things. In verses 9-10 the servants were to be taught to be faithful in performing their duties to their masters. In verses 11-15 they are given the grace to enforce these doctrines by the power of the Gospel. The grace that gave them the wonderful gift of salvation has appeared to all people, and they were now to embrace it and teach everyone in the church to live according to a higher standard, the amazing grace of God.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 15-19, Proverbs 14, Complete___

MAY 13th 

          

INGREDIENTS TO PRAYER!

Read Matthew 7:7-11 & Luke 11:13

The four basic ingredients of prayer are confession, thanksgiving, adoration, and supplication. Dr. Rice said prayer is asking, so if we are going to receive, we must ask. We all want to be around people who get things from God, or at least those who get answers to prayer. How can I be that kind of person?

By asking. If we are going to ask, according to James 1:1-7, we must ask in faith. Also, see James 5:13-18. We live in a generation that has forgotten to ask. Nehemiah prayed, and the wall was finished. Nehemiah 1:4 was the key to the finishing of the wall. He wept, he mourned, he fasted, and he prayed, then he asked God to be attentive to his prayer. Hannah prayed and had a son by the name of Samuel, whom she dedicated to the Lord’s service for his entire life. Have you dedicated your children to the Lord? Zacharias and Elizabeth prayed and got a son by the name of John. Elijah prayed, and it didn’t rain for 3 ½ years; he prayed again, and it did rain. Joshua prayed, and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. Moses prayed and led the children of Israel through the wilderness (though it took them 40 years). These great men shared one common denominator – prayer. Prayer is asking. Abraham prayed, and God spared Lot and his family. Solomon prayed for wisdom, and God gave him great wisdom – and wealth (2 Chronicles 1:7-13). Remember, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego prayed, and the rest is history. Daniel prayed, and the lions literally got lockjaw.

By Giving, Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Be sacrificial in giving, and others will give sacrificially to you. See Proverbs 19:17. Give to the poor and God will give it to you when you are poor, and with interest. Make 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 a part of your daily life. Read it, and meditate upon it, for this week. A great Bible principle is that you always reap more than you sow.

By Serving, Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Three practical lessons: 1) Give Thanks. 2) Do it heartily – Colossians 3:17, 23.  3) Do it with all your might – Ecclesiastes 9:10. So, how do you get things from God?

By praying, by giving and by serving. Let’s remember that each of us faithfully praying, faithfully asking, faithfully giving, and faithfully serving, will lead to getting the things we need from God. Jesus said, “Such cometh by nothing but by prayer and fasting.” Let me encourage you to fast and pray at least a portion of one day each week.

Read Exodus 25-28, Proverbs 13, Complete___

MAY 12th 

                

 THE JOURNEY!

Read Romans 13:11-14 

Have you ever stopped to think about how the Christian life is like a journey? For example, when one takes an airplane trip, he gets settled in his seat and the plane takes off, he opens his Bible or his computer and he gets busy. Then, just before landing (which is the busiest time for the pilot), he puts his Bible or his computer away for a smooth (hopefully) landing. So it is with us. Most of us have a sense of real excitement at the start of our Christian “journey,” when we are saved, but after a little while, it seems to wear off. The wise man is excited for the entire trip.

First, we have the departure, that is, we depart from the old life the moment we are saved – 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Second, there is the journey. The journey should be exciting – the excitement of the flight or drive, or in the case of the Christian, the daily walk with God, the exciting times as well as the times of testing’s and trials. There will always be obstacles, and we can either enjoy the journey or complain about the traffic, the crowded seating.

Third is the arrival. The most exciting part is the destination. The destination for the Christian is heaven. The Bible says, “Put on, therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ,” but it also says, “Put on the whole armor of God,” meaning that this life offers two things – a time of blessing with Jesus and a time of battling for Jesus. Back to the airplane trip – just before you land, you feel an excitement of seeing your loved ones again, of making new acquaintances, seeing new sights, etc.  So it ought to be for the Christian in looking forward to Jesus’ coming again and to seeing Him face to face. Think about this: the departure, the journey, or the arrival – each is important. The Bible says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” Since we do not know exactly when we will arrive, we must live as though today is our last day and therefore practice these four lessons:

  • Enjoy the journey today.
  • Give your best today.
  • Stay close to God.
  • Dedicate yourself day by day.

Each part of the trip may be difficult, but at some time, there will be an arrival at the destination. The question is, “Will there be any regrets?” 

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Corinthians 6-8, Proverbs 12, Complete___   

MAY 11th      

Personal Revival!

Read 2 Chronicles chapter 7

To see the spirit of Revival we must begin with commitment. I believe one of the greatest problems for many Christians is that they lack commitment. Certainly all of us can find something in our service to the Lord to which we can be committed, but we must begin with making a commitment. The key to succeeding with the commitments we have made, such as being in church on Wednesday evening, reading your Bible, spending more time in prayer, etc., is to keep them. Don’t quit! Don’t despair, but if you do, keep on going anyway. If you don’t come in first, come in anyway. Make a commitment to be the best you can be for God. Four things are necessary in order to carry out a commitment:

HAVE A VISION. Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “Reaching forth unto those things which are before.” We must have a vision of obedience to what has been revealed by the Holy Spirit. We must have a collective vision as a church, but we must also have an individual vision.

MAKE A START. Paul said in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark.” The decision has been made. It is too late to waver. It is too late to count the cost. It is time to make the start. If you made a commitment, now is the time to start.

KEEP ON GOING. Again, in verse 14, Paul says, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He is pressing onward, and he will not be sidetracked. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us that we must learn to lay aside those things that cause us to stumble, to be tempted, to become weak and to yield to temptation. In other words, keep on going to fulfill your commitment.

NEVER QUIT. Notice that Paul said, “I press toward the mark for the prize…” What is the prize? It is “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Which means we don’t quit until we see Jesus face to face.

Let’s also remember Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (In other words, if we do not give up.)

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 1-2, Proverbs 11

Complete___     

         May 10th            

Read Yesterday’s Devotion

Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Think about this for a moment: no matter the sorrow, eventually it ends in death; either by means of repentance or at the end of life. When you think about it, this alone is healthy for the soul, because constant worry not only tends to destroy life, but also robs us of enjoying life to the fullest as Christ intended.

LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME – DAY BY DAY

Matthew 6:34, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” As a rule we already have our hands full of today’s problems; why take on tomorrow’s? Most of what we worry about never happens. When we trust in God, pray, and live day by day, we feel His undergirding and strengthening – “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Why worry for our tomorrows when God so graciously supplies our needs today.

REMEMBER THAT GOD IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL Lamentations 3:22-23.

BE AWARE OF HIS PRESENCE IN Y0UR DAILY LIFE Hebrews 13:5-6.

BELIEVE GOD FOR EVERY NEED Matthew 6:30-33.

Once we take this most important step to victory over worry, we will understand Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Not our wants, but our needs.

Don’t allow your concern for tomorrow to rob you of your joy and peace today. QUIT WORRYING!

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 32-36, Proverbs 10, Complete___           

                 MAY 9th                

How to keep from worry!

Read Philippians 4:1-13

Sometimes the pressures of our society can be discouraging: money problems, family problems, competition, drugs, sex, indifference, tragedies, violence in our cities, war and rumors of war, temptations, recessions, enticements to do evil, etc.  Life has become more and more difficult as the economy has become weaker and weaker. More and more people are struggling with emotional stability. Every age group, social standing, race or income status is affected. Even Christians are falling to the overwhelming barrage of trials and troubled situations that they must face daily. Does this mean that we must cave in under these circumstances? Must we become victims of our fast paced society? No! We have the Spirit dwelling within. We have a living hope, an anchor for our souls. We have the Bible, God’s Word.

Experts tell us that worry originates not from the outside, but from within. It is not the job, schedule or pressure from other people that produce it; rather, it is how we respond to outside pressures that lead to anxiety.  So, when you analyze it carefully and honestly you realize that the responsibility to handle worry successfully is yours.  How?

TRUST IN THE LORD RATHER THAN MAN OR SELF. 

If you tend to worry a lot, you are probably trying to solve problems in your own abilities. The wise person has learned to trust in God. I like what the psalmist said in Psalm 43:5, “Hope thou in God.” That’s good advice for all of us. Most important – trust in God.

DON’T FORGET TO PRAY SPECIFICALLY.

In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul gives us some good advice. I realize that sometimes we don’t feel like praying. That’s the time to pray. I like what the Hymn writer says: “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” Prayer not only changes things, but it also changes people. The indwelling Holy Spirit brings calmness to your soul.

Continued Tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Job 37-38, Proverbs 9. Spend about five minutes in special prayer for your Pastor and God’s blessings upon him. Complete___

           May 8th                                        

I want my Rights!

Read Romans 13

If it could ever be said that we live in a society that believes in individual rights, I believe most would agree that we are living in such a day. People march and picket, make noise, go on television and even go so far as to use the media to make movies and write songs demanding individual rights.

It has gotten to the place we do not recognize the fact that in demanding our rights we often violate the rights of others. Take the example of a husband and wife or a parent and child in the home. The child says, “I have my rights.”  The husband says, “I have my rights; I have a right to do this or that,” without ever even thinking of the spouse or the parent, who also has some rights.

You have heard the expression that duties never conflict. Now let me start a new expression – rights never conflict. When God speaks and addresses our rights, He only says, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” In other words, when you become a child of God, all of your rights have been taken from you and given to the Holy Spirit and interpreted through the Scripture.

When I demand my rights, it must always be that my rights are consistent with the Word of God. Let’s make absolutely certain that where our own individual rights end, we do not trample on the rights of others or violate the Word of God.

Look again at verse 1, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained (ordered) of God.”

God is supreme; He is omnipotent; He is omniscient and omnipresent, and it is He to whom we must yield our individual rights. 

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 54-56, Proverbs 8, Complete___ 

May 7th

 

NEHUSHTAN – ONLY A PIECE OF BRASS!                 

Read 2 Chronicles 31:1-12 

We must go back about two chapters to see why the people are being blessed of God. In 2 Chronicles 29:1, Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, is not mentioned; only his mother and his grandfather are given. Both had a good influence on Hezekiah, making him a man of faith and prayer. Hezekiah led one of the greatest revivals in Old Testament history. He broke Moses’ brazen serpent, which was once used to bring salvation. The people were now worshipping it in idolatry. Hezekiah called it just a piece of brass – “Nehushtan.” It is possible to make an idol out of anything, television, music, movies, computers, etc. Today some people worship the symbol of the cross. They feel there is some merit in wearing it around their necks. Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, had nailed the doors of the Temple shut. It was not being used. Hezekiah opened the doors to the temple, saying, “Sanctify now yourselves.” There had to be a return to holy living, to honesty, integrity, a setting of themselves apart for God. We need the same changes today.

THE NEED FOR REVIVAL WAS REALIZED – 29:3-19. Hezekiah places the blame where it belongs; they brought it upon themselves because of their sin.  Then in 29:10, he tells them what is on his heart.

  • They sanctified themselves and the House of the Lord.
  • They sacrificed of themselves – 29:20-31
  • They served and set the House of the Lord in order – 29:35

THE PASSOVER WAS RESTORED – 30:1-20

  • Hezekiah took a public stand for God. The priests made atonement for all the people with burnt and sin offerings.
  • Today, God’s people need to take a public stand for God.

THE IDOLS WERE DESTROYED – 31:1-10

  • They repented of their own sin.
  • They returned to their duties.

THE BLESSINGS OF GOD RETURNED – 31:2-12.

  • They started tithing again –31:6.
  • They had more than was needed – 10-12.

LESSONS: Remember to keep every promise you make and reap the blessings from the Lord. 

Daily Assignment!

Read 2 Samuel 10-14, Proverbs 7, Complete___

MAY 6th 

1 Thessalonians 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.

As I listened to an offertory one evening, I had several thoughts: Remember how God has blessed in the past year. In the midst of your last trial, you did not know what would happen. Yes, many terrible things, atrocities, negative things, seem to capture the news. However, focusing on the many blessings of God would certainly take more space than this devotion will allow.

Realize He is the giver of all things. This thought really struck me some time ago. Be it for the good or the bad, nothing happens in my life outside of God’s approval. Think about that for a moment. The things that trouble us, the things that try us and test us – God is even aware of these things.

Remember Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Realize that blessings are given to us to share with others and to help to make the burdens of others a little lighter; if I am so bogged down with carrying my own burdens, how could I possibly help to bear others. It is my responsibility as a Christian to help you bear your burdens, and God will help me with mine. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

The Architect of the universe, the Master of all things, the God of all creation, is also aware of my lack of blessings. The songwriter said, “Count your many blessings. Name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” Here is the principle – never fret about things you did not get or do not have. Thank Him for what you do have: air to breathe, a home to live in, a church to attend, people to love, etc. This is probably the most important.

Do not seek a blessing – be one. Too many Christians seek to have things done for them. Let’s reverse the order. Be the Good Samaritan, and help others along the way. These were just some of the thoughts I had during the playing of the offertory one Sunday evening’s service. Why not sit back and enjoy the music, enjoy the offertories, enjoy the specials, enjoy the preaching and allow God to use them to make a difference in your life. 

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 21-24, Proverbs 6, Complete___       

May 5th                 

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 

If there is anything the Bible has taught me throughout my almost forty years in the ministry, it is that I must have a heart full of praise and rejoicing in the Lord. Nothing would drag a preacher (or any full-time servant) down more than a bucket full of negatives. Throughout the day, I am certain that most pastors face at least a half bucket full of negatives, and sometimes people used to ask, “Preacher, how do you keep going, facing all you do?” My answer is always pretty much the same, “My hope rests not in my own sufficiency, but my sufficiency is found in none other than the Lord.”  The second thing I always mention is that I keep my heart guarded, protected from anything that would rob me of my joy.

Too many Christians today are looking for outside surroundings to give them their joy. My joy is found in the Lord and in the work of the Lord. Now, this does not mean that we do not get involved in the regular activities of life. But those things, too – even little things – can be joyful if there is joy in the heart.

Think about the fact that there is no reward in heaven or in this life for being the droopiest Christian. Someone said, “It is foolish for us to refuse the joy offered by God, because Christianity and joy grows out of the Gospel.” Joy is invigorating and it spreads. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Someone said, “If there is no virtue in melancholy, it is foolish to refuse the gladness offered by God. Needless melancholy is sinful when it paralyzes our energies.”

Let me say in conclusion that most of our churches been under attack because God has blessed and Satan always attacks when God is working. Many Christians have been under satanic attack, but ultimately the strength of a man or woman is found not in what it takes to knock them down, but what it takes for them to get back up again. I must say the successful, rejoicing, praising Christian life is simply getting up again. 

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Corinthians 4-5, Proverbs 5, Complete___  

MAY 4th 

      

TURNING BACK FROM SERVING GOD!

Read Acts 15:36-40 & 2 Timothy 4:6-11

Did you ever wonder what happens to Christians who quit coming to church and serving God? Well, there are multitudes of answers; however, this is what happened to Mark. Here are some of the reasons given in Scripture for Mark’s turning back:

HE DID NOT COUNT THE COST. Set your mind on a goal, and don’t get off it until you arrive. Two problems are usually evident: you get discouraged and quit, or you want to get there too soon. Be sure you count the cost, and then go for it. Do right and just keep on going.

Live godly, pray, go soul winning, tithe, be a good father or mother or teenager, pay your bills on time, etc. Paul had a revival or a riot everywhere he went. Realize the devil is after you, especially if you are busy serving God. He tries to make us cocky and proud. Determine this one thing – I will stand by the God who stands by me. When you do that, God will walk and be with you at times when there is no food, no money, no power, and even no desire.

HE DID NOT REALIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF GOD’S CALL. One day you come in direct confrontation with Christ. There is a change (1 Timothy 1:12). Paul was changed on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Realize there is nothing more important than the proclamation of the Gospel and the building of the New Testament Church. It is more important than the President, the Congress, the Senate, the Governor, etc.  Realize the importance of the call of God.  Much of the future of the country depends on what we do today. A leader who is called and a follower who is called must both realize the importance of the task. We are servants of the living God.

HE COUNTED HIS REWARD HERE AND NOT IN HEAVEN. Matthew 5:12 and Luke 6:23, “Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” Be fervent here, while you have the opportunity. If you get no honor from men, remember, you aren’t home yet. It may be a lonely life, but you will learn to depend upon God. Paul turned this world upside down. Mark should have stayed with him. Paul felt the urgency to stay and continue to serve.

Thank God Mark came back to serving Him and once again was busy in the harvest. Let’s remember to do these things and claim our REWARD IN HEAVEN.

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 15-16, Proverbs 4, Complete___

                     

                                      MAY 3rd                                         

Spiritual Growth in the Christian Life!

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Solomon instructs us over and over again to get knowledge, wisdom and understanding. I have often wondered why he used these three words, which seem similar. Then I learned that knowledge comes from man, books and life. Wisdom comes from God and understanding means how to use the knowledge with wisdom, or just plain common sense, Proverbs 1:2-5.

Spiritual growth on the other hand is not an accumulation of facts, but the wisdom to apply God’s revealed, as well as His written Word. It matters not how far along we may be in our Christian life; growth is always necessary. An important part of spiritual growth in the Christian life is the integrity to live according to the Word of God, which is the Truth from God. The trouble with half-truth is that many people are inclined to believe the wrong half. Five steps to spiritual growth:

Forgetting the past, Philippians 3:13-14.

Forgiving an offense, Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Forging ahead in growth, Hebrews 5:12-14 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Feeding on the Word of God, 1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Following freedom and liberty wisely, Romans 15:1-6. 1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. Integrity certainly should be a mark of a growing spiritual Christian.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 27-31, Proverbs 3. Complete___

                                               

                                              MAY 2nd                                   

Read Acts 9:1-20

The church of Jesus Christ started with just a few people. Just a handful of those who followed the teachings of Jesus; just a few men and women who were dedicated and committed to the teachings of the Lord. Yet, because of their commitment, the church began to grow explosively. Tremendous growth, but God knew that this was just the beginning. God knew that the church was going to spread and reach all nations. The Gentiles were going to be reached and they would join in great numbers. God had a plan to reach these areas. God allowed persecution to reach the church.

God used this persecution for the work of the ministry, for the growth of the church. As persecution came, the early Christians went throughout the world, taking their faith with them, witnessing and preaching, making multitudes of new disciples. God knew that these disciples would need a leader; someone who would be educated; someone who would be driven; someone who would be committed to teaching and preaching and building churches; someone who wouldn’t let problems or difficulties stop him, and someone who could counsel and clearly write out the doctrines and principles the young believers would need. Saul was that man. But Saul was not ready. Oh, he was committed. He was driven.

Read Acts 9 along with Acts 22:3 and Philippians 3:4-6. He was certainly driven, but he wasn’t yet ready for the work that God had for him. God had some more shaping to do; some more molding and forming on this lump of clay that would come to be known as one of the greatest Christians of all time. So God took something away from him. His sight! For three days Saul wandered blind as God worked in his life. He had to be led. Familiar things were taken away. Comfortable things were taken away. God was molding a great servant. Sometimes in our lives, God has to take some things away from us. Maybe it’s a job, maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s a house or a car or money or something else. Maybe it’s something that no one else knows about, but God does. Maybe it is health and he has to take that away.

It is not because He is punishing you. It is not because He no longer loves you. He is simply molding and shaping a better servant of God. We probably will not enjoy it. Paul probably did not. Did not eat or drink for those three days. He was probably in prayer and could do nothing else. Saul could have become a great Christian without being blinded for those days, but he would not have been the Christian he could have been if God had not worked on him. Bro. Ken Starlin.

Read Job 35-36, Proverbs 2, Complete___

MAY 1st 

                                   

CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY!

Read Exodus 4:1-13

Remember that Moses said earlier, “I cannot speak,” and God said, “I will give you a voice. I want your weakness, not your strength. I want a weak Moses, and I will be your strength.” As we see in 1 Corinthians, chapter 1, God uses the weak to confound the wise. If he allowed you to use your strength, you would get the glory. God said to Moses, “I don’t want your talents and your abilities. I want to take your weakness and make you strong in my strength.” That’s why we need to say, “God, I just can’t do it. Here am I; use me.” Dr. Livingstone of Africa was very sick, and rumors spread about his morals. He gave God his failure, and God gave him His strength. God says, “I want your weakness, and I want you to do as I command you.” Remember, it is not your strength, not talent, not ability, not need or success, but weakness, failure and availability. God says, “Just let me have your weakness.” “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The only hope for God to get glory is through the Christian:

“He has no hands but our hands to do His work today,

He has no feet but our feet to lead men to His way,

He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men that Christ died,

He has no help but our help to lead men to His side.

We’re the only Bible this careless world will read,

We’re the sinner’s Gospel; we’re the scoffer’s creed,

We’re the Lord’s last message written in deed and word.

What if the line is crypted, what if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy with other work than His?

What if our feet are leading where sin’s alluring is?

What if our tongues are speaking the things that Christ would spurn?

How could we hope to aid Him and hasten His return?”

I think it is time we realize that only in Him is our strength, and only He can satisfy our need for strength. Only He can provide the means of strength and wisdom, not only for the Pastor, but also for each and every member and friend of your church. How about you? Are you trying to use your means, your talent, your success, etc.? If Christ is to be glorified in this area, it must be in and through His strength.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 51-53, Proverbs 31 & 1, Complete___

APRIL 30th  

           

BEHOLD THE POWER OF THE LORD?

Read Exodus 4:1-13

I am constantly amazed at the power and wisdom of God. In this text and henceforth, we see miracle after miracle, right in the very presence of Pharaoh and Moses as well as all their followers.

Meditate for a few moments upon how Moses must have felt as God exhibited His power to him, and even to Pharaoh. The rod was to Moses what the hammer is to the carpenter, what the fishing pole is to the fisherman. It was what the fire hose is to the fireman, what the pulpit is to the preacher. The rod was the tool of Moses’ trade. It was merely a shepherd’s crook, and yet it was in the rod that Moses had his power, or so he thought. “What is that in thy hand?” God told Moses, “Put the rod down,” and it became a snake. “Pick it up by the tail,” etc. Moses used his rod as a mechanic would use his wrench, as a draftsman would use his ruler, as a carpenter would use his hammer.

Later on, he used the rod against Pharaoh, to turn it into a snake once again (chapter 7:9-12). He used it to open the Red Sea (chapter 14:14-16, 21-28). He also used it to strike the rock at Horeb for water (chapter 17:1-7). Almost 20 years later, they needed water again (Numbers 20:7-13). This time he was told to speak to the rock. The rock is a picture of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, only to be smitten once. Jesus died for us once. As with us, Moses needed to learn the important lesson that his strength was not in the rod or in himself. His strength was found in God Himself.

Your strength is not in your talent, but in your trusting. It is not in your success, but in the Saviour. It is not in your ability, but in your availability. It is not found in your beauty, but in begging. It is not found in money, but in the Master.

Think about this statement today – God uses the failures. He strengthens them, He qualifies tests and proves them, and that way, He Himself is glorified. Continued Tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 5-9, Proverbs 30-31, Complete___

APRIL 29th 

NO FEAR OF DEATH!

Death is a time that is feared by those without the Saviour. Often in sermons given by preachers, I have heard illustrations of those who have rejected Christ and suffered a terrible death. Often these illustrations tell of those who, at the point of death, cry in fear. Death for the unbeliever is a fearful experience.

Praise the Lord!  We who are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ have the promise of His Word. The Psalms are a great comfort in time of grief. Psalm 23 is a source of strength to those who suffer loss. In verse 4 of this Psalm it is said that, as we…“walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” For those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ, death is a graduation from a life of sin and suffering to the presence of Jesus Christ. As children of God, we need not fear death for these three reasons:

As believers, we have His protection, “walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”  If you want a blessing make of study of the word shadow:

  • Our time on this earth is as a shadow – 1 Chronicles 29:15, Job 8:9
  • The shadow is a place of healing – 2 Kings 20:8-10
  • The shadow is a place of protection – Ps. 17:8, 36:7, 57:1

As believers, we have his presence. “…I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…”

We have his presence even at the end of this life. He has promised to be with us throughout our life by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:20). At the end of this life, we are not forsaken.  We even have the presence of God in death.

As believers we have His promises. God has promised to comfort His own in the midst of their suffering. Our God is a place of comfort. (Isaiah 40:1, 66:13). Thank God for the promise of heaven, for His presence and comfort that does not end with the ceasing of life, but carries us through to the Heavenly shores

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 17-20, Proverbs 29, Complete___

APRIL 28th

Read Joshua 4:1-9

Christians say, “Count your blessings and name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” We should not be surprised because we ought to be keeping a record of all God’s miracles as did the children of Israel. God wants us to remember what He has done for us. There are several places in the Bible where God instituted memorials:

  • The Passover (Exodus 12:14)
  • The laying up of manna (Exodus 16:32)
  • Joshua’s stone of memorial (Joshua 24:25-27)
  • The Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19).

Paul tells us to remember in 1 Corinthians 4:17 and 1 Timothy 4:6. What would be better than for all of us to remember all the things and all of the miracles God has done for us.

  • God wants us to recall the miracles of our own lives.
  • We will forget the blessings unless we keep a record on purpose.
  • Constant reflection upon the blessings of God is a must in your life. It is also a good sign of being in Canaan – the land of victory.
  • God wants us to teach our children what He has done for us. God wanted the children of Israel to remember, and He wants each one of us to remember.
  • You won’t teach them to others unless you have a daily reminder.
  • We need to have our own reminders, as the children of Israel had stones in the midst of the Jordan and at the edge of the Jordan, to remind the parents to teach the children when they ask, “What are these stones for? What are these memorials for?” It gives an opportunity to tell the story of God’s miraculous deliverances.  The Israelites always went back to Gilgal. Going back to see the stones as a reminder of God’s miracle was a part of their daily lives, just like we are to go back and look at the past for encouragement for the future.

Let’s remember to have a Gratitude Attitude for the rest of this year.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Corinthians 1-3, Proverbs 28. List some blessings that God has given to you. Complete___

APRIL 27th         

Read Ezekiel 33:1-9 & 3:17-21

Ezekiel had basically three purposes for writing: 1) To point out Israel’s sin, 2) To preserve them from idolatry, and 3) To provide encouragement in the faith through his prophecy. God refers to Ezekiel as a watchman, which means each pastor of a local church is a watchman, and, in a sense, all of us are watchmen: a husband over his family, a wife with the children, a teacher over the class, etc. We have a two-fold spiritual responsibility to those over whom we watch (33:7).  1) To hear His Word, and 2) To give God’s warning. In other words, we must hear from God first and then warn others. The watchman’s responsibility is to warn the wicked as well as the righteous. (3:17-21). Ezekiel was taken into captivity eight years after Daniel and lived with the Jewish exiles on the banks of the river Chebar in Babylon. He was about 30 years old at the time chapter one was written. His prophetic ministry started about 7 years before the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.  Ezekiel, as every man of God, has a three-fold responsibility.

Warn the wicked that they are living in sin (3:18-19). It is every pastor’s responsibility to reach those who are living in sin without Christ. Paul warned the Corinthians in Acts 18:6 – “And when they opposedthemselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them,Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.”

Warn the righteous and keep them from falling back into sin (3:20). The watchman was to warn the people of any impending danger. So must a preacher warn his people to flee from their sin. If a trumpet is sounded, and the people are warned but do not heed the warning, their sin is on their own hands, but if he does not sound the warning, their blood shall be on his hands.  A watchman who ignores his duty will pay dearly with his own life. A preacher not only answers for his own life but also for those to whom he preaches. When God’s man preaches God’s Word, something has to change in the lives of the people.

Reclaim the righteous that have fallen into sin. It is every pastor’s responsibility to reclaim those who were once faithfully serving but have fallen back into sin. Look at the example of the rejoicing over the one lost sheep in Luke 15:3-7. Do we realize that we all have a responsibility to sound the trumpet to help keep people from falling and to help bring them back if they have fallen? Have we been sounding the trumpet?

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 13-14, Read Proverbs 27, Complete___

APRIL 26th

ARE YOU A SLUGGARD? 

Matthew 9:37-38 Then saith he to his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.

As I have mentioned on several occasions, no one in my ministry, or in my work has ever accused me of being lazy or being a sluggard. I am not saying that at times I have not felt like being lazy, or being a lazy sluggard, nor that at times it is wrong to sit back and relax, because even the Lord Himself took a day of rest.

When the Bible speaks of being a sluggard, it is not speaking of times of needed rest, but it is speaking of the sluggard who is supposed to be out plowing the field and yet is sitting his easy chair complaining about the cold. Of course, the first one to complain in the harvest time, because he has nothing, is the one who sat in his easy chair when he should have been working. The Bible says, “the night cometh when no man can work.”

The Bible also teaches that in all labor there is profit, and “he that worketh not, eateth not.” The principle is certainly true, that if we are going to be reaping in the harvest, we must do the plowing in the springtime.

Many lessons can be associated with this principle. For a young person, the time of plowing is plowing in the school, working hard at home, obeying his parents. For an adult, plowing the field is a continual process. The weather may be cold or it may be hot, it may be raining, it may be snowing, but our motto must be: work, for the night is coming.

We are not saying that we are to be plowing the field constantly, because one farmer could say, “Well, look at all the plowing I’m doing,” and plow throughout the entire year, including the time of harvest. This, of course, will not produce a harvest in the fall. So often, we as Christians are reactionary in our labor.

That is, we labor when it is required of us, and we tend to overdo it. In overdoing it, we fail to reap in the harvest, and we weep because we have nothing. Let us all be mindful of the fact that, as Christians we must continually be preparing for the harvest – sowing and tilling the ground, then we shall reap if we faint not. 

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 22-26, Proverbs 26, Complete___                         

                         APRIL 25th                            

Read 2 Timothy 1

I think it could be said without any hesitation that the Apostle Paul set a great example as an “encourager.” Of his prison epistles, 2 Timothy, chapter 1 stands out as a perfect example of his ministry of encouragement to others. This particular inspired treatise came from his death cell in the Mamertine prison. Though he was soon to be martyred for the cause of Christ, he did not occupy his final thoughts with “self,” but considered being an encouragement to others of greatest importance. He sought to encourage his son in the faith, Timothy, who was fearful and discouraged, and struggling to hold fast. Paul the “encourager” demonstrated the spirit and intent of Philippians 2:3-4.

“To Lorraine Fusco, it may have seemed that her useful days on earth were behind her. Cancer had struck at the base of her brain and traveled down her spine, paralyzing her completely. Tubes were used to feed her and help her breathe. The only voluntary movement she could make was to open and shut her eyes.

There wasn’t much Lorraine could do, but she refused to sulk and turn sour, or bemoan her fate and curse her condition … she became a prayer warrior and a shining light of hope. During one stay in the hospital, she so influenced two workers with her joyful outlook that they put their trust in Christ.

Later, when her husband served as a college president, she spent entire days praying for each student. When death finally claimed her, she left a powerful testimony. Lorraine lived joyfully for God despite her trials. She saw suffering as part of God’s will – and she gave every ounce of her energy to serving Him.” (Copied)

Here is an “encourager” following the example of Paul. Though Lorraine was dying, yet she put others first and sought to encourage and uphold them in a selfless way. Are you an “encourager?” Let us seek to minister to others as a source of loving help, edification, and encouragement. Evangelist Paul Mershon.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 33-34

Read Proverbs 25

Complete___

April 24th

                         

CARRY OUT THE VISION! 

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish:

Recently, I spent a few moments talking to someone about this matter of having a vision, and I took a half hour or so after our conversation to meditate upon the verse. It did not take me long to see that the emphasis of the verse is the vision, but the consequence is that people perish – if we fail to have a vision, the outcome, the consequence, is always negative.

A student is required to have a vision – a certain number of passing grades per semester.

Mom has to have a vision in the home.

Dad has to have a vision for the family.

A corporate executive has to have a vision for his company.

A pastor must have a vision for the church.

And we, too, individually, must have a vision to help to fulfill the vision of our pastor, the company CEO, the military commander.

The duty of each follower is to follow and to help build the vision of the commander, the CEO, the pastor. We may all have visions for ourselves, but the main vision in the company, the military, the church, is the one to whom the responsibility is given to carry out the vision.

Each one of us must do everything within our power to help to carry forth the vision of the church, to help and to be a small part in keeping people from perishing, or the end result, the consequence of dullness, dryness and deadness, because where there is no vision, not only do the people perish, but any hope of a future vision perishes along with the people.

Let’s give it some serious thought and give ourselves to help to carry out the vision.

  • Be a part of helping to reach every possible soul for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in our communities.
  • Boldly preach and defend the Word of God
  • Maintain a good Christian character and testimony in our ministries
  • Be a part of carrying out the vision, such as: weekly visitation and soul-winning, faithful attendance in all the services, attend prayer meeting, participate in church and school events, etc.
  • Be a part of helping to maintain the church property for God’s glory.
  • Be faithful with our tithe, our talents, and our time to help to make our vision a reality.
  • Be supportive of the church and the Pastor’s program by loving and helping one another, as we actively reach people for Christ.               

                       Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 48-50, Proverbs 24, Complete__                          

                                  APRIL 23rd                              

 

Let Go!

 Read Psalm 31:1-8

When I try to control my life and refuse to let God have control, it is inevitable, and of a certainty that I am eventually going to “crash and burn.”  That has happened to me far more times than I would like to admit. I am sure that you can relate, for you are made of the same stuff as I.  Consider the following thought. It is a simple analogy, yes, but so true in its application.

“In a Christian magazine article, Susan Smart describes her third – and nearly last – solo flight. She had been practicing a maneuver at 5,000 feet when she lost control and her Cessna began spinning wildly toward earth. After several seconds of panic, she recalled her instructor’s words: “If you ever go into a spin in a Cessna 150, just let go of the controls. It’s built to fly on its own.”

“Susan shouted to herself several times, ‘Let go!’ Finally, she yanked her hands from the controls and covered her face. After some wild yawing and pitching, the plane returned to level flight. She had fallen more than half a mile, but survived because she had the faith to let go.”

“Her experience vividly illustrates what it means to trust God in a time of crisis. I know that’s hard to do when it feels as if everything in our lives is spinning wildly out of control. Our feelings cry out for us to panic, to doubt His promises, to ignore or disobey His instructions, and to try to solve things without Him, but those responses are futile.”

In Psalm 31, David cried out to the Lord in his time of trouble. He knew that his only hope was to put his situation in God’s hands and rely on Him.

Is your life in a spin? Let go of the controls! Evangelist Paul Mershon

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 1-4, Proverbs 23

Complete___

APRIL 22nd

A study of the Tender Heart!

Nowhere in the Bible does God command us to have a warm heart, but we are commanded over and over to have a tender heart. The Bible speaks of coldness of heart, and it says the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?

David said his heart is fixed. The Bible makes hundreds of references to the heart. It speaks of hardness of heart, and the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life. The Bible describes the human depravity as “in the heart” because sin is a principle which has its seat in the center of man’s inward life and then “defiles” the whole circuit of his actions – Matthew 15:19-20. On the other hand, the Bible regards the heart as the sphere of divine influence – Romans 2:15, Acts 15:9. The Bible also contains the hidden man of the heart, in other words, the real man – 1 Peter 3:4.

It represents the true character, or it can also conceal it. So, when we talk about having a warm heart, we are really talking about including the emotions, reason, and the will. We are talking about the real character of the person. Being tender-hearted means not only having a “warm heart,” but it is also doing the will of God from the heart. Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

In conclusion: in the New Testament the heart (1) is the seat of the physical life – Acts 14:17, James 5:5. (2) It is also the seat of the moral, spiritual and the grieving part of life – John 14:1, Romans 9:2, 2 Corinthians 2:4. (3) It brings out the joy in life – John 16:22, Ephesians 5:19, (4) the desires of life – Matthew 5:28, 2 Peter 2:14. (5) It also brings out the affections in life – Luke 24:32, Acts 21:13. (6) It brings out the perceptions in life – John 12:40, Ephesians 4:18, (7) the inner thoughts of life – Matthew 9:4, Hebrews 4:12. (8) It also brings out understanding – Matthew 13:15, Romans 1:21. (9) It helps us in our reasoning ability – Mark 2:6, Luke 24:38. (10) It helps with our imagination – Luke 1:51, (11) with our conscience – Acts 2:37, 1 John 3:20. (12) It brings out our intentions – Hebrews 4:12, I Peter 4:1. (13) It brings out the purpose of life – Acts 11:23, 2 Corinthians 9:7. (14) It brings out the will – Romans 6:17, Colossians 3:15. (15) From the heart also comes out faith – Mark 11:23, Romans 10:10, Hebrew 3:12.

The heart is the very center of our physical body, and it is also the center of every part of our spiritual life. Please take these Scriptures, study them, memorize them over a period of time, and allow the Holy Spirit to use them in your Christian walk.

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 13-16, Proverbs 22, Complete___

APRIL 21st

The secret to success in the Christian life is not the self-life, or self- edification.  It is a focused life – focused on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I believe that, “If we will make God’s cause our cause, then He will make our cause His cause.” If here is no cause or purpose in life, a Christian becomes miserable and defeated. So – the secret to success for the Christian is a cause. When David came to his brothers who were battling the Philistines and their champion, Goliath, his brother was irritated, but David asked him, “Is there not a cause?”1 Samuel 17:29.

What happens when a Christian who once faithfully served the Lord, faithfully prayed and witnessed for Christ, quits? I believe the reason Christians quit is that they lose their passion for a cause. Most Americans have no cause. Most Christians have no cause – no vision.  But the Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” – Proverbs 29:18.

Who are the happy people in this life? The happy people are those who are lost in a cause. Dr. John R. Rice was lost in the cause of The Sword of the Lord, Evangelism and soul-winning. Brother Lester Roloff was lost in his cause, standing for the faith. Most parents are lost in the cause of rearing their children. Is there something in your life worth living for?  Then go for it. Moses had a cause. Jonah, David and Solomon each had a cause, and because they did, God prospered them. When Alexander the Great had a cause, he conquered the world. When he lost his cause, he began drinking.

So – get lost in a cause:

  • By Enlisting as a Soldier of the Cross – 2 Timothy 2:1-5
  • By Living a Separated Life – 2 Corinthians 6:11-18.
  • By Winning the Lost to Christ – Matthew 28:18-20.
  • By Training our Children for Christ – Proverbs 22:6.

Our young people need a cause; our teens need a cause; our adults need a cause; our teachers need a cause; our Pastors need a cause. Our question today is, “Is there not a cause for you?”

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Corinthians 15-16, Proverbs 21, Complete___

APRIL 20th

Integrity!

Someone once said, “A little Coumadin (poison) will kill a rat, and a little error can kill the spirit of a Christian.” Someone else said, “The trouble with half-truth is that many are inclined to believe the wrong half.”

Abraham Lincoln was once in a situation in which concealment of a certain truth would have won many votes for him. He courageously said, “If it be decreed that I should go down because of this speech, let me go down linked to the truth.” 

I like what William Penn said, “Right is right, even if everyone is against it. And wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.” There is no question that integrity in Christian character is sadly missing in our society today.

An Air Force General said to his cadets, “Unqualified integrity is the mark of a professional officer. A professional officer must be a man of many qualities, but assuredly possessing one basic quality that is mandatory to any officer in the military service. That is unqualified integrity. Integrity, when once compromised, is gone forever and not replaceable. It is a mark of a true professional officer.”

Romans 12:17 says, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”

That is what is needed in our Christian life today – unqualified integrity. Oh, how we need to ask Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life to build within each one of us this type of commitment

Ye have heard of the patience of Job. Stripped of all his worldly possessions and his children, tortured by disease, tempted by the devil, harassed by his wife, and mocked by his friends, he nevertheless was steadfast in his integrity, resigned himself to the will of God and did not charge God foolishly.

We have some great lessons to learn from Job, who experienced the Grace of God.  We are given his response in Job 1:21-22 Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 11-12, Proverbs 20, Complete

APRIL 19th

          

WHAT TO DO IN A CRISIS!

Read the last two days devotion

Don’t let crisis after crisis determine your schedule. This should be very self-explanatory. I am not talking about crisis management, but about looking at everything as a crisis and never being able to finish anything.

HAVE GOALS AND DIRECTON ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD.  (Romans 12:1-2)

  • Learn to do many things. Each thing you do diverts you from the last thing you did. Learn to do several things at one time. Avoid just sitting idle, negative thinking, as well as negative people.
  • Finish each task!

DWELL ON GOD’S PROVISION, RATHER THAN ON YOUR NEEDS.Think of the many times He has supplied your need.

  • Be aware of God’s      blessing.
  • Don’t ever fail to      thank Him. How rude for us to receive a gift from God and neglect to thank      Him.

DON’T NEGLECT THE DAILY CHORES.

        Enjoy your daily routine with a smile. Include your daily routine in the different. For example, when you are on vacation, take some work with you. (“God Forbid,” says your spouse.) You can get the picture. Don’t always just look forward to a vacation. Schedule it, go on it, enjoy it; and when it’s over, go back to work, and don’t start thinking right away about next year’s vacation. Yes, reflect, but don’t return. Make each routine task exciting and thank God for the opportunity.

CONCLUSION: Take a few moments to meditate of Psalm 31:

  • Fret not thyself.
  • Trust in the Lord
  • Delight thyself in the Lord
  • Commit thy way unto the Lord
  • Then, rest in the Lord.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 17-21, Proverbs 19. Is there a crisis in your life – what will you do? Complete___

April 18th   

Read yesterday’s devotion

The third criterion for happiness is to keep the law:  “…he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18). Keep in mind that the keeping of the law has nothing to do with salvation or going to heaven, but it is a prerequisite for being happy. Heaven cannot be earned, and the law cannot be kept perfectly. Instead, those who have trusted in the Son of God to forgive them of their sins are to obey the Bible, and their obedience will bring them happiness.

You can be happy if you renounce your sin and selfishness and trust in Jesus Christ, fear the Lord, and obey the Word of God. People do many things to seek and to pursue happiness. The constitution even guarantees us the right to pursue happiness. I am not certain the Bible gives us that right, but there are many things that we can do scripturally to make us happy. Most people, however, including some Christians are looking in the wrong places.

These three questions must be answered by anyone before he can be happy: What is my purpose in life? Who am I? Where am I going? There are many things one can do to be happy. Most of us, rather than being happy with the here and now, often look either backward or forward to some event, or, in the summer we wish it were winter and in the winter, we wish for summer.

People also expect things, circumstances, or other people to make them happy, but Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11, “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Contentment is certainly a necessary ingredient for happiness. Sometimes we feel despondent, and there are certain things we must do to fight this.

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE BY TRUSTING IN GOD.

Live by a schedule and don’t do things just because you feel like it; do it for a purpose. Always plan something after a major event, because you will experience a time of letdown. Do something to keep busy after a big event, or even after a letdown. This is the time to get busy for God and is the best way to avoid despondency. Schedule your day by breaking it down into various parts, such as devotions in the morning, breakfast, work or school, after work or school, dinner, family time, sleep, etc.

Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Job 31-32, Proverbs 18, Complete___

APRIL 17th

Real Happiness!

An automatic best seller would be a self-help book entitled How To BeHappy. If it were possible to put a liberal dose of happiness into a pill, there would be a run on it at the pharmacy. Some self-proclaimed authorities even hold seminars on happiness. Why all the interest in being happy? The desire to be happy is inherent in every individual.

No one except Mr. Scrooge ever enjoyed being sad. In fact, the desire to be happy transcends all cultural, ethnic, educational, and religious backgrounds. Even age is not a factor. Often people view happiness as they (wrongly) do heaven – a rather elusive condition that will someday be realized as long as you are sincere. Because people hold this philosophy, drugs and alcohol are viewed as a sincere way to rid oneself of guilt, depression, and a general state of unhappiness.

Others pursue happiness through work. They are miserable at home with their spouses and children, so they work longer hours trying desperately to find personal satisfaction and happiness. Some try to find happiness in religion, only to be disappointed after they find out they do not measure up or that it seems empty and vain. Happiness is not a goal in itself but a by-product of service. The happiest people I know are those that have put Jesus Christ first in their lives and are faithfully serving Him. Most people allow circumstances to control their well-being, and when the circumstances are down, so are they. “Whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he” (Proverbs 16:20).

The first step in being happy is to trust the Lord. One may have all the self-confidence, poise, and self esteem possible but still be unhappy because happiness is based on trust in God – not man, money, marriage, or material things. To trust in Jesus Christ means to put one’s total faith in His death, burial, resurrection and soon return. Such saving faith will come only through knowing the Bible. “So faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). If you trust Him, you will have no need to worry or to be unhappy.

Second, the Bible says, “’Happy is the man that feareth always…” (Proverbs 28:14). Happiness comes as man demonstrates a reverential fear and trust in God. It is not necessarily being afraid of God, but having a holy respect for Him. The way to ascertain whether someone has the fear of God is to look at his life – how does he live? If he lives for self, then there is no fear of God or happiness. When a person fears God, he will live righteously and godly. He will recognize God’s sovereign hand in his life.  Continued!  Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 45-47, Read Proverbs 17, Complete___

APRIL 16th                  

A WOUNDED SPIRIT!

Read Matthew 13:18-23

I thought it appropriate to repeat some of the thoughts given in February and focus on the one offended, wounded, hurt or damaged.  Psalm 119:65, “Great peace have they which love Thy law and nothing shall offend them.”  There are several things we must understand:

  • IT IS A SIN TO CAUSE SOMEONE TO HAVE A WOUNDED SPIRIT INTENTIONALLY.
  • WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THOSE WHO HAVE A WOUNDED SPIRIT AND HOW WE CAN HELP THEM.
  • WE NEED TO GUARD AGAINST HAVING A WOUNDED SPIRIT.

There are two main lessons we must understand regarding a wounded spirit.

  • Don’t Have a Wounded Spirit.
  • Love the Word of God (verse 23).  Hear and understand.
  • Give it all to Jesus, and you will not be offended (verse 23)
  • Think of people with a wounded spirit as broken.
  • Give people a little leeway and the benefit of the doubt.
  • Make it a project to help them. Make it a ministry.
  • Don’t Cause a Wounded Spirit. 

Proverbs 18:19, “A brotheroffended is harder to be won than a strong city: and theircontentions are like the bars of a castle.” Proverbs 18:14, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”  

  • Don’t ever shoot or fight back – love your enemies.
  • Understand those who have a wounded spirit.
  • Understand what they may be going through.

The spirit keeps everything else healthy. You never catch good health. Look at Daniel, Job, Moses and David for examples. If you have a wounded spirit, forgive the offender or else it will make you bitter. The end will be self-destruction. A wounded spirit is like any other disease – contagious. There is a cure: REPENTENCE, RESTITUTION and RESTORATION. It is my desire that each of us will learn to be a spirit-filled Christian. To do that, we must have an understanding and compassionate heart and guard against having or giving a wounded spirit.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 26-31, Proverbs 16, Complete___

APRIL 15th

Hope Deferred!

As I think about the sick seasons of each year, I cannot help but compare sickness of the body with sickness of the soul. My thoughts are not necessarily centered on spiritual sickness, such as cold-heartedness or a backslidden condition, but more on a Christian who faithfully walks with God, obeys His commands to the best of his or her ability, and yet appears to have sickness of the soul.

I cannot say that all of our spiritual “sickness” is centered on a deferred hope, but I do believe that much of our discouragement and frustration (yes, even sometimes to the point of quitting) is a result of being hurt or disappointed over something in which we placed our hope. This could come in many ways. It could be a spiritual disappointment, or it could be physical or material. For example, if someone makes you a promise, and you hope for it, but that person fails to keep his promise, this is hope deferred. If you look forward to something in your Christian life, and it doesn’t happen, then hope is deferred. In the case of something material, many are disappointed on a regular basis, because that for which they hoped did not come.

Now, what am I saying? “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick,” but we cannot say that we ought not to hope for things, because the Christian life is made up of hope; however, our hope must always be centered on the following:

  • The Word of God
  • The leadership of the Holy Spirit

That for which we hope may not be good for us. On the other hand, if we know it is of God and according to His Word, why should our soul be sick in having to wait? Never fret for a moment over things you cannot change, and never give a thought to attempting to change, that which is of God. The Bible says in Matthew six that we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto us. That is a tall order, but seeking Him first will help us to avoid a sick soul.

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 9-12, Proverbs 15, Complete___

APRIL 14th

THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD!

As I was reading my Bible one morning, I was struck by God’s promise in Isaiah 41:10, where He said, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

I also thought about the fact that God said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”. This is a wonderful promise of God. Now, if we are going to take Him at His Word, we must continue to ask, we must continue to seek and we must continue to knock, but most importantly, we must continue to believe.

Many challenges in life may cause us to doubt the faithfulness of God; however, if we will pray and believe God, then no matter what the result, we will know that God will give us the strength and uphold us with the right hand of His righteousness.

What a wonderful God we have!  Please don’t forget to thank Him for His mercies, for His love and understanding of our human limitations, our weaknesses, our doubts, our fretting and fears. God always has been and always will be faithful to His Word.  Why not take a few moments each day this week to praise Him, even before He answers our prayers?

In the Psalms, we see the word faithfulness appear dozens of times, and each time, it refers to the faithfulness of God. One of the few times that the Scripture uses the word faithful toward men is referring to Moses in Hebrews 3:2 and 3:5. We also find, in 1 Peter 4:19, that Sylvanus was a faithful brother. In Revelation 2:10, God requires the church of Smyrna to be faithful unto death, and in 2:13, God speaks of Antipas as “God’s faithful martyr.”  In all of these verses, we see that faith requires one to be faithful.  Let’s always be thankful for His faithfulness.

Daily Assignments

 

Read 1 Corinthians 13-14, Proverbs 14. List 3 Bible verses that tell us to thank God for His blessings. Complete___

April 13th   

          

Read yesterday’s devotion

In verse 15, perfect indicates maturity. Maturity here means to fulfill God’s purpose in life. Then look at 4:10 – Here Paul is rejoicing in the care (phroneo) the Philippians gave him while he was in a Roman prison. A mature attitude cares for the needs of others. An immature attitude cares only for self.  Think of a child with a toy. Will he give and share it with others? I don’t think so.

HOW THEN CAN WE CHANGE OUR ATTITUDE?

Or can they be changed? Absolutely Yes! Most of us fear change of any kind; however, the one thing God demands of all of us who are saved is change. Isn’t that what repentance is, a change of attitude? Matthew 16:23, the attitude of Peter was wrong; “savourest” is a word for attitude. It was fixed on the things of men and not on the things of God. The easy way was not God’s way, though at times, God’s way may be the easy way. Romans 8:5, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Attitudes can and must change, but only through the spiritual mind. Feelings depend upon conduct. Conduct is greatly influenced by attitude. Attitude determines effectiveness, usefulness, fruitfulness and helpfulness to others. Here is what our attitude ought to be:

  • Toward Christ – Confession (Romans 10:9-11), Obedience (John 14:15, 23), followship (Matthew 16:24), Imitation (I Peter 2:21).
  • Toward the world – Not to conform to (Romans 12:1-2), Not to abuse (1 Corinthians 7:31), Not to love (1 John 2:15), Not to be a friend of (James 4:4), Not to be entangled with (2 Tim. 2:4), Not to be polluted by (Jude 23).
  • Toward sinners – Seek their salvation (1 Corinthians 9:22), Pray for (Romans 9:1-3), Plead with (Acts 17:22-31), Rebuke (Titus 1:10-13), Persuade (2 Corinthians 5:11).
  • Towards each other – Christ-like, patient, understanding and yielding. Let’s practice these principles!

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 9-10, Proverbs 13. Write a thank you note to one of the church staff members and give it to them. Complete___

APRIL 12th 

                   

A Right Attitude!

Please read Phil 2:1-6

A Christian worker once said, “If I had to choose between talent and attitude, I would choose 90% attitude and 10% talent, not 90% talent and 10% attitude.” Bad attitudes have broken our homes, split our churches and ruined many a nation. But problems are easily solved with a right spiritual attitude.

A good attitude with proper motivation and self-discipline can accomplish far more in God’s work and will than any talent ever could. The word attitude itself does not appear in our Bible, but the idea is all over in the Greek: Phroneo – which is mindset. Attitude is a state of mind toward something or someone. Behavior, feelings and attitude are often confused. Behavior: A part of us that must be recognized and acknowledged. Feelings: Emotions that ride the waves of conduct and performance. Feelings can be good or bad, according to performance.

If you flunk a test, you feel terrible, but score a point, and you feel great. Feelings can be changed by conduct. Attitude: A combination of these, or a combination of opinions, convictions, beliefs, etc. It is a state of mind toward something. Two English words: Attitude and Aptitude come from the Latin word, Aptus, meaning, “posture”; position assumed or studied to serve a purpose,” as when Nebuchadnezzar changed his visage toward the three Hebrew children in Daniel 3:19. Attitude is a mental framework upon which a person builds his thoughts and actions. The Greek word used so often in the New Testament means to have one’s mindset – “Let this mind be in you.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE A RIGHT ATTITUDE?

Mindset does not mean intelligence – intelligence is the ability to think. Paul tells them in verse 5 that they are to have their mind set on Christ, who was a servant. He was ready and willing to serve. He did not come to be served.  Notice Romans 12:3 – a Christian is not to think of himself more highly, but to think soberly. He is not to be proud. It is impossible to use our spiritual gifts with a wrong frame of mind and without a right attitude toward self. See Philippians 3:12-14. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 12-16, Proverbs 12, Complete___

APRIL 11th

         

 Read Yesterday’s Devotion

Noah built an altar and sacrificed on it – Genesis 18:22. Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek – Genesis 14:20. Jacob vowed to give his tithe – Genesis 28:22. The Jews’ tithe was 1/3 of their income. The early church “had all things common.” – Acts 2:44-45. Paul and Barnabas gave and gathered for the poor of Jerusalem in Acts 11:29-30 “according to ability.” Paul and the carnal Christians at Corinth (I Corinthians 16:1-3) – “as God has prospered him so let him give.”

The need is constant: Think of all the ministries of the church: payroll of the preacher and staff, mortgage, insurance, power, telephone, school, literature, office supplies, cleaning materials, maintenance, equipment, buses and vans, etc., and we are commanded to reach the needy and hungry through missions and soul-winning. Our spiritual life demands that we make these offerings. The only way to invest our money wisely and securely is to give it to God.

The Means or manner of giving Bring it to the House of God (storehouse) weekly when we come to worship (1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Galatians 2:10). This plan is commanded of God, the patriarchs, and the apostles because it has many advantages:

  • It takes away the temptation to forget or neglect it.
  • It is easier by the week – not so large an amount.
  • It helps us to be consistent.
  • It is not based on need, excitement, or lack of excitement.
  • It really makes worship more real.
  • It is far more productive for all to have a part.
  • It is a good testimony for Christ.
  • It builds our spiritual life.
  • It pays the bills on time.

The Motive for giving – It is not to pay your Pastor, bills or for needs, but the best motive is because we love Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9). Other motives will break down sooner or later. Someone said, “Let Christ possess a man’s heart, all else will go along with that.” Do you love Jesus enough to obey Him in this area of your Christian walk?

Daily Assignments

Read Job 29-30, Proverbs 11, Complete___

April 10th 

BIBLICAL GIVING!

Read Psalm 96

Psalm 96 has been called the Missionary Hymn of all ages. David wrote it at a time when he placed the Ark in the middle of the tent prepared for it and offered sacrifices before it. He appointed the Levites to minister before it. The Ark signifies the presence of God. It had been brought back after several victories over the Philistines, and David wrote this song of thanksgiving taken from 1 Chronicles 16:23-36. C.H. Spurgeon outlines this song of praise:  A new salvation creates a new heart; suggests a new song; secures new testimonies; produces new converts.

Verses 1-2, “Shew forth His salvation,” in the Hebrew means to publish, to make known, spread the good tidings. The Ark has returned – spread the good news – God’s presence is among us. In the New Testament era, Christ is among us.

Verses 3-4, “Declare His Glory,” let all men hear and proclaim the good news. Use all methods to proclaim it.

Verses 6-9, “Give unto the Lord,” a renewed appeal to the lost to join us in this good news and song of praise. Saved or lost, it matters not.

Verses 9, “O worship the Lord,” means to worship Him in Holy garments, that is, in proper attire.

Verses 10-13, judgment is coming. We ought to rejoice over judgment, because it restores morality, authority and obedience.

Verses 11-12, Not only are all men commanded to rejoice, but all creation: the heavens, the earth, the sea, the trees, all join in (verse 1) – even the wicked, because it might bring them to Christ.

This Psalm tells us three ways to express our joy and praise:

  • By a New Song  – verse 2.
  • By Scriptural Preaching – verses 3-4. We are to preach, not to entertain. In verse 3, we are to preach Christ’s salvation: His glory and wonders, to preach to all, with no one left out.
  • By Our Sacrificial Giving – verses 7-8.

The Method for giving is Tithe and offerings.

  • The testimonies are certain: Continued Tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 42-44, Proverbs 10, Complete___

APRIL 9th 

        

Read yesterday’s devotion!

The Loss of Bible Authority (Even in the Christian Community).Today, we have the Contemporary and Emerging church movement that wants entertainment. The charismatics want an experience, the Mormons want your family and the Jehovah’s Witnesses want your soul. The Bible has lost favor in our community. We have moved from Bible Christianity to experience.  But the Psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart,” not “my experience”.The Loss of Bible Characters – as Role Models.

The Loss of Bible Conviction. We don’t need more laws; we just need to keep the laws we already have – The Word of God.The Loss of Bible Confrontation.In other words, don’t fear man.The loss of Bible standards to selfish life styles. I am not saying that we should be against everything, but I do believe we need decency, integrity, cleanliness, purity of heart, etc. Don’t make everything you are against a sin. For instance, if a man chooses not to wear socks with his shoes, he lacks in culture, but it is not a sin. We should not make things sins that pertain to only to standards, yet there ought to be some Bible guidelines in our standards.

There has been a slide in our clothing. Too often, we see our ladies in worldly or revealing clothing. This has no place in the life of the godly Christian. There has been a slide in our conduct – carnality, inconsistency, rude language, harsh language, or just plain improper language. There has been a slide in our Christ-like living. This is the main problem. The pressure is to carry things a little too far or not far enough. It is normal for a young person to want to try some different things, but we need boundaries. I understand the male instincts, but you ought to stay at least 10,000 miles away from anything that would cause you to fall. The Bible says, “Abstain from every appearance of evil.” We need some rules, but they ought to be few and fair, and most important, we need to make them stick. Let’s face it; the weakness of man is in all of us, which is why we must dress in proper clothing, exercise proper conduct, and practice Christ-like living.We need to be so close to Jesus that we are not thinking of our weaknesses, but of His strength. To live with honor and dignity is to love Jesus Christ, to give our lives wholeheartedly to Him, and to be aware of what we are losing.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 21-25, Proverbs 9, Complete___

HAPPY EASTER!

APRIL 8th  

LOVE IT OR LOSE IT!

Read 2 Timothy 3:1-9 & Proverbs 1:1-7

It occurred to me that life can pass us by, and we don’t even realize it. We are definitely losing some things in Christianity:

The Loss of Bible Acceptance and Its Continued Decline

The Bible used to be the centerpiece of almost every family. Families used to believe “the family that prays together, stays together.” In fact, families usually stayed in close proximity of one another. We used to learn from father and mother and aunt and uncle. Our children used to have grandmas and grandpas to love them and help to teach them, train them and care for them. It used to be the norm to obey parents. Now it is almost the other way around.

For years, the Bible was the best seller, and even today, it is number one, but we must understand that it is mainly because Christians are buying them and giving them to others. Here’s what happened. American culture went from agricultural-industrial to a high-tech computer age, and some would add that now we are in a distribution age.

Some Christians and Christian thought are still back in the agricultural age. Most young people know nothing of our Christian Bible culture. In fact, do you understand Proverbs 1:1-7? Christian philosophy and principles do not dominate the average Christian’s life. Too often, it is money, television, success, social programs, etc.

Most other countries have kept their culture. Until WWII, a politician was connected to some form of religious worship and associated himself publicly with the local pastor. How many of us remember that stores used to be closed on Sunday? Now, Christians go to the mall on Sunday afternoons.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I think there ought to be a balance. We should not go back to the horse and buggy days, but certainly, all would agree we ought to go back to right and wrong. When we disagreed, whatever the Bible said was the final authority. It was absolute. Here’s the slide: from slavery to freedom, to prosperity, to privilege, to permissiveness, to over-indulgence, and back to slavery. Why?

  • Because of the loss of Bible salvation – 2 Timothy 3:5.
  • Because of the loss of Bible separation – 2 Timothy 3:2,4
  • Because of the loss of Bible solutions – 2 Timothy 3:7. 

Continued Tomorrow! 

Daily Assignments!

Read Exodus 5-8, Proverbs 8, Complete___

               

                 April 7th                

Courage!

Read Isaiah 41:1-10

“It has been said that personal courage is the positive manifestation of an inward alertness to the presence of God. I think that’s good. The immensity of a man’s life is equal to the intensity of his faith in the power of God to see him through. In life’s darkest moments, in the darkest moments in history, God has always spoken to those who were in tune with His will.” He is greater than any power that exists outside of His holy realm. The wickedness of man may claim the victory today and even tomorrow, but the third day belongs to Him. The tragedy of the cross will give way to the victory of the resurrection. Wherever you are today in your Christian life, listen to that voice which speaks with real authority. It is saying, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” “The Culture of Courage” by Frank C. Haddock.One of President Reagan’s last statements: “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with Liberty’s Lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.” It is all well and good that we had Mr. Reagan in the 1980’s but the question remains who is going to stand against tyranny, terrorism and totalitarianism today? Who is going to sound out the warning to our enemies of today? Who will stand against the “evil empires” in this century? Who will be the next to be recognized as saving the world from a possible self-destruction? Who will be the next “greatest generation?” Today, America pretty much stands alone in a hostile world, because we have a different kind of enemy, but ultimately their goal is the same. Let me say that Liberty is more than having fun and games. Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” It is my firm belief that there will be no better America until we have better Americans.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Corinthians 11-12, Proverbs 7, Complete___

APRIL 6th

 

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done

All of us will encounter things in our lives, such as joyous events, bad circumstances, difficult conditions, and aggravating people. How we respond to these challenges show our spiritual condition. There are three main ways we can react, just as people did in the Scriptures.

We can encounter them in a dull stupor, letting apprehension wear us down. “And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow”. We can take the attitude that things will be bad, that the worst will happen, that you are bound for defeat. We can have a negative attitude toward things so that when they happen, we almost have no reaction to them. We know in advance that they will defeat us. There is no nervousness because we have already been defeated.

We can run away from them. “Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.” We can do this in our minds as well as with our feet. We can enter each crisis with an attitude of denial – “I refuse to think of this today, I will think about it tomorrow.” Fear is one of the most devastating emotions. It can sap our strength and exhaust us. It also can lead to defeat.

We can also take the attitude that Christ took, that each event is a potential victory. Satan determines to defeat us. Christ promises us the victory. The choice is ours. Trust God to go with you on to victory. Have an attitude that says, “I would not have chosen this path, but now that I am on it, I will not be defeated while God still sits on the throne. I will let God do something for me by traveling this path.” God wants to use every event in our lives to draw us closer to Him. This is where we get the victory. Our goal is not money, or power, or fame. Our goal is a closer walk with God. Bro. Ken Starlin

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 7-8, Proverbs 6, Complete___

APRIL 5th

Luke 19:13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come

In this verse, Jesus tells the parable of the ten pounds. He is quoting the nobleman telling his servants, “Occupy till I come.” This is the only occasion of the word “occupy” in the New Testament. The Greek word is “Proagmateuomai” and it means to be busy in one’s trade or work, business or deed.

Now, think about this – Jesus used this parable as an example to teach His disciples to be busy in their work. He said, “Occupy till I come” or “stay busy until I return.”

The word occupy here means not merely to possess, as it often does in our language, but to improve, to employ in business, for the purpose of increasing it or of making profit on it. The direction was to use this money so as to gain more against his return. So Jesus commands his disciples to improve their talents; to make the most of them; to increase their capability of doing good, and to do it until he comes to call us hence, by death, to meet him. Barnes Notes

I am reminded of a story: Before Connecticut became a state, the legislature met and suddenly, it became very dark and is known as the “dark day”. Everyone wanted to go home to get ready for God’s judgment until and old deacon all of a sudden stood up and said, “If God is coming, let’s get on with business.” Daily Bread

In our text, the nobleman was coming back and expected to see his servants busy with his business. He said, “Occupy till I come.” Stay busy and get on with business until I return.”

Such would be my admonition to the people of God. “Occupy, stay busy and be faithful until He returns”

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 7-11, Proverbs 5, Complete___

APRIL 4th 

                               THE OLD MAN!                         

Ephesians 4:24-25 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

As new creations in Christ, we are to live a new life built up in Christ. Our new life is different from the old life. We are to be distinct because the blood of the Lamb has redeemed us. We are to put on the new man and put off the old man and the works of the flesh.

One of the characteristics of the old man is that he lies. Lying comes in many different forms, such as shading the truth, exaggerations, cheating, failing to keep a promise to God or to someone else, flattering someone, tweaking it, or even sitting in silence when one should be speaking the truth. None of these things should have any part in the life of a Christian.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” and with Christ we cannot only tell the truth, but we can also tell those who do not tell the truth. Why? Because we have the Word of God that enables us to live according to the truth.

I realize that the Bible teaches that all men are liars; however, if the Christian does tell a lie, the Holy Spirit would immediately convict him to make it right.

The scripture gives us an important reason to speak the truth – we are members one of another. Just as a human body cannot lie to itself, so should each member of the body of Christ speak the truth to one another.

We must be careful not only to tell the truth, but also to not act in a deceitful manner, while realizing the importance of the new man who always speaks the truth.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 27-28, Proverbs 4. List 3 examples of lying in the Bible. What were the results of the above lies? Complete___

APRIL 3rd                 

Read yesterday’s devotion

There must be PERSPIRATION. This is work. Jesus said, “I must work the works of His that sent me while it is day. The night cometh when no man can work.” Learn to be excited about your work. We need to be excited about these things:

  • The Word of God
  • The house of God
  • Giving
  • Soul winning
  • His coming again

There must be a PARTNERSHIP. Not only a partnership with the Lord, but with one another. Every individual in your church is important to God, to the ministry, and to the preacher. We are in a partnership in reaching souls for Christ.

There must be a PERSONAL TOUCH.

  • Learn to love people
  • Memorize their names
  • Learn to be a giver
  • Do little things to help others

There must be PROPAGATION. This means to be a soul winner.

  • Memorize the Romans Road and stick to it
  • Set goals for yourself
  • Teach others to be disciples

There must be PREACHING. The Bible commands the preacher to “feed the flock of God.” That’s the preacher’s part, not the people. The pastor must plan it, prepare it, promote it, and then preach it. We can get a crowd with promotion, but we need preaching to keep the crowd.

  • We preach to the crowd on Sunday morning
  • We preach to the Christian on Sunday night
  • We preach to the consecrated on Wednesday night

There must be PERSEVERANCE. In other words, don’t quit.

Let’s all do our part to MAKE THE MOST OF OUR MINISTRY.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 39-41, Proverbs 3, Complete.

APRIL 2nd         

Read Matthew 28:18-20

The Bible says where there is no vision the people perish. This leads us to several things:

There must be a PERCEPTION. This means believing God and believing that He has called you to a certain task and that He is looking for that task to be completed. We need a vision in reaching our community to the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We need a vision for missions around the world. We need a vision in the education of our children, and we need a vision in our giving and in being financially responsible. We must remember that everything in the Bible points to the cross. Soul winning is the lifeblood of the church. We need to replace the people that we lose. Someone said, “We need to evangelize or we will die.”

There must be a PURPOSE. Please read Philippians chapter three. We must learn to set goals because they are;

  • A measure. If you aim at nothing, you are bound to hit it. However, goals must be accomplished in smaller bits and pieces, one step at a time.
  • A motivation. Being motivated enough to persevere.
  • A mountain. They are to make us reach high, aim high, but don’t expect any shortcuts. Be willing to work hard, pray hard, and study hard.

There must be a PLANNING. Planning is a method of accomplishing our goals. Read Luke 14:28-30. This means:

  • Plan yearly, monthly, weekly, daily and even hourly.
  • Be flexible in your planning. Many are unable to plan for tomorrow because they are too busy putting out the fires today.

There must be PROMOTION. A good idea will die at the start without promotion. If you have a good idea, use it before you lose it, and whatever you do, do not tell anybody about or they will surely shoot your idea down. Sunday school teachers must promote their class, bus workers must promote their route and every ministry must be promoted. Continued Tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 1Samuel 16-20, Proverbs 2, Complete___

APRIL 1st  

                           

REAL SATISFACTION!

Read Psalm 62 and 63

In both of these Psalms, there is one common denominator. Not only has David learned that God is his only rock and refuge for salvation, but that it is only through God that he can obtain REAL SATISFACTION. David has learned, according to Psalm 62:5, to receive and wait for all his help from God, because his expectation is from God. Do you understand what that means?

The world is seeking satisfaction through drinking, smoking, drugs, sex, games, pleasure, etc. Through drinking, many have gone under; through smoking, many have died of cancer; through the drugs, many have become addicts. Others find their satisfaction in trying to marry for either beauty or wealth and 50% of the marriages end in divorce.

Still others try to find their satisfaction through money, popularity, or business success. Many have failed at all three. Even if they experienced success, they have still not found true satisfaction. Many seek satisfaction through homes, cars, and other personal things.

However, David learned that it is not through these things that he will receive satisfaction. His expectation is from God. Most of our dissatisfaction is caused by the differences between the things we have and the things we want. Often there is something we want, or we do not have, so we will do anything to get it. Even then, we find that we are not satisfied because when we acquire it we still find emptiness.

Our problem is that our expectations do not come from God. Too often, our wants far outweigh our haves. David was satisfied with what he had. We need to be careful about allowing our wants to get too far ahead of the things that we already have. There ought to be a balance. Our expectations ought to come from God. If he places a desire in our hearts and we are in tune with the Holy Spirit, then our desires will be different. But let God put the desire there, not TV or the world.

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 1-4, Proverbs 1. Compare your soul winning efforts the last few weeks to the first weeks of this year. How are they different? Have you become a better soul winner? Complete___

MARCH 31st    

             

A Working Faith!

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

God has given us many promises in His eternal word. We have a promise, or a title deed, signed by the author Himself, of things to come in the future. The key to the Christian’s life is his faith. God will give the Christian anything in the world that he may hope for which is according to His will and His word. I believe God wants us to be the soul-winning station in our areas. God wants people saved in our communities and our country. He would not have that any should perish.

God also wants to see new converts follow in believer’s baptism, join the church, serve in a ministry within the church. God desires for backslidden Christians to rededicate their lives and get their hearts right with Him. I believe God wants churches to grow, to have a bigger outreach, to increase their ministry so that they might abound more and more in reaching souls for Christ.

God wants every Christian to have a burden for lost souls, for the less fortunate, for suffering brothers and sisters and for one another. I believe God wants your church to be the greatest church in the world. He wants us to be holy and blameless. He has given us the opportunity to reach people who have a need of salvation and a desire to serve Him.

I am of the firm belief that if we will claim the promises as Joshua of old, who simply went out to walk the land. Let’s do likewise and walk our given areas, claim and possess it for God. Learn to weep over it, bring in the lost, help the poor, and encourage the distressed.

God will only give us as we dare believe. Let’s believe Him for a great miracle of revival in our country. Let’s believe God that He will use you to work that miracle.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Corinthians 9-10, Revelation 3. Write down the highlights of each of the seven churches in Revelation. Complete___ 

MARCH 30th

 

KEEPING THE RULES IN LIFE! 

According to Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

We must first read the word of God before we can hear from God. We are not only to read and hear from God, we must obey the words that He speaks to us. He said to keep those things that are written within. So, the Christian has a threefold responsibility. He must read the word of God, he must hear it, and then he must keep those things that he read and heard. Let us strive to be not only readers and hearers of the Word of God, but doers also.

Often a teenager or a young person will say, “Pastor, I don’t like this rule or that rule.” Or “There are too many rules.” Or, “That rule is too hard to keep.” Yet, what the young person fails to realize is that every rule is intended to teach and train him or her to keep the rules of life. Yes, no one likes to live by the rules; however, to break a rule is to rob oneself of the better part of life. It is better to abandon a rule than to not obey it. It is better to remove it if we are going to be lax with it, and so it is with the Word of God.

When Israel sat under the preaching of the prophets, studied the Word of God, and heeded His principles, they were a people of character. The more character they had, the more internal strength the nation possessed. The more strength they had, the more their enemies fled from them, because Proverbs 14:34 says, Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

The less they obeyed, the less character they had, the less strength they possessed, and the more they fled before their enemies. In every respect, the loss of character resulted in a loss of liberty because they refused to submit to discipline and responsibility. As true for the nation of Israel, so it is for each of us to keep the rules in life. 

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 5-6, Revelation 2. Write a thank you note to one of the staff members and give it to him on Sunday. Complete___                           

                 MARCH 29th                   


THINK BEFORE YOU VOW!

Read Judges 11:29-40

Here we see the perfect example of a spirit filled, brave and dedicated man making a serious vow regarding his daughter. In verse 29, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah. As brave as he was, he still needed a divine preparation for his work and God graciously gave it to him.

When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon a man, it makes him different than he was before. It elevates him, guides him, inspires him, and strengthens him. In verse 30, he makes a vow. This no doubt was a true, warm and sincere outburst of the heart. Yet, he really had no caution in it. If we do make a vow, we should seriously think long before it is made and seriously seek God’s guidance.

It is not wise for a Christian to bring himself into bondage by rash promises, pledges, and vows. Jephthah’s case should be a fine example of warning for us. In verses thirty-four and thirty-five, Jephthah was brought very low, because he realized he opened his mouth too quickly and could not take it back.

We must understand the importance and seriousness of making a vow cannot be underestimated. His tragic mistake was that of making a vow that would bring a bitter consequence. He swore that he would offer a burnt offering, whatever came forth out of his door to meet him. He may have thought that this was a promise that would be acceptable unto the Lord, and yet, how tragic.

In these verses we see the dedication of his daughter. She yielded herself to die or to remain unmarried and was willing to do it for her country. Truly, one cannot avoid the dedication of the father and daughter, but let’s be careful about making a vow, because once made, it must be kept. Consider the possible consequences before making a vow.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 1-6, Revelation 1, Complete___

MARCH 28th

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

For many years God had been attempting to do something wonderful in the church that I pastored for twenty-seven years. There was opposition, too abundant to mention. There were been attacks from within as well as without. For many years Satan attempted to destroy the church through governmental agencies such as the Franchise Tax Board, Welfare Agency, Licensing Agency, the Courts and Legislature of the state of California.

Attacks came from within when some people came not to worship, but to work and take advantage of their brothers and sisters in Christ by using the house of God as a place to sell their merchandise. However, because our people had a vision, God removed the opposition and gave the victory.

We are reminded of the opposition Nehemiah experienced in the building of the wall. Nehemiah challenged the people to have a mind to work, a mind to fight, and a mind to pray. It is these important ingredients that helped our church to capture the vision.

  • Everybody got involved in the work of God; everybody did his/her part. Not everyone can be a carpenter, but everyone can work. Not everyone can be an electrician or plumber, but all can do their part in the work.
  • As in the days of Nehemiah, the people got involved to fight off the opposition, we too must be involved in hand to hand combat. We must get involved in fighting our enemy, the devil.
  • We must also have a mind to pray. Pray while we work. Pray while we fight. Pray while we win souls. Pray while we worship God. Every problem is a prayer problem.

The vision has been given. Now it must take root, and all of us share in the wonderful experience of God helping us in accomplishing our tasks.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 25-26, Acts 28, Complete___

MARCH 27th 

BE NOT AS ASUAL!

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

I believe one of the greatest problems in these days in which we live is that we have a tendency to think small. Somehow we have acquired the philosophy that it is wrong to succeed, that it is wrong to be diligent and dedicated to a task. We have been taught, or at least given the impression, that we ought to care for the poor (and we should) and those on welfare and food stamps before the people who work. The problem is that somehow this is becoming the norm. The desire to work hard and strive to be successful has been downgraded and criticized.

Much of this philosophy has come into the church as well; however, Jesus said in Matthew 26:11, “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.” We ought to work hard in the Lord’s work but instead we become satisfied and apathy begins to set in. Oh yes, the politicians have their political rallies, and everyone is excited, waving the flags, releasing the balloons and just after a short time things are back to “as usual”. Churches have revival meetings; everyone is faithful, excited and ready to really accomplish something for God. But after a few weeks, things begin to return to “as usual”.

This has been descriptive of most revivals in the past. It has also been descriptive of most decisions that Christians make. They last a few days or weeks and then return to “as usual”. People serve God in a ministry, are faithful to the services, maybe even go out soul winning. But then things get back to “as usual”.

Let’s make a decision to not be “as usual” Christians, but let’s make a decision to have our decision not be “as usual”, but get fired up for God until He comes.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 36-38, Acts 27, Complete___

MARCH 26th 

                                 

Break up the Fallow Ground!

 Read Hosea 10

In Hosea 10, the prophet sharply rebukes the nation of Israel for their wickedness. In verse one he calls them an empty vine. They became selfish, lived for self and turned to idols. In verse two, their heart is divided. In verse four, they made false covenants. In verses eight and nine, their sin shall be destroyed. In verse ten, the warning of chastisement is given. In verse twelve, he speaks to them in the language they can understand, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Fallow ground is fertile ground that remains unplanted. The reaping is there if they will but sow. God has placed fallow ground before us; it is a matter of sowing and reaping. I believe it is time to seek the Lord and look for the rain of righteousness upon our ministries. God has been good to give you a field that is ready and prepared. Let us not become like the nation of Israel, as an empty vine that bringeth forth fruit unto themselves, but let us break up the fallow ground and reap in His blessings. We must break up the fallow ground and maintain the ground until Jesus comes:

  • In the individual’s heart. I wonder how many opportunities have been neglected. As long as we cherish our sin we are preventing growth. Hearing truth is not enough, because if it is not acted upon, truth will be choked out.
  • In our own Jerusalem and neighboring communities. Many enjoy the privilege of the plowed ground, but so few are willing to maintain it.
  • In the world – that is, to reach the nations with missionaries. We do not have eternity in this life, and therefore we must recognize that, Time is uncertain, James 4:13-15. Treasures are to be used, Matthew 6:19-21. Trials are to be utilized, Romans 8:28.

When we do what we can, God will do what we cannot. We will profit, our families will prosper, and many will proclaim Christ as Saviour!

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 11-15, Acts 26, Complete___

MARCH 25th

Do it as unto the Lord!

Colossians 3:23-25 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

Most of our trouble and problems with and over one another can be totally avoided if we would look at our service as unto the Lord, rather than unto man. Let me explain, if we serve man as unto man, we shall receive that reward. For, example, if it is your responsibility to clean the nursery and you have a fuss with the nursery supervisor or one of the workers, the first response is that you will no longer do that job. But if you do it as unto the Lord, then the personality will not enter into it and you will receive God’s reward.

Because God is not a respecter of persons, we ought not to be. Someone once asked me, “Preacher, do you believe you are right 100% of the time?” My immediate response was, “No, but I would like my people to think that I am?”

Let me illustrate. Often a leader is told by his follower, “I agree with you 99% of the time, it is the 1% that I have a problem with.” Now here is our problem. Is it better to build upon the 1% or the 99%? If we spend our time talking with others about the 1%, and if we find 100 people with a 1% disagreement, soon we have 100% that disagree and we have put emphasis upon the minor things.

Of course, the leader is not always right; however, we must learn to follow 100% and trust the Lord for the 1%. Remember, whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men.” If we do that, the 1% will seem very insignificant.

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 48-50, Acts 25, Complete___ 

                         MARCH 24th                       

THREE MARKS!

Read Galatians 6:11-18

Today we are going to look at THREE MARKS OF CHRIST IN OUR LIFE.

First, there is THE MARK OF GRACE. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches us that Grace is not a gift you have earned, it is undeserved, and God’s unmerited favor. Christ is the gift, salvation is the gift and both are given because of the grace of God.

When the MARK OF GRACE is evident in our life we deny all ungodliness according to Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”

It also causes us to labor for the cause of Christ. We work because we love Him. Paul said, “By the grace of God I am what I am…” Look at 11:23-27. Paul had some physical marks, and he suffered them for Christ. The Greek word for marks is stigmata meaning, “Scar marks.” If you want to see the handwriting of Jesus, look upon Paul’s body. The stigmata were the sufferings of Paul that he endured for the sake of the Lord Jesus.

There is not only THE MARK OF GRACE, but also THE MARK OF GROWTH. 2 Peter 3:18,  “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever.  Amen.”

People need to see Christ in us. They need to see that we are mature and grown up. Then lastly, there is THE MARK OF GRATITUDE. Remember the story of the 10 lepers in Luke 17:11-19?  Do you have the MARK OF GRATITUDE, or are you like these nine lepers?

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Corinthians 7-8, Acts 24. List some of the things that the pastor does for you. Complete___               

                   MARCH 23rd               

Read Psalm 116:12-19

HOW CAN I SAY THANKS?

How can we give thanks to God? How can we thank Him for all He has done for us? In this Psalm, the psalmist professes his love for God. Think of all God has done for you. Think of the many times that He has delivered you out of trouble and has faithfully answered your prayer. How can we say thanks?

Call upon the name of the Lord. Verse 13 says, “I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.” We can all do that. It does not require much time or diligence to simply call upon Him and thank Him for His salvation.

  • Pay our vows unto the Lord. Verse 14, “I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.” It is better not to make a vow than to make it and not keep it. We need to be careful about the vows we make and keep those we have made.
  • Give our lives to the Lord. Verse 15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” This does not have to mean physical death. Romans chapter twelve commands us to present our bodies as living sacrifices. Live for Him.
  • Serve Him. Verse 16, “O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.” We have been freed from the bonds of sin and are now free to serve Him with a willing heart.
  • Sacrifice and give thanks. Verse 17, “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.” When we sacrifice for God or for someone else, we are saying thank you to God.
  • Attend the house of God. Verse 19, “In the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.”

Yes, there are many things that we can do to thank God. Let’s do them today.

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 3-4, Acts 23. Have you made a list of blessing and thanked God for them? Complete___

MARCH 22nd

Unity in the Church!

Psalm 133:1-3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

I like what the Bible says in Hebrews 13:1, “Let brotherly love continue.” This is not speaking of the Agape love, but of Phileo – human affection and fondness. In other words, there is to be affection towards one another in the church of God, not only to those who are suffering, but also to all brothers and sisters in Christ. As the Bible says, “especially to those in the household of faith.”

Romans 12:10 tells us, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.” Here again the word “Phileo” is used, meaning that we are to be fond of one another, as family members would be. Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through strife of vainglory: but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Each of these verses speaks of putting others before us, esteeming others better than ourselves.

Human nature teaches man to take care of himself. There is a philosophy of survival of the fittest; however, the practice is not necessarily right for the Christian. The test of true Bible character is to seek to care for the needs of others. “Others Lord, yes others, let this my motto be. Help me to live for others, that I may live for Thee”, said the poet. So, what does it mean in Psalm 133:1, “for brethren to dwell together in unity”?

Certainly it means for us to love one another, to nurture one another and to care for one another’s needs. The purpose of the church is first of all to see people saved, to disciple those who have been saved, and to care for the needs of others. This is the life lived by our example, the Lord Jesus Christ. Unity is a wonderful thing to experience in our churches. Thank God for all the opportunities we have to be kindly affectioned one to another and the great privilege we have to carry out the truth of the gospel. Then it will be truly pleasant for us to dwell together in unity.

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 62-66

Read Acts 22

Complete___

MARCH 21st

SHOWERS OF BLESSING!

1 Kings 8:35-36   When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:  Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.

In Solomon’s prayer, the principle of praying for rain is certainly seen. It does not take a spiritual giant to see that God honors prayer, especially the prayers of His people. Many times when in a time of drought, we have prayed for rain and have rejoiced to see rain come.

There is a good principle here. Solomon is pleading with God to forgive the people of sin and end the drought by sending rain. The same is true today. If Christians everywhere would repent of sin, ask God for forgiveness, and make their hearts right before Him, and then do as Solomon and pray for God to send rain, I believe HE WILL.

We are not saying that every time a Christian repents of a sin, God is going to send rain; however, the principle is still true. If we repent of and confess our sins, God will literally send His showers (blessings) from Heaven.

Christian, have you truly repented of your sin? God has met His condition, have you met yours? Are your harboring bad feelings toward another Christian? Is there bitterness in your heart? Is there open sin in your life? Is there rebellion in the heart of a teenager, young person, and adult? Why not lay it on the altar, and ask God to send us rain, His blessings from Heaven?

Daily Assignments

Read Job 23-24, Acts 21, Complete___

MARCH 20th

DARE TO BE GREAT!

 

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Far too often we as Christians have been duped by the devil to think we cannot accomplish all that God has called us to do. We allow outside circumstances and outside pressures to defeat us. We allow the doubts of Satan and the flesh to overcome us. We ought to make our motto, “I will not allow circumstances to make me happy or sad.”

There will always be outside circumstances to either hinder or oppose us. We are not to look at the circumstances, but to rise above them. God says you can do all things through Christ. There are no limitations in what the Christian can do for God if he is totally submitted to His will. We need to believe God for greatness.

Greatness comes in all sizes and varieties. Greatness is not a respecter of persons. Greatness comes to those who dare to be great through the statutes and principles of the word of God. Greatness comes to those who obediently follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. There are several areas in which we ought to attempt to be great.

  • Great in our compassion. Compassion makes a difference, both in our lives and in the lives of others.
  • Great in humility. Learn to think little of yourself and much of others. Esteem others more highly than yourself.
  • Great in faith. Great men believe God for great things. They have great faith because they know they have a great God.
  • Great in wisdom. Wisdom is the proper application of spiritual truths. The more Bible we know, the more wisdom we have available.
  • Great in conviction. Stand firm and believe God. Don’t let men change you or your position. Stand by the word of God.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 33-35, Acts 20

Complete___

                 MARCH 19th                               

 Read Psalm 37:1-11

Today, we want to put into practical terms the secret of happiness. We must learn to do many things to be happy. There are things we must do to fight our natural despondency. So let me give you four suggestions on how to overcome those times in which you are spiritually low. These four principles are certainly not Earth shattering thoughts, but they will help you to make it through difficult times. 

Live by a schedule. Most of us are so busy that we neglect to take the time required to fine-tune our Christian lives. This can only come through scheduling some time each day to be alone with the Lord. Learn not to do things because you feel like it at the time. Do them with a purpose in mind. When the emphasis seems to be on self, schedule some time to do something for others. Be busy for God and keep somewhat of a schedule to avoid despondency. 

Do many things to be happy. I remember as a little child how I looked forward to weekends and it seemed an eternity from Monday to Friday. Now, I look forward to Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday… because each day has a uniqueness of its own. As we live by a schedule, we learn to do many things regardless of what day it is. Avoid just sitting and thinking about your problems. 

Dwell on God’s provisions rather than your needs. No matter what your condition, you have many more blessings than needs. Needs just seem to jump into our minds faster and brighter than the blessings. Spend time thinking about what God has done for you. 

Don’t overly enjoy the different. Learn to enjoy doing the same things. Simply include routine things in with the different and new things. Learn to enjoy the routine things while doing the new things. It is easy to enjoy something new. 

Yes, we can be happy if we live by a schedule, dwell on God’s provisions, and learn to enjoy the routine things in our lives. 

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 6-10, Acts 19 

Complete___

       

MARCH 18th         

 

How to Succeed!

 Read Philippians chapter 3-4

Success can be defined as accomplishment of goals. The Bible gives us some basic principles by which we can have success. How can we do it?

  • Put God first in your life (Matthew 6:32-34)
  • Follow the Book  (Joshua 1:7-9)
  • Seek the goal (Philippians 3:13-14)
  • Never give up (Galatians 6:9)
  • Do it all for Christ (Philippians 1:20-21)

Yes, there will be hindrances. Let’s face it, Satan is always on our trail, and he is our biggest enemy; however, there are several others.

  • The hindrance of unbelief (Hebrews 4:6-11)
  • The hindrance of Enemies (Nehemiah 4:1-23)
  • The hindrance of Sluggishness (Proverbs 24:33-34)
  • The hindrance of Love of the world (Matthew 16:26)

How can we succeed? Follow these steps:

  • Dream a dream – Make goals
  • Desire to fulfill your goals
  • Decide to make a start
  • Dare to take a chance
  • Dedicate yourself to finish
  • Direct your attention on the goal
  • Devote your life to serving God

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 44-47, Acts 18. Write down a few things for which you could praise the Lord. Complete___

MARCH 17th

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Silas and Timothy were with Paul when he started on his second missionary journey. The epistle was written from Corinth, and they were there with Paul when 1 Thessalonians was written.

Look again in verse 6. Shortly after establishing a church at Thessalonica, Paul was forced to leave, so he left some of his co-workers to train the new believers.

After receiving a report of their good progress, Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to send this letter of encouragement. He thanked God for several things about this new church and its members.

  • Their conversion and new life. He heard about their work of faith, their labour of love, and their patience of hope. They had made spiritual progress. It was not always easy, but they had seen growth.
  • Their evangelism. The gospel came to them in more than just in word; it came to them in power and in assurance in the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit had changed their lives. It was exciting to them. They could not just sit on the exciting news, but had to share it with others. And their lives reinforced their message.
  • Their reception. They received the word of God with much affliction, but they also received it with much joy. They became followers of the apostles and Christ. The word did not just enter their ears; it abounded in their lives.
  • Their example. They became examples to other believers. Their faith spread abroad and was an encouragement to others. The apostles did not have to say anything about them because their testimony preceded them.

We ought to thank God for this model church that serves for an example of our work in our churches across the country.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Corinthians 5-6, Acts 17, Complete___

March 16th

What a Blessing!

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.It is a wonderful time to reflect on the Lord’s goodness and mercy in our lives. Jesus said, in Matthew 28, “I am with you always even unto the end of the world.”

When you think of this wonderful promise He gave to His disciples and followers of that day realize that it is given to us as well. He said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” What a blessing to have His constant presence. Have you ever stopped to think that we have an intercessor that intervenes for us and on our behalf? He knows our every need; He knows our every heartache and he intercedes with God for us.

Not only do we have Jesus interceding for us, but, according to Romans 8, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities, for know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

The Holy Spirit intercedes with “groanings that cannot be uttered”. When you come to the place where you don’t even know how to pray, do not be discouraged. The Holy Spirit will intercede and pray for you. What a great promise in the word of God.

Think about this – He intercedes on our behalf to make sure that everything turns out for good. Thank the Lord for His wonderful presence, His wonderful promises, and His wonderful protection. And as we praise Him for past deliverances, let us remember to praise Him for what we know He is going to do in the future. He has given us the Great Commission, promised His presence, and given us His power, so we cannot help but prosper.

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 1-2, Acts 16, Make an outline of last Sunday’s evening sermon. Complete___

MARCH 15th

RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTS A NATION!           

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Sometimes, it is hard to see the exaltation of God in America with the unscriptural alliances being made, and the negative news we see and hear. Let me explain:

When a nation has more compassion for an aids patient (we should compassion) than for an unborn baby, there is something wrong in that nation.

When a nation is more concerned for the safety of animals (we should be concerned) than for people, there is a problem in that nation.

When a stock market report is more important than the Saviour, there is something wrong.

When homosexuals, communists, and the ACLU have a louder voice than the Christian, there is something wrong in the nation.

When a nation forgets her aged, and becomes more concerned with the homeless, there is a problem.

When social reform is more important than sanctification in the home, something is wrong.

When Islam is taught and encouraged in our schools and government, while our leaders and media mock Christians and Jews, there is something wrong. Why is this happening in America?

WE HAVE FORSAKEN GOD!

Church attendance is down in almost every denomination in America. It has become rare to have prayer in Christian homes. Christians are no longer willing to pay the price of revival.  Yes, we can be proud to be Americans. America was founded upon biblical principles and standards and we must keep America standing for God’s word. In Proverbs 14:34, the word “exalteth” means to build up. That is to say, righteousness builds up a nation and sin tears it down. We are supposed to be “one nation under God”.

Therefore, we must not only love our nation, we must all turn from our sin. Repentance of sin is the only scriptural means of revival. Then, we must turn to the God of our fathers and live righteously to build up our nation once again.

The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Let’s have a vision and win the lost to the Lord Jesus Christ, and build our nation once again.

Daily Assignments!

Read Isaiah 56-61, Acts 15. Write a thank you note to your Pastor today. Complete___

MARCH 14th

 

WHAT A WONDERFUL GOD!

Psalms 37:5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and He shall bring it to pass.

The songwriter said, “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart.”

Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  The Bible also says, “The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Who can know it?

Much can be said for Christianity and the average fundamental Christian. Many appear to be busy in the service of the Lord; others are struggling to try to make an impact. Many are trying to live the Christian life, and still others are “hanging in there”. Let me say a few words to encourage your heart.

The Bible says, “Man looketh on the outward appearance, But God looketh on the heart.” No man can see your heart; no man can know your true motive, but God knows. God knows because if there is anything there, He placed it there.

Most of us have faith, but many have faith or attempt to have faith in ourselves more than in God. According to the scriptures, if we will delight ourselves in the Lord, He has promised to give us the desires of our hearts. But, that does not mean that He will give us anything we want; it does mean that He will place the desires there that He wants. Once again, it is a matter of the heart.

Now, meditate on this thought for a moment: There is a God in Heaven who not only loves you very much, but who also wants to give you the desires of your heart. What a wonderful God. What a wonderful privilege to be a Christian.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 21-22, Acts 14, Complete___

                       

                         March 13th                       

 

Read Habakkuk 1:1-17

Have you ever asked God questions and felt that He did not hear or answer you the way you want? Habakkuk had a lot of questions verses 2-3, 12-13. What Habakkuk Is really asking is WHERE IS GOD? Or “IS GOD THERE?” or “DOES HE CARE?” or “THIS IS NOT FAIR.”

We might get the idea that Habakkuk is not getting any answers from God. Well, eventually he got an answer, but not what he wanted in verse 6; and chapter 2, verse 2. Habakkuk means: Embrace, known as the “embracer.” Our subject for today, “embracing things we do not want, things we do not understand or cannot change.”

Josiah had had been killed in the battle and Jehoiakim is on the throne; he is a bad king, Josiah was a good king. Habakkuk asked God why is it that the good king gets killed and the bad is sitting on the throne. Fair question, is it not?

IS GOD THERE? Is He there? What about unanswered prayer? Does He care? Habakkuk says the law is not fair or affective. Right is not done in verses 1-4. Justice does not seem to prevail in verses 5-7. Why doesn’t God do something? God gives him answers, but Habakkuk could have done without these. In verse 6 God calls the Babylonians (Chaldeans) ruthless people. The Lord explains in verse 15 that the Israelites will be like a load of fish, caught in a net. Habakkuk is shocked and does not understand. How can you use the ungodly to punish the godly? Habakkuk almost loses hope in God.

DOES HE CARE? In Chapter 2 we see that Habakkuk is feeling guilty for even asking these questions. When we cannot pray because of our attitude toward God, we need to see it from His side. He is literally saying, “I will embrace your answers and wait until I see it from your perspective. That is what we need to do when His promises seem to fail us. Look at 3:16, what is Habakkuk talking about? Has he seen the Chaldeans? No, he has seen The Lord. Even though he knows the Chaldeans are coming, he resolves to TRUST GOD AND TO BE FAITHFUL FOREVER.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 30-32, Acts 13, Complete___

March 12th

BIBLICAL DISCIPLINE!

The question is often asked, “Preacher, just how far should one go in disciplining his children?” or “Preacher, at what point and what is the fine line between obedience to God and hurting the child?” All discipline, regardless of the form, is always to be done in love. But it is equally important to be just.

Now just where does the responsibility of the giver of discipline end and the responsibility of the receiver begin? As in every other area of life, I believe there is a two-fold responsibility. There is the responsibility of the one who has been offended and the one who is responsible for the offense. “Discipline is to be exercised with a heart of love; with a fair mind of understanding; with a firm hand of consistency.”

What does the Bible say in these matters? I believe God gives us the prescription in many parts of the Bible. However, Hebrews 12:3-11 seems to stand out and give the proper balance. Of course a child should never be disciplined in anger, ignorance, or with a vengeful attitude.

We must always correct in love. Look at verse 5 and 6 again. As God chastens His children in love in order to bring about correction, so must we with our children. We must never discipline out of frustration, but always out of principle and love. The psalmist said in Psalm 118:18, “The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.” God in His mercy disciplines us to bring about correction but He always does it because of His love.

We must always punish in justice. Again it must be out of principle when a Biblical principle has been violated and must be administered in a Biblical way. Deuteronomy chapters 28-29 give a contrast between obedience and disobedience and I would suggest reading it. To correct in love and to punish in justice is extremely important to cause the child to respond.

We must humble ourselves before God through much prayer and fasting. Daniel prayed and fasted but he first consecrated himself before God. It is extremely important that we correct in love, punish in justice, but always humble ourselves before God and properly administer Biblical discipline on our children. 

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 1-5, Acts 12, Complete___

                             

                          MARCH 11th                            

 

BIBLICAL STEWARSHIP!

Read Genesis 2

When most people hear someone mention Biblical stewardship, they think immediately of tithing, and they rebel because they feel that someone is just trying to “get into their wallet”. But Biblical stewardship is far more than that. What does it mean? A good definition might be – Care of what God has entrusted to you. There are literally thousands of examples in the Old Testament. Today, we will look at the story of Adam. Genesis tells us that God created the Earth. He alone had part in that creation. Adam had no part in it. He was a created being himself. God alone was the power behind creation. Then He did something strange. He gave dominion over part creation to a part of that creation – man. Man was to dress and to keep the garden. He was to care for it and to exercise authority over it. The garden was entrusted to man. Adam was the steward of it. However, we see in chapter 3 that Adam fell. And when he fell, he ruined that stewardship that God had entrusted to him. Notice the judgment in verses 17-19, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Because of his sin, the ground was cursed. They very thing that Adam was supposed to keep was cursed because of his sin. He was removed from the garden and lost the opportunity to be a steward because of sin. Oh, how many times has God desired to give us some authority or responsibility or privilege, but was unable to because we were not in a right relationship with Him? Remember, God will not give great responsibility to someone in whom He cannot trust. Can He trust you today? Bro. Ken Starlin

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 40-43, Acts 11. Write down some areas of responsibility that God has given to you. Complete___

MARCH 10th

Will you be that Man?

Ezekiel 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

Jeremiah is one who had a very difficult ministry and yet he continued to serve and to pray for a people who would not repent of their sins. What a tragedy it is for God not to be able to find one man who will stand in the gap. It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word Parats means to break out or to burst out and disperse and to grow. I believe it was D.L. Moody who said, “The world is yet to see what God can do with one man who had totally dedicated himself to God.”

I believe God is still looking for a man, for several men, for hundreds yea thousands of men who will make up the hedge and stand in the gap. God told Jeremiah, “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.” God also told the children of Israel through Ezekiel, “Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.” Aaron is one who stood in the gap; he stood between the living and the dead in Numbers 16:48. But in we are told in Psalm 106:23, “Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.” Remember our subject matter. God is looking for a man who will burst out or break out and grow in his Christian faith and be used of God to rescue the perishing and care for the dying. Think of it, the Almighty, Omniscient, Omnipotent, ever present God is seeking for someone to be used of Him. Could you be that person that God uses to bring revival to our nation? Could it be that revival is only one person away? Could that one be you?

Daily Assignments!

Read 1 Corinthians 3-4, Acts 10

Write out the following verses: Jeremiah 11:14 and Psalm 66:18. What do you think God is trying to tell us in these verses? Complete___

MARCH 9th       

  

Count your Blessings!

 Read 2 Chronicles 6:12-42 

Let me encourage you to read all the verses in this chapter. I believe we will say with Solomon, “There is no God like unto Thee.” Most of us understand that prayer is one of the most important parts in the life of a Christian. More than communication with God and a way of receiving from Him, prayer causes us to realize His greatness, and through it, learn to praise God for all His provisions. The Bible says His name is above every name and that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

As we sing, “How great Thou art” we need to first think of His mercy. Mercy is God’s attitude toward those that are in distress. Psalm 101:7, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever.” Truly God is merciful. Not only is He merciful, but He is also our protection. No idol can help or give you protection in times of distress, despair and discouragement. The songwriter said, “My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow.” Nothing can harm me, because He is my protection. He also hears and answers our prayers.

There is no God like our God. Remember also, that there is no book like unto our Book, the Bible. Psalm 119:89 “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in Heaven.” God’s word is trustworthy. It is permanent, steadfast and true. If there ever was a need for truth, it is today. Many are wasting their time, going for advice to television, horoscopes, movies, music, but few there be that turn to the truth, the Bible. The Bible has survived through the centuries.

Remember last, there is not blessing like unto our blessing. Think of the many blessings of God. The songwriter wrote, “Count your blessings, and name them one by one.” In times of frustration, doubt, fear or threat, why not pause a few moments and pray. Confess your sin, repent of them, and watch God pour out another blessing. The blessing of yesterday will not carry us through today; we must have new blessings every day. Oh, pray for God to send fresh blessings upon His people.

Daily Assignments!

Read Matthew 26-28, Acts 9. Make an outline of last week’s Sunday school lesson. Complete___

     

     MARCH 8th      

                         

I. M. FAITHFUL!

Read Hebrews 10

If there was ever a time we need to purpose in our hearts to be faithful to all the functions and activities of the church, it is today. Many have gone by the wayside, and cannot be found in church. How grieved the Lord must be when he sees the empty church buildings. I thought I would share something along those lines today. This is a sample letter from a church member to the pastor. “You often stress church attendance at worship as being very important for a Christian, but I think a person has a right to miss now and then. I think every person should be excused for the following reasons and the number of times indicated to the right.”

Christmas (Sunday before or after)                   1

New Year (Party ended late)                            1

Easter (Get away for the holidays)                   1

July 4th (National holiday)                                1

Labor Day (Need to get away)                          1

Memorial Day (Visit home town)                       1

School closing (Kids need a break)                   1

School opening (One last fling)                         1

Family reunions (Mine and Wife’s)                    2

Sleep Late (Saturday Night Activities)               1

Sickness (One for each member in family)        5

Business trips                                                 3

Vacation (Call at home if emergency)               3

Bad Weather (Rain, Clouds, Wind, etc.)            6

Ballgames (1 for each sport)                            4

Unexpected company (Can’t be rude)               5

Time change (Body schedule messed up)         2

TV Specials                                                   3

Anniversary                                                   1

Death in family                                              4

Pastor that leaves 5 Sundays and you can count on us to be there all those Sundays unless providentially hindered. Signed: I.M. Faithful

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 51-55 & Acts 8. Complete___

March 7th   

          

Read yesterday’s devotion

WE MUST WORK IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST TO WIN THE LOST TO CHRIST.

In Revelation 2:1-7 we are told about a church that has left its first love, soul winning. The angel complimented them on the works, but they left their first love. They left their first love, because they left their first works. People are excited about soul winning after they are first saved and then they lose their passion. Workers, teachers and deacons should be chosen because they are soul winners, not only their ability. But people focus on their job and making money and as a result they do not go out in the field. They have left their first love. If a teacher is so involved in the job of teaching that he or she has no time for witnessing, then we have a non-soul winner filling the position of teacher. Then it repeats itself over and over and soon you have non-soul winning leaders. When leadership gets off the field the church is not obedient to His Word. You end up with unspiritual leading the spiritual. We must stay in the field of soul winning.

Pastors become busy administrating and do not go soul wining. Then the staff does not have to go soul winning. The next step is that the heart is not moved when people are saved. The next step is to find some criticism of those who are going soul winning, etc. All other jobs are sidelines. The main job for the church is soul winning. Thou hast left thy first love, because thou hast left they first work. Have you left your first love? Are you doing His first work? Are you doing it in the power of the Holy Ghost? God gave the Holy Spirit enduement of power for soul winning. Read Joel 2:28-30. When are those days of which God is speaking? He is speaking of the New Testament days of which we are a part. Glory, we can see miracles of fire today. Why not make a decision to make this the year of getting back to our first love and do His first work. 

Daily Assignments

Read Job 19-20, Acts 7. List some things that you see as weaknesses in your life and write down some steps you will take to help you overcome those weaknesses. Complete___

 

MARCH 6th 

                           

HAVE YOU LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE?

Read Acts 9:23-31

Two evidences are given of Paul’s conversion in the first part of the chapter: He prayed in verse 11 and he preached in verse 20. Talking to God for men and to men for God are good proofs of a real conversion. Paul started where he was and preached what he knew, another good policy for us to follow. Paul wanted to minister to the Jews in Jerusalem, but God wanted him to leave (Acts 22:17-21). Further persecution made it necessary for Paul to leave, so he returned to his home at Tarsus. In my opinion there are basically two major needs which must be solved, and most others would also:

WE MUST WALK IN FEAR TO OBEY HIS COMMANDS

Obedience is the test of love. Labor always follows love. We say with our lips, but deny with our eyes. We do not love the saints because we do not fear God. We do not love the sinner because we do not love God. Cain did not fear God when he slew Abel. Lot did not fear God when he pitched his tent toward Sodom. David did not fear God when he fell into sin with Bathsheba. Achan did not fear God when he took the accursed things. Peter did not fear God when he denied Christ thrice. Judas did not fear God when he betrayed Jesus. Proverbs 1:29, “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord.”

We must choose to fear God. Fear means: Reverential trust. Fear can be either good or bad. The good fear of God is holy affection or habit wrought in the soul by God.  Abraham said of Abimelech, “Surely the fear of God is not in this place” in Genesis 20:11. David said in his conclusion and last words: “he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” in2 Samuel 23:3. Nehemiah said, “ought ye not to walk in the fear of God?” The reason we sin is that we do not fear God. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 27-29

Read Acts 6

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, answer the following questions. How faithful have you been to the Lord’s work? How thankful have you been? How compassionate have you been for the lost? Complete___           

           MARCH 5th                 

THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE!

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13  

Of the three only love is eternal. Faith and hope are temporal. “Greater than these,” and they too are great, but love is the greatest. Paul does not explain why love is best, but there may be some good reasons given: Love is the root of the other two. We believe only in that which we love, we hope only for that which we love. Love is for others and faith and hope is mainly for us. Faith and hope are human, but God is love. Faith and hope can only work by love, and only show themselves by love.

Someone said, “Faith and hope are precious stones of one color, as a ruby and sapphire; but love, as he has been showing us throughout the chapter is a diamond of many facets.” The words imply that they are all great. Paul speaks of the greatest. “Faith” is a great thing. It implies reason, truth, and the looking at evidence. Faith is great in all we do. “Hope” is a great thing too.  It implies the recognition of good, a desire for good, and an expectation of good. It makes the present bearable knowing what will be in the future. All three are permanent. “There abideth” faith and hope.  They last only as long as life.

Why is love the greatest?

Because it is a virtue in itself.  There is no moral virtue in faith and hope. They are, under certain conditions necessary. But love is a godly virtue. It is the one quality that gives virtue the other two. Where there is no love, the virtues of faith and hope are useless. Love is the only one of the three that brings us close to God Himself. Love is what brings everything else together.

Love is the one that includes the highest of faith and hope. Love alone can bring true happiness. Why? Love is happiness. You cannot say that about faith or hope. Love is the most God-like of the three. God is not faith or hope – God is love. The eternal does not believe or anticipate, but He does love because God is love. Love is the life of the soul. It warms every vein and beat every heartbeat – THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE. Author Unknown!

Daily Assignments!

Read Ruth 1-4, Acts 5, Write out three Bible verses about love.

Complete___ 

March 4th             

Read yesterday’s devotion

In these verses we can learn several important lessons:

THE BIBLE WILL REVIVE YOUR SOUL.

  • It brings zeal back into your life. God knows we need it.
  • It stirs your soul with fire.

THE BIBLE WILL RESTORE YOUR INNER STRENGTH.

  • It will remove the lying spirit verse 29a.
  • It will reestablish your inner values.

THE BIBLE REINFORCES (GUIDES) IN ALL TRUTH.

  • You cannot be separated from truth, why? I am stuck to, to catch, to follow close, and to be joined together verse 31a.
  • It keeps you from shameful sin verse 31b.

THE BIBLE WILL REFORM (ENLARGE) YOUR HEART.

  • It brings blessings
  • It brings repentance of sin
  • It reminds us of our duties
  • It produces reformation
  • It comforts at the return of Jesus Christ

HOW DOES THE BIBLE AFFECT YOU?

  • Is it RESPONSIVE?
  • Is it REJECTION?
  • Is it REBELLION?
  • Is it to RECEIVE more light?
  • Does it cause you to RESEARCH?

The Bible truly does affect us – How does it affect you?

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 36-39

Read Acts 4

Complete___

                   

                              MARCH 3rd                      

 

How does the Bible affect you?

Read Psalm 119:25-40

Spurgeon said, “This one chapter equally excels in breadth of thought, depth of meaning, height of fervor as any 22 Psalms.”

It is alphabetical in style and I have always believed that its author is David, because it has his style. The Psalmist recognizes that the only way for him to enlarge his heart (verse 32) is through the Word of God.

His sense of devotion, determination and dependence leads him to pray. We have written much about the Word of God and the fact that we cannot become a good Christian if not in the Bible. Everything God does He does through His Word and He always does everything by His Word. We too will have to do it through His Word. Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”

Notice verses 20-22, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

Jesus said in Matthew 12:34-37 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

One of David’s mighty men “clave his hand to the sword.”

We need to cleave to His Word and hide it in the heart, “for out of the heart are the issues (boundaries, outgoing of life).” Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Corinthians 1-2, Acts 3. Pray for a staff member today, that God will bless his/her family. Complete___

MARCH 2nd           

Read yesterday’s devotion

How can we draw near to God and get out of our comfort zone?

DRAW NEAR BY SEEKING THE LORD.

Seek Him early, seek Him earnestly, seek Him expectantly, seek Him with all you heart and soul. 1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.

DRAW NEAR BY PRAISING HIM.

Notice Paul and Silas in prison in Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

Praise Him because He loves you. Praise Him because He died for you. Praise Him because He satisfies.

DRAW NEAR TO GOD BY TRUSTING HIM.

Because He is our comforter, Because He is our companion and our conqueror.

Exodus 14:14-15 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

DRAW NEAR TO GOD BY CLAIMING HIS PROMISES.

Psalm 63 would be a good place to start claiming.

Most Christians dare not to dare. I believe God is challenging each of us to draw near to Him.

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 23-25

Read Acts 2

Give your testimony to a lost sinner sometime this week.

Complete___

                         

MARCH 1st                                          

The Christian life is more than having a good time, fun and games or living in a comfort zone. The Christian life is a warfare that is fighting our daily battles yes, but also the battles of life that can only be won in the power of God. Think of it: God has a plan for your life and mine. All we have to do is follow His steps. Read Deuteronomy 20:1-4. Do not be afraid if the opposition has more than you. God is saying I will fight the battle for you. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU!

  • There is His plan.
  • There is your plan.
  • There is no plan.

Don’t get hung up in the COMFORT ZONE!  The church is not to be the comfort zone – it is church of Jesus Christ.

Joshua dared to leave his comfort zone. God cannot use you if you are in the comfort zone. But, He desires to use you. Will you let Him?

In Genesis 12 Abraham dared to believe God, when God told him to “get out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.”

In Genesis 37 Joseph dared to believe God.

Can you hear his brothers; “here comes the dreamer.”

In Daniel 6, Daniel dared to pray and get out of the comfort zone.

In 1 Kings 17, the widow got out of her comfort zone and dared to give all she had.

We need to come out of our comfort zone and dare to do something great for God. We need to believe God, even when it is out of our comfort level, or if the problems seem insurmountable. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 45-50

Read Acts 1

Complete___

FEBRUARY 29th

 

REJOICE IN THE LORD, PART III

Read the last two days’ devotions

WE SHOULD REJOICE IN HIM BECAUSE HE IS OUR SAVIOR.

The main joy of the true Christian should be in the Lord. He (the Christian) should find his happiness not in riches, or power, or vanity, or ambition, or books, or in the world in any form, but in his relationship with the Lord Jesus, and in the hope of eternal life through Him. The highest of our joys should be in His fellowship and service, because in these we should find happiness and fulfillment.

WE SHOULD REJOICE BECAUSE IT IS A COMMAND.

Please read Philippians 4:1-7. I wonder how much of life the average Christian misses because of worry. Some seem to have gone as far as making worrying their main purpose in life. We all have “the blues” sometimes and occasionally feel “down in the dumps” when gloom seems to overwhelm us. In these verses we see the keys to a life free from worry, and Paul makes it clear that it starts with having a secure mind. Once we realize that our total trust must be in God, we can begin to live our lives to the fullest potential. The secure mind is not found in Christians who are living lives filled with worry, but in those that have learned that freedom from worry is not accidental, nor is it possible without Christ. Rejoice is a command!

IT IS A PRIVILEGE FOR US TO REJOICE IN THE LORD.

The Christian has more resources of joy than unbelievers, and these resources never fail as all others do. Christianity is not sadness or gloom, it is joy, and we should never leave the impression that our faith makes us either gloomy or miserable. Let me say that our cheerful countenance and kindness should always show the joy of our hearts, and in the world around us we should show that our heart is full of joy.

Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord alway and again I say rejoice.”

Daily Assignments

Read Job 17-19, Proverbs 29, 30, and 31, Complete___

FEBRUARY 28th

Read yesterday’s devotion

In verses 17-21 he gives two considerations.

  • That there were many who had been deceived and who had no true faith, and whom he had often warned with tears.
  • That the citizenship of the true Christian was in heaven, and they ought to live as those who soon expected to be there. All this should certainly give them reason to rejoice.

Let’s go back to our daily verse: Verse 1 “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” That is in the Lord Jesus Christ. The idea is that it is the duty of Christians to rejoice in the Lord and implies at least four things.

THEY SHOULD REJOICE BECAUSE THEY HAVE A SAVIOUR.

Men everywhere have felt the need of a Saviour and to us it should bring joy that one has been provided for us. When we think of our sins, we can rejoice that there is one who can deliver us from them. When we think of the value of a soul, we can rejoice that there is one who can save it from death and hell. When we think of our dangers in life, we can rejoice that there is one who can deliver us from all our trouble and one day will take us to where we will be safe forever.

WE SHOULD REJOICE BECAUSE WE TOO HAVE A SAVIOUR.

He is all we need. He accomplishes just what we want a Saviour to do. We need a Saviour to make known to us how to have forgiveness of sins, and He does it. We need one to make atonement for sin, and He does it. We need one to give us peace from a troubled conscience, and He does it. We need one to support us in trials and troubles, and He does it. We need one who can comfort us on the deathbed, and guide us through the “valley of the shadow of death,” and the Lord Jesus is just what we need. When we look at His character, it is just as it should be to change our hearts and to make us love Him. When we look at what He has done for us, we see that He has accomplished all we can desire, and why shouldn’t we rejoice?  Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 24-26, Proverbs 28. Except for the Leap Year, be sure to read both the 29th and the first of March tomorrow. Complete___

February 27th 

Rejoice in the Lord!

Read Philippians 3:1-21

This chapter consists of exhortations to holy living and an effort to make great progress in the Christian life. In other words our lives should be full of compassion and care, and this is one of the most beautiful appeals to persuade Christians to devote themselves to the service of the Lord. The appeal is from Paul’s statement of his own feelings and is one the Philippians could not help but feel, because they knew him well. In this chapter, he points to the following:

In verse 1 he exhorts them to “rejoice in the Lord.”

In verses 2-3 He warns them against the Jewish teachers who urged them to observe Moses’ laws, boasted of being Jews and regarded themselves as the favorites of God.

In verses 4-6 Paul says that he too had advantages of birth and education that surpassed them all. He had claim to the favor of God and all the hope of salvation from birth. He had great opportunity for an education and a life of zeal and conformity to the law had all been his.

In verses 7-11 he says he had renounced all this and now regarded it as worthless in the matter of salvation. He gladly suffered the loss of all things and was willing continue to do it, if he might obtain salvation through Christ. Christ was more to him than all the advantages of birth; position and all other reasons of dependence for salvation were worthless compared to reliance on Christ. “That I may know Him…”

In verses 12-14 he says that he had not yet fully attained his goal. He had seen enough to know the great value, and now pressed onward that he might attain all he desired. The mark was set before him, and he pressed on to win the prize.

In verses 15-16 he exhorts them to aim at the same thing and to endeavor to win the prize, assuring them that God was ready to reveal all they desired to know and to grant all they hoped to attain. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Judges 17-21

Read Proverbs 27, Complete___

            FEBRUARY 26th             

PRE-OCCUPIED WITH CHRIST!

Paul did not write about the beautiful mountains in Corinth, or how beautiful Rome was. Why? He was pre-occupied with Jesus.

We need to be occupied WITH Him.

We can get so involved in relationships with other people that we forget there is no substitute for being alone with Christ, pre-occupied with Him. The real purpose of our Christian life is to give Him Glory, honor and fellowship. He is our divine Helper and Mate. Wherever we may go He wants to go. Would you be ashamed of some of the places you take Him? Would you tell Him to wait outside?

We need to be occupied FOR Him.

Be busy for Him! We must die to self according to Galatians 2:20. Romans 6:6, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” What should we do? Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

We need to be occupied BY Him.

Don’t let the devil rob you of being occupied by Christ. The devil has so much in the world to keep us busy. That is why we need to be occupied by Christ. God has something for you. Matthew 25:14, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” What is required? 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

BE OCCUPIED WITH HIM, BE OCCUPIED BY HIM, and BE OCCUPIED FOR H