“MY DAILY WALK” VOLUME IV

My Daily Walk IV, CoverDecember 31st 

He hath made us accepted in the beloved! Part 2

Read Ephesians 1:1-12 again

We are, “Accepted in the beloved.”

BECAUSE OF HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD IN VERSE 7

We are accepted in the beloved because the blood is Atoning.

Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

The blood cleanses from all sin according to Hebrews 9:22, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

We ought to shout because “we are accepted in the beloved.”

Think of it, the blind have never seen a sunrise, sunset, moon, stars, milky way, Niagara Falls, etc. The deaf have never heard the sound of Amazing Grace or any other great songs. We ought to shout a holy Amen because; we are “accepted in the beloved.”

BECAUSE OF FORGIVENESS OF SIN IN VERSE 7          

If you were able to get out of bed this morning, able to eat breakfast, have two eyes and ears, have two hands, two feet, be thankful for His grace.

We will never fully understand why He loved and forgave us; however, we can be thankful for His sacrifice to offer forgiveness of sin.

Psalms 103:3, “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Acts 5:31, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”

We are, “accepted in the beloved.”

Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”        

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation 22. We wish all our readers a blessed New Year!

                December 30th                   

He hath made us accepted in the beloved!

These last two days of the year we are going to think about the One who has accepted us. We will all face much heartache in the coming year, but we must also realize no matter the difficulty, Christ accepts us for three reasons:

BECAUSE OF HIS GRACE IN VERSE 6

  1. God’s grace is freely given not earned

Psalms 84:11, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

Sun: Shemesh – He is our light, brilliant light.

Shield: Magen – buckler, protector, like a scaly hide of the crocodile.

In the Bible, God is often called the shield. God said to Abraham, “I am thy shield” in Genesis 15:1.

Defend: God said to the Psalmist, “I will protect and defend thee.

  1. God’s grace empowers us for service

1 Corinthians 3:10, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

  1. God’s grace enables us to be humble

1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

Do you need His grace today? God has grace for the broken hearted, for the sick and lonely; why, “He hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation19-20. Have you thanked Him for His grace? Complete_

December 29th

Why we should Love Christ and His Church? Part 4     

Please read 1 John 4:7-12

  • Jesus gave Himself as a sacrifice for the church:

Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

BECAUSE WE MUST LOVE THE WORK OF CHRIST

Ephesians 5:26, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”

  • What is the work of Christ in the church?
  • It is a special or personal work (His might).
  • It is a sanctifying work (to make holy).
  • It is a cleansing work (to free from impurities).
  • Who is to do the work of Christ in the Church?
  • You and I.
  • Every born-again believer in the church.

WE MUST LOVE ONEANOTHER AS CHRIST LOVED US

John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

John 15:12, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

1 Peter 1:22, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”

I believe the church must take a second look and reassert its Christ-given mandate as His representatives on earth. He is the Head, Saviour, and Sovereign. He loved the church and gave Himself to sanctify, cleanse, and present it to Himself. The local, visible New Testament Church is His only plan for His Church, and we must serve Christ by loving Him, His church, and each other. Praise the Lord for this great privilege!

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation17-18. Ask not what God can do for you; ask what can I do for God next year? Complete__

December 28th

 Why we should Love Christ and His Church? Part 3   

  • The church refers to the assembly’s authority.
  • The body refers to the assembly’s activity, life, and Christ-likeness.

BECAUSE OF HIS AUTHORITY OVER THE CHURCH

Verse 24, “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

  • The church is subject to Christ.

Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

  • Because Christ gave us eternal life.
  • Because each one of us is under His authority and rule.
  • Because each one of the church and us will give account.

Hebrews 13:17, “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.”

  • It is a privilege to Submit to Christ.

John 12:26, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”

BECAUSE WE MUST LOVE WHAT CHRIST LOVES

Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

  • Christ loves the church.

The church is not to take second place: Para-church organizations have sprung up like mushrooms, all claiming to “help” the church, but in fact, sucking its very lifeblood. Christ did not say He loves Para-church organizations or denominations. He said He loved the local, visible New Testament Church.

  • Christ proved His love by giving Himself – verse 25.

Gave means that He freely gave, presented; it means to hand over to another or to deliver.

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation 14-16. The world celebrates the New Year by drinking and dancing. How should we celebrate it?

December 27th  

 Why we should Love Christ and His Church? Part 2

Review yesterday’s devotion

Though all epistles were written to a church or to Christians in churches, we learn from Ephesians that the church is local, a body, the Place of God’s presence, the revealer of God’s wisdom, the place of ministry, the place of edifying believers, and it is under the complete control of Jesus Christ.

God’s main purpose in Ephesians was His eternal plan in establishing and completing His body – the church of Jesus Christ. The church is presented as the bride of Christ, thereby teaching us that loving Christ and one another cannot be separated from any of these. Several reasons that we should love Christ and His Church:

BECAUSE HE IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH

Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”

  • He is Head because of His Deity.
  • He is Head because of His Office – anointed of God.
  • He is Head because He is perfect.
  • He is Head because He was chosen of God.
  • He is Head because He is the Chief Shepherd.

Two things about the Head:

  • The head is the most important part of the body.
  • The head directs the body.

Colossians1:18-19, “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 preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”

The Church or Ecclesia is a called out assembly.

BECAUSE HE IS OUR SAVIOUR

That is, “the Saviour of our body and soul,” and one who brings salvation and deliverance. Christ cares for, looks after, and preserves the church. We need a preserver because we are in the church. The body is made up of Christ and its members, and it is a local, visible, organized, and living according to Colossians 1:18.

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation 12-13. Have you made your plans for the coming year?

December 26th             

 Why we should Love Christ and His Church?

Read Ephesians 5:23-27

For the rest of this year we will focus on this exciting study of the Christ and His Church: “Why we should love Christ and His church.” Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon are sometimes called the prison Epistles, because they were written during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. Paul anticipated being released from prison, which he was. This allowed him to make several trips and write 1Timothy and Titus; then he was arrested once again, and we believe he wrote 2 Timothy during his second imprisonment in Rome.

Ephesus was probably the first to hear the message of Christ through Aquila and Priscilla according to Acts 18:18-19, “And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.”

The book of Ephesians, written about the times of Paul’s second missionary journey is one of the pre-eminent books in the New Testament church. Paul actually made a third trip to Ephesus and stayed for about three years, which gave him the opportunity to spread the Gospel to Asia Minor according to Acts 19:10, “And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” I believe this is the reason for the strong testimony of the church of Ephesus.

The city of Ephesus was a great commercial, political and religious center. This was also the city of the great temple of Artemis (Diana) Acts 19:27, “So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.” Where trading was concerned, it was on the same scale as Antioch and Alexandria.

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation 9-11. Ask, “Is Christmas over after the 25th?” Complete

                     December 25th                               

                  THE MIRACLE OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH, PART 3 

The Bible says, “He shall save his people from their sins;” not only the Jew but also the Gentile nations. He not only saved us from our sin, but also from the guilt, power, penalty, and from the very presence of sin. This was the real purpose of His coming into the world, to make atonement for and to deliver us from all the disgrace and guilt of sin. What a privilege for every believer in Christ Jesus.

The Gospel does not make allowances for sin, but Christ is literally the atonement for sin. He does not tolerate sin, or merely cover sin, but destroys it. Jesus did not come to save us in our sins, but from our sins. There is not a chance in the world that someone who is not saved would ever enjoy heaven or those going there, because they are still in their sins.

  • He came into the world to die and be the atonement for sin, according to Titus 2:14, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
  • He came to renew the heart and purify the soul of mankind.

It is not sufficient to make a simple profession of words; in order to become a child of God; one must repent and confess sin. It is impossible to live in sin and walk with God at the same time.

  • That He was to be given the name Jesus; the Saviour.

Jesus is the same name as Joshua in the Old Testament and we are told of two types or people who pictured Christ:

  • Joshua, who took the place of Moses in claiming victory over Canaan.
  • Joshua, who was the high priest after the captivity.

Christ is our Joshua; both the Captain of our salvation, and the High Priest of our profession.

On this Christmas day, let’s make certain that our focus is on the Miracle of Christmas; thanking God for His chosen earthly parents and the virgin birth of Christ. Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year.

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation 6-8. We wish you a Merry Christmas and New Year!

December 24th 

                          THE MIRACLE OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH, PART 2                            

How can we understand or believe this great miracle without the Spirit of God? Think of David and how he admired the way he was made in secret according to Psalm 139:13-16.

Joseph was told three things:

  • That Mary had conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Verse 20, “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. While he thought” or reflected some doubt and perhaps was still a little confused, probably the same angel, Gabriel, that appeared to Mary in Luke 1:26; “also appeared unto him.” Six months earlier, the angel had been sent to Zacharias and Elisabeth to announce the birth of Christ’s forerunner, John the Baptist, Luke 1:36, “And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.”

I believe that even today, angels are messengers of the Lord and usually make appearances in the form of the Spirit.

It was the Holy Spirit who placed the seed of the Saviour of the world into the womb of Mary, according to Galatians 4:4, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” and Luke 1:42, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”

Spurgeon said, “The Holy Ghost wrought in the chosen virgin the body of our Lord. There was no other way of his being born; for had he been of a sinful father, how should he have possessed a sinless nature? He is born of a woman, that he might be human; but not by man, that he might not be sinful. See how the Holy Ghost co-operates in the work of our redemption by preparing the body of our Lord!”

  • That Mary would bring forth the Saviour of the world.

Verse 21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation 3-5. Don’t forget your gift to Jesus at church. Complete

December 23rd 

THE MIRACLE OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH

Read Matthew chapter 1 again

Verse 23, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Matthew presents the Lord Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah and King of the Jews. We are not told much about Mary and Joseph, but what is said certainly speaks very highly of them. The reason that so little information is given concerning Mary and Joseph is that the emphasis is on the Promised Messiah. We are not to worship Mary or Joseph, but our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Mary and Joseph were sinners just as we are sinners. They needed a Saviour just as we need a Saviour; however, when we read these verses we can certainly see that Joseph was a man of great faith, and truly one of the great men of God in the Bible.

The angel directed Joseph to continue with his marriage plans. The angel calls him Joseph, thou son of David to refresh his heart, to remind him of his relationship to David, and to ready him for his relationship to the Messiah, whom everyone knew was to be a descendant of David.

Christ was the true Emmanuel; Jesus, the Saviour, was conceived by a virgin, just as foretold by the prophet Isaiah in 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

The conception of Jesus was a miracle, proving not only the power of God, but also His ability and faithfulness in fulfilling His promises.

Hebrews 10:5, “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.”

Though fulfillment of the promises may seem to have been delayed, in due time they will be accomplished exactly the way God planned. The miracle of Christ’s birth is to be admired, respected, and not to be approached in a carnal way.

Someone of old said it was better that it should be asked, “Is not this the son of a carpenter?” than, “Is not this the son of a harlot?”

Daily Assignments

Read Revelation 1-2. Is Jesus the reason for the Season to your family?

December 22nd

The Miracle of Christmas! Part 3 

God made it known to Joseph that the virgin of whom He spoke was Mary. As a result, Joseph put his faith in the Word of God, and his faith was tested. Certainly we will never face such a trial, yet there are many times in life when our hearts are broken. We must have faith in God, even though we may not always understand all that He is doing in our lives, because there is no victory in life apart from putting our faith in Him.

1 John 5:4, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

  • Joseph’s Faith was ridiculed.

He was reproached, mocked, and scoffed at. Mary knew that no man had ever been intimate with her, and Joseph knew that no man had anything to do with the conception of the baby. They both knew in their hearts that He had to be virgin-born, and God knew all about their persecution. In John 8:39-44 people accused Him of being born in fornication. Joseph took Mary to be his wife and was willing to bear the reproach for Christ.

Please meditate on 1 Peter 4:14.

Though it is against human nature to endure reproach for Christ, Joseph did so. His faith was tested and ridiculed, but he held to it.

  • Joseph’s Faith was rewarded.
  • God rewarded him with a godly wife who loved the Lord. It is a joy to be married to someone who loves and wants to serve the Lord.
  • God rewarded him by making him a leader in the home of Jesus.
  • God rewarded him by providing for all his needs and he discovered that life can be rich in faith toward God.

One of the miracles of the birth of Jesus Christ is the dignity with which Joseph and the Virgin Mary conducted themselves through the entire miracle. They did not seem to torment themselves about it, but were secure in the fact of Mary’s innocence, and both committed themselves to God the Father.

  1. Daily Assignments

Read 2 & 3 John, Jude. Think: how would He celebrate Christmas today?

December 21st

The Miracle of Christmas! Part 2  

Read Matthew 1:18-25 again

Whatever Joseph may have felt; his concerns were put to rest when the angel told him, “fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife.” What a blessing it is to be delivered from our fears, and to have our doubts resolved by God Himself, so that we can by faith move on in our lives.

We see three giant steps of faith Joseph took in his life:

  • Joseph’s Faith was refined (Tested).

Verse 23, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Joseph could not have made it without his faith, according to verses 18-19, because he was a just man of faith who believed God for His promises. He was justified because of his faith in God. He was declared righteous. Then his faith was tested. We must understand what it meant for Joseph to be espoused to Mary. They were engaged (as we refer to it in the American culture), which meant a life of complete holiness for about one year. It was during this time of espousal that word came to Joseph that Mary was with child. Never in human history has anyone ever had a baby without a man and a woman involved in the conception of the child. When Joseph heard that Mary was with child, there is no doubt what he must have thought and how broken-hearted he must have been.

Notice in verse 20 “while he thought on these things…” He pondered these things in his mind. These things must have gone deep into his heart and soul as he thought about them. The only way to break the espousal period was by way of a bill of divorcement, much as in marriage. The only answer was to put her away quietly; yet while he thought on these things, God came to him in a dream. When Joseph received the message delivered by the angel, he believed God and took it to heart in verses 20-23.

I am sure he must have had Isaiah 7:14 in mind:Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

Daily Assignments

Read 1 John 4-5. Buy and give a gift to someone before Christmas?

                     December 20th                       

The Miracle of Christmas!

Read Matthew 1:18-25

Verse 18, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”

THE MIRACLE OF JOSEPH AND MARY

Mary, having been betrothed to Joseph, was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. Betrothed refers to the marriage agreement in which a couple mutually bound themselves to each other for a period of ten to twelve months; without which, no woman could be married in the Jewish faith. Though the marriage had not been consummated it was considered legal and binding on both sides and the breaking of the agreement was considered adultery.

Mary’s situation must have been not only distressing, but also most humiliating from the human standpoint. Nothing but her integrity and trust in God could have sustained her in such trying circumstances, where her reputation, honor, and even her very life were at stake. We can only imagine how Mary and Joseph must have felt, with little if any communication between them regarding this miracle. Joseph perceived that Mary was with child; in other words, she was visibly pregnant.

What a lesson for the Christian: Those who have Christ as Saviour will show it, and it will be obvious in their daily walk with God. Think of how Mary must have felt, because she herself knew that the child was of the Holy Ghost, but how could she prove it to Joseph and others? Joseph could not help but think, is this the Mary that I thought would never disappoint me?

Is this the Mary of whom I expected so much? He was not willing to make her a public example. The spirit Joseph displayed proved not only his holy life, but also the fact that he refused to jump to any quick conclusion. What a lesson for us, to think before we act. I must say that Joseph’s conduct was truly Christ-like because he could have justifiably taken advantage of the law according to Deuteronomy 22:23-24.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 John 1-3. What puts you in the Christmas spirit? Complete__

December 19th 

What it means to Bear Fruit! Part 4     

Review the last two days

The key is to win a soul, get the convert to win a soul, teach him to teach his convert to win a soul, and you will have no trouble getting them separated from the world. God purgeth every branch that bears fruit so that it can bear more fruit. God purges those who bear fruit. The best way to get Christians to live a godly life is to get them doing what God said to do. We can all help to purge them and cleanse them for fruit-bearing.

Soul-winning is not a matter of personality, skill, talent, but being in touch with Christ in the sense that the Holy Spirit flows abundantly through us, and the fountain flows all the time. Though people may not know all about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, His power, but fruit-bearing and bearing fruit is to have power.

In Luke 14, the man who made a great supper and bade many sent “his servant” to get the people to the supper.

In Matthew 22, the king made a marriage feast. He sent his servant to invite the people to come. Our work in our churches is powerless unless we have the power from on high for true Bible fruit-bearing in our soul-winning, in our service, in our sanctification, and in our separation from the world.

Luke 24:46-49, “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”

Remember that Jesus had to die before He could bear the fruit of eternal life, and it was the cross that moved God to exalt Jesus. It is the cross that moves people to offer themselves as living sacrifices. Now, Jesus said man’s hour was come. We must lose our lives in order to gain eternal life, and then serve and follow Jesus in bearing fruit to gain honor and rewards.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Peter 1-3. List all your skills and figure out how to improve them.

December 18th   

What it means to Bear Fruit! Part 3  

Again, the fruit of the Christian is to win souls, and no so-called “deeper life” can take the place of obeying Christ on the matter of soul winning. 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, because 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.

Many were used in the past that now are cast out. God will not always take second place and continue to use a man.

The Christian cannot be a continuous soul-winner if he has no burden and does not make it a priority in his life, so, sometimes a Christian, as far as the fruit-bearing branch is concerned, is cast aside and withered. Do not confuse this with what God said so often in John – one who receives Christ is born of God, and one who is born in Christ and believes shall never perish. One who puts his trust in Christ, the Bible says, “hath everlasting life,” and “shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.”

This is obviously not speaking of losing our salvation, but that Christ’s sheep follow Him, and He gives unto them eternal life. The subject here is fruit-bearing, not condemnation; however, it is not only soul-winning; it is all Christian fruit-bearing. The sad fact is that many Christians wither away and become powerless and fruitless and thus become a failure in the Christian life.

Matthew 13:22 says, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitful of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”

Now, here is a wonderful truth, in verse 2, “Every branch in me that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Peter 3-5. Can you prove once saved always saved? Complete__

December 17th 

What it means to Bear Fruit!  Part 2  

Read John chapter 15 again

He is the True Vine; we are the branches of that Vine. We are a part of Christ. We’re 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, we must remember that the subject here is fruit bearing (verses 2, 4, 5, and 8). Do not miss what Christ is attempting to teach us here. The Christian is to bear fruit, and not to bear fruit is being a sad failure. On the other hand, do not confuse this fruit bearing with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.

Notice in verse 16 He says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

Proverbs 11:30, “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, and the fruit of the reaper is the sheaves that he brings which is illustrated in 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.”

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.”

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Peter 1-2. What have we done to bear fruit? Complete__

                          December 16th                    

What it means to Bear Fruit!

Read John chapter 15

John 15:1-4, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”

Chapters 13-14 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. We must always remember that all our diligent efforts will not produce good fruit unless it is done in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said in verse five, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

If a branch is well connected to the vine, it will naturally bear fruit. All the fruit needs is some water, light, room to grow and the vine provides everything else. A shaded branch that gets little or no light or has no room to bear fruit may have to be moved or even cut off. A good husbandman will know exactly what to do. It may be a painful process for the branch when it is trimmed or cut off, but later in the year the branch and other branches are far more likely to be more productive than it ever could have been before the husbandman working had done his work on it. The principle is that Christ is the Vine and we are the branches; or that He is far more capable of knowing what will cause us to produce fruit than we are.

Daily Assignments

Read James 1-5. When you sow, you reap and bear fruit. Complete__

 December 15th 

Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Part 7         

The word with can be the preposition by. I believe this is the biblical order:

  • Believe and be saved.
  • Be baptized by immersion.
  • Be baptized with power of the Holy Spirit.

When the Bible speaks of Holy Spirit baptism, it always means with power, not into the Body of Christ or with strange tongues. The result of Holy Spirit baptism is power.

      2. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:1-4.

Filling is the same as being baptized for power. Please do not allow yourself to be confused here: it is not a once-for-all experience, Acts 4:8, and Acts 4:31.

Ephesians 5:18-21 teaches there are three side effects with the filling of the Holy Spirit.

  1. Joy – “making melodies in your heart.”
  2. Thankfulness – “giving thanks always for all things.”
  3. Living for others.

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

This also teaches that we are to be filled with the Word of God. Remember, to be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be controlled or empowered by the Word of God. Here again, notice the same results:

  1. Joy, singing in your heart, verse 16.
  2. Thankfulness, verse 16.
  3. Putting others first, 3:18-4:1.

 

If we are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, the Word of God should control us. To the degree that our lives are controlled by the Word of God, we will be filled by the Holy Spirit.

Daily Assignments

Read Hebrews 11-13. Where was the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ day?

December 14th      

Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Part 6

  • Matthew 12:22-24, 27-31 – blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Only an unbeliever can commit this terrible sin.

  • Some believe it was a sin only in Jesus’ day. They accused Him of “doing things in the power of the devil.”
  • It is a sin that can be committed even today, by attributing work done by God to the devil.
  • It is a matter of the heart – Matthew 12:24-32.
  • The sin of rejecting Christ is blasphemy and will not be forgiven.
  • The working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.
  • He is our Comforter – John 14:16, 16:7.
  • He is our Guide, Teacher and Reminder – John 14:26, John 16:12-14, 1 Corinthians 2:13-15.
  • He is our Prayer Helper – Romans 8:26-27, Ephesians 6:18, Zechariah 12:10.

One reason we get things without asking is that the Holy Spirit is praying and asking for us; He is continually making supplication to God, which means He is begging and pleading for us.

  • The Holy Spirit gives assurance of salvation – Romans 8:15-16, John 5:24. When there is doubt, either we are not saved or not right with God.
  • He leads us in our daily lives – Romans 8:14.
  • He produces in us the fruit of the Spirit: Christian character – Galatians 5:22-23.

Two special works of the Holy Spirit:

  1. 1. Being baptized into the Body of Christ: two kinds of baptism by the Holy Spirit: a. we are placed into the Body of Christ (the Church). 1 Corinthians 12:12, Matthew 3:13, having to do with our position in Christ. b. We are also given power for service according to Matthew 3:11and Acts 1:5, 8. The church is one body, an assembly of many believers. Matthew 3:11 and Acts 1:5 both refer to the same truth.

Matthew 3:11 and Acts 1:5 are verses of prophecy, and both contrast water baptism and Holy Ghost baptism.

Daily Assignments

Read Hebrews 8-10. Have you neglected the Holy Spirit? Complete__

December 13th          

 Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Part 5

  • In Luke 1:35 the Holy Spirit conceived the virgin birth.
  • In Matthew 4:1 the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness.
  • In Acts 10:38 the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus with power.
  • In Hebrews 9:11-14 the Holy Spirit enabled Himself to offer Christ to suffer on the cross, and helped Jesus live victoriously over sin.
  • In Romans 1:4 and Romans 8:11 the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead.
  • In Acts 1:2 Jesus gave commands to the Apostles through the Holy Spirit.

We cannot separate the working of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, because in so doing we are attempting to separate Almighty God. The Holy Spirit is not only a gift of God to the Christian, but greatest of all, He is God within each and every Christian.

  • The sins against the Holy Spirit.

These three sins hinder the working of the Holy Spirit.

  • Ephesians 4:30 – grieving the Holy Spirit literally means to break His heart. In Isaiah 63:10, “They rebelled, and vexed (or grieved) his holy Spirit.”
  • Acts 5:3 – lying to the Holy Spirit.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – quenching the Holy Spirit.

We must not resist the Holy Spirit, because in doing so, we are resisting God, Jesus, and the Word of God.

We must not resist the preaching of the Word of God, because we will put the fire out (Matthew 12:20, 13:19; Ephesians 6:16). The Christian ought to be busy putting out Satan’s fires – Ephesians 6:16.

  • Sins Christians commit against the Holy Spirit.

Acts 7:47-51 – resisting the Holy Spirit. In verses 52-57, the Jews turned their backs on the Holy Spirit. The unbelievers shut their ears (or resisted the Holy Spirit).

  • Hebrews 10:29 – insulting the Holy Spirit.

Daily Assignments

Read Hebrews 5-7. How has the Holy Spirit helped you today? Complete

December 12th 

Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Continued!         

  • The Holy Spirit is given Divine names.
  • In Acts 5:3-4, He is referred to as God, “thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”
  • In 2 Corinthians 3:15-18, He is called “the Spirit of the Lord” several times.
  • The Holy Spirit has Divine attributes.
  • In Hebrews 9:13-14 He is called the Eternal.
  • In Psalm 139:7, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”

The Holy Spirit is everywhere because He is omnipresent, which is an attribute only of God.

  • In Luke 1:35 He is the “Power of the Highest,” and in

Revelation 19:6, He is “omnipotent” – all-powerful, which is an attribute only of God.

  • In 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 the Holy Spirit knows all the activity of God. He is omniscient – another attribute only God has.

            The Holy Spirit does work only God can do.

Genesis 1:2 “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Job 33:4, “The spirit of God hath made me.”

The Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of the world, the universe, and man. God said, “Let us make man in our (plural) image.”

  • John 3:5-6 – in regeneration, “Born of the Spirit.”

Generation means to be born. Because “re” is in front of it, it means to be born again.

1 John 3:9, “born of God” (or of the Spirit).

1 John 5:1, “begotten of God.”

1 Peter 1:23, “born again … by the Word of God.”

  • The Holy Spirit is identified as God and the Son in

Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14, and Matthew 3:16.

  • The relationship between the Holy Spirit and Jesus.

How is your relationship going with the Holy Spirit?

Daily Assignments

Read Hebrews 1-4. Who was Hebrews written to? Complete__

December 11th 

Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Continued!         

Take a few moments to think how the Person of the Holy Spirit has been a help to you in the past three days, and remember that:

  • Ephesians 4:30 – we can grieve
  • Hebrews 10:29 – the Holy Spirit can be insulted (despite).
  • Acts 5:1-3 Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit. We cannot lie to an “it.”
  • Matthew 12:31-32 – the Holy Spirit can be blasphemed, or cursed, like a person.
  • Personal acts are attributed to the Holy Spirit.
  • Revelation 2:11 – the Holy Spirit speaks.
  • Romans 8:26 – the Holy Spirit prays.

Think back to the Old Testament for a moment. You will remember that the High Priest did two things – sacrifice and intercede. The Holy Spirit makes intercession for us and prays for us just as Jesus does.

  • Acts 13:1-2 – the Holy Spirit calls all of us to a specific ministry. A thing or an “it” could not do that.
  • Acts 16:1-7 – the Holy Spirit is the Overseer of the church.

Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” This verse seems to imply that the Holy Spirit also directs the ministry.

THE DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

We have learned that the Holy Spirit is a Personality and a Person:

Personal acts are ascribed to the Holy Spirit, such as speaking and praying in Romans 8:26. He calls Christians to a specific ministry in Acts 13:1-2.

The Holy Spirit is the Overseer of the church in Acts 16:1-7, as well as the Director of the ministry in Acts 20:28.

Ephesians 4:30 teaches that the Holy Spirit can be grieved; in Hebrews 10:29-31 He can be insulted (the word, despite, means insulted); in Acts 5:1 we learn that He can be lied to; in Matthew 12:31-32 we saw that He can be blasphemed. In this lesson, we will consider the Deity of the Holy Spirit. Continued tomorrow.

Daily Assignments

Read Titus 1-3, Philemon. You ask Jesus in your heart, who comes in?

December 10th 

Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Continued!        

Read John chapter 14 again

Jesus said the Holy Spirit is a comforter. He is the One who gives us comfort during difficult trials and testing. Compare the name Advocate in 1 John 2:1 with Comforter in John 14:16.

Jesus compares the Spirit to Himself. Another comforter, one just like Him. Whoever Jesus is, the Holy Spirit is also.

  • Personal pronouns are used for the Holy Spirit: John 16:7, “I will send Him unto you.” John 16:8, “When He is come”. John 16:13-15, “He, Him, Himself”. In the Greek the same personal pronoun is used as is for Jesus: He, Him and Himself are always used for people, never for an “it” or a thing.
  • The Holy Spirit is identified with the Father and the Son. He is also identified with us in such a way as to indicate personality.
  • Matthew 28:18-20 – the Holy Spirit has a part in the Great Commission.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:14 – the Holy Spirit is involved in communion. It is impossible to have communion with an “it.”
  • Acts 15:28 – “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us.”
  • Acts 10:38 – “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with Power.”
  • Romans 15:13 – “the Power of the Holy Ghost.”
  • Luke 4:14 – “And Jesus returned in the Power of the Spirit.”
  • His personal characteristics are that of a person.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:11 – He has a will.
  • Romans 8:26-27 – “what is the mind of the Spirit,” which means that He can think. An “it” cannot think.
  • 1 Peter 1:11 – He knew when Christ should suffer and be glorified; He has a mind and a will.
  • Ephesians 4:30 – We can grieve (or hurt) the Holy Spirit. This verse shows He has a mind, a heart and a will.
  • The Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit being treated in a way that only

a person could be treated.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Timothy 1-4. How should a Christian view Christmas? Complete

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant!

December 11th          

Take a few moments to think how the Person of the Holy Spirit has been a help to you in the past three days, and remember that:

  • Ephesians 4:30 – we can grieve
  • Hebrews 10:29 – the Holy Spirit can be insulted (despite).
  • Acts 5:1-3 Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit. We cannot lie to an “it.”
  • Matthew 12:31-32 – the Holy Spirit can be blasphemed, or cursed, like a person.
  • Personal acts are attributed to the Holy Spirit.
  • Revelation 2:11 – the Holy Spirit speaks.
  • Romans 8:26 – the Holy Spirit prays.

Think back to the Old Testament for a moment. You will remember that the High Priest did two things – sacrifice and intercede. The Holy Spirit makes intercession for us and prays for us just as Jesus does.

  • Acts 13:1-2 – the Holy Spirit calls all of us to a specific ministry. A thing or an “it” could not do that.
  • Acts 16:1-7 – the Holy Spirit is the Overseer of the church.

Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” This verse seems to imply that the Holy Spirit also directs the ministry.

THE DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

We have learned that the Holy Spirit is a Personality and a Person:

Personal acts are ascribed to the Holy Spirit, such as speaking and praying in Romans 8:26. He calls Christians to a specific ministry in Acts 13:1-2.

The Holy Spirit is the Overseer of the church in Acts 16:1-7, as well as the Director of the ministry in Acts 20:28.

Ephesians 4:30 teaches that the Holy Spirit can be grieved; in Hebrews 10:29-31 He can be insulted (the word, despite, means insulted); in Acts 5:1 we learn that He can be lied to; in Matthew 12:31-32 we saw that He can be blasphemed. In this lesson, we will consider the Deity of the Holy Spirit. Continued tomorrow.

Daily Assignments

Read Titus 1-3, Philemon. You ask Jesus in your heart, who comes in?

                          December 9th                        

Jesus and the Holy Spirit!

Read John chapter 14

For the next week we will consider the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Please refer to John 15:26; 16:6-13 as well.

The word, “another” means one of the same kind, not like “another gospel” in Galatians chapter one.

There is much to learn about the Holy Spirit; however, if the main focus is only on the Holy Spirit (as with the charismatic movement), then the Holy Spirit is glorified rather than God the Father. The Holy Spirit came to glorify Jesus, and Jesus came to glorify God; therefore, the Holy Spirit is given to Christians to glorify God in their lives. Again, we should not over-emphasize the Holy Spirit, because we are not to glorify Him, but are commanded to glorify God. Any doctrine (or group) that glorifies the Holy Spirit is false doctrine. The Holy Spirit now does and will complete the work Jesus Christ came to do. Jesus ministered in the flesh and the Holy Spirit ministers in the Spirit.

THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Some question the personality of the Holy Spirit, because as contrasted with the other Persons of the Godhead, the Spirit may seem impersonal because names given to Him such as Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Dove, Oil, the Holy Ghost, Water, Wind, Fire and Truth. He is not usually included with the Father and the Son in the greetings and salutations in the New Testament. Study 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14 is one exception, where the Holy Spirit is mentioned. The name Spirit is neutral – no personal pronoun.

Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”

THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Bible gives Him names that imply that He is a person. In verse 16, He

is a comforter. The word is Paracletos – one who is alongside to help.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Timothy 1-6. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate? Complete__

December 8th            

Read John chapter 13 again

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

We ought to be willing to wash one another’s feet, to show humility. Now, let’s not get carried away – 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 footwashing.

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 mean we make it a ritual or an ordinance.

 Galatians 6:1-2, Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

Romans 15:1, We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Certainly, we are no greater than Jesus.

If He can forgive us, then we ought to forgive one another. He is our example for brotherly love and forgiveness. 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.

Did the Bible not command us to store our treasures in Heaven?

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Thessalonians 1-3. When is the last time you forgave someone? Complete_

                  December 7th                   

Jesus, the Servant!

Read John chapter 13

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 here, but taught them a lesson in humility as well as serving. Jesus, the Bible says, is the servant of servants. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister (Mark 10:45).

The reason for this lesson was that there was some contention among them as to who would have the chief offices in the Kingdom. Study Luke 9:46-48. In spite of Jesus’ repeated statements that He was going to be crucified (see Mark 9:30-32), which they somehow took to be a parable even to the last, they seemed to think that with the triumphal entry 5 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, 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 that 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, “Whosever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.” – Mark 10:44.

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 receiveth.” Hebrews 12:6.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Thessalonians 1-5. Give a family member a gift today. Complete

                         December 6th                    

To die is to live!

Read John chapter 12

In verse 21, when God refers to the Greeks, He is usually referring to the heathen or to the lost world, but here in this verse, “some Greeks sought Jesus”. Some of the world seeks Jesus. Dr. Scofield says that Jesus does not receive the Gentiles. Dr. Rice says that:

  • We do not know that they were Gentiles.
  • If they were, why would Jesus turn them away?
    • He received the woman at the well.
    • He received the Canannitish
    • He received the Roman centurion.

Did these Greeks want to be saved? I believe they did. In our text verse, verse 24, the teaching is that Jesus must die in order to purchase salvation. In verse 23, He says His hour has come.

I like what Dr. McAuley says, “The cross is the way to the harvest, as it is the path of glory. So Jesus said of Himself, out of His dying, multitudes should rise into life eternal. Redeemed men are the harvest of His suffering and death, not of His teaching and example.”

His life and example is good, but it will not save. It was the shedding of His blood and His dying on Calvary that saved us from our sin. These Greeks had seen Jesus glorified as Messiah. He wanted to teach them that the way to glory is not through triumph or earthly glory, domination or subjection, but through death to self and service to God and man. Jesus did two things:

HE SAID HIS HOUR WAS COME, BUT HIS GLORY WAS NOT

MAN’S WAY; IT WAS THE WAY OF THE CROSS

By death Jesus must be planted – die on the cross – before He can bear fruit of eternal life. It is the cross that moved God to exalt Jesus is “above every name.” (Philippians 2:8-11). See also, Colossians 1:14-18, Hebrews 1:8-9, 2:9. It is the cross that moves men to offer themselves as living sacrifices.

NOW HE SAYS MAN’S HOUR WAS ALSO COME.

Man must lose his life to gain eternal life. (Mark 8:36, Luke 6:49, 9:23, Romans 8:13) and he must serve and follow Jesus Christ. (Mark 10:43-44, Matthew 19:27-29).

Daily Assignments

Read Colossians 1-4. What if Jesus were like us? Complete__

December 5th               

Read John chapter 11 again

In verses 17-27 Jesus comforts Martha.

In verses 28-37 Jesus comforts Mary.

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 verses 39, Jesus said, “Take ye away the stone.

Do you want to see a soul saved? Then you must take him the Gospel. You must witness to him or 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 a soul-winner.

Romans 10:14, “How then shall they call on him on whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Here is the order:

Verse 39 – “Take away the stone.” That’s our part! Live the Christian life daily, at work, home and play.

In other words, roll away the stone.

Verse 43 – “Lazarus, come forth.” That’s God’s part!

Amazing how Jesus had to call him by name, or the entire human race may have been raised?

Verse 44 – “Loose him.” That’s our part! Take his grave clothes off.

Verse 44 – “Let him go.” That’s their part.

Imagine Lazarus coming forth bound hand and foot with grave clothes, his face covered with a napkin? Then Jesus said, “Loose him, and let him go.” Jesus can give life, and He can make the dead live again, but others must help the living to come forth. (Meditate on that for a moment.)

Jesus came to save sinners, but we, then, are to nourish and to teach them “to observe all things.” Jesus taught others. The strong are to help the weak. Babes in Christ are to be fed on the milk of the Word, because when a baby is born, he usually comes home with the mother. When a sinner trusts Christ, Christians are to take him into their homes and hearts and are to love him and encourage him, lead, and teach him

Daily Assignments

Read Philippians 1-4. Try to see or call the person on your mind now.

 

                     December 4th                         

   Jesus is the Prince of life

Read John chapter 11

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 own death, and it was His third raising of the dead.

1st, He raised Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5:21-43.

2nd He raised the widow of Nain’s son Luke 7:11-17.

3rd He raised Lazarus.

Then, it was climaxed by His own death and resurrection. The miracle brought the Sanhedrin to a final decision to kill Jesus in verse 53). We must remember that 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. A place 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 you and me when He thought of your 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? John 3:16 and 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down His life for his friends” certainly proves that He does. But this is the love of grace, the undeserved love. Jesus says 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 those who keep His commandments, ” … and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Jesus knew of and planned the death of Lazarus. That is why He waited two days before coming to Bethany. Lazarus had to die first.

Daily Assignments

Read Ephesians 4-6. Think about the price Jesus paid for us. Complete__

December 3rd  

                                     Jesus is the Door of the Sheep, Part 2                                

Read chapter 10 again

Satan, through his false teachers (thieves and robbers), wants to steal and kill and to destroy the sheep, but Christ gives abundant life and protection.

CHRIST: THE SHEPHERD VSERSES 11-15

  • Notice the contrast: The Pharisees (hirelings) and Christ, the Good Shepherd. They flee and protect themselves when the enemy comes, but Christ willingly gives His life for His sheep Acts 20:29.
  • Christ, as the Good Shepherd gives His life on the cross.
  • Christ, as the Great Shepherd cares for His sheep Psalm 23).
  • Christ, as the Chief Shepherd, is coming again 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

THE FLOCK VERSES 16-21

The other sheep are the Gentiles. Christ must bring them in the fold. We see

this happen with Peter’s preaching to the Gentiles in Acts 10.

In verse 16, “There shall be one flock (church) and one shepherd (Christ).”

Christ is the Good Shepherd who died for His sheep:

  • He calls us through His Word.
  • If we believe, we step through the door.
  • We step into the true flock of Christ – the church.

Two to three months later (vs. 22-42) they still argue. Christ tells them they are not of His sheep. He gives a beautiful description of His sheep.

  • They hear His voice.
  • They respond to His Word.
  • They know Christ and are known of Him verses 14, 27.
  • They follow Him (which speaks of obedience).
  • They have eternal life and are eternally secure verses 28-29.

Sheep are a perfect picture of Christians.

Daily Assignments

Read Ephesians 1-3. Imagine, Jesus said, “I and my Father are one?

                                  December 2nd                         

Jesus is the Door of the Sheep

Read John chapter 10

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 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 night-fall 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! The sheep are safe and secure.

Christ points out that the true shepherd comes through the door.

CHRIST: THE DOOR THAT LEADS “IN AND OUT” VERSES 1-10

There are really 3 doors in this chapter:

  • 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 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.  Jesus Christ literally opened the door of a new life by the door of the sheep.

  • 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.

Daily Assignments

Read Galatians 4-6. Memorize Galatians 5:1. Complete__

December 1st

                     Jesus is the Light of the World, Part 2                               

Read John 9 again

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 one, the Lord chose to use mud. In the other case, He did not. There was no difference in the power 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, and he believed that he could be made whole. He did what Jesus said! Blind Bartimeus had already shown his faith by calling out to Jesus, “…… have mercy on me.”

  • 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 the means 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. In the case of Gideon, He can use 300 men with pitchers and lamps to set to flight and defeat the multiplied thousands of Midianites. He can use a boy’s lunch to feed 5,000. He can use “unlearned and ignorant men” to move the multitudes, to work miracles and to astonish the Jewish leaders, and to save many in Jerusalem.

Read Corinthians 1:27-28 and 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 to 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 nurses. This does not mean that we have to limit our faith to doctors and nurses, etc., 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’.”

Daily Assignments

Read Galatians 1-3. Have we allowed our light to shine? Complete__

                  November 30th                        

Jesus is the Light of the World

Read John chapter 9

On a previous visit to Jerusalem (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 (8:52-59).

He now works a still more notable Sabbath miracle (verse 14). The Book of John is one sign after another to show that Jesus is the Son of God (20:30-31). This miracle is the healing of a man blind from birth. Jesus is busy again 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 in the morning 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.”

On the cross, Jesus cries, “It is finished,” and this miracle and souls won are part of the finished job.

In verse 1, this man did not plead for help, no one interceded for him as far as we know, but Jesus knew that he 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 by God for the glorious hour when Jesus showed His power and defied the Pharisees’ tradition and opposition about the Sabbath healings. This blind man got more than he ever thought – not only did he see, but he also received 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 could 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.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Corinthians 9-13. Did you remember to be thankful today?

November 29th

Jesus, the Defender of the Weak, Part 2

Read John chapter 8 again

Jesus pleased God in His birth, in His life, in His death, in His prayer life, and in His work. How can we 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

1 John 4:7-21 (Think on this: “Do We Really Love God?”

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 we, as New Testament Christians, praise Him.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Corinthians 5-8. Hope deferred maketh a heart ….. Complete__

                                November 28th                        

Jesus, the Defender of the Weak

Please study verses 12-30. Jesus said, “I do always those things that please him.” and in Luke 19:10, the Bible says that he came to seek and to save that which is lost.

The Bible says in John 1:14, “the word became flesh, and in Acts 10:38, he went about doing good.

We should always 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.”

In Luke 2:49, Jesus said to His parents, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

In Acts 2:22, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”

In Isaiah 50:4, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.”

Then Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Romans 15:3, “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Corinthians 1-4. Ask, have I helped someone today? Complete__

November 27th

                          The Deity of Christ, Part 2                    

Read John chapter 7 again

GOD HIMSELF CALLED JESUS HIS OWN BELOVED SON.

Matthew 3:17, 17:5; Mark 1:11, 9:7; Luke 3:22, 9:35.

EVEN THE EVIL SPIRITS CALLED JESUS THE SON OF GOD.

Matthew 8:29; Mark 3:11; Luke 4:41.

IT WAS KNOWN THAT HE HAD CLAIMED TO BE THE SON OF GOD.

  1. The Tempter said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”
  2. In Matthew 4:3, the disciples in the ship said, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:33).
  3. Those that reviled Him on the cross said, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Matthew 27:40).
  4. In verse 43, He said, “I am the Son of God,” and in verse 54, the centurion said, “Truly, this was the Son of God.”
  5. The Jews accused Him and said, “He made himself the Son of God.” (John 19:7).

THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS FORETOLD HIS DEITY.

Isaiah 9:6, “and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Jeremiah 23:6 says, “he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

THE ROCK ON WHICH JESUS SAID HE WOULD BUILD HIS CHURCH PROVES HE IS THE SON OF GOD Matthew 16:18.

JESUS IS CALLED THE SON OF GOD John 1:1, 10:33, 20:28; Romans 9:5; Colossians 1:16, 2:9; I Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 1:8; I John 5:20; Jude 25. Neither Jesus Himself, nor the Bible, leave any doubt as to His Deity.s Why not accept the record just as God gave it? If Jesus had been only a good man, He could do nothing for us, except set an example for us.

If He was really God, He can be an example and a Saviour to us. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us … full of grace and truth.”

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Corinthians 14-16. Did you look up all the verses? Complete__

                                  November 26th                                

The Deity of Christ

Please study verses 37-53 and learn that this was the feast of the Tabernacles (October), 11/2 years since He had been there and six months before His death. On the previous visit, He healed a man on the Sabbath and said that He was the Son of God (5:18). For this, they made plans to kill Him. He stayed away during the Passover (6:4) and fed the 5,000, but His work was drawing toward a close, and Jesus again went to the capital of His nation, to present once again His claim of being “sent from God;” however, the time of His death had not yet fully come. Knowing their plan to kill Him, He kept His visit quiet until He appeared in the midst of the temple (verses 19-23).

JESUS IS CALLED THE SON OF GOD IN ALL FOUR GOSPELS.

HE CALLED HIMSELF THE SON OF GOD John 5:25.

Actually making Himself equal with God (5:18). Three times He called Himself the Son of God (Mark 14:61-62, John 9:35-37, John 10:36).

JESUS OFTEN USED EXPRESSIONS THAT COULD ONLY SPEAK OF HIS DEITY.

Expressions such as “I am the way, the truth and the life,” “the door,” “the bread of life,” “the resurrection,” “the Messiah,” and “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). He said, “Father, glorify me with the glory I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5).

In other words, He has always been.

John 14:9 “He that has seen me hath seen the Father.”

John 10:30, “I and my Father are one.”

Matthew 28:18, “All power is given unto me.”

Matthew 28:20, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

Who else could have said such things? Of whom else could these things have been said?

OTHERS CALLED HIM THE SON OF GOD.

Mark 1:1; John 3:16; John the Baptist in John 1:34; Nathanael in John 1:49; Peter in Matthew 16:16; Martha in John 11:27; the disciples in Matthew 14:33; and Gabriel in Luke 1:32 and 35.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Corinthians10-13. Do we really understand His Deity? Complete

November 25th 

Jesus, the Bread of Life, Part 2  

Read John chapter 6 again

How typical of this generation. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.”

  1. Bread is manna from Heaven (Exodus 16:14-15).
  2. Bread gives life (6:58). All we have to do is partake of it.
  3. Bread helps us grow. Jesus, as the “Bread” sustains us.

Remember, the Jews were to gather the bread every morning. They were not to gather two day’s supply in one day, as it would become rotten and not fit to eat.

LESSON: Tomorrow’s bread cannot do for today. Yesterday’s bread cannot do for today. We need to gather our bread daily. We must realize the importance of daily meditation upon the Word of God.

  1. The bread in the wilderness had a taste of fresh oil (Numbers 11:8).

When we receive Christ, the Bread of Life, and feast upon Him, it is like the taste of fresh oil. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and when a Christian receives Christ, he also receives the presence and power of the Holy Spirit (though most Christians do not always appropriate His power).

  1. Bread came down from Heaven in the wilderness. This is a picture of Jesus coming down from Heaven to give us eternal life.
  1. Bread was called “Angels’ food.” Think of it, the angels ate this food from Heaven.

Look at these verses again, John 6:35, 48, and 51. Salvation is just as easy as taking a piece of bread; it is by faith. Another makes the bread and it was placed in the oven and baked. Our salvation was placed in the oven at Calvary, and Jesus paid the penalty for sin for us. All we have to do is reach out and receive it from the One who said, “I am the bread of life.”

Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Corinthians 5-9. Memorize Ephesians 2:8-9 and share it today.

November 24th          

Jesus, the Bread of Life

Please study John 6:22-29, 31-39

Think about the feeding of the 5,000 in verses 1-14, and special emphasis on the lad who sacrificed his lunch and the miracle that followed because of one boy’s sacrifice.

This is the only miracle given in all four Gospels (Matthew 14:13-33, Mark 6:32-52 and Luke 9:10-17). It took place on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee (please check the map).

The time was the Passover (verse 4), one year before the crucifixion, when multitudes were on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover. Jesus did not go because, on His previous visit, they formed a plot to kill Him (5:1, 18).

It may have been the first Passover He missed since He was twelve years old. It is extremely important for young people to be in church week after week, as Christ set the example.

  1. Notice His compassion as He made them sit in companies of 50’s and 100’s. Mark 6:39-40 shows that they probably sat in a circle around Jesus.
  2. Notice that Jesus was not wasteful; He had them gather up the fragments (verses 12-13). That is, the leftovers.
  3. Notice they wanted to make Him King (vs. 14-15).

The next miracle took place when Jesus walked on the water. This is probably the same miracle as in Matthew 14:22-32, where Peter walked on the water.

While Jesus spent much time ministering to men’s bodily needs, His real purpose for coming was to save souls (Luke 19:10).

As long as He fed them bodily, they were interested and wanted to make Him King, but when He told them His real purpose, they lost interest.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Corinthians 1-4. Why not help a needy student today? Complete_

                 November 23rd               

Jesus, the Physician

Read John chapter 5

As Christians all around the world celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas, we ought to celebrate daily that He is our Intercessor, Mediator and the Great Physician. Bethesda means “House of Mercy.” This miracle took place during a feast. We do not know exactly which feast; however, it would have been one of the following feasts held in Jesus’ day: 1. The Passover Feast was held in the month of April and celebrates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt 1,400 years before. 2. The Pentecost Feast was held in June, 50 days after the Passover Feast to celebrate the giving of the Law. 3. The Feast of Tabernacles was held in October, celebrating the ingathering of the harvest. 4. The Feast (Festival) of Purim, held shortly before the Passover, but not mentioned in the Gospel. This feast celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from Haman in the Book of Esther. The Pool of Bethesda, traditionally, was located just north of the temple, but some believe it was just south of the temple. The only recorded instance of Jesus’ anger is at their objection to the healing on the Sabbath (Mark 3:5). The Bible records seven instances of Jesus healing on the Sabbath.

  1. The healing of the demoniac in Capernaum (Mark 1:21-27).
  2. Peter’s mother-in-law in Capernaum (Mark 1:29-31).
  3. An impotent man in Jerusalem (John 5:1-9).
  4. A man with a withered hand (Mark 3:1-6).
  5. A crippled woman (Luke 13:10-17).
  6. A man with the dropsy (Luke 14:1-6).
  7. A man born blind (John 9:1-14).

Why seven miracles? I believe because He is the Lord of the Sabbath. If there is anything Jesus was busy doing on the Sabbath, it was meeting the needs of the people, particularly healing and caring for them spiritually. Such is the job of each of us as God’s servants, and particularly as full-time servants of God. Jesus is the Great Physician, and we are His servants. We are to help the brokenhearted, the lonely, the sick, the wayward, those out of touch with reality, the blind, the deaf, the abused, the hurting, and the suffering. Let’s help heal those who are in need of the Saviour.

Daily Assignments

Read Romans 14-16. What stood out to you in reading Romans today?

November 22nd 

JESUS, THE SAVIOUR CONCLUSION!        

HE WAS LED TO A WANTING SINNER VERSES 5-8.

He left to confront a Samaritan woman, as He entered Sychar, Samaria verse 5. He was weary and sat at the well verse 6. The disciples had gone for food. He requested a drink from the woman verse 7.

THE WOMAN QUESTIONED JESUS V. 9.

She was shocked that Jesus talked with her and questioned racial prejudice.

JESUS TOLD HER OF LIVING WATER VS 10-14.

  1. Living water is alive according to verse 10, because it is of God. It is a gift of God. It is given by asking for it.
  2. Living water is from a Person much greater than religious ritual, verses 11-12.
  3. Living water is the only water that will quench thirst verse 13-14.

THE WOMAN REQUESTED THE LIVING WATER AS SHE CONFESSED HER SIN VERSES 15-18.

  1. There was a request for living water (vs.15).
  2. There was recognition of the fact of sin vs.16-18.
  3. Jesus stirred her conviction.
  4. Jesus accepted no evasion.
  5. Jesus knew all.
  6. Jesus reproved sin.

FINALLY, JESUS DRAWS THE NET VS. 25-30.

  1. The subject of the Messiah vs. 25-30.
  2. There was a belief that Jesus was the Messiah v. 25.
  3. There was the declaration of Jesus that He is the Messiah verse 26.
  4. There was a spirit contrary to the Messiah verse 27. That is, there was a

spirit of evil and pride by the disciples, verse 27.

  1. The proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah in verse 28.
  2. The response of searching for the Messiah verses 29-30.

Daily Assignments

Read Romans 11-13. Why did Jesus have to die so tragically? Complete_

                    November 21st                      

Jesus, the Saviour

Jesus returned to Galilee through Samaria, instead of the more common route up the Jordan valley, possibly for reasons of convenience. Samaria was outside the jurisdiction of Herod, who had just imprisoned John the Baptist. Jesus was only passing through. He felt a “must” to go that way.

This is one of the most beautiful, delightful and helpful things in the story of Jesus’ life. The rulers of His own nation were eyeing Jesus with suspicion; however, here the despised Samaritans received Him gladly.

Jacob’s well is still there, 100 feet deep, 9 feet in diameter. It is one of the few spots where an exact location connected with the story of Jesus can be identified. The “sixth hour” in Roman time is like our 12:00 noon. This visit of Jesus laid the groundwork for the good reception of the Gospel by the Samaritans a few years later. Please study Acts 8:4-8.

Many times our lives are changed by one small incident. We may be detoured off the main highway only to be spared from a terrible wreck. We may have to come off the mountaintop to receive some fresh water in the valley. Most of our living is done in the valley, not on the mountaintop. We may seek a destination which, in order to reach, requires that we go through some enemy territory. Such was the case with Jesus.

JESUS HAD A “MUST” IN HIS LIFE VERSES 1-6.

In Matthew 10:5-6, Jesus told the disciples not to go through Samaria, but rather to the lost sheep of Israel. Could it be that Jesus wanted them to reach their own neighborhood first? Could it be that Jesus knew His disciples would not be received in Samaria? Jesus Himself “must needs go through Samaria.” Revival broke out all over Samaria because Jesus had a “must”. Do you have a “must” in your life today? He left out of necessity for John’s sake in verse 1 and for His destiny’s sake. He “must needs” go through Samaria” in verse 4.

Daily Assignments

Read Romans 8-10. What was it like to be saved for you? Complete__

               November 20th               

Read John chapter 3 again

Take a few moments to review yesterday’s devotional.

NICODEMUS WAS A RULER OF THE JEWS, YET HE NEEDED TO BE BORN AGAIN VERSE 1.

He was not a ruler, but he was extremely wealthy. It is said that he was so rich that he could have supported all the inhabitants of Jerusalem for ten years. In spite of all this, Jesus still said, “Ye must be born again.”

NICODEMUS WAS A HEAD BELIEVER, YET HE NEEDED TO BE BORN AGAIN VS. 8-11.

He needed to have heart knowledge, not head knowledge.

NICODEMUS WAS A TEACHER, YET HE NEEDED TO BE BORN AGAIN VS. 8-13.

Verse 10, “Art thou a master of Israel…?” Master means teacher.

He was a Bible teacher. He knew the Scriptures of the Old Testament, yet Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.”

NICODEMUS WAS A SECRET FOLLOWER (VERSE 2).

He came to Jesus by night. He did not want to become a disciple openly. He did not want to be baptized because night baptism would not have been accepted. He had no interest in an open conversion, but I believe Nicodemus was later saved.

NICODEMUS OPENLY DEFENDED JESUS 7:45-52.

Jesus was being tried by the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus defended Him, and as far as Nicodemus was concerned, he saved His life. Yet, this did not save him because, “Ye must be born again.”

NICODEMUS BURIED JESUS, YET HE STILL NEEDED JESUS 19:39-40.

He brought enough myrrh and aloe (100 pounds) to embalm 200 people. He wrapped Jesus’ body in linen clothes after the manner of the Jews. He had great respect for Christ, and gave Him protection, admiration, and even head knowledge, yet Nicodemus “must be born again.” If a man with all these religious, moral and secular qualifications needed to be born again, all of us must be born again as well. We must be certain that everyone is given a proper presentation of the Gospel and every one of our readers has an opportunity to be truly born again.

Daily Assignments

Read Romans 4-7. Pass out at least three gospel tracts today. Complete_

                      November 19th                

 Jesus, the Divine Teacher

Read John chapter 3

In John chapter one Jesus was shown to be the Son of God; in John chapter two, Jesus was depicted as the Son of Man; now in John chapter three, Jesus is the Divine Teacher sent from God.

As a matter of fact, He is the Divine Teacher sent from God – and He is God. Chapter three gives a direct confrontation of religion versus Deity.

Please study this chapter very carefully, especially verses 1-13, for proper teaching of the new birth. Think of a caterpillar and a butterfly, there must be a complete transformation before the butterfly is able to fly. The same is true of the new birth.

NICODEMUS WAS A RELIGIOUS MAN, YET HE NEEDED TO BE BORN AGAIN VERSES 1-7.

He was a Pharisee, yet he needed to be born again. There are three different sects of the Jews:

  1. The Essenes – that is, legalists. They formed colonies, each with its own synagogue. Money was almost unnecessary to them. They abstained from such things as weddings, and thought their morality was high and very clean.
  2. The Sadducees – skeptical of supernatural power. They were the liberals of their day. They did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. In other words, they believed the soul dies with the body. They did not believe in angels or spirits, but believed in fatalism, or that all our actions are in our own power, and God is not concerned in our doing good or wrong.
  3. The Pharisees – the external religion. They were the straightest and strictest sect of the Jews, and the strongest, most powerful of all religions and were usually made up of the best people in the nation. They believed in the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, and in the existence of spirits and punishment and reward in the future life. They believed in conformance to the law, and that grace was promised only to the doers of the law. Nicodemus belonged to this group. Notice that he was of the best religious sect, and yet Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.”

Daily Assignments

Read Romans 1-3. What do you think drew Nicodemus to Jesus?

                   November 18th                      

John chapter 2 again

Leaven is formed when certain microbes (germs, bacteria) multiply in dough, so leaven has an evil meaning in the ceremonial law.

1 Corinthians 5:6-7, “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.”

The microbes in yeast that causes the decay that takes place in bread making are similar to the microbes, or decay in grape juice which turn it into intoxicating wine.

As leavened bread is not a suitable picture for the body of Christ, neither is alcoholic fruit juice a suitable picture for the blood of Jesus Christ. The fruit of the vine used by Christ at the Last Supper is not intoxicating wine, and the “cup” which is the drink at the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 did not refer to intoxicating wine.

You can be sure that Jesus knew well the teaching that “wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging….” and He would not go against the teaching of the Scripture – of which He Himself was the author and founder before the world began.

The kind of wine Jesus made is not the kind that is a mocker and along with strong drink, is raging. The issue here is not the wine, but “where is the bride?’

The most important part of any wedding is the bride. Why then is the bride not presented? Jesus and the water pots are the important things in this case. He took empty water pots and had them filled with water. When they were served, the water became wine. Jesus uses us as the water pots, just plain old water pots.

The water is the Word of God. Then we are to ladle it out. When we do, it becomes wine – the wine of joy – the working of the Holy Spirit. The word wine is used for both the juice and for fermented wine. The Greek words differ, but the important thing is that the wine was unfermented. Therefore, it was the purest of all grape juice.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 26-28. Be sure to take your Bible to church and read it daily.

                            November 17th                                 

Jesus, the Son of Man

Read John chapter 2

For the next several weeks we will study the chapters 2-15 in the Book of John. Try not to miss a single day, since this Book is filled with wonderful truths about Christ and His ministry.

We could not possibly consider every verse in every chapter. For this reason, we are placing emphasis on the first 11 verses. Nevertheless, study the entire chapter for proper comprehension.

Cana was about four miles northwest of Nazareth, and Nathanael was of Cana (chapter 21:2). The marriage evidently was in the home of some friend or relative of either Jesus or Nathanael. This is the first miracle that is not mentioned in the other Gospels.

This miracle showed that Jesus exercised supernatural power from the very beginning. As far as we can tell, Jesus accepted every honest invitation.

  1. He was a guest at the home of Simon and Andrew. This is where He healed Peter’s wife’s mother.
  2. He went willingly to heal the centurion’s servant.
  3. He went willingly to the house of a Pharisee. When Martha invited Him to her home.
  4. He went because He loved Mary and Martha, as well as Lazarus.
  5. He went to the home of Zachaeus, the rich publican. It is not at all surprising that Jesus went to the marriage feast.

The water turned into wine (verses 6-10). Here is a miracle of creation. It would be foolish and wicked to try to explain it away. In the Bible wine does not necessarily mean strong drink.

Proverbs 3:11, “…and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”

Evidently, grape juice, when first pressed out is wine, though it is not yet fermented. The grape juice was pressed out and put into the new wine skins. If it were not consumed when fresh, it would begin to ferment and eventually have alcoholic content. The Bible has strong words against alcoholic liquor.

Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

The rule of the Nazarene was that they should drink no wine and eat no grapes (Numbers 6:3), and the priests were instructed to drink no wine before going into the sanctuary (Ezekiel 44:21, Leviticus 10:9).

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 23-25. When was the last time you saw a miracle? Complete_

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant!

November 16th                     

Take a few moments to review yesterday’s devotion.

IN VERSES 4-14, HE IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.

Jesus often refers to this fact (8:12, 9:5, 12:46; I John 1:5-7).

IN VERSES 15-34 WE SEE JOHN THE BAPTIST’S TESTIMONY OF JESUS.

Notice John’s statement in verse 27. That is true humility. This statement is recorded in all four Gospels.

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if we would humble ourselves today as did John the Baptist?

IN VERSES 35-51, JESUS CHOOSES HIS FIRST DISCIPLES.

John, Andrew, Simon, Philip and Nathanael.

The following is a list of things not mentioned in John:

  1. No Genealogy.
  2. No Birth Account.
  3. Nothing of His Childhood.
  4. Nothing of His Temptation.
  5. Nothing of His Transfiguration.
  6. Nothing of His Ascension.
  7. Nothing of the Great Commission.

However:

  1. He is called the Son of God from the beginning.
  2. He is called the Son of God by: John the Baptist 1:34; Nathanael 1:49; Peter 6:69; Martha 11:27; Thomas 20:28; and Jesus Himself declares that He is the Son of God in 10:36.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 20-22. Let your pastor know how much you appreciate him.

November 15th  

                  JESUS, THE SON OF GOD!                                 

Read John chapter one.

Today we will be begin a two to three week overview of one of the most exciting books in the New Testament, and without question, one with a great many lessons and blessings for the new, as well as the well-seasoned Christian. In most cases, I teach a new convert to start by reading in the Book of John.

We obviously do not have the time or space to make this an exhaustive study of the entire Book; however, I believe that emphasizing the high points of it will give teacher and student alike a good understanding of the Book of John.

The author of the book is John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23, 20:2, 21:20).

John’s father’s name was Zebedee. John was a cousin of Jesus, and must have known Him from childhood. I believe John was a businessman and, more likely than not, was very well off, since he had five fishermen who were partners in his business (Mark 1:16-20).

He was a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35, 40). Jesus called him the “Son of Thunder” because he had such a violent temper. Before you try to justify your our temper, he learned to control his. He and Peter were the leaders of the twelve disciples. The book was written about 90 AD, toward the end of John’s life.

Here in chapter 1, Jesus is shown to be the Son of God.

IN VERSES 1-3, WE SEE THE DEITY OF CHRIST.

 He is called God, Creator, as well as The Word. Jesus was God. Jesus was like God; Jesus was God. Jesus is God’s message to mankind.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 17-19. Have you ever read John in one setting? Complete__

November 14th    

     “The Supreme Importance of Truth!”

“Three ways to Uphold truth!” Part 3

 Joshua 24:14-15

Two things we must understand according to 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.

  • Have the mind of Christ.
  • Compare spiritual things with spiritual.
  • God is to be served in truth.

Jesus gave us an example for service in 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.”

Serving has a much higher place in God’s eyes than being served.

Paul is another example for service in Acts 20:33-35, “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

God’s standard for service is Christ, and He commands spiritual service.

Deuteronomy 10:12, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul”

The Lord knows how He wants to be served and He has the right to set the terms of our service as with our worship. There is always joy in our service to Him, because joy is not found in things, but in Him.

Psalm 2:11, “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with   trembling.”

Joy comes as a by-product of serving. It is not obtained by seeking it. God gives it to those who invest their lives in His service.

Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”

Never have there been greater opportunities to speak, uphold, and defend truth than today.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 14-16. Has this study on truth been helpful to you? Complete_

 

November 12th

“The Supreme Importance of Truth!”

                 “Three ways to Uphold truth!” Part 2            

Memorize 1 Timothy 3:15

Christians have much to rejoice about. Why? We are children of God. The truth we have been taught and practice will keep us from much trial and error and give us reason to rejoice.

  • Truth should always be open and aboveboard:

2 Corinthians 4:2, “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.”

III. PROMOTE TRUTH

We who have truth must be faithful not only to uphold it, but also to give it to others. There is enough error being propagated today. Let’s propagate truth with zeal.

Isaiah gives the responsibility to parents regarding truth:

Isaiah 38:19, “The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.”

REALIZE THE SUPREME IMPORTANCE OF DEFENDING THE TRUTH

Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” (Please study the entire chapter). 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 2 Timothy 3:7-8, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (Please study vs. 1-8).

  • Know and recognize the apostates.
  • Don’t be afraid of them.

Examples of the apostates are the Promise Keepers, Charismatics, Catholics, and now the Mormons and Muslims are joining in. They want to brake down the walls of religions, and make it politically incorrect to name those who oppose Christ and Christianity, by means of tolerance and acceptance of cultural differences.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 9-10. Who among us can say, “I am always truthful.”

               November 11th           

“The Supreme Importance of Truth!”

“Three ways to Uphold truth!”   

Read Proverbs 12:17-22

We must put away lying and speak truth. Ephesians 4:25, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” God condemns lying and He gives warning again and again to those who are deceitful, dishonest and speak lies. We can lie by the way we live, and we don’t even have to speak a word. It is better to be poor and honest than to be rich and dishonest.

  • Walking in truth requires us to uphold truth.

I believe the real test of how much we believe and practice truth is found in our willingness to stand for truth. We must stand for truth not only in church, but also on our jobs, in business, in government, and in school, etc. Actually, truth must be upheld in all segments of life.

Someone said, “The standard of truth must ever be held high as a signal light for our generation and the generation to come.”

THREE WAYS TO UPHOLD TRUTH:

I. LOVE THE TRUTH

In Zechariah 8:19 we are commanded to “love the truth and peace.” Our minds must be fed truth; we must not waste our thinking on untruth or things that are questionable. Often people make terrible mistakes because they are not willing to follow truth and at times, they lack truth.

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Matthew 22:16, “Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth.” John 7:18, “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” 

Romans 12:9, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” 

II. REJOICE IN TRUTH

1 Corinthians 13:6, “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 7-8. Is it ever right to “twist” the truth? Complete__

                               November 10th                       

“The Supreme Importance of Truth!”

“How to know truth!” Part 5

We live in a society in which lying has become acceptable in every walk of life: business, advertising, politics, and the media cannot be depended upon to tell the truth.

In verse 16 – truth seems to have gone out of style. It’s time we teach our children not to lie. There are things God hates in verse 17 lying, covetousness, etc.

John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Ephesians 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”

Colossians 2:16, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.” 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” 4:6, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

Your tongue and lips belong to God; He purchased them when He purchased you at salvation. We ought to use them only to bring honor and praise to God. It is commanded that we speak truth because He placed truth in our hearts when we were saved and has given us His Word to know truth. The wonderful thing about truth is that it never changes – truth is always truth.

Proverbs 12:19, “The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” 21:23, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”

God is eternal and His truth is everlasting.

  • Our faith is revealed by our speech.

Our faith proves our speech and that we are of God. Read James 1:19-26.

Truth is a part of our spiritual armour against Satan in Ephesians 6:14, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about   with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.”

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 4-6. There is no such thing as a little white lie. Complete__

November 9th

“The Supreme Importance of Truth!”

              “How to know truth!” Part 4               

Read Zechariah 8:16-19                    

Take a few moments to meditate on Ephesians 4:24-25.

Walking in truth requires speaking the truth. Satan is a destroyer, and he uses lies to rob saints of their joy and blessings.

Someone wrote: “As new creations in Christ we are to live a new life. A life that 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 works of the flesh. One such characteristic of the Old man is that he lies. Lying comes in many different forms such as shading the truth, exaggerating, cheating, failing to keep a promise to God or anyone else, flattering someone, offering some excuse and sitting in silence when one should speak the truth. This is not to be part of the Christian life. Lying is not a characteristic of a believer. People who lie are liars by character and are unable to rightly deal with the truth. By lying they manifest that their father is the Devil, the father of all lies.”

The first eight verses tell us that God’s purpose has not changed with the nation of Israel. He promises them three things: They will be restored, reformed, replenished.

Verses 3-8 prophecy was not yet fulfilled but looks to the future – the Millennium.

There is nothing holy about Jerusalem at this time in history; it will be holy when God dwells there in the future, because He will change the hearts of the people and then Jerusalem will be called the “City of Truth.”

Six things are commanded to the new generation in Zechariah:

  1. Speak the truth verse 16.
  2. Execute judgment of truth.
  3. Have and live in peace in your gates.
  4. Let none do evil against his neighbor verse 17.
  5. Do not love a false oath.
  6. Love the truth verse 19.

Daily Assignments

Read Acts 1-3. Nothing is more important than truth. Complete__

                          November 8th                        

“The Supreme Importance of Truth!”

“How to know truth!” Part 3

3 John 3-4, “For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

1 John 2:6, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

The Bible has much to say about the “walk” of the believer. If we are faithful to stay on the path of truth, we will never have to fear or be ashamed of our activities or associations.

  • Walking in truth requires agreement.

The basis of our fellowship is found in Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?”

Walking with God involves walking in the “light” of the Lord Jesus, and staying in constant closeness and fellowship with Him, 1John 1:1-7. We can’t live a lie and walk in truth at the same time.

2 John 3-4, “For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”

  • Walking in truth requires Faith.

Faith necessarily involves risks on our part, because we cannot always see the outcome of where God is leading us.

We’ve often heard that “seeing is believing,” but with God “believing is seeing.” 2 Corinthians 5:7, “We walk by faith and not by sight.”

  • Walking in truth requires consistency.

We must live a consistent separated life according to Romans 13:13, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”

We are commanded to live up to the name “Christian” by walking worthy of the Lord according to Colossians 1:10, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord.”

It is always best to do right and live right. Sometimes it may seem easier to do wrong and not follow the truth, but there is always a wrong end to a wrong life.

Daily Assignments

Read John 19-21. It is true or not true. Let’s live truth. Complete__

November 7th 

“The Supreme Importance of Truth!” 

                        “How to know truth!” Continued!                      

Read 1 Peter 1:23-25

1 John 4:2-3, “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

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.”

“If it is new it is probably not true; if it is true it is not new.

  • THE GOSPEL IS TRUTH. Read 1 Peter 1:23-25 again.
  • JESUS IS TRUTH

John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life …” 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

John 4:24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

  • THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TRUTH.

John 14:17, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” 

REALIZE THE SUPREME IMPORTANCE OF WALKING IN TRUTH. VERSES 4-6

Take a moment and ask God to help you apply what you have learned thus far.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 17-18. Who is the most honest person you know?

November 6th 

“The Supreme Importance of Truth!” Continued!

“How to know truth!” 

We proclaim the truth by practicing and protecting the truth as seen in the ministry of Christ and His disciples. John is known as the beloved and loving disciple, but a good description of John is also the disciple of truth. Notice all the times he makes reference to truth in verses 1, 2, 3, 4, as well as in Third John.

  • PROCLAIMING THE TRUTH VERSES 10-11.

On a personal note, I heard a preacher say that a little cumeden poison will kill a rat. What is scary about that is that the same cumeden is used for my “low pressure” medicine. My point is a little error kills.

HOW TO KNOW TRUTH?

REALIZE THE SUPREME IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING TRUTH

  • The Word of God is truth.

John 17:19, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”

One of the reasons we oppose the NIV translation of the Bible is because a Lesbian was on the committee for the translation, and that was the reason for the deletion of any mention of Sodomites (Homosexuals) in the NIV, yet God addressed them in the Bible.

1 Kings 14:24, “And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. 15:12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.” 22:46, “And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.”

Job 36:14 They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean (or the Sodomites). 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

The Bible says that God was manifested in the flesh, but the NIV says that He was manifested.

Daily Assignments

Read John 13-16. Ask, “Have I told any lies lately? Complete__

November 5th    

“The Supreme Importance of Truth! 

What is Truth?” Continued!

Matthew 9:36, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”

  • PROTECTING THE TRUTH VERSES 7-9.
  • From those that deceive or lead astray verse 7.

Here John is referring to the false teacher discussed in 1 John. He reminds us that the test of a false teacher is what he believes about Jesus Christ. If he denies that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, he is false teacher and of antichrist.

While there will be one “man of sin” (antichrist) in the end time, the spirit of antichrist is already in the world:

1 John 4:3, “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

  • From those that destroy verse 8.

Here John warns the Christian that he not destroy the things that have been wrought in Christ. The best way to get detoured in our Christian walk and lose all the spiritual ground we have gained is to get tied up with false doctrine.

  • From those that depart verse 9.

The word “transgress” means to “go beyond.” That is, these false teachers are not content to stay within the limits of the Word of God. They are “progressive” or “modern” and prefer to depart from the Bible and go beyond what God has written. This is the wrong kind of progress, and if a Christian is going to make progress in his walk, then he must never to go beyond the Bible. We are to “abide” in the doctrine, affirming the basic fundamentals of the Word of God. John warns us not to entertain these false teachers in our homes, or even to greet them. We must understand that any aid we give to false teachers is to share in their evil deeds. Find out what a man believes before you let him in the house or give him a donation. Check with your pastor if you are in doubt.

Daily Assignments

Read John 11-12. The Holy Spirit will help us to be honest. Complete__

November 4th 

“The Supreme Importance of Truth!

                           What is Truth?”                           

 

2 Corinthians 5:20, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.”

Romans 5:15, “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”

John deals with two main matters:

WHAT IS TRUTH?

  • PRACTICING THE TRUTH VERSES 4-6.

Notice the repetition of the word “walk.” The truth is not something we study or believe; it is a motivating force in our everyday lives. It is not enough to know the truth; we must show it through our actions wherever we are. John rejoiced because certain of this lady’s children were walking in the truth.

This is the equivalent of “walking in the light” which was discussed in I John chapter one. Christian love is not an emotion we work up; it is simple obedience to the Word of God; and doing the will of God. An example is when children obey their parents because they love them.

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Too often Christians love the Bible but hate the brethren, and while Christians may disagree in some areas, they must always do it in love. Where there is a sincere love for the Bible, there will be a love for God’s people, because loving the truth and loving the brethren cannot be separated. Love without truth has no controls, and duty without love will starve because there is no compassion. Compassion in the Bible always came after duty or service, not the other way around. It is good to have compassion, but better to have compassion the way Jesus did. He was moved with compassion after He looked upon the multitudes:

Daily Assignments

Read John 9-10. Can we say, “I will always tell the truth and nothing but the truth? Complete__

                                            November 3rd                                            

The Supreme Importance of Truth!

John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Knowing that all of our readers love the truth and the truth of God’s word, I thought it appropriate to take most of the month of November and have an extensive look at the subject of truth. Please, gather the family around and teach them these important principles, or if there is no family, learn, and pass them on to your friends.

Jesus is not merely ethical truth, but truth in all its fulness and scope. As personified in Him, He was the perfect expression of the truth when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

Jesus is the foundation of all truth, and if the foundation is weak, that which is built upon it is weak also.

1 Corinthians 3:10-13, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”

John wrote this brief personal letter to a choice woman in a local church, because we see in verses 2-3 she is described as one who is known and loved for her practice of the truth (The Word of God). John, as a matter of fact, was the Apostle of love, but also of truth. Notice also that truth and love go together: Christians cannot have fellowship where there is false doctrine and lies, because our fellowship is based upon the love of Christ.

Daily Assignments

Read John 6-8. Take a few moments and think about truthfulness.

November 2nd  

Nothing Wavering! Part 2

 

Think about this: God gives as well as forgives, and He gives the Holy Spirit to give wisdom and do what He desires in our hearts. God always gives with His heart when He opens His Hand. Again, the key is asking!

Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

In order to have wisdom work within us, there are three things we must remember:

REMEMBER YOUR COMMISSION!

We forget our commission because we lack wisdom. Our mission is the Great Commission, and we must honor God by carrying it out. Every Pastor with whom I have had contact in recent years is terrified by how few show up for church wide soul-winning. The Mission not obeyed is the mission forgotten, and we often substitute meetings for our mission. Soon we spend more time with substitutes rather than with our mission.

REMEMBER YOUR COMMITMENT!

These days, people are seeking the “feel good” and the “good-time” Christianity, while God called us to champion truth not to compromise and tolerance. Many today will say “amen” to that; however, the moment it costs them something the commitment is gone. Today people do not pray their children onto the mission field, but they want them to have achievement in the material possessions. So, the end result is that they often substitute convenience for commitment.

REMEMBER YOUR CONSECRATION!

In order to have real Bible wisdom, we must keep the Bible standards that include:

  • Purity of our hearts and minds.
  • Principled in our homes and ministries.
  • Prayerful in our hearing our Master. How?
  • Acknowledge your lack.
  • Ask specifically.
  • Act in faith.

Have you checked your spiritual temperature lately?

Daily Assignments

Read John 4-5. Memorize 1 John 1:5. Complete__

                         November 1st                          

Nothing Wavering!

This is not necessarily a study on how to have wisdom, but how to use the wisdom we have been given.

The story is told of an old African Tribal Chief who was given a mirror by one of those visiting the Tribe. As he looked curiously into the mirror he could not help but comment on the ugly person he saw in the glass. When he was told that he was looking at himself he became furious and smashed the mirror on a rock.

Paul describes God’s Word as the mirror (verses 21-25) and that is the reason we must continually look into its pages so that we do not become furious or angry at what we see. That’s wisdom in a nutshell. There can be no true perfection without wisdom, which is the gift of God and must be sought from Him and only Him.

Here is an important question: have you ever felt so terrible in your body that you had no idea what was wrong until you finally decided to take your temperature? To your amazement you learn that your temperature is absolutely normal and you feel better already. You had something with which to gauge your health or sickness.

The same is true of the Word of God. It acts as a thermometer to give you the condition of your soul, or your spiritual life. Wisdom is the ability and knowledge to use the thermometer and get the facts. God’s Word will reveal ourselves to us, but He will also show us how we are coming along. Wisdom is a gift of God; however, according to verse five it must be sought after.

Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knoweth it shall be opened.”

Daily Assignments

Read John 1-3. What is your greatest fear and how do you respond?

October 31st       

                          “The Path of Wisdom” Continued!                              

Here are the six truths about the path of wisdom:

  • FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS

Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

  • HONOR HIM AND SAY NO MORE IN PRAYER THAN YOU FOLLOW THROUGH IN PRACTICE.

    Please read Ecclesiastes 5:1-7.

  • DO GOOD WITHOUT EXPECTATION OF RETURN
  • MAKE YOURSELF ACOUNTABLE, BUT ENJOY LIFE WHEN GOD PROSPERS YOU

Ecclesiastes 7:14, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the   day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.”

  • WORK HARD EVEN WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING OVER YOU

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.”

  • DELIGHT IN YOUR WORK UNTIL JESUS COMES

Ecclesiastes 2:24, “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”

Daniel Webster said, THE PATH OF WISDOM is, “Realism about life and acceptance of unanswered questions. It is not insisting on an explanation, but just doing what He says, obey God! Doing it in faith with faithfulness.”

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 23-24. What has our path of wisdom led to in the past few days? Complete__

October 30th    

Read yesterday’s devotion again

Yesterday we mentioned the price of God’s wisdom and now,

  • The place of wisdom.

Job 28:12 is asking, “where shall wisdom be found?”

The answer is that it is not found in the earthly life.

A widow lives for earthly pleasure and is dead while she liveth according to I Timothy 5:6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

Job continues in 28:15-19, “It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.”

God allows the “fear of the Lord” in our lives so that we have understanding, which results in us departing from evil.

Proverbs 4:7, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

Proverbs 28:5, “Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the Lord understand all things.”

Please carefully study Ecclesiastes 11:5-10.

Someone said, “A pessimist sees the tunnel; the optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and the realist sees the tunnel, the light and the next tunnel.”

Once we stop asking “why” we are ready to learn wisdom, which knows what to do when bewildered by the tunnels of life.

  • The path of wisdom

Tomorrow we will see the six truths about the path of wisdom.

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 21-22. Most of our wants are somewhere between our have and have not’s. Complete__

October 29th          

The Path of Wisdom!

Job 28:12-13, “But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.” Verse 20, “Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?”

“Can man discover the Divine Wisdom by which the world is run, as he can the treasures hidden in the earth? Certainly not! Divine Wisdom is conceived as a person (Job 28:12-27) distinct from God (Job 28:23; also in Pr. 8:23, 27). The Almighty Word, Jesus Christ, we know now, is that Wisdom. The order of the world was originated and is maintained by the breathing forth (Spirit) of Wisdom, unfathomable and unpurchasable by man. In Job 28:28, the only aspect of it, which relates to, and may be understood by, man, is stated.” Barnes Notes

Job 28:28, “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”

Ecclesiastes 7:24, “For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven.” Job asked in 28:12, Where shall wisdom be found? In chapter 22 Job speaks of a man who heaps up silver and glories in riches. Then he points to something much more valuable. Job answers his own question in 28:12-13, “But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.”

  • The price of wisdom

Is worth more than all the riches in this world.

  • Few realize the value of it.
  • Even less can give a valuable consideration for it even with all the wealth this world can furnish them with.
    • Spiritual gifts are given without money and without price, because there is not enough money to pay for them.
  • Wisdom is likewise a more valuable gift to him that has it, makes him richer and happier, than gold or precious stones. It is better to get wisdom than gold.

Daily Assignments

Read Luke19-20. Am I on the right path to wisdom? Complete__

October 28th

“Wisdom or Knowledge?” Conclusion!

Read yesterday’s devotion.

  • Life-changing decisions are just that, for life.
  • We don’t need to grope in darkness for the right decisions or hope to just fall on them; but they are waiting for us as we decide.
  • To decide is one of the greatest decisions.

How can we have wisdom to make the right decisions in our daily walk with God?

  • Always trust and honor God for Who He is.
  • Rely on His Word.
  • Make wise decisions – right choices.
  • Acknowledge and confess the wrong choices.

Discretion is discernment and the ability to tell right from wrong. The more we practice it, the more we see actions and consequences.

Read Genesis 41:39, Proverbs 1:4, “To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” 2:11, “Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:” 11:22, “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” 14:15, “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” 19:11, “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.”

Isaiah 52:13, “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.” Hosea 14: 9, “Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.” Titus 2:4-5, “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

It would be wonderful if all Christians made the right choices all the time? The sad truth is that until we get to heaven it is very unlikely. In the mean time let us all ask God to help us gain a better understanding of the difference with each of these important truths.

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 17-18. Little is much when God is in it. Much is little if not.

October 27th 

Wisdom or Knowledge?

Read Proverbs 1:1-19; 3:13; 4:7; 16:16

James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Knowledge, understanding, wisdom and instruction are used about 175 times in the book of Proverbs alone. Apparently God places much importance on each of these. So, it is my belief that the Christian must understand how they differ. One could say, “I have knowledge or understanding,” but it is not enough to have these. Allow me to repeat:

Knowledge is defined as: knowing some facts and the ability to properly assimilate these facts by the intellect.

Understanding: a comprehension of knowledge by reason.

Wisdom: A careful utilization of knowledge and understanding.

Instruction: The process by which knowledge, understanding and wisdom are transferred to another.

One can have facts without real knowledge; knowledge without understanding; understanding without proper usage, and that is where wisdom comes into the picture: A good acrostic:

W … willing to listen.

I ….. interested in moving forward.

S …. satisfied with the will of God.

D …..determined not to quit.

O …..open to new ideas.

M …..mindful of God’s presence and guidance.

The late Dr. Lee Roberson said: “Never vary, go straight down the line, never stopping and always moving forward.”

Again in James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James is not only talking about knowledge, but the ability to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances:

  • Decisions are life-long; therefore they will be waiting for you when you get there.
  • Decisions are chunks not bites. Continued tomorrow.

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 14-16. All of us probably have enough knowledge. But …..

October 26th

“The Works of God’s Wisdom,” Continued!

Read Isaiah 2:4, Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 11:2-9

Romans 12:18, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”

  • True Biblical wisdom is

Putting others first, as well as gentle in dealing with people. Isaiah 40:11.

  • True Biblical wisdom is “easily to be intreated.” That is to be reasonable and willing to listen.
  • True Biblical wisdom is “full of mercy.” Read Matthew 5:7. To have pity, compassion and is kind in Ephesians 4:32.
  • Meeting the need.
  • True Biblical wisdom is “full of fruit.”
  • Reach out- helps those in trouble.
  • Not just a feeling- but truly being a help.
  • Reproduces many times.
  • True Biblical wisdom is “without partiality” in James 2:4.
  • He shows no favoritism 1 Timothy 5:21.
  • He is undivided in his conviction. Because he knows the truth and what God says. Because he is totally committed to God’s Word.

1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

  • True Biblical wisdom is without “

(As in the case of false wisdom, there is also an effect of God’s True Wisdom)

Verse 18, “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”

Notice how it is brought about: By making peace and men treating God and each other like they should.

 

Finally, God’s true wisdom comes by being at peace with God and our fellow man, while the result of false wisdom is nothing but confusion, and the result of true wisdom is righteousness.

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 12-13. Have I helped a senior citizen lately? Complete__

October 25th       

            “The Works of God’s Wisdom,” Continued!               

Continued from yesterday

Study 2 Corinthians 4:4.

  1. A corrupt heart verses 15-20.

Man cannot gain wisdom by keeping his traditions in hopes of gaining the favor of God. Man can only gain the wisdom of God by being obedient to His Word. So, “Who is the wise man?”

Wisdom: Greek: “sophos,” refers to teaching.

Knowledge: Refers to expert, skilled, knowledgeable.

Real Biblical Wisdom and the works of God’s wisdom will demonstrate two traits:

  1. The trait of good behavior.

He practices what he teaches by doing what he should. He lives what he teaches. Read 2 Peter 3:10-13.

  1. The trait of meekness.

He is gentle, tender; yet strong. Meekness has the strength to control as well as discipline:

  1. He has a humble state of mind and loves people.
  2. He has a strong state of control over his spirit.
  3. He has a strong self-control over lust of the flesh and worldly wisdom.

We addressed the result of FALSE WISDOM: WHAT IS GOD’S TRUE WISDOM AND HOW CAN WE HAVE IT?

Realize first of all that the source of all true wisdom is God only, not the world or education. Eight signs of true Biblical wisdom:

  • True Godly wisdom is

Not half-pure, but 100% pure. This is someone who:

  • Keeps his body pure: mind, soul and spirit.
  • He keeps his testimony pure: morality.
  • He keeps his relationship with God pure.
  • He is open with God.
  • True Godly wisdom is

“Peaceable” means to bind-together or join together with God and man. Literally, we are bound together with Christ, the Prince of peace.

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 10-11. What makes a really good Christian? Am I one?

October 24th 

“The Works of God’s Wisdom,” Continued! 

May every reader agree to make the “works of God’s wisdom” his/her works in their daily walk with God, because this is the wisdom that preserves unity and peace, as well as purpose.
Notice in James 3:18, “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
As we read Matthew 15:1-20, we can certainly begin to understand the battle of the religious verses the spiritual man. There are basically two religions in the world.
1. Interior (heart) – inside. 2. Exterior (works) – outside.
The outside says be physically and morally clean.
The inside says be regenerated and a new creation.
The outside says keep outside clean and you will be clean inside.
The inside says keep inside clean and outside will be clean.
The outside religion develops a system of law to rule behavior.
The inside behaves out of the heart.
The outside says be faithful to exterior – go to church, etc.
The inside says be faithful to Christ and you will be in church.
The outside says keep ritual of the law.
The inside says keep relationship with Christ.
These hypocrites or religionists had four real problems in Matthew chapter fifteen:
• They broke God’s law to keep man’s traditions verses 1-3.
• They were hypocrites and gave lip service, while keeping their hearts far from God verses 4-8.
• They worshipped God with an empty heart verse 8.
• They taught man’s traditions as God’s commands verse 9.
Tradition is man’s idea of how it should or should not be done, and these traditions may be good, but they are not the word of God, thereby making the most important question “What defiles a man?”
1. Religious traditions verses 1-9.
2. The corrupt mouth verses 10-11.
3. A blind spirit verses 12-14.
Daily Assignments
Read Luke 8-9. Think about this: where did God come from? Complete_

October 23rd  

“The Works of God’s Wisdom,” Continued! 

2 Corinthians 2:6-7, Romans 12:9

Strife is a matter of the heart. Romans 13:13, “Let us walk honestly (decently), as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”

IF YOU PUT YOUR CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH OR THE LAW THE RESULT WILL BE

Carnal, sensual, devilish wisdom; and soon you become proud of all your knowledge. “This wisdom;” what wisdom? the carnal, sensual and devilish wisdom in James 3:15, “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.”

Philippians 3:19, “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things,” such as worldly music, movies, videos, and DVD’s, etc.

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.”

The result of “this kind” of wisdom (or consequence of) is seen in verse 16, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” Confusion and every evil work is Satan’s work. 1 Corinthians 3:3, “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

False wisdom always produces confusion, pride, and self, and God is not the author of confusion. James 2:1, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.”

BIBLE WISDOM IS WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND HYPOCRISY

James 3:17-18, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”

And “this wisdom” produces: Purity, peace, patience gentleness, easy to be entreated, open to reason, mercy, good fruit, is not partial, not hypocritical, not insincere.

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 6-7. Have you won any arguments lately? Complete__

October 22nd   

“The Works of God’s Wisdom,” Continued!           

 

James 1:19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”   

  • Listen
  • Think before you speak
  • Use few words
  • Don’t react to what you hear, but respond: wisely and kindly.
  • Good living.
  • Good spirit-control.

Although the entire Epistle of James is a book of wisdom, this wisdom (Sophia) is only here and in James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

James 3:13, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”

Who is the … endued – prepared or equipped? Let him show out of his good living his “works of God’s wisdom.” Galatians 6:4,But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” We must prove our own work or our work must be put to the test, and make the right application of our knowledge.

Romans 12:2, “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.”

1 Corinthians 11:28, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”

Prove: To scrutinize, investigate.

  • The pride of knowledge has always been the besetting sin of teachers. That’s why Paul said to Timothy, “Make full proof of thy ministry.”

Verse 14, “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.”

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 4-5. What have I done to improve my wisdom, and have I tried to help others with all my learning? Complete__

             October 21st        

The Works of God’s Wisdom!

 James 3:13-17

Matthew Henry said: These verses show the difference between men’s pretending to be wise, and their being really so. He who thinks well, or he who talks well, is not wise in the sense of the Scripture, if he does not live and act well. True wisdom may be known by the meekness of the spirit and temper. Those who live in malice, envy, and contention, live in confusion; and are liable to be provoked and hurried to any evil work. Such wisdom comes not down from above, but springs up from earthly principles, acts on earthly motives, and is intent on serving earthly purposes. Those who are lifted up with such wisdom, described by the apostle James, are near to the Christian love, described by the apostle Paul; and both are so described that every man may fully prove the reality of his attainments in them. It has no disguise or deceit. It cannot fall in with those managements the world counts wise, which are crafty and guileful; but it is sincere, and open, and steady, and uniform, and consistent with itself. May the purity, peace, gentleness, teachableness, and mercy shown in all our actions, and the fruits of righteousness abounding in our lives, prove that God has bestowed upon us this excellent gift.

Who is this wise man in verse thirteen? Probably not one who thinks he is, or does a lot of talking with no action. It will be one whose talk matches his walk and one who is:

  • Good Conversation,

Colossians 4:3-6, “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 2-3. Good cure for hiccups is, pull down the right ear lobe J

October 20th 

“REAL BIBLE WISDOM!” Continued  

Review the last two days devotions

Pride always blames others and is always right. The Bible says hearken to godly counsel. Most people don’t want counsel; they want your approval. They come to tell you not talk to you. They say, “I prayed about it.” Prayer is asking, not telling God. One of the best ways to learn wisdom is to get around people who know more than you do in a particular area. It would be foolish for a man or woman not to listen to his/her pastor who has been preaching for several dozens of years. Why take a quarter of a century to learn what he has already learned and practiced for many years. Why not counsel with him or listen to his sermons?

BY WALKING WITH SPIRIT-FILLED (WISE) MEN

Please read and study 1 Kings 3:5-28; 4:29-34, and learn how God granted Solomon Real Biblical Wisdom.

1 Kings 3:9, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”

Wisdom is being able to discern between good and evil:

  1. We must ACKNOWLEDE the need of wisdom verse 9.
  2. We must ASK God for wisdom verse 9.
  3. We must then ACCEPT His answer verse 12; 4:29-34.
  4. We must take ACTION, (exercise given wisdom 3:16-28).
  5. Then God gives ASSURANCE of his continued presence.

I am of the firm belief that God granted wisdom to Solomon because he acted upon God’s answer! Proverbs 13:20, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

In a sense we all are under peer pressure, and the lesson is that we ought to get around people who put some pressure on us. We get around a Liberal and we will soon become more tolerant. Why not fellowships with people who pray, love souls, and live holy life?

The wiser I am the clearer I’ll be, because wisdom brings long life, blessing, honor, happiness, power, not to mention prosperity as in the case of Solomon. If you do not have these qualities in your own life, how will you help someone when God sends them to you for help?

Daily Assignments

Read Luke 1. Help someone who is lacking in wisdom. Complete__

October 19th 

                                                          Real Bible Wisdom! Continued                                               

Read James 1:5-6

Job 32:9, “Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.” 28:20, “Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?”

Wisdom is available to each and every Christian reading this, because it is a command of God; however, wisdom is spiritual:

1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

How can we have real Bible wisdom along with common sense?

BY THE SCRIPTURE

  • Seeing salvation the way God sees it. By grace through faith and faith alone.
  • Seeing separation from the world the way God sees it.
  • Seeing prayer the way God sees it.
  • Seeing church attendance, tithing, Bible study, etc. the way God sees it. What we need is more Bible living, not more Bible studies.

BY SEEKING WISDOM

James 1:5-6, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” In other words … ask God for wisdom.

BY SOUL-WINNING

Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”

Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

It is indeed a humbling thought to realize that we are here in His stead. Do you really believe that God will make you wiser if you will do His work?

BY SCRIPTURAL COUNSEL

Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” 15:22, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.”

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 14-16. When was the last time you sought counsel? Complete

                     October 18th                       

Real Bible Wisdom!

Dear friends of “My Daily Walk.” For the next two weeks we will consider this matter of “Real Bible Wisdom.” We hope and pray that you will not miss a single day and share this important subject with your friends on Facebook and the other social websites. I believe we will all benefit from these important lessons.

Verse 16, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

It is dangerous to be one and not the other. We have all met some that are wise as serpents – clever, but they are not harmless as dove. On the other hand, some are gullible, harmless but not wise. A serpent is dangerous; a dove is in danger, and we need to combine both qualities. Someone said, “Wise as serpent’s” means to maneuver quietly with caution and intelligence.

  • It means to move with a plan, quick in seeing danger and quick to escape from it.
  • It means to be a disciple with a vision and initiative.
  • It means to know ones resources and to know when to strike and when to withdraw.
  • It means to strike with our message when the opportunity arises.
  • It means to withdraw quickly when danger threatens.

The Christian disciple is also to be like a dove; that is, to be as gentle and harmless; to cause or create no harm; to be known as a symbol of peace as well as being pure as a dove. Remember Jesus sent us as messengers into a world of evil men (wolves). Therefore we must do two things: Be wise and harmless. Someone has defined wisdom as the ability to see things from the eyes of God…or from God’s point of view.

  • Knowledge is “an orderly assimilation of facts by the intellect.”
  • Understanding is “comprehension of knowledge by reason.”
  • Wisdom is “judicious utilization of knowledge.”
  • Instruction is “a process by which knowledge, understanding and wisdom are transferred to another.”

One can have real facts without knowledge, knowledge without understanding, and understanding without proper usage, because knowledge is like a wagon without a horse, a car without an engine.

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 12-13. What to do when you don’t know what to do, ASK!

October 17th  

“HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!           

Read Colossians 3:12-13

One of the great graces in life is kindness. I have learned and seen that most pastors, evangelists and missionaries exercise the gift of kindness. As a matter of fact, most sales people, military, and businessmen and women practice kindness. Who is the kindest person you have ever met?

Kindness is one of the greatest attributes necessary for success in life. Christian kindness must be learned at a very young age or it will probably never be learned. Let’s look at our text again:

  • KINDNESS IS COURTESY.

We must learn to greet each other in a courteous manner. Why? Each individual deserves to be treated with courtesy whether he/she is courteous or not.

  • KINDNESS IS CARING.

One of the qualities of kindness is caring. A nurse must be a caring person for the sake of the patient; firefighters and police officers must be caring people. We also must be caring. Why? Courtesy + caring = kindness.

  • KINDNESS IS CHARACTER.

We will not have Christian character without practicing kindness, because kindness is character.

  • KINDNESS IS CHRISTLIKENESS.

Four ways in which to practice kindness:

  • Show RESPECT for others.
  • Exercise RESTRAINT.
  • RESPOND with kindness, courtesy and caring.
  • If need be, REPENT of unkindness.

Colossians 3:12, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.”

If everyone in the church would practice the five principles given the last two weeks, it would truly bring harmony in the church and make it attractive. Why not practice kindness toward others beginning today?

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 10-11. Hope these days of unity have been a help to our churches around the world? Complete__

October 16th 

“HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!

We should be ready to forgive even our worst enemies, if they show repentance and acknowledge their sin, because Christ forgave us when we repented of our sins. God requires the Christian and the Church to be holy, and live in the fulness of Christ under the influence of His grace!

Verse 13, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

We should be well taught in the Scripture, which cultivates in our lives an understanding and forgiving heart. The wisest Christians are the most steadfast in their faith and may be the most useful in God’s service.

Verse 14, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”

We must never forget that the Bible is what makes us wise unto salvation and service, if we will read and study it with faith in Christ. It may be excusable for those that have not yet been taught Christian character, but it is inexcusable for most of us not to practice kindness. The bigger problem is with those that have been taught and know better but refuse to practice kindness and forgiveness.

Adam Clarke’s Commentary said, “They should be taught another lesson; and if they will not demean (humble) themselves as they ought, they should be left to themselves, and no one should associate with them. They are not Christians, and they act beneath the character of men.”

Matthew 6:14, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

Mark 11:25, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” 2 Corinthians 2:10-11, “To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 8-9. Whom have we forgiven lately? Complete__

October 15th 

“HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!

The practice of favoritism was strictly forbidden in Jewish law, and God holds Himself to the same standard.

Deuteronomy 1:17, “Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.”

“Respect” in Hebrew means to “acknowledge faces.”

Proverbs 24:23, “These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.”

The term respect is applied often to God in His capacity as Judge. He will judge a righteous judgment according to their character and godly living. How does all this relate to us two thousand years later?

  • We, too, must show respect for one another.
  • It must be in the spirit in which Christ respected us.
  • There should never be a hint of respecting one over another because of prosperity, position or power.
  • It must be done for God’s honor and glory.

Leviticus 19:15, “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.” 26:9, “For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.”

  1. IF EVERYONE WOULD PRACTICE BIBLICAL KINDNESS

Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Think of what would happen in your local church if everyone practiced the biblical gift of kindness in the home and church? Kind, means by implication: useful, better, good, gracious. It means to be “tenderhearted (Eusplagchnos) compassionate, pitiful and sympathetic, and “forgiving one another.”

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 6-7. Imagine where you could be right now? Complete__

October 14th 

“HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!

Verse 9, “But if ye have respect to persons,” or a lack of respect for the person whether rich or poor, you are sinning against God, as well as against the brethren.

The Bible commands us to “love thy neighbour as thyself,” and it makes no difference whether rich or poor.

1 Peter 1:17, “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.”

God is no respecter of persons and He is completely impartial in His judgment because He is righteous.

The Bible says in 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

God judges people according to their moral character. The wonderful thing about our God is that He loves and offers salvation to all, and gives special blessings to those who not only love Him, but who resemble Him in His Holiness.

Each person’s work will be the evidence of how well he or she conformed to God, and God will judge each according to this evidence. Again, there is no respect of persons, because God’s judgment will be according to one’s work and conduct as well as his/her holy living. God’s judgment is not influenced by one’s position, prosperity, power or any other external difference.

Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”

The Jews believed that God favored them, and that salvation was not given to the Gentile nations. Peter, having heard of this false doctrine, says that people are not saved because they are Jews, nor are they lost because they are Gentiles. Romans 2:11, “For there is no respect of persons with God.” There is no respect of persons when it comes to judging one over another.

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 4-5. Imagine where the church would be, if…I… Complete__

 October 13th 

“HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!

Romans chapter fifteen points back to Romans 14:3-5, “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

God made each of us different; we should respect those differences. “To the glory of God.” Jesus has redeemed us in order to honor God the Father. Ephesians 1:6, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

As Christ has received us for the “glory of God,” we should receive and treat each other in the same manner and for the same purpose of bringing honor and glory to God. In order to show the Jewish converts that they ought to receive and acknowledge their Gentile brethren, Paul proves in the following verses that Christ showed respect to both Jew and Gentile. He makes reference to the Jews in Romans 15:8 and to Gentiles in verses 9-12.

Notice we are told much the same in James 2:1-2, 3, 9. In verse one he is saying, do not make your profession of faith with respect of persons. That is, preferring the rich to the poor because of their riches, and not because of their faith.

Verse 3, “And say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place;” or come sit here in an honorable place; or in some place where he would receive special honor. In other words, you treat him with more respect because of his riches without knowing anything about his character. “And say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:” The poor man had to either stand or sit in a humiliating position, and he was treated as if unworthy of the least attention.

It is so important for all of us to welcome people into the church and for the greeters and ushers to be gracious and helpful in seating people.

Daily Assignments

Read Mark 1-3. Have I been respectful to my leaders? Complete__

October 12th

“HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!

1 Peter 1:13, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

We must understand that Holy men of God who were moved by the Holy Ghost to give us instruction in excellence, usefulness, and enjoyment of our faith wrote the Bible. 2 Peter 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17, “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.”

The purpose of the Bible is to impart wisdom and hope through patience and comfort given to those who suffer for Christ, and that we might keep on having hope as we study and learn the Scriptures.

IF EVERYONE WOULD RESPECT ONE ANOTHER

Please study Proverbs 15:7-12.

Romans 15:7, “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.”

Paul is saying that God did not reject us, but received us to make us partakers of His glory. “Wherefore receive ye one another” or have affection and regard for each other, and acknowledge each other as servants and children of God; though you may differ in opinion about small matters.

Imagine what God could do in a church in which everyone respected one another, as “Christ also received us” into His fellowship as friends and followers. We should respect and acknowledge each other with the same affection that Christ respected and acknowledged us and made us partakers of His blessings.

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 27-28. Surprise someone with some flowers this week.

October 11th  

“HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!              

Read Hebrews 10:35-36

Patience and the comfort of the God’s Word, along with the leadership of the Holy Spirit will give us greater understanding of the Bible as well as help during difficult times.

God uses the word patience to mean a steadfast endurance of trials.

Romans 5:3-4, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that   tribulation   worketh   patience;   And   patience, experience; and experience, hope,” or their example of patience gives us hope that we, too, will be blessed as they were, and our sufferings would be used of God to give us a greater faith in the Scripture and a brighter hope for the future.

Psalm 119:81-83, “My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me? For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.”

Romans 5:3-5, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Romans 8:24, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”

Romans 12:12, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”

  • Hope that our suffering may prove to be a blessing.
  • Hope will give greater faith and strength for future trials.
  • Hope that our suffering will cause us to flee to the Bible.

Hope can be defined as hope of the future glory that will help us through present trials and afflictions. It is through Christ’s sufferings that we are given comfort, patience, understanding, and through these, we will have joyful hope. Read Hebrews 6:10-19.

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 25-26. Have I shown my patience today? Complete__

October 10th 

“HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!

2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Paul is teaching young Timothy to cultivate and improve his heart and mind, so that he will not be a reproach to Jesus Christ from whom he professed to receive his calling.

Romans 4:23-24, “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.”

1 Corinthians 9:9, “For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?” 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

One of the great lessons to be learned in studying the Bible is that the Scripture gives us examples through the lives of people. Everyone should in patience and hope bear the burdens of the weak, and study the Scripture so that everyone works together in harmony. God gave the children of Israel Abraham, Moses and the prophets to teach and comfort them in their wanderings. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime” refers to ancient times and all the Old Testament prophets. God did not intend their lessons for those generations only, but also for our edification thousands of years after their writings.

“For our learning,” is teaching and instruction. Not only the Old Testament, but the entire Bible; that it might be helpful in illustrating and enforcing the doctrines and duties towards God and man.

“That we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures,” or by patiently enduring suffering we might have hope and comfort of the Scriptures.”

The word “comfort,” along with its common meaning, also means exhortation or admonition. God is saying that we are encouraged and admonished in the Scriptures. This helps us to hold up in our trials and suffering. See the example of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11.

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 23-24. Memorize 2 Timothy 2:15 and share it? Complete

October 9th 

“HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!

Think of it, Christ was willing to suffer reproach in order to do good to others.

Since Jesus was willing to bear our reproach, we should be willing to endure reproach in order to help others. We may suffer in His cause but He set the example for us and we should be willing to follow His steps.

1 Peter 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” John 13:15, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”

III. IF EVERYONE WOULD STUDY THE BIBLE

Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

In the last lesson, “Everyone Bear Burdens” (Jesus, Our Example) we studied the first three verses of Romans chapter 15. We learned that the strong must help to bear the burdens of the weak. In this lesson we want to study verse four. In verse two the Bible admonishes the church, “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.”

Imagine what the home, church and country would be like if everyone practiced the five challenges given in this chapter.

  • If everyone in the church would work together in unity in vs. 5-6.
  • If everyone in the church would help to bear the burdens of the weak in verses 1-3.
  • If everyone in the church would study the Word of God in v. 4.
  • If everyone in the church would respect or acknowledge one another in verses 7-12.
  • If everyone in the church would practice kindness.

God has much to say about studying the Scripture. Notice the many references: Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 21-22. How much time did you spend reading the Bible? Complete__

October 8th 

      “HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued! 

In verse three, Paul uses the expression, “For even Christ,” illustrating the example of Christ. To the Christian, Christ’s example defines what it is to help bear the burdens of others.

“Pleased not himself.” This teaches that He was not required to suffer. It does not mean that He did not yield to the suffering on the cross. He would never have given Himself to die for others had He not yielded for the following reasons:

  • He came to do the will of His Father.

It was the will of God that Jesus should suffer and die on the cross for all mankind.

Psalm 40:6-8, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Also please refer to and study Hebrews 10:4-10.

Philippians 2:6-7, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”

John 17:5, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

  • He was willing to endure whatever suffering the will of God required.
  • He was willing to deny Himself to help others.

He became poor that we might be rich. He did not seek to save His own life when it was time to die for our sin, but He gave Himself for us.

2 Corinthians 8:9, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

He set the example for us to follow to help those who are lost, less fortunate and weak.

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 18-20. Try to lead someone to Christ today. Complete__

October 7th 

             “HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued! 

Romans 15:2, “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.”

We should do everything possible to help our brothers as far as their spiritual growth is concerned. We ought to bear with their lack of spiritual understanding and weakness; realizing that others had to bear with us before we came to understand spiritual matters.

 When he speaks of pleasing our neighbor, I believe he is saying that our object in trying to please others should be to help them for the glory of God, as well as for their own edification.

Quoting from Spurgeon Devotional Commentary, Jerome says, “Love the scriptures, and wisdom will love thee.” Chrysostom says, “Is it not absurd, that in money matters men will not trust to others, but the counters are produced and the sum cast up; yet, in their soul’s affairs, men are led and drawn away by the opinions of others, and this when they have an exact scale and an exact rule, viz., the declaration of the divine laws? Therefore, I entreat and beseech you all that, not minding what this or that man may say about these things, you would consult the Holy Scriptures concerning them.”

Again in verse 3, “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”

Paul points to Christ as the example and while quoting from Psalm 69:9; he seems to be asking the question, “Why should I limit myself?”

Christ suffered to help the weak, but He was patient with those who hated and persecuted Him. He never acted or responded as one who sought His own comfort, but was patient with their weaknesses, and took the punishment for their sin.

Psalm 69 refers to Messiah and His suffering for mankind, and in verse 21, “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” He is making reference to John 19:28-29.

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 15-17. Gift someone in your church a call. Complete__

October 6th 

                               “HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!                             

Study Romans 15:1-13

 In the last several days we have seen what could happen in our churches if we would all learn to work together in harmony. Now for the next few days, let’s study the scripture and see what would happen:

  1. IF EVERYONE WOULD BE A BURDEN BEARER

Verses 1-3, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”

This chapter shows the humility of the Apostle Paul, because he considered himself to be strong, but for the sake of the weak he put himself in a place of not appearing to be above them. Please study 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

“We, Gentile Christians, who perfectly understand the nature of our Gospel liberty, not only lawfully may, but are bound in duty to bear any inconveniences that may arise from the scruples of the weaker brethren, and to ease their consciences by prudently abstaining from such indifferent things as may offend and trouble them; and not take advantage from our superior knowledge to make them submit to our judgment.” Barnes Notes

Verse 1, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”

By “strong” Paul means the strong in faith in the matters he addresses. He was free from doubt in his own mind, and there were many others that had the same views, but some of the Jewish converts had doubts.

The word “bear” means to lift up, to bear away, or to remove. It means to bear with, to endure patiently and not to contend with: Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

“And not to please ourselves,” or not to make our main object to please our own wills, but we should be willing to deny ourselves, while helping someone else in the process.

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 13-14. Whose burdens have we borne today? Complete__

October 5th 

                        “HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!                   

Review yesterday’s devotion

Both the weak and the strong ought to serve God with one heart and mind for His glory, because the God of patience, who gave them support in their trials and afflictions, now commands them to be like-minded toward each other according to the example of Christ.

God is patient with our weakness and faults, and He commands us to be patient with each other, because Christ set the example for us in His sufferings. Since God is patient in our weak condition, we ought to bear with others in times of their weakness or affliction.

“One mind is translated with one accord” in Acts 1:14, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”

Paul not only expects harmony, but that it is “according to Christ Jesus,” their example in His willingness “not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”

  • PRAISE TOGETHER IN HARMONY

“And one mouth” refers to their prayers and praises so that they might be of one mind without contention toward each other in their worship of God. Divisions, strife, or lack of harmony in the church will prevent unity in our worship of God, and though we are at church in body and professing our faith, it is a divided service, and our prayers are not heard.

Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:”

  • GLORIFY GOD TOGETHER IN HARMONY

Glorify God, or praise and honor God through harmony; thereby showing that the Gospel can and will overcome any disharmony in the church. There must be unity in the church and the Christian home so that our prayers are not hindered and the Holy Spirit may work to bring honor to God the Father.

If there is jealousy, carnal language, or a lack of serving together in harmony the result is that we cannot glorify God as we should or have His peace. Carefully read 1 Corinthians 12:25.

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 12. What have I done to glorify God today? Complete__

October 4th 

  “HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!                  

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 something 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.”

Let’s 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. The Bible say in Romans 15:5-6, “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

  • THINK TOGETHER IN HARMONY

Verse 6, “That ye may with one mind” or to be united with one purpose; without contentions, and strife.

To be like-minded means to think the same thing and to be in harmony without division or strife according to the example of Christ. If all Christians would follow the example of Christ there would be no disunity in the church.

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 10-11. Be honest, should you be a follower? Complete__

October 3rd  

“HARMONY IN THE CHURCH,” Continued!         

Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

“Mind not high things” or do not be self-centered by showing compassion and courtesy to a select few and avoiding others. In other words, do not avoid someone who seems to be beneath you or not as great as others.

The Bible is clear in teaching that we should show love and kindness to all, whether rich or poor. A great lesson for members of the local church to learn is that everything must be done “to the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

In this text Paul comes to the matter on his heart, that they should hear Christ Himself speaking, and not Paul, because he had already dealt with the matter of brotherly love and harmony in the church, forsaking anything that would give occasion for disharmony. Division and disunity in the church are rarely over doctrinal matters, but people who otherwise agree in doctrine, often separate over trivial matters. Paul had just finished his introduction and now comes to his second point, exhorting them to abstain from disunity and be of the same mind and heart while striving together in the work of the Gospel.

“By the name of our Lord Jesus,” or by His authority, and because of His mercy He provided salvation for them.

“That ye all speak the same thing.” All must serve together and be of the same mind so that the work of God is not hindered. There must be general agreement in all matters of the church because all members are human and not all will agree in every area.

Philippians 3:16, “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”

Or as far as we understand duty, let’s do it heartily with one mind, using the Bible as our guide; the Holy Spirit to give us power and wisdom; walk by the same rule, or, “in the same path” we have been given by Christ and the Apostles. Walk by the same rule and in the same path implies working together as a team.

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 7-9. What have I done to love people to Christ? Complete

                         October 2nd                            

HARMONY IN THE CHURCH!

Read Romans 15:1-13

Romans 15:5-6, “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” For the next week or so, we will explore the possibilities of, “What would happen in the local New Testament Church if . . .?”

  1. IF EVERYONE WOULD WORK TOGETHER IN HARMONY

The greatest example in the Word of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul understands this fact and challenges the church to follow Christ’s example in five areas:

  • If everyone in the church would work together in unity in vs. 5-6.
  • If everyone in the church would help to bear the burdens of the weak in verses 1-3.
  • If everyone in the church would study the Word of God in v. 4.
  • If everyone in the church would respect or acknowledge one another in verses 7-12.
  • If everyone in the church would practice kindness.

Imagine what the church would be like if everyone worked together in harmony. God has much to say about Christians working together in harmony: Romans 12:16, “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”

  • SERVE TOGETHER IN HARMONY

Be of the same mind proves that there is nothing that will disrupt harmony more than seeking glory for self. 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 that glorifies the Lord. The devil would like nothing better than to disrupt such a church.

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 5-6. Be careful not to become critical of your pastor?

October 1st

“CHRIST OR CONFUSION,” Conclusion!

Faith in Christ is the only means of salvation. God’s command to Moses in Numbers 21 was not that he kill the snakes, but that he “lift up the serpent and look and live.” They had to look by faith, which meant salvation; not to look meant condemnation.

  • Sinners have to believe verses 18-21.

Jesus goes back to the symbolism of John 1:4-13, light, life, darkness and death. Sinners not only live in darkness, but they love the darkness, and refuse to come to the light where their sins will be exposed and then forgiven.

THE CONFUSION ABOUT THE NEW BIRTH VS. 22-36

Like many Christians today, Nicodemus was confused with baptism and religious ceremony. He may have thought that baptism meant Jewish purification through ceremonies.

Notice how John the Baptist pointed his converts to Christ, not some religious ceremony; the emphasis is on believing not baptism verse 36. It is evident that Nicodemus came out of the dark and finally became a Christian. As someone said, we see Nicodemus:

  • In the darkness of confusion, chapter 3.
  • In the dawn of conviction; willing to give Jesus a fair     hearing, chapter 7:45-53.
  • In the daylight of confession, openly identifying himself with Christ, chapter 19:38-42.

What does all this mean to the Christian today?

  • Realize that He died for you.
  • Recognize that you must believe and receive.
  • Remember to live for Him.

2 Peter 1:10, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”  

Daily Assignments

Read Matthew 1-4. Be sure to thank God for your salvation? Complete__

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant!

September 30th 

Christ or Confusion, Part 3         

1 Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

James 1:18, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

  • The Word of God:

The water in verse five represents the Word of God according to Ephesians 5:26, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”

Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

  • It is a mysterious birth in verses 8-10.

No one can explain the wind, and no one can explain the spirit.

Just because we cannot explain everything in the Bible does not mean it is not the Word of God.

  • It is a real birth in verses 11-13.

Many things are mysterious, but they are still real. Jesus explains to Nicodemus that the new birth is not a theory, but it is reality. If we will just receive Him we will discover how real the new birth is, and we will experience it in a personal way.

THE BASIS OF THE NEW BIRTH VS. 14-21

  • Jesus had to die verses 14-17.

Jesus again refers to the Old Testament, and this time in Numbers 21, the account of the brazen serpent. The serpents were biting and killing the Jews and the strange solution to the problem was for Moses to make a serpent of brass. Looking to the serpent in faith brought healing, and refusing to look on the serpent of brass meant certain death.

In like manner, Christ was made sin for us, for it was sin that was killing us. Brass speaks of judgment, and Jesus experienced our judgment when He was lifted up on the cross. Jesus had to die before man could be born again; His death brings life.

Daily Assignments

Read Malachi 1-4. Think about when were you born again. Complete__

September 29th

Christ or Confusion, Part 2          

Read yesterday’s devotion

No amount of education, discipline or religion is going to change this old nature of ours; we must receive a new nature from God before we can see heaven or enter the pearly gates.

  • In order to enter the Kingdom of God verse 5.

Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

The moment we are saved, we enter the Kingdom of God and one day the Kingdom of Heaven. Only by being born again is it possible to enter the Kingdom of God.

THE NATURE OF THE NEW BIRTH VS. 6-13

  • The new birth is a spiritual birth verses 6-7

2 Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

We cannot produce a spiritual birth by physical means. “Born of water,” does not refer to water baptism, because that would be a physical means. Baptism speaks of death not birth. Romans 6:1-4, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

If baptism saves, no one would have been saved in the Old Testament. Salvation is not by works – physical means. The new birth can be produced only by spiritual means:

  • The Spirit of God:

John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

Daily Assignments

Read Zechariah 8-14. Look for prophecies of Christ in Zechariah.

                       September 28th                           

Christ or Confusion

 Read John 3:1-16

This is probably the most important chapter in the Bible, and certainly in the book of John, because it deals with the subject of the new birth. Religious systems have so confused the matter of salvation that the average person on the street, (let alone the religious leaders like Nicodemus) has no idea what it means to be born-again.

Four basic truths about the new birth:

THE NECESSITY OF THE NEW BIRTH VERSES 1-5

  • In order to see the Kingdom of God verse 3.

Nicodemus was a good, moral and religious man; yet he did not understand the necessity of the new birth. We find the same problem to be true in our culture today; people have no understanding of the new birth.

There are hundreds of thousands of seminary graduates all over America in the same critical condition of confusion about the new birth. Being religious does not qualify one for heaven, because the Bible commands us to be born-again. As many people today, Nicodemus confused the spiritual with the physical in verse 4. He thought in terms of the physical while Jesus was talking about the spiritual.

We must learn that all are born wrong the first time, and the only remedy is to be born-again. Our first birth makes us children of Adam, children of wrath.

Ephesians 2:1-3, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Daily Assignments

Read Zechariah 1-7. Which of the scriptures confuses you? Complete__

September 27th 

CHRIST’S CALL TO COMMITMENT! PART III 

Read the last 2 days devotions

God’s people need to keep themselves pure. One way to do that is by showing respect for the other person, especially between parents and their children. Separation is standing for Christ in an ungodly world; yes, but making sure that our behavior is not likened to the world. The answer is not to live in isolation or give in to the devil, but to make our lives a testimony to Jesus.

Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

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.”

KEEP GROWING IN YOUR FAITH

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.”

  • What are you doing to grow?
  • What are you doing to keep growing?
  • What are you doing to help others?

BE A FAITHFUL SERVANT

Review Matthew 25:21-23. Ephesians 5:17, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but under-standing what the will of the Lord is.”

BE FAITHFUL IN GIVING    

  • Faithful in giving of your time.
  • Faithful in giving God’s tithe.
  • Faithful in giving your talent.

Luke 16:10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”

These are just a few things we all can do so that one day it may be said of us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Daily Assignments

Read Zephaniah 1-3. Memorize 2 Peter 3:18 and share it. Complete__

September 26th

  CHRIST’S CALL TO COMMITMENT!  PART II      

Read yesterday’s devotion

Hebrews 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” How can we be more committed, faithful servants?

BE FERVENT IN SPIRIT

Ephesians 5:9, “(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)” Verse 18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

  • Learn to have a positive outlook on life.
  • Learn to be a problem-solver rather than dodger.
  • Learn to have a cooperative spirit.
  • Be loyal to your family and your church.
  • Be supportive of your staff and pastor.

A hungry man will beg for food. Someone said “Where there is a willing heart there will always be an eager spirit.”

BE UNFALTERING IN PURITY

Ephesians 5:3-4, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” Verse 15, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.”

Young people and adults alike must notice that God places foolish talking in the same category as fornication. A servant must be pure, not only in heart; but more importantly, in the outward life. This means that there should be no ugly talking between parent and child, and among brothers and sisters. When there is, it must be confessed quickly or reap the wrath of God.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 16-17. Sports motivate most Christians, how about you and me. What motivates us today? Complete__

September 25th 

                  CHRIST’S CALL TO COMMITMENT!                 

Read Matthew 25:14-21

Verse 21, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

My focus is not on the “talents,” but the “servant.” In a sense they are inseparable; however, most of our attention will be focused on verse 21, “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

Of course, we realize that this verse is speaking of the hereafter; however, Jesus also relates it to a servant and his master.

In Matthew 25:23, Jesus said it the second time, “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

In Acts 10:33 the Bible says, “Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.”

Philippians 4:14, “Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.”

“God said to me, “I am going to evangelize China, and if you will walk with me, I will do it through you.” From the testimony of J. Hudson Taylor. This reminds us of what Paul said in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 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, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  

Daily Assignments

Read Micah 1-7. How and what are the areas of commitment with you?

September 24th 

   “Christ’s Call to Consecration,” Conclusion!  

 Now, here is the most important part of the last two days devotion: God’s amazing grace provides sanctification for every Christian seeking to live a consecrated life.

Titus 1:12, “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”

Proverbs 25:4, “Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.”

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.”

1 Peter 1:7, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” God takes out the impurities by turning up the heat. Please read Job 23:1-10.

Psalms 17:3, “Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.”

Psalms 66:10-12, “For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.” 139:1-3, “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my down sitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.” Verses 23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

James 1:12, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.”

The next time you feel unworthy of His Grace, just remember that God provided all that is needed to live a life of grace and consecration.

Daily Assignments

Read Jonah 1-4. Who in this life do you admire the most? Complete__

   September 23rd 

                        Christ’s Call to Consecration, Part 2                          

Read Ruth 1:1-14

Our next picture of the grace of God is seen in the life of,

RUTH

Matthew 1:5, “And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse.”

Ruth was a Moabitess and it was not right for an Israelite to marry a Moabitess in that day. She was a descendant of Lot. Somebody said that Lot traded grace for grass. God’s providence could not be stopped in the Old Testament nor in the New Testament, neither can it be stopped today. Ruth had to be in Bethlehem by the providence of God because she was an ancestress of Christ, yet she was a sinner! She later married Boaz who was the great-grandfather of David, who was in the lineage of Christ. That is God’s grace, or His unmerited favor.

BATHSHEBA

Matthew 1:6, “And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias.”

We must remember that David committed adultery, which in Gods eyes made Bathsheba an adulteress. Also remember that it was David who had Uriah the Hittite, and husband of Bathsheba killed. Please read 2 Samuel 11:1-4.

Bathsheba and David, though both sinners, were included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. That is what we call “God’s Abundant Grace.”

MARY

Matthew 1:16, “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”

Granted, Mary was a good woman, but she was a sinner. God looked upon her with grace, but the Bible says in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

The Bible also says, Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord. He lived in a wicked generation, but God favored Noah. If He showed His grace to these four women, don’t you think He will remember us? God’s grace – unmerited favor!

Daily Assignments

Read Amos 6-9, Obadiah. Would our name be on this list? Complete__

        September 22nd

Christ’s Call to Consecration

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.”

Because of the many references to grace, we could entitle this devotion, “God’s Amazing Grace.”

Someone has called GRACE: “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”

God did not save us due to our own goodness, but because of His abundant grace according to Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Grace and mercy come from the same Greek word. We have God’s mercy because of His grace. He cannot look upon our sin, or even upon His Son on Calvary. Because of grace we can have fellowship with Him, and with His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

It is nothing that you and I have done, but all that Christ has already completed. He declares us righteous because of His grace. As a matter of fact, He looks at the sinner through His grace. He sees us as righteous because of His grace.

Look at the people God used in the Bible! If He had looked at their sin all would have been condemned to go to hell. Four women are included in the genealogy of our Lord.

TAMAR

Read Genesis 38:13-26. Matthew 1:3, “And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram.” Tamar was a harlot who deceived her own father-in-law playing the harlot with him. She was a sinner! Zerah, son of Tamar was the great-grandfather of Achan.

Despite all her sin, she is named in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. That is a picture of the grace of God!

Think about the text you just read in Genesis 38, and see how God’s grace covers it all.

Daily Assignments

Read Amos 1-5. Can you define the word consecration? Complete__

                September 21st                            

Christ’s Call to Charity (Love)

Read 1 Corinthians 13

Verse 13, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

In chapter twelve Paul describes various gifts and helps from the Holy Spirit. In chapter thirteen he names the greatest gift of all – love. He points out three important parts in this chapter:

  • The conviction (Excellency) of love – above all power and faith. All these gifts in chapter twelve would be without value if not encompassed in love.
  • The characteristic of love – peace of mind and heart.
  • The comparison of love – compared to prophecy, and tongues, which shall vanish.

Ephesians 3:19, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

Matthew 19:19, “Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Romans 8:35, 39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 15:30, “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.”

2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.”

John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

I believe the Bible is very clear about the love of Christ. Jesus proved that kind of love for all of us. What do you believe? Let’s remember that Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.

Daily Assignments

Read Joel 1-3. Show your family how much you love them? Complete__

September 20th 

Christ’s Call to Conversion, Part 4            

Read the last 3 days devotions

It is not by our own merit; it is not because we have any claim on salvation because of the good we may have done, but only by the grace of God. This was always a favorite doctrine with Paul, as it should be with all those who love the Lord Jesus.

Whether this text proves it or not, it is certainly true that faith is the gift of God. We have this gift in the mind and heart only when the Holy Spirit places it there. We must understand that it is not God that believes for us, but it is our own minds and hearts that actually believe, or that exercise faith.

EVERY CONVERSION IS A MIRACLE

Verse 12, “Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.”

WE MUST PREACH TO EVERY CREATURE UNTIL JESUS COMES

Verse 35, “Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.”

Acts 20:24, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Jesus said, “Occupy till I come.”

Let’s pray that God will enable us to bring in both Jew and Gentile under the preaching of the blessed Gospel of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Daily Assignments

Read Hosea 7-14. What would you do if you were Hosea? Complete__

September 19th 

Christ’s Call to Conversion, Part 3

Read Acts 15:6-9 again

Things certainly have not changed two thousand years later, but let’s take comfort in the fact that Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

So, what really happened in this chapter? We learn that:

ALL ARE CONVERTED IN THE SAME WAY – BY GRACE AND GRACE ALONE

John 1:16-17, “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

Romans 3:24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” 4:4, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” Verse 16, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” 5:2, “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Verse 15, “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”

THROUGH FAITH AND FAITH ALONE

Verses 10-11, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”

Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

Daily Assignments

Read Hosea 1-6. Meditate on some of these verses? Complete__

September 18th   

            Christ’s Call to Conversion, Part 2          

Read yesterday’s devotion

The first contention was concerning the office of Christ, whether men are saved by His righteousness and faith, or if we have to keep and obey Moses’ Law to be saved.

Paul and Barnabas were completely satisfied that God did not want to bring the converted Gentiles under the yoke of circumcision; they knew that Jesus Christ was the end of the law for righteousness (justification) to every one that believed, and therefore they opposed these false teachers. This was one of the first controversies in the Church. Though the difference of belief was great, it led to no division in their love for the Lord and each other.

Verse 3, “Being brought on their way by the Church.” The members of the Church provided them with all they needed for their journey, since they came without any belongings of their own. “Declaring the conversion of the Gentiles.” This was truly a miracle and an evidence of God’s mercy that the Gentiles would be received into the Church. Now they had proof that it was likely to become commonplace for Gentiles to be saved, because of the conversion of Cornelius, the people of Antioch, Cyprus, Pisidia, Pamphylia, and many others, including those of us who are saved today. According to verse four, they were well received by the Church, where they told of the great work that God had wrought by them among the Gentiles.

Verse 5, “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisee…

When these Pharisees saw they could not destroy the church from the outside they decided to make their attack on the inside.

Paul, having stated how God blessed their ministry among the Gentiles, teaches them how all the good work was likely to be destroyed by certain Pharisees, who, having received the Christian faith, came down to Antioch, and began to teach the need for circumcision, and thus filled the minds of the young converts with “doubtful disputations.”

Romans 14:1, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” (or, do not judge his doubtful thoughts).

Daily Assignments

Read Daniel 10-12. Try to read Romans chapter three today. Complete__

          September 17th 

    Christ’s Call to Conversion

Read Acts 15:1-12

Verse 3, “And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.

ys of the Christian life is that it all depends on who God is, not who I am or what I can do. Thank God that The Gospel is for all and that His guidance and leadership in every area of life is given to every Christian.

I am so thankful that His love is unconditional and that I can not only know for certain that I have a home in heaven, but that a loving God will meet my every need on the way to heaven. Whether we are Jew, Greek or Gentile; Christ died for all, and that is the issue in this chapter.

One of the greatest jo

Verse 1, “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”

Now that the church has been established in the Gentile world, it faces its first real problem. In Judea many of the Hebrew converts are Pharisees and they have no intention of forsaking their Mosaic system. They do not believe that one can be saved without being circumcised.

The church in Jerusalem is made aware of this, and immediately steps in to take care of the problem. As was often the case in that day, some of the teachers from Judea insisted that the converted Gentiles be circumcised. Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem to check with the apostles about this problem that had arisen in the church, verse 2.

Upon their arrival in Jerusalem, they were informed by the apostles of the conversion of the Gentiles; and of the trouble, which certain Pharisees had about this question, verses 3-5.

Daily Assignments

Read Daniel7-9. What if your heart stopped beating right now? Where would you be? Complete__

A Daily Spiritual Growth Assistant!

             September 16th 

Christ’s Call to Conviction! Part 2 

Review yesterday’s devotion

  • How were they pricked in their hearts?
    • Through the preaching of the Word of God verse 40.
    •  By Peter’s testimony of an exalted Saviour.

Notice the importance of giving our own personal testimony in these verses 3:12-16, 4:1-14.

  • By the power of the Holy Spirit, 4:29-37; 5:1-3, 29 39.
  • What was the result of their being pricked in their hearts?
  • They turned from their terrible sin, verse 38.
  • They publicly confessed their sin by accepting Christ, verse 41.
  • They were saved, verse 47.
  • They found deep and lasting joy, verse 46.
  • They received the Holy Spirit, verses 38-39.
  • They added to the church daily, verse 41.

Three very important lessons: The Bible sets our convictions

IN THE MATTER OF SALVATION John 15:16-19; John 3

IN THE MATTER OF SIN Psalm 119:9-16

  • What is sin?
  • A transgression, 1 John 3:4.
  • All unrighteousness, 1 John 5:17.
  • Omission of duty, James 4:17.
  • Whatever is not of faith, Romans 14:23.
  • Even the thought of foolishness, Proverbs 24:9.
  • Where does sin come from?
  • From Satan, John 8:44.
  • From the heart, Matthew 15:19.

IN THE MATTER OF SEPARATION

Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” I am of the firm Biblical belief that marriages and partnerships between Christians and unbelievers never work.

Of course, there are always exceptions, but do not think for a moment that you live a life of exceptions.

Daily Assignments

Read Daniel4-6. What is the difference in a conviction and a preference?

                          September 15th                        

Christ’s Call to Conviction!

Verse 37, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

We must remember that a standard may not necessarily be a conviction, but a conviction is always a Bible standard. Every Christian has both convictions and standards. Our standards ought always to be based upon our Bible convictions. There is a difference between preferences and convictions.

A conviction is something we would be willing to proclaim to others, to be sued for, go to court over, be willing to go to jail for, and be willing to die for. A preference, on the other hand, is something that we practice, but not necessarily because of our convictions. So, we must determine our position by the Word of God. Some things may be lawful for me, but not expedient for my Christian testimony.

To be pricked in the heart with the conviction of sin is not a pleasant experience, but if rightly received leads to some great blessings. A conviction stands for something – alone if need be. All of us must answer the question as to what we will do when sin knocks at the door. It is also important to remember that we are molding our character each day of our lives.

To illustrate it in a very practical way: a soldier in his barracks, a student in school, and children in the neighborhood, as well as parents on the job, all need to determine their convictions before temptation comes. Why?

  • It takes conviction to resist the temptation to take drugs, engage in sex outside of marriage, to be different, etc.
  • It takes conviction to say “no” (when sin knocks at the door), and run from it. Look at verse 37 again.
  • Why were these men pricked in their hearts?
  • They saw the consequence of rejecting Christ verse 36.
  • They saw the need of salvation and the Saviour vs. 37-40.

Daily Assignments

Read Daniel 1-3. Write down all your convictions the next two days.

September14th

Christ’s Seven Calls, Conclusion!

Review the last 2 day’s devotions

Heaven is not full because man began to make excuses, and we have not gone out while “yet there is room.” “Go out into the highways and hedges.” In other words, go where the poor and the lost are. The rich had already been invited, those who dwelt at ease in their own houses (the Jews). Those in the streets were the Gentiles. The Jews despised the Gentiles and considered them to be outcasts and worthless, as they did those who were in the highways of the city.

Verse 24, “None of these men.” This cannot mean that no Jews would be saved, but that none of those who had rejected the offer of the Gospel would be saved. The Bible teaches that it is a dangerous thing to reject the Gospel, and to grieve the Holy Spirit. The invitation is still open and free; but when it is rejected, and men turn willfully away from it, God leaves them to their chosen way, and they are drowned in destruction and perdition. 1 Timothy 6:9, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”

Hebrews 10:39, “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” 2 Peter 3:7.

How important it is for the lost to respond to the invitation of salvation, and for those of us who are already saved to respond to the call.

Verse 26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. “The word hates means “to love less.”

Verse 28, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” A tower was a place of defense or observation, built on high places or in a field to watch out for the enemy.

So it is with us, we too must watch while we work, and be about the Master’s business inviting people to come to Christ. Also, realize that it will cost you something to come to Christ and cost even more to be His disciple.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 46-48. Chances are anyone reading this is saved. If you are not saved, why not ask him to save you right here and now? Complete__

September 13th 

Christ’s Seven Calls! Part 2        

Read yesterday’s devotion

Verse 19, “I go to prove them.” In other words, he is going to try them; to see if he had made a good bargain. Talk about a petty excuse. He could as easily have proven them at any other time, and his whole conduct shows that he was more interested in gratifying himself than in accepting the invitation of his friend.

Verse 20, “I have married a wife.” Jesus doubtless intends to teach us that the love of earthly relatives and friends often takes away from our affection for God, and prevents our accepting the blessings that He would bestow on us. This was probably the pettiest excuse of all; and we cannot but be amazed that these poor excuses keep some from being saved or becoming disciples.

Verse 21, “Showed his lord.” In other words he told his master of the excuses made by those who had been invited. Their conduct was amazing, and it was his duty to let his master know of the response to the invitation. “Being angry.” That is “being angry” at the men who had snubbed his invitation, and insulted him by rejecting his invitation. What a shame, they would rather care for their own self-gratification and friends than this great honor. Isn’t that just like us today and the lost today? We are so wrapped up in our own cares that we do not have time for feasting with the Lord. “Go out quickly.” The feast is ready, and there is no time to lose. They who partake of it must do it now. The same is true of the Gospel today – the lost must respond now.

2 Corinthians 6:2, “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”

In verse 22, “Yet there is room.” He went out and invited everyone he could find; yet the table was not full. He reported to his master that Yet there is room. What a truth for us in regard to the Gospel! Yet there is room.

Millions have been saved since the days of Christ, “yet there is room.” Think about of the millions that have been saved and have gone to heaven; “yet there is room” in heaven.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 43-45. How many neighbors have we witnessed this week?

                      September 12th                

Christ’s Seven Calls!

Read Luke 14:15-30

On several occasions God has spoken to my heart about some things that are needful for any church to be a New Testament church. I am not speaking of qualifications or methods; I am speaking of the need of “Christ’s Seven Calls.”

In this text I believe are given the keys to success for any church or disciple of Christ.

Something ought to happen to us when we think about the Lord and His Word. Something ought to move us when we think about the millions of souls perishing without the knowledge of Christ. But, something ought to really motivate us when we see the work of God suffer because of the lack of the seven calls we will address in this booklet.

Verse 15, “The kingdom of God means the kingdom which the Messiah will one day set up.”

Verse 16, “A great supper” or a great feast. It is said to be great due to the large number of guests invited.

Bade many, or those invited beforehand. The man who made the supper no doubt represents God; the supper pictures the provisions which He has made for the salvation of men; and the invitation, is the offers He makes to men, particularly to the Jews.

Verse 17, “Sent his servant.” The invitation had been sent before, but this servant was sent when the supper was ready.

Verse 18, “I have bought a piece of ground.” Perhaps he had purchased it on condition that he found it as good as it had been represented to him.

I must needs go, I believe this is teaching us that people are often too busy to consider Christ, because the affairs of the world are so pressing that they cannot find time for God.

They have no time to pray, or read the Bible, or worship God. The result is that they lose the opportunity to go to heaven when they die. For that reason, he commands us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 40-42. How faithful are we reading His Word? 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 Ezekiel 37-39, Complete___

   September 10th  

Evidence of the Grace of God in the Home, Part 3

 Review yesterday’s devotion

1 Peter 3:7, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

Practical helps for Dads: The Bible has many illustrations of bad, as well as good fathers. When you think of Eli – you immediately know that he was a bad father because he failed to restrain his children. Saul is another example of a bad father. He set a bad example for his son Jonathon as he sought to slay David. Abraham, on the other hand, was a good father because God said of him, “For I know him, that he will command his children and household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.” Isaac is an example of a good father because he became very great. Joshua is another good example of a father who commanded his household after him, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” The powers of the American father are gradually being taken away. God has given us the best manual of instruction in the world for marriage, raising children and maintaining a strong Christian home, the Bible. God put the main responsibility for marriage on the father.  If you are not a good Christian in the home, then you are probably not a good Christian, because a sure test of your Christianity is what you are in the home. What was it that God saw in Abraham and why did He bless him so? Abraham was a man who would not quit and one who “commanded his household after him.” What was it that God saw in Isaac and Joshua; they, too, commanded their households after them. Every father should make a commitment to be a father “who commands his entire household after him.” We all have the same needs in our own personal lives as well as in the home, and God has the perfect remedy for each of us: Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Is there any evidence of the grace of God in your home?

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 33-36. Why won’t we ask our children how we are doing?

September 9th 

Evidence of the Grace of God in the Home, Part 2          

Review yesterday’s devotion

God said, “I know Abraham that he will command his children, and his household after him.”

This is a best part of Abraham’s character. He not only prayed with his family, but he taught them, as a man of knowledge. He commanded them as a man in authority, and was prophet, priest and king in his home. As far as I remember, that is the way it used to be in the American home, and certainly in the Christian home. He not only took care of his children, but also his household; his servants were also cared for.

Fathers are commanded to institute, instruct and inspect the spiritual condition, as well as Christian character of all under their roof.

NOAH

Genesis 6:8, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

  • He was a just man, a man who “gave to all their due,” the meaning of the original word.
  • He was perfect in his generation. He was consistent in his character in all things, never departing from the truth in principle or practice.
  • He walked with God, and was not only righteous in conduct, but was humble, and had continual communion with God.

ENOCH

The same original word is used here in the case of Enoch:

Genesis 5:22, “And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.”

All these men and many others had one thing in common: they recognized and had evidence of the grace of God in their homes.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

2 Corinthians 8:7, “Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.”

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 29-32. Have we shown God’s grace to His people? Y or N

September 8th   

Evidence of the Grace of God in the Home

Persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. This means that they should continue for the sake of the Gospel; to receive the spirit and influence of it; to bring forth the fruits of that spirit; and thus continue under the favor and approval of God. The evidence of the grace of God in the home is certainly becoming more rare in our multi-cultural society. It would be easy to pass the blame on to our permissive culture, Hollywood, television or the media; however, the Bible commands us to “continue in the grace of God.”

I am a little old-fashioned and still believe that the father is the head of the house, and if there is going to be evidence of the grace of God in the home, it is up to the father to put it there.

ABRAHAM

Abraham knew something about fatherhood and we can see the evidence of the grace of God in his home.

Genesis 18:19, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”

We see in Abraham that fathers ought to know God’s judgments, and declare (teach diligently) them to their children.

“And they shall keep the way of the Lord.” True faith is the only way, God’s way, to do justice and judgment not only to preserve the truth in principle, but also maintain it in practice. Family faith is always pleasing to God, and God requires parents not only to direct (train) and discipline, but also “command” that their children keep the way of the Lord. There is a close connection between their obedience in this matter and God giving them and their children the richest of spiritual and temporal blessings.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 25-28. Think of a good example of a servant in your life.

          September 7th  

  Functional Christian Families, Conclusion

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 Ezekiel 22-24. Was Joshua a good Dad in the home? Men, are we?

September 6th

Functional Christian Families, Part 4

Review the last 3 days devotions

We as husbands must meet the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of our wives. Protect them from evil means not only from impending danger from without, but also from what comes in. “The eye gate.”

Man is the aggressor and woman is the responder.

Song of Solomon 1:15, “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes.” 2:15, “My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.”

First the Bridegroom says in 1:15, “Behold thou art fair, my love; behold thou art fair, thou hast doves eyes.”

Men, when is the last time you told your wife she has “doves eyes?”

Then she responds in 2:15, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.”

PROMOTE DISCIPLINE IN THE HOME

Please study Hebrews 12:4-11.

Discipline is not punishment. As a matter of fact, God does not necessarily punish His children, but chastens them, which denotes a motive of correction, not punishment.

PURITY AND HOLINESS IN THE HOME

  • A personal walk with God.
  • A pleasing relationship with one another.

Wives must be feminine and act like ladies for the sake of their husbands and for the children to have good examples to follow.

Men must be masculine and act like Godly men. Women should not wear men’s clothing or dress like men, and should not wear women’s clothing or act in a feminine manner.

Deuteronomy 22:5, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” Read 1 Peter 3:1-7.

I believe Paul’s teaching is that the home is to be a mirror of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

LET’S BUILD CHRIST-HONORING HOMES FOR HIS GLORY!

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 20-21. Dad, have you been the protector in your home?

                     September 5th

  Functional Christian Families, Part 3       

Review yesterday’s devotions

PROPER SUBMISSION BY THE WIFE

Verse 21-24 does not say “obey,” but it commands the wife to submit.

Often wives cannot follow because the husband does not know where he is going.  I believe a wife who is submissive will not try to lead her husband or the church.  Submission does not mean to boss around.

Ephesians 4:1-2, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.”

This is where it really starts:  Humility! In Verse 22, “submit” is a very mild, loving word. We respond to Jesus because He first loved us; the same is true of a wife’s submission to her husband. A very personal loving relationship is the ground for submission. The wife is to respond to her husband the way a believer responds to Christ in a love relationship. Submission is a sign of being Spirit-filled.

 A PRACTICAL WELL-BALANCED HOME

SPIRITUALLY

  • Jesus must be preeminent: study Colossians 1-2. There must be a family Bible time – daily.

PHYSICALLY

  • Time for fun together.
  • Evening meals together.
  • Church time together. Be interested and discuss what was learned in Sunday school and the services.
  • Serving God together as a family.

 PROTECT – THE WIFE AND CHILDREN – HOW?

Verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 17-19. Did you help a marriage in trouble this week Y or N

September 4th 

  Functional Christian Families, Part 2      

Review yesterday’s devotion

What are your family activities at home? Television, movies, music, books, games? You cannot mute the sound of your television once it enters the ears or erase the pictures once they’ve entered the eyes. What rules do you have in your home regarding watching television?

  • Check your activities.

Psalm 101:3, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”

We allow immorality right into our living rooms, and we wonder why our young people are involved in worldly lusts.

  • Check your desires and motives.
  • Are they Bible-oriented?
  • Are they of the flesh or of the Spirit?

Please study Galatians 5:16-26 with your family.

PRACTICE GODLY LEADERSHIP IN THE HOME

There is a great need for godly leaders. Not only dad, but also mom must help to lead.

  • The husband must accept the responsibility to lead and learn to delegate certain responsibilities to his wife.
  • The wife and children must be willing to follow the husband’s leadership.

Train your children by these three questions honestly:

  1. Where are they?
  2. Who are their friends?
  3. What are their interests?
  • Spend time with your children.
  • Listen to them and be on constant watch for mood swings.

Three key words with all children, especially in teen years: inspect, suspect and expect.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 14-16. Who has been the leader in your home? Complete__

September 3rd             

Functional Christian Families

 One need not be a scholar to see that the American Christian home is in serious trouble. The heartbreak is that it is not just the homes of bus kids or what we would call poor children anymore, but the problem is in what we would consider the best of homes. The condition of the average Christian and Christian home is evident by the fact that some time ago a “National Church and Pornography Sunday” was held and seventy-three denominational churches were involved in a program to reach Christians addicted to pornography. God help us! Statistics show that one out of five Americans is hooked on pornography, and that means Christians is involved in it almost as much as unbelievers. God help us again! You could almost call it a soap opera in the church. We need to understand that the church is a picture or reflection of our homes.

There are five headships in this text and in chapter six:

  • The church submits to Christ.
  • The husband submits to Christ.
  • The wife submits to her husband.
  • Children submit to their parents.
  • Servants submit to their masters.

Submission is a willing subjection to someone who loves you.

It will take more than preaching for us to regain our Bible-principled homes.

PATTERN YOUR HOME AFTER THE WORD, NOT THE WORLD

Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 10-13. Has this study been a help to you so far? Complete_

September 2nd

“The Influence of Godly Mothers,” Part 2

Read yesterday’s devotion

TIMOTHY … 2 Timothy 1:5, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”

The loving care and godly influence provided by their mothers bore rich fruit in the lives of these men.

Think also of: Augustine, John Newton, and the Wesley brothers. Their names would probably never have lighted the pages of history if it hadn’t been for the godly women who raised them in homes where the law of love and Christian witness was their daily guide and inspiration.

As we mentioned in an earlier devotion, Susannah Wesley spent one hour each day praying for her 17 children. In addition, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters. No wonder two of her sons, Charles and John, were used of God to bring blessing to all of England and much of America. One of the most important lessons from Susannah Wesley is that she insisted on love in the home.

Let’s honor our godly mothers, not only with words of praise, but also with lives that reflect the impact of their holy influence.

Use the space below to give seven reasons to be thankful for our Mom.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 5-9. How many can say, ‘I had the best mom in the world?’

September 1st    

The Influence of Godly Mothers

Verse 8, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”

The word “mother” is an interesting word in Hebrew language, Musar and meaning,

            DISCIPLINE:       Required

            EDUCATION:     Responsibility of Father

            CORRECTION:   Enforces the teaching:

Proverbs 13:24, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” NOW, follow me: “Law of thy mother.”

This is a milder word: Hebrew, Torah, the oral teaching to a son. In other words – forsake not the teaching of your Mother.

Many great men of the past have been blessed by what they learned at their mothers’ knee. For example:

MOSES … the love of a mother, faith in Exodus 2:3, “And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.”

SAMUEL … whose mother Hannah prayed in 1 Samuel 1:11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezekiel 1-4. Mom, have you dedicated your life to your family?

                                   August 31st                                  

Read yesterday’s devotion

How sad when we offend our children by neglect, by our words, by sin, inconsistency, waywardness, lack of leadership or lack of godly living.

  • We are not to “despise one of these.”

It is easy for us to “despise one” of these little ones, through our attitudes, our words, by our reactions or through neglect (in the way of proper clothing or nourishment). Sometimes it comes across to children that you wish you had never had them that they are an imposition to you or they are nothing but problems to you. Bless God, if you have children; take care of them properly because it is your God-given responsibility.

  • To win them to Christ.

It ought to be our desire to win our children to Christ and see them living for the Saviour – that is our responsibility.

I believe, along with Dr. Feinberg in his book on “The Minor Prophets,” that in Malachi 2:15, dealing treacherously with the wife, refers to divorce. We must teach our children never to marry a lost person. Don’t think that you can win your spouse to Christ after marriage. If you want to marry, first win that person to Christ.

GOD HAS GIVEN THE PRIVILEGE AND RESPONSIBILITY, V. 16

How can we have a functional Christian home?

  • The husband must carry out the responsibility of being the leader in the home.
  • By loving and teaching his wife.
  • By training his children, Deuteronomy 6:1-12 and teaching them to obey their parents.
  • By having daily family times together:

Breakfast and dinner together are crucial. Television should be off. Communicate with each other. Practice kindness, politeness and etiquette in the home.

  • The wife must help her husband carry out his Biblical leadership.
  • Children must obey and have a Christ-like spirit.

Revival cannot come to the church until we first have revival in our homes.

Daily Assignments

Read Lamentations 4-5. Have the children been obedient? Complete__

                    August 30th

God’s Plan and Purpose for Marriage, Part 2

Review Yesterday’s devotion

Dealing “treacherously” can be done in many ways: by harboring bitterness, by determined lack of forgiveness, by malicious acts, by mean and vicious words. We are all guilty of one or more of these. All will agree that we can sometimes deal treacherously with our spouses and that it is sin. God knows what we are like; you cannot hide from God. He knows the bitterness or sensual desires you foster in your heart. God calls marriage “a covenant of your God” and refers to “the wife of thy covenant.” Marriage is more than just an agreement that says if it does not work we can always divorce. It is a covenant between God, you and your spouse. Oh, how we need to see the sacredness of marriage!

His plan is that if you have children, you train them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
His plan is that your children honor you and God.

GOD HAS A PURPOSE FOR YOUR MARRIAGE, 2:15.

That you may be one: walk as one, plan as one and pray as one. That you may live in unity: of one accord. God does not have a separate plan for each family member, but unity. It is not of God for you to make separate plans apart from the family – to go your separate way or have different goals. No, you are one in unity and purpose. You are to have the same desires, careers, etc. and not have separate desires or careers. It’s time we had some mothers and wives who made careers in their homes.

“And, wherefore one?” God’s purpose in marriage is that He seeks a godly seed. God’s desire in your marriage is that He wants to have godly children because they are “an heritage of the Lord.” God’s interest is in every family having a “godly seed,” for His glory.

This will not happen by accident, but through dedication, by a determined desire and by total concern with a concerted effort. What greater goal than to have “godly” children in a godly family who desire the will of God and want to live by the Word of God?

To receive the children.
We must receive them as gifts from God, rear them for His glory and we are not to offend them.

Daily Assignments

Read Lamentations 1-2. Too often marriages are not made in heaven.

                                August 29th                                 

God’s Plan and Purpose for Marriage

Read Malachi 2:1-16

This study is for everyone, whether married or not. It is a message to the church, as well as to every person reading it. I am going to mention some things that may be painful for some; however, it will be said with a heart of compassion and love. I also believe that I will put my finger on the real need of the church. I am going to be speaking to myself, as well as to my wife and family. In this text Malachi sharply rebukes and reproves the priests, as well as the people. He also gives a very graphic account of God’s plan for Judah, as well as for the family.

In the first ten verses God is dealing with the priests. They were in the Temple, but were profane (fanus) in their administration of duties. They were literally against God, that is, they opposed Him, disgracing Him in the manner of their service. Their offerings to God consisted of old sick cows, rather than ones well pleasing to God. It was not so much the value of the offering, but the character of it that offended God.

In verses 1-3 God shows us why He was against the priests.

In verses 4-6 we see why God chose the tribe of Levi, son of Jacob.

In verse 7 the priests were to be messengers – angels of the Lord.

In verses 8-10 God shows us the reason for His contempt – their profaning of the law, and I believe verse ten is speaking of God, the Father.

In verses 11-16 God shows that Judah has dealt treacherously.

The men were profaning the “holiness of the Lord” by leaving their wives and marrying heathen women. The wives went to the altar in tears, and God saw and heard their brokenness. Then the men went piously to the same altar to make their offering, but God did not want them. From these verses we see at least three important principles for the New Testament church and us.

GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR MARRIAGE, 2:11-14.

Realize that God knows all about your marriage. We cannot hide anything from God. He sees if we “dealt treacherously.”

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 51-52. Have our marriages been honorable before all?

August 28th                

Review some of the main points in yesterday’s devotion and try to analyze how you are doing in each area.

SOBER

Study Titus 2:3-5.

LOVE HER HUSBAND

Yes, the husband is commanded to love his wife as Christ loved the church and the wife is to love her husband as well.

BE DISCREET

This is to be sensible. What a need among families, not only to be in agreement, but also to be sensible.

LOVE HER CHILDREN

There is not a greater cause in the universe than for a wife to love her husband and children.

KEEPERS AT HOME

Read Genesis 16:8-9 18:9 with a heart for God and your family and read Proverbs 31:10-31 and memorize 1 Timothy 5:13.

GOOD

She is to guard her house, not protect it, but guard it. Too often the wife sees things the husband does not or cannot see. I believe she must guard and help to keep evil out of the home. Many a wife has been a tremendous help to keep her husband from evil, and as a personal word of testimony, my wife, Mary has been a master at it for almost five decades.

OBEDIENT

I have found in the majority of marriages, if the wife is obedient to the Lord, she will be obedient to her husband. Though there may be a time when she must obey God even if it violates obeying her husband, this is the exception. It occurs only in cases when the husband would solicit her to do evil.

VIRTUOUS

Remember, she is to complete not compete. All these are true of staff members as well. The wife is to seek the agenda of the husband and the staff member is to seek that of the pastor.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 49-50. As go the women so goes the nation. Complete__

                                August 27th                                         

Living to Complete One Another

Genesis 2:18-24

Our former and late Pastor, Dr. Jack Hyles taught that the wife is the completer in the home. I have often wondered just exactly what is a completer. According to the dictionary it is someone who completes another. The Holy Spirit is the completer of the Christian, because He makes us complete. This would mean that the woman is to complete her husband, but complete what? I believe the answer is in the Scripture.

God created the woman to be a helpmeet to man, not a hinder meet. We are going to offer several ways in which the wife is to be the helpmeet to her husband, and these could also be applied to the pastor and staff relationship.

A HELP MEET

This means she is to help him meet his God-given responsibilities and the same is true for a staff member helping the pastor.

FELLOWSHIP

That is, fellowship in his work. Now, this is going to be new to some, but the wife is to help her husband to be successful. But you say, her job is the family; no, that is the husband’s job, he is the head of the house and God will hold him accountable. He must lead his wife and direct her in the home.

SUBMISSION

Please read Ephesians 5:22-33.

REVERENCE

The Greek word “phobeo” means to frighten; to be alarmed; to be in awe of or to revere.

GOOD BEHAVIOR

Please study 1 Pet. 5:3-4.

MEEKNESS

That is to be quiet and to be under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 45-48. The wife completes the home. Complete_

                  August 26th

Setting Priorities in the Home,” Part 2

This always comes as a shock to some but the husband’s first priority is to serve God. Many homes are broken because of the misunderstanding of this Biblical truth; however, before we as men get too comfortable, we need to understand that our first work is our family. What am I saying? We are commanded to serve God with all our hearts and teach our family to follow in like manner. God’s line of authority is: God, husband, wife and children. Someone said, “God never bi-passes the proper chain of command.” The husband is not to be a taskmaster, but the master of the home. If husbands were in charge of their homes we would not need women to go out in the world and do the man’s work. The first priority of the husband is to serve God – His work. A man does not stay home all day and care for the home, but has been given charge of his home.

An employer does not clean the restroom, though he may be willing. If he is to have a successful business, he must administrate and that is exactly what the husband must do in the home.

The wife’s first responsibility is to her husband as his help meet in his first work – the home. Now, I realize that this is backwards in today’s culture, but it is God’s priority for the wife: care for her husband, children and the home.

Christians need to return to some kind of normalcy in the home, in spite of the fact that our whole culture and system are all working against the Christian home.

Children need mothers who provide schedules and well-balanced diets for them. No wonder our children do not like to eat so many things today. They are not used to eating good nutritious food anymore. Fruits and vegetables are still good for them, and I believe it is important for children to see Mom cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing and dressing the children. Thank God for the Christian home, it is still the best way to go. Let’s get our homes in order.

  • Husband as head of the home.
  • Wife in submission to her husband.
  • Children obey their parents.

Because God is in everything we do.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 41-44. How was your obedience as a child? Complete__

                                        August 25th                                          

Setting Priorities in the Home

Ephesians 5:21-32

There are many things we could do to appease or try to please God. There are many things we can do for one another. There are many things we should do, and yet there are others we must do to please God and one another. How can we distinguish between that which we must do and that which we can choose to do?

It is my prayer that every Christian reading this will understand the importance of God’s priorities in our homes verses our own preferences. Do we realize that we can do some very necessary things and still be doing the wrong thing? Consider the actions of the disciples during the ascension of Jesus in Acts chapter one. Was it wrong for them to gaze at Jesus? Absolutely not! But what about their priorities?

In Matthew 24:36-44, they were doing some very necessary things. Was it wrong for them to eat, drink and be merry? I do not believe it was, but in verse 39, “they knew not until the flood came.”

Noah preached to people for 120 years giving them ample warning, but they would not listen. Their priorities were not right, and they were not prepared. They did a good thing but in the wrong way. We, too, can do a good thing in the wrong way. It seems as though God often gets the short end of things. When we do well in the wrong way it is still wrong. Christian fellowship is good, but it is a sin to have it when we should be in church.

How can we know our proper priorities?

  • TO BE SAVED.
  • SUBMIT TO BAPTISM.
  • SIGN UP FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE LOCAL CHURCH.
  • SERVE THE LORD FAITHFULLY.

These are the obvious priorities we must all keep; however, there are other important things in which the Christian must be involved. For a young person, an important priority is finding the right spouse. Another important priority is the Christian home and family.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 37-40. Have you ever felt useless? Look up! Complete__

August 24th 

                        Where Are the Mighty Men? Conclusion                

Read 1 Chronicles 11:15-19

When Nathan visited him and said in 2 Samuel 12:9, “Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.”

That is exactly what every New Testament Church needs, men who are leaders, achievers, surrendered, loyal and lovers of God’s men.

THEY WERE MIGHTY BECAUSE THEY EARNED IT

No one is mighty without first earning the right.

  • Leading to their ability.
  • Achieving according to their skill and capability.
  • Surrendering their lives and will to the Lord, His work and His man.
  • Loving what and whom God loves.

Loving is giving oneself to what God loves and gives Himself to. David had his mighty men. Are you someone’s mighty man?

Take a few moments to note a few thoughts of a mighty man you know:

Are you a mighty servant? Is your all on the altar laid? Has your body been given as a living sacrifice? Do you belong to a man of God as Christ has set you under Him?

ARE YOU A MIGHTY MAN OF VALOR?

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 34-36. Let’s think about our position in life. Complete__

                August 23rd

Where Are the Mighty Men? Part 2

 1 Samuel 22:1-2, “David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.”

THEY WERE LOYAL TO DAVID

Read verses 16-18. They were loyal to David because they knew that he was God’s man.

1 Samuel 16:13, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.”

1 Samuel 18:16, “But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.”

They saw God’s power on David. Real lovers of God and God’s men are always visible and known. They saw God’s power on David through his anointing, worship and humanity.

  • Anointing

1 Samuel 16:13 The Spirit of The Lord came upon David from that day forward.

  • Worship

2 Samuel 7:18, “Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?”

  • Humanity

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 32-33. Who are the mighty men in your life? Complete__

                   

                      August 22nd                                   

Where Are the Mighty Men?

Please read 1 Chronicles 11:10-25

Verse 10, “These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.”

Just yesterday somebody asked me, “Where are the Reagan’s in this country.” “How come our President Obama cannot seem to lead our country as did President Reagan?”

What has happened to the strength of our nation? Where are we headed with the threat of ISIS and others that threaten to kill Christians and American people everywhere. Well, read on for the next three days:

These were thirty mighty men, captains over others. These men were as valiant as David, as industrious as David, as great as David, but saw God’s anointing on David to be king, and not on them. What kind of men were these mighty men of valor?

THEY WERE SOLID LEADERS

Verse 15, “Now three of the thirty captains went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the host of the Philistines encamped in the valley of Rephaim.”

Under David’s leadership, they were leaders themselves.

THEY WERE ACHIEVERS

They were not dependent upon David’s leadership or that of others, but achieved their own results.

Study the following verses: 11, 14, 18, 20, 22; 2 Samuel 23:8-18.

THEY WERE SELF-MOTIVATED

They did not depend on David for drive or motivation, though, as a good leader, he did motivate. They provided their own motivation.

THEY WERE STEADFAST AND HAD INGENUITY

Proverbs 27:2, “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”

Proverbs 25:27, “It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.”

THEY WERE INDUSTRIOUS

No one has ever been exalted for inactivity or self-admiration. These men were great men, mighty men, regardless of what others did.

THEY WERE SURRENDERED SERVANTS

Verse 10, “whom David had (with him)”

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 29-31. A man of courage is hard to find? Complete__

           August 21st          

Read the last two days devotions

The bright lights of the world got to him and now we find him on the bottom. No one helped him. It is bad enough to be down, but no one cared. That is the way sin and the devil always operate. Can you think of humiliation and loneliness greater than this? Where are the friends, beautiful women, booze and music now?

HIS CONDEMNATION

Verses 17-19, “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

Talk about a lost feeling; can you imagine people condemning you? You must make the right choice to avoid a tragedy like this in your life. Thank God the story does not end here,

HIS RESTORATION

Please read verses 20-24.

Thank God we don’t have to stay in the hog pen. How can this kind of thing happen? When he was young he had a godly father and mother, but wanted to do his own thing. Young person, thank God for praying mothers and forgiving fathers. Can you see him lift himself out of the muck and mire saying, “There is plenty in my father’s house?” That’s right! Dad always has enough and he is always there. Watch what he says, “I will arise.” I am not going to stay on dope, booze, pills or any kind of sinful thing anymore. I am going to get this filth out of my soul and life and say, “FATHER, I HAVE SINNED.” Thank God he came home to a forgiving father. Did the father refuse him? No!

Thank God our heavenly Father is a forgiving God. He sees us in the hog pen and will lift us out. All you have to do is let God know that you are sick and tired of sin.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 26-28. Be careful in trying to restore someone. Complete

                  August 20th                      

Read yestesterday’s devotion

The drive of lust of the flesh caused him to seek out those living loosely in their behavior, as well as in their dress. Preacher, what are you saying?

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 made up his mind to go in this direction, 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 wanted to be his own boss. He wanted to experience all the pleasure and glory he could, so he set off into the world with all its appeal. What a tragic story; yet it is repeated by thousands of young people all over America today.

HIS HUMILIATION

Verses 14-16, “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.”

You may think it is all “living it up,” cars, dope, sex and all the rest of it. He would have been better off listening to his father. Young person, have you ever seen someone die of Aids, or in a car wreck? Do you really want to die like that? Do you want that to be the last chapter? Thousands are making that choice.

Think of how humiliating it must be to have lived a life of lust like that? After his money was gone, think of eating what the swine ate – especially having come from his father’s beautiful home.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 23-25. Enemies of the spirit: the world, flesh, and the devil. Complete___

                          August 19th                      

Father and Son

Read Luke 15:12-24

This short story shows the extremes in the life of the son that goes,

  • From riches to poverty.
  • From happiness to sorrow.
  • From peace to humiliation.
  • From humiliation to dignity.

Every human emotion can be seen here. The story starts out well, turns to tragedy, but ends in victory.

HIS CONTEMPLATION

Verse 12, “And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.”

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 his father and follow in his footsteps. 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 productive, worthwhile goals in life, such as being a leader in the community, a person of influence, his visions and dreams. 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.

HIS ANTICIPATION

Verse 13, “ And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.”

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 father’s teaching. The things of the world and pleasure began to dominate his thoughts. The music of the world became a part of his life.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 19-22. How would you fare as a father? Complete__

 August 18th

 “Keep Thy Heart with all Diligence, ” Part III

If the heart is pure and holy, all its purposes will be just and good. If it is impure and defiled, nothing will proceed from it but disgrace.

Issues or “fountains” When the heart is guarded and stored with heavenly wisdom, it sends forth life-giving streams.

If we would learn to give as much attention to keeping our hearts pure as we do to following our own plans, we would be rewarded with peace and prosperity, instead of disappointment and despair.

This would be especially true of ladies in the home. Not only to guard her own heart, but the heart of her children as well.

Please read 1 Peter 3:7. Verse two says, While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

In other words, she must teach her children to live their lives with fear and respect for God and one another.

Verses 3-4, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

After almost thirty years of pastoring I have found that one of the greatest needs in any Christian family is the need for humility of heart.

First of all, children will only respond to correction as they feel and know the love of their parents.

Secondly, wives traditionally will respond to their husbands much the same way the husband responds to God, Himself.

Third, husbands must walk in obedience to God and keep their hearts with all diligence.

What a life changing blessing it is to see the entire family keep, watch and guard their hearts with all diligence.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 15-18. How have we responded to correction? Complete_

               August 17th          

 Keep Thy Heart with all Diligence, ” Part II

Ecclesiastes 5:13, “There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.”

“Above all.” The heart is the center of all wisdom and the source of whatever affects our life and Christian character, because from the heart proceed all the actions of the natural and of the spiritual life.

If you want to have a godly family in these days of “anything goes,” each family member must dedicate himself or herself to guarding his or her heart with all diligence. “For out of it are the issues of life.”

 Matthew 12:35, “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.”

Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

James 1:14-15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

As long as your heart is capable of pumping blood through your body, you will be alive, because the heart is the fountain of life and will continue working if it is not stopped up or damaged in some way.

We must be doubly certain to care for the spiritual things in life, because the heart is the center life and the streams of our spiritual needs will come from God to meet all the needs of the soul.

Therefore “put away from thee a froward mouth and perverse lips-and let thy eyes look straight on.” In other words, look inward, onward, and look upward. The evils that proceed out of the heart must be guarded against so that good things can grow to fulfill God’s plan for your life.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 11-14. The heart is deceitful .. and desperately ________

                   August 16th                             

Keep Thy Heart with All Diligence

Proverbs 4:20-27

Verse 23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Someone said, “As the heart is either pure or corrupt, so is the whole course of every man’s life.”

This study contains many helpful Scripture verses regarding keeping of our heart, and would be wise to commit them to memory.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence.” Above all, guard your heart. If you know anything about your old nature, you also know how apt your affections are to go astray.

Proverbs 22:5, “Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.”

Proverbs 23:19, “Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.”

Proverbs 28:26, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.”

Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Mark 14:38, “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”

Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble

you, and thereby many be defiled;

Proverbs 4:7, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” 3:21, “My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion.” 11:16, “A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.” 13:3, “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 7-10. The heart is the center of life. T or F. Complete__

    August 15th

                     Are you a good or a bad Father?                    

The Bible has many illustrations of bad and good fathers. When you think of Eli – you immediately know that he was a bad father because he failed to restrain his children.

Saul is another example of a bad father. He set a bad example for his son Jonathon as he sought to slay David.

Abraham, on the other hand, was a good father because God said of him that, “For I know him, that he will command his children and household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord” in Genesis 18:18-19.

Isaac is another example of a good father because he became very great.

Joshua said, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”

I believe David’s failure as a father was what he reaped for his sin with Bathsheba, as seen in 2 Samuel 12:7-11.

The powers of the American father are gradually deteriorating. In the Old Testament the father had the power to:

  • Arrange his son’s marriage Genesis 24:1-9.
  • Sell his children.
  • Have more than one wife.

A RUINED OR BROKEN-HEARTED FATHER

Please study verse 33, 9:4; Exodus 32:32 and Romans 9:1-3.

A REMORSEFUL FATHER

David said, “would God I had died for thee.”

A REPENTANT FATHER

Let me say a few words to our fathers: God has given us the best manual in the world on marriage: the Bible. God put the main responsibility for marriage on the husband and if you are not a good Christian in the home, then you are probably not a good Christian. A sure test of our Christianity is what we are in the home.

What was is it that God saw in Abraham and why did He bless him so? Abraham was a man who would not quit and one who commanded his household after him. David, on the other hand, had many problems and heartaches due to his sin. Why not make a commitment to be a father who commands his entire household after him.

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 4-6. How would you like to be a King David? Complete_

                                          August 14th                                   

The Cry of a Father

Verse 33, “And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

“You don’t have to meet a man face to face to see what kind of a father he is. Just listen to the way his children refer to him. The respect that children have for their parents can be a good indicator of how much respect they deserve. One of the Ten Commandments is to honor our father and mother (Ex. 20:12). But how many parents live in a way that is worthy of honor? I cannot think of a greater tragedy in life than to lose the respect of my children. I would be the most humiliated man if my children were ashamed of me. But nothing would make my heart beat faster than if my child pointed me out in a crowd and said proudly, ‘that’s my dad! A good test of whether you are a father who is respected by his children is to ask yourself, ‘Do I want my son to be what I am, to do what I do, to go where I go?’ Fathers, remember that never before in all history have your children needed the undivided interest and attention of loving parents as in these days of a polluted moral and spiritual atmosphere. The importance of a father in a child’s life is monumental. He is to nurture his children by giving them instruction, protection, sustenance, companionship, assistance, love, discipline and example. A good father provides a wide-ranging supply of godly advice and wisdom as he guides his children (Prov. 31:12). But a father can’t do that if he ignores his children because he is busy with self-serving activities. How grieved God must be when He sees men neglect or abuse their children! Sad to say, incidents of this kind are increasing as our society moves further and further away from biblical beliefs and principles.” Daily Bread

Daily Assignments

Read Jeremiah 1-3. What kind of a son was Solomon? Complete__             

     August 13th

                               Sarah is a good example for ladies to follow                                 

Read 1 Peter 3:6

This is a hard lesson for the modern wife, but she can never be happy and be a God-pleasing wife until she submits herself to the plan of God. Wives are not only to respect and obey their husbands, but they are also commanded to love them. The reason for this is found in 1 Timothy 2:9-15 where we see that Eve was first in transgression in the garden. God will give wisdom and grace to both the husband and the wife. Titus 2:4, “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.” Husbands are just like wives and children; they need a great deal of love and care, and even an occasional good word.

The woman is not to overdo the ornaments: 1 Timothy 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” in other words, women are to adorn themselves in good works, such as:

  • Modesty and sobriety, which are so sadly lacking in our culture.

The mother can be an example to the world, as well as to the church.

  • A meek and quiet spirit as in,

1 Peter 3:4-5, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.” Good wives and mothers are wonderful gifts from the Lord. They can be a tremendous help and blessing to their husbands and family, as well as to the church. Proverbs 31:10-12

Wives, just as husbands and children need an occasional word of praise. According to verse 28, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

Think of what America would be like if more Christian homes practiced these principles. Christian homes begin with Christ.

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 64-66. As goes the home so goes the nation? Complete__

August 12th 

          A God- fearing Mother!             

As we indicated yesterday, the godly husband will always put Christ first in his life and cause his family to follow; he will love his wife and family, but he will always love Christ more.

Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

The husband is to act as priest in the family. In other words, it is up to the husband to teach his wife and children to love and follow God. It is his responsibility to lead the family in prayer, grace at meals, etc. As in the case of Job, He offered sacrifices for the whole family:

Job 1:5, “And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.” Continually in Hebrew means “all the days.”

It is up to the father to make certain that the family gives a tithe to the local assembly – church, as well as obeys all other Bible doctrine.

Not only must the Christian home have a GOD-FEARING FATHER,

THE CHRISTIAN HOME MUST HAVE A GOD-FEARING MOTHER!

Two loving women in their lives have made almost all great men: a godly mother and a godly wife. They are both tremendous assets to any man, and the wife’s first duty is to love and serve Christ, just as that is the first duty of the husband.

Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

Her second duty is to obey her husband, just as the husband is to obey God in Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 58-63. Think of your best memories of Mom. Complete__

August 11th

A God-fearing Father!

 Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Verse 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

This is God’s order, and those who reverse His plan will ultimately destroy the peace in that home.

This does not mean that the wife is to be a slave to her husband, but she is to be his helpmeet. She was taken from his side, to remain at his side as an equal partner. It is the husband’s duty to love and care for his wife. This is not just a respectful love, but the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen and in traditional marriage vows, “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish ‘till death do us part.”

God requires the husband to be faithful to his wife. This is true no matter what the culture allows. We live in a day of lax moral character, which has no place in the Christian home. We must realize that God’s standards do not change with the culture. God still commands honesty, integrity, faithfulness, and purity, as well as obedience.

The responsibility for these commands being followed belongs to the husband; he is to command his household after him. While he follows God and His commands, he is responsible for his family to do likewise.

It is the duty of the husband to comfort his wife in sorrow as in 1 Samuel 1:8, “Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?”

He ought to consult with her on all matters pertaining to the household, because they are a team.

They become one in marriage, Genesis 31:4-7. Though we do not practice polygamy today, the principles of marriage were the same because Jacob’s wives are saying, “We are yours; we belong to you, and we will obey you because we are a part of the team.”

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 52-57. Fifty+years of marriage brings eternal thankfulness?

August 10th  

                      THE CHRISTIAN HOME!                    

Genesis 18:16-22

 Verse 19, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”

For the next four days we will consider the importance of a godly Christian Home. It begins with a godly father and mother.

The church cannot continue to grow without godly Christian homes. We can have church or meetings; however, we cannot have the kind of church that pleases God. The Christian home is the backbone and salt of our nation.

The Christian home is an institution in which parents are bound together by Christian love and children are not only welcomed, but desired. It is where children are scripturally instructed and the Lord Jesus Christ is not only the supposed Head of the home, but the actual Head.

The Christian home is where parents and children take the time for daily devotions and time together with the Lord. Some of our readers cannot imagine the home as a place of rest, peace, prayer and planning together. Christ should be the center of the home, which should also be a place of hospitality.

In Genesis 18:19 we find one of the best examples in Scripture of the Christian home. A Christian home consists of three important things.

A CHRISTIAN HOME MUST HAVE A GOD-FEARING FATHER

God has placed the husband as head of the home and has given us the great example of Abraham, who commanded his household faithfully. This is not a popular belief in our culture today and that is exactly why our homes are falling apart.

The household in the Old Testament, as well as the New included: the husband, wife, children and servants, not two husbands or two wives who have adopted children.

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 47-51. What do you remember most about Dad? Complete__

                                  August 9th                        

Read James 1:18-25

A CONSTANT LIVING BY THE WORD OF GOD

Colossians 2:6-7, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

2 Timothy 3:16, “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.”

John 8:31, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”

We must not just read God’s Word, but study and apply it in the home and to every aspect of life. The family must live by the Word of God.

A CONTINUED RELIANCE ON THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD

Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” 4:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Romans 8:28-29, “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. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Christians approach life differently from the unsaved, because they live daily under the providence and a resolve to the will of God in all things. They recognize that the wisdom of God is greater than that of men, and they walk in the knowledge that God is directing their lives according to His will and plan. They know what it is to be free of worry and anxious care. Life in the Christian home should be very different from that in the unsaved, or the carnal Christian home.

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 43-46. Allow the Word of God to change you. Complete__

        August 8th

Qualities of a Christian Family

Read Psalms 127, 128; Colossians 3:12-17, and Matthew 18:1-7.

After learning the importance of love, leadership, and the local church, every family reading this should desire to have a successful, happy home and no one should fall due to lack of knowledge or commitment.

Again, some of the basic principles include: the father as the head of the house; the wife as the home maker and children are all to be involved in building the Christian home.

When you think of the perfect family, what do you think of? None of us really know; however, some of the qualities are:

A CONSISTENT SEEKING TO BRING GLORY TO GOD

Ephesians 1:12, “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 3:21, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Verse 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever.”

Revelation 5:12, “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

Certainly, this should be one of the most important building blocks of every Christian family – to bring honor and glory to God. The father of the home should judge every act, word, deed, use of time, music in the home, and life style as to whether it truly brings glory to God. Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 38-42. What have I done to honor God today? Complete__

                    August 7th                       

The Jewish people of old recognized the need of fellowship, built the temple, and had great religious festivals.

Even Christ recognized the need in Matthew 18:17-20 and in Luke 4:16 the apostles did also. Even during the darkest ages of the church, Christians have sought to fulfill this need. Church attendance, among many other things, strengthens our faith, causes us to be diligent, guards against coldness of heart, and promotes progress for the individual soul – and the church.

Verse 25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together…”

What are some of the causes of this neglect?

  • Failure to recognize the need for church attendance.

Some say, “I can read the Bible at home,” or “I can worship in my living room with my family,” or “I can read a sermon in a book,” or I can worship God in nature, at the beach or in the desert.”

Reading a sermon is good, family outings are good, family devotions are good, prayer in the campground is good, seeing God in nature are all good, but they will never take the place of church attendance and hearing the Word of God preached.

As we need friends beyond our own families, we need spiritual exercise beyond our own homes.

  • Worldly affairs cause neglect.

We neglect our new higher nature to take care of our old nature.

  • This leads to neglecting the spiritual life.

These were not apostates, but were in danger of becoming so. The terrible warnings that follow plainly show the danger. Those who neglect church attendance are likely to forsake the church, renounce their faith and may even go on to tread under foot the Son of God.

Hebrews 10:29, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”

Are you in danger of falling away from public worship and church attendance? Our missionary effort must always begin at home.

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 32-37. Has this study made your happy or sad? Complete__

                      August 6th               

Read Revelation 21:1-27

It seems that a god is a necessity for man; every nation and tribe has some form of worship. Mankind must have something to worship, even if it is a false god, because it is in our human nature to worship God. One of the saddest cries in the Bible is in Judges 18:24, “Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more?”

Spurgeon said, “Micah was foolish to trust in gods which could not take care of themselves, yet while he did trust in them he showed his sincerity by grieving for their loss. In very deed, if we lose the smile of the living God, we may well say, ‘What have I more?’ To lose the presence of God is to lose all.”

The loss of even a false god seems to ruin man if he has given himself to it. The cry of one who knows Christ should be as David in Psalm 84:2, “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”

We must realize that people must have some form of worship. Our body needs labor and exercise or it becomes weak. The mind must be challenged with more truth and learning or it becomes stale, feeble, senile, or even decayed. The soul needs to worship God or it will die. The eyes of the soul become blind, the ears deaf, and even the instinct and desire will soon pass away. Man needs to worship for the life and growth of his soul, because humans need public worship.

We are social beings. Our hearts crave friendship, and relationships. We need fellowship and help. For that reason, we need public worship and fellowship, and if you will pardon the expression, we need a social life. A social life in the world means something entirely different. The Christian’s social life must be built around Christ, the church and other Christians. The lost man has to feed his old nature. The Christian must feed his new nature.

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 27-31. Most of our happiness is somewhere between our wants and our haves. Where is yours today? Complete__

August 5th            

Romans 8:24, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”

Romans 12:12, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”

  • Hope that our suffering may prove to be a blessing.
  • Hope will give greater faith and hope for future trials.
  • Hope that our suffering will cause us to flee to the Bible.

Hope can be defined as being hope of the future glory that will help us through present trials and afflictions. It is through Christ’s sufferings that we are given comfort, patience, understanding, and through these, we will have joyful hope. Read Hebrews 6:10-19.

1 Peter 1:13, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

We must understand that Holy men of God who were moved by the Holy Ghost to give instruction in excellence, day-to-day usefulness, and enjoyment of our faith wrote the Bible.

2 Peter 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17, “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.”

The purpose of the Bible is to impart wisdom and hope through patience and comfort given to those who suffer for Christ, and to give us hope as we study and learn the Scriptures.

THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN HOME IS INFLUENCED BY THE LOCAL CHURCH

Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 22-26. Have you added happiness to anyone today? Y or N

                August 4th                        

Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Either meaning is correct and can help us to hold up in our trials and suffering. Patience and comfort of the Bible along with the leadership of the Holy Spirit will give us greater understanding of the Bible as well as help during difficult times.

Hebrews 10:35-36, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

James 5:7-11, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

God uses the word patience to mean a steadfast endurance of trials as in Romans 5:3-4, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Might have hope, or their example of patience gives us hope that we, too, will be blessed as they were, and God will use our sufferings to give us a greater faith in the Scripture and a brighter hope for the future.”

Psalm 119:81-83, “My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me? For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.” Again in Romans 5:3-5, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 15-21. Our wants do not necessarily bring happiness to us.

               August 3rd                          

Review yesterday’s devotion

Paul is teaching young Timothy to cultivate and improve his heart and mind, so that he will not be a reproach to Jesus Christ from whom he professed to receive his calling.

Romans 4:23-24, “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.”

1 Corinthians 9:9, “For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?”

1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

One of the great lessons to be learned in studying the Bible is to understand that Scripture shows us men and women who served as examples for us. Everyone should in patience and hope bear the burdens of the weak, and study the Scripture so that everyone is working together in harmony. (See, “If Everyone would … series, booklet).

God gave the children of Israel Abraham, Moses and the prophets to teach and comfort them in their wanderings.

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime” refers to ancient times and all the Old Testament prophets. God did not intend them for those generations only, but for our edification thousands of years after their writings.

“For our learning,” teaching and instruction. Not only the Old Testament, but also the entire Bible; that it might be helpful in illustrating and enforcing the doctrines and duties toward God and man.

“That we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures,” or by patiently enduring suffering we might have hope “and comfort of the Scriptures.”

The word comfort along with the common meaning also means exhortation or admonition. If this is the case here, God is saying that we are admonished in the Scriptures.

Daily Assignments Read Isaiah 10-14. Who has benefitted from your happiness? Complete_

August 2nd 

Five Ingedients to a Christ-centered Home, Part V  

Mrs. Wesley taught her children the following six rules:

1. Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul.

2. Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak.

3. Give him nothing he cries for and only what is good for him if he asks for it politely.

4. To prevent lying, punish no fault that is freely confessed, but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unnoticed.

5. Command and reward good behavior.

6. Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child. Daily Bread.

One of the most important lessons from Susannah Wesley is that she insisted on love in the home.

Love was the mark of Christianity in the first two centuries. Tertullian put it like this, “Look . . . how they love one another.”

I wonder if guests in our homes and church would say the same thing about us today. “Look how they love one another.” Or would it be possible for someone to come into our fellowship and to leave thinking that nobody cares? How well do we measure up to this commandment from Christ, that we love one another?

Dr. Karl Menninger, the well-known psychiatrist, claimed that the most tragic word in society today is “unloved.” “Love cures people,” he said, “both the ones that give it and the ones that receive it.”

Let’s honor our loving mothers, not only with words of praise, but also with lives that reflect the impact of their loving influence.

IN THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN HOME THE FAMILY LEARNS THE BIBLE TOGETHER

Imagine if the home, church and country would study the Bible together in their homes? God has much to say about studying the Scripture. Notice the many references: 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 5-9. Most of our efforts are toward being happy? Complete_

August 1st 

                    Five Ingredients to a Christ-centered Home, Part IV                         

 

Joshua calls them to a complete and real dedication to God. Joshua was just an average man, but totally committed and loyal to God and to his leader. This shows what God can do with the man or woman who will completely dedicate himself or herself to God. This also teaches that average people 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. After 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 commanded us to be so that we do not follow this cycle. If you have it in your library, see Vernon McGee’s Book on Judges Introduction.

THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN HOME HAS THE INGREDIENT OF A LOVING 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 said, “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.”

Look at Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:11 “And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.”

God answered her prayer by giving her Samuel who was a committed servant because of a loving mother’s prayer.

Susannah Wesley spent one hour each day praying for her 17 children. In addition, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters with him or her. No wonder two of her sons, Charles and John, were used of God to bring blessing to all of England and much of America.

Tomorrow we will see six rules she followed in training her children:

Daily Assignments

Read Isaiah 1-4. Who is the leader in your family? Complete__

                July 31st             

                             Five Ingredients of a Christ-centered Home! Part III              

They must realize there is a connection between their obedience, and His giving them and their children spiritual and physical blessings. How we need to improve our knowledge of God’s Word! Nobody is going to lead until they are willing to follow, and followship begins with worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth.

  • DEVOTION TO EACH OTHER

In the Christian home, the husband must submit to God, the wife to the husband and the children to the parents. Submission is no more than yielding our inferior authority to the superior authority. In other words, if we want others to submit to us, we must be submitted to our authority – God. If we are critical, our children will become critical; they are a reflection of their parents.

Here is some food for thought: Could it be that your spouse is worse than when you were married because he or she is married to one who is worse?

  • DELIGHT IN THE WILL OF GOD

Three important principles:

1. A lack of character creates disrespect for authority.

2. Disrespect for authority leads to confusion.

3. Confusion creates disappointment.

Pride always says, “I want to do it my way.” God simply says you do it my way or the highway. Life is never more than we allow God to live through us. If we will yield to Him internally, He will give us internal character.

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

Joshua gathers the people together, to review the history of the children of Israel as well as the graciousness of God towards them. Look at verses 14-16 again.

Fathers must make a covenant with God to be the leaders in their 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.

Daily Assignments

Read Song of Solomon 1-8. Let’s really work on our homes? Complete_

July 30th    

      Five Ingredients of a Christ-centered Home! Part II        

Abram’s father Terah was also heavily involved in the idolatry. 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 to keep us from serving God.

In verse 19 God said, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”

God knew Abraham would command his family after him. It proves that fathers ought to know God’s commands and teach them to their children. Families practicing their faith together are well pleasing to God, and He requires that parents not only give guidance and direction, but that their children “keep the way of the Lord.”

This is one of the better qualities of Abraham’s character. He not only prayed with his family, but he taught them, and commanded them as a man in authority. He was a prophet, priest and king in his own house.  He not only took care of his own children, but his entire household. His servants were also taught to be dedicated servants.

Fathers should initiate, instruct, and inspect the character and Christian manners of all under their roof. I believe this is the reason God made known to Abraham His purpose concerning Sodom and Gomorrah; for the benefit of those that were under his care.

I wonder about us? Are we commanding our households after us, and are we keeping the way of the Lord?

Judges 2:22, “That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.

In this case God proves them to see whether the children of Israel will keep the way of the Lord or not. God often has to prove or test us to see if we will “keep the way of the Lord.”

Daily Assignments

Read Ecclesiastes 9-12. Abraham was our example of a home. Complete

July 29th 

                                           Five Ingredients of a Christ-centered Home!                                                                 

Ephesians 5:22-32

In the last three days devotions our main focus was on love in the happy Christian Home; in this our focus will be on Christ and His precious Word; therefore, we will be studying the many principles of the Christian home according to God’s Word.

In the Lord’s Supper we are thankful for the sacrifice paid by our Lord Jesus Christ. That kind of love is necessary to make a home a Happy Christian Home. Study vs. 1-17 and Colossians 3:1-4, 16-17.

In verse 22, God starts with a woman’s obedience to her husband.

In verse 25, the husband is commanded to love his wife.

In Chapter 6:1 children are commanded to obey their parents.

In 6:4, 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

We must understand that this is where it all begins. (A more detailed lesson will follow on this subject).

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

In the Bible, the father always taught the son what a Christian man was like. The story is told of a child who, referring to Christians, asked his father, “Daddy, have I ever seen one?”

Our first example is Abraham of what it means to be dedicated to God and family.

Please read Genesis 18:16-22; keeping in mind the following three qualities that are absolutely necessary for one who is going to command his household after him:

  • DEDICATION TO GOD

God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees because of idolatry in the land, and because God wanted to make of him a great nation through which The Messiah would come.

Daily Assignments

Read Ecclesiastes 5-8. How dedicated am I in my home? Complete__

July 28th

HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY HOME, PART III

Love involves attention and care for the other person. It involves an emotional desire to assume responsibility for the person. It demands the highest respect for the other. It involves a thorough knowledge of the person. It involves being centered on the other person, not self-centered. It involves expecting nothing in return. THE TEST OF LOVE Physical love is a small part of the total relationship in love, but with infatuation it is the greatest part. Biblical love will always require the element of time. LOVE IS LEADERSHIP This means leading others to follow in the home, as well as the church. If a woman wants leadership in the home, she must lead the rest of the family to follow the husband.

  • MAN MAKES HIMSELF A MAN BY LEADING.
  • WOMAN DOES SO BY FOLLOWING.
  • WOMEN DO NOT FEAR SUBMISSION, BUT SUPPRESSION.
  • MEN NEED TO EXERCISE LEADERSHIP TOWARD WIVES WITH GENTLENESS. (THESE DAYS FEW MEN ARE WILLING TO CARRY THE BALL IN MARRIAGE).
  • IN SUBMISSION A WIFE VOLUNTEERS TO FOLLOW.
  • IT IS AN EXERCISE OF CHOICE AND FREE WILL.
  • ON HER PART, IT REQUIRES MORE CHARACTER THAN REBELLION WOULD.
  • SUBMISSION IS LEARNED BY EXAMPLE.
  • REBELLION COMES NATURALLY.
  • CHILDREN LEARN SUBMISSION BY WATCHING IT IN OPERATION IN THE HOME.

In a Christian marriage a man and a woman must unite with two hands clasping as one, with genuine Biblical love as the key to it all. Happiness does not usually come to those who seek it, but to those who submit to it (Think about it!). LET’S BUILD SOME BLESSED (HAPPY) HOMES!

Daily Assignments

Read Ecclesiastes 1-4. Are you happy this study continues? Complete__

July 27th

                           HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY HOME, PART II                             

Read yesterday’s devotion The following are ways to have a happy home:

  1. Faith and trust in each other.
  2. Love, even when not lovable.
  3. Courage in times of trouble.
  4. Patience with the other’s weaknesses.
  5. A little bit of intelligence helps.
  6. A lot of common sense.
  7. A great deal of perseverance.

When God saw man was alone, He made a helper appropriate to man’s needs. Marriages are not necessarily made in heaven, but as someone said: “They are hammered out in the workshop of pain and problems, discouragements and disagreements, fear and trials, by the hammer of time on the anvil of reality.” Eve was God’s love gift to Adam.

Marriage was designed to meet needs and satisfy both the husband and the wife.

Success is the result, if we meet each other’s needs. (We cannot be immature about it).

Mature women must teach the younger women according to Titus 2:3-4.

WHAT IS LOVE IN A HAPPY HOME?

Love has several components: kindness, courtesy, patience, honor, respect, sacrifice and Biblical love. Love is treatment, kindness, praise, sharing, constant and secure. 

THE DEFINITION OF LOVE

Love must be Biblical between husband and wife, as well as between parent and child. Most of our unhappiness is due to unresolved conflicts in the home. Love will resolve all things, if it is applied with a Biblical love that starts with God. Love is protection without thought of self. Love is an emotion and difficult to define. Love is an art and can be learned. Love is a growing process. Love can never stand still. Love cannot become stagnant. Love is a giving of self.

Daily Assignments

Read Proverbs 27-31. Am I an example of Christian happiness? Y or N

July 26th

                            How to Have a Happy Christian Home                                                

Genesis 2:21-24 

All of us begin a marriage without any experience, so it is only natural that it is difficult. Therefore, great value must be placed on the marriage covenant.

We must first understand five basic principles of marriage:

  1. God made man and woman to be different, Genesis 1:26-27.
  2. God recognized man’s need for a companion, Genesis 2:18-23.
  3. God established certain principles in marriage, Genesis 2:24-25.

The principle of separation – to give up and abandon. The principle of singleness – to cleave (glued, pasted together). The principle of one flesh – one mind, purpose. The principle of openness – a relationship with no secrets.

  1. God made marriage a permanent, lifelong covenant, Mathew 19:5

There must be equality – not equal rights.

  • Each has a different function.
  • No inferiority.
  • No dictatorship.
  • Yielding on both sides.
  1. God placed great value on the marriage agreement, contract, or
  • Complete acceptance by both.
  • Commitment to each other.
  • Consistency for life.
  • Compatibility as one flesh.

Marriage does not eliminate problems, but creates many more opportunities to overcome the problems in a marriage.

  • Not necessarily the right person, but right treatment.
  • Marriage fails when people stop trying.
  • Jesus identifies with people in trouble.
  • Harmonious marriages include seven common things:

Daily Assignments

Read Proverbs 23-26. How can we improve on happiness? Complete__

July 25th 

Biblical Love in the Home, Part 3

 Read yesterday’s devotion It is called “spoiling” your child, but “ruining your child” is a more accurate description.

PERMISSIVENESS

Permissiveness gives way to a lack of self-control, and a child who does not exercise self-control will develop into a juvenile delinquent. Biblical love, on the other hand, will eliminate permissiveness.

A LACK OF DISCIPLINE

According to the Bible, if you do not have discipline, you do not have love. God said to Eli, a priest in the house of God, “Wherefore…honourest thy sons above me..?

1 Samuel 2:29, “Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?” 3:l3, “will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth: because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”

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 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 Proverbs 20-22. The Bible is our example of learning. Complete__

July 24th

Biblical Love in the Home, Part 2

For many today the home has become a battleground from which they seek to flee. We must ask ourselves these questions:

What has happened to the home today?

Why are more than 50% of our marriages ending in divorce?

Why are children growing up in homes with only one parent?

Why are so many with a parent who has remarried?

Someone said, “If today’s home were admitted to a hospital for observation and exploratory surgery, the diagnosis would indicate the presence of a severe heart problem.” Why?

The heart problem exists because love is absent in many of our homes. Most homes today would do well to have a good heart-transplant; a spiritual heart; one that is filled and overflowing with genuine Biblical love. The Bible says in Song of Solomon 8:7, “many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it…” Yet, so many homes have excluded Biblical love.

Biblical love starts with God, and if you want a home that pleases and honors God, you must first know God and His will for you. If you want things to work out in your home, you must flee to God, knowing that you cannot do it on your own.

Your love is not strong enough and there is no help from within. Love between husband and wife, as well as between parents and children is vital to the home. It is appalling to witness the breakdown of love between parents and children today. What are some of the causes for this breakdown?

INCONSISTENCY OF PARENTS

You may try to tell your child how to live without living that way yourself, or teach your child to walk with God and not even read your Bible or go to church on Wednesday night, because you are “too busy.”

Being too busy for your children can also cause a breakdown of love in the home. Parents who are “too busy” to play with their children, to spend time talking with them, or to share in their lives should not be surprised when their six, seven, or eight year old becomes a tight-lipped teenager. Do you really think they are going to come to you then when all along you’ve been too busy? Become involved with your children’s personal and spiritual needs now, before you lose them.

Daily Assignments

Read Proverbs 16-19. From 1-10 how do we score on love? Complete__

                July 23rd               

Biblical Love in the Home

Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Marriage is not to be underestimated because without exception “marriage is honourable in all.” God sanctions marriage, which is between a man and a woman.

God always blesses faith, faithfulness, obedience and holiness, and the Christian home built around the love of Christ will manifest each of these.

God told Joseph in Genesis 49:25, “Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.”

It is interesting to note that the only time the word “blessings” is used in the New Testament is in Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”

We have heard much about family values over the years, especially in election years. I remember the controversy years ago when our Vice-President made a statement regarding a child born out of wedlock on a television program called Murphy Brown. There never has been a greater need or time than today for Biblical family values. The Bible says, “God setteth the solitary in families.”

When I was a child and teen-ager, one of the things I enjoyed most was to have mom at home when I arrived, not only when I had a bad day at school, but just for her to be there. It was so good to have an understanding, loving mother waiting for me. What has happened to the love and security once found in the home? I can recall when the home was considered a haven from the world, but things have changed.

Daily Assignments

Read Proverbs 12-15. The head of the house must show love? Complete_

                                  July 22nd                                              

 “SEVEN THINGS DESTROYING OUR HOMES” CONCLUSION!

Proverbs 10:13, “In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding. 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” 14:3, “In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.” 22:8, “He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.” 22:15, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” Also read Proverbs 23:13-14.

Our culture condemns these biblical commands, and the result is all around us in the conduct of our young people.

  • Teach self-discipline through the sowing and reaping principle, so that they will learn to be self-disciplined.

Show them that sin has terrible consequences even if Mom and Dad do not know about it, because God has a command for all family members:

Children,

Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)”

1 Timothy 5:4, “But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.”

Moms, Titus 2:5” To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Dads, Memorize Ephesians 5:25 and 6:4 with your family or individually

Our prayer is that God will use these lessons to help every reader learn the dangers and thereby avoid the pitfalls that lead to a destroyed Christian home.

Daily Assignments

Read Proverbs 8-11. Is there anything destroying our home? Complete__

July 21st

               “SEVEN THINGS DESTROYING OUR HOMES” PART V                                          

Read Jeremiah 1:1-10

This passage means we must care for the material, spiritual, time and commitment needs of our families. Think about what you did yesterday. Were any of those things as important as your family? Every minute you invest in the family pays high dividends. That does not mean to take off work and quit serving God in order to spend time with your family. Of course that is not what we are saying but that you must balance the needs of the entire family, as well as understanding priorities.

HOW CAN I PRIORITIZE MY PRIORITIES?

  • Know what is going on in your family.
  • Schedule time each day with each child.
  • Realize you have to sacrifice in other areas for your family to be committed to you.
  • Keep the old traditions, holidays and birthdays.

LETTING OUR CHILDREN RUN THE HOME

Proverbs 22:6 does not say, “Train up your parents in the way you want them to go and they will give you anything you want.”

But it does say, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Here is our problem: we punish our children after they have done wrong, but we did not teach them to do right. It is too late to teach your child not to play with matches after he has burned the house down. Parents must be in control of self, as well as the home, if they are going to help their children to be in control! Please read Proverbs 29:15-18.

Discipline is to teach our children to have self-control, character and purpose, with the following guidelines:

  • Children must learn to respect their parents.
  • Always reassure your children of your unconditional love.
  • They must know that you love them despite their defiance and disobedience.
  • Don’t forget positive reinforcement, but sometimes the rod is necessary. (Oh my, how terrible: don’t let the humanist see this).

Daily Assignments

Read Proverbs 4-7. Today the first day of the rest of your life. Complete_

July 20th   

“SEVEN THINGS DESTROYING OUR HOMES” PART IV               

No one is standing at your doorstep, yet it is happening while we sit by being bombarded with godless messages.

  • Humanism sends a message saying it is the center of all thought and happiness, and we can accomplish all we want, and therefore, we do not need God.
  • Materialism says happiness comes to those who have accumulated the most money and other material things.
  • Meism says the most important thing in life is I.

These messages come from many sources such as television programs, advertising, music, movies, radio, magazines, books, peers, teachers, cell phones, videos, and DVD’s. If we allow ourselves to be bombarded with these messages, it will not be long before we give in to them.

How can we avoid the negative effect of these enemies (we must view them as enemies) of the Christian home?

  • If you cannot control your television, “get rid of it.” This includes videos and DVD’s as well. If the children should not watch it, neither should the rest of the family.
  • Be aware that most magazines and television programs flaunt their non-biblical and anti-Christian philosophy.
  • Redouble your efforts to get your children to Sunday school, Sunday and Wednesday evening services and have regular family devotions.
  • Help your children find good Christian friends or keep them at home to play. It is not how many, but the quality of one’s friends that matters. It is better to have no friends than the wrong friends.
  • Pray every day for God to protect the minds of your children.

LUSTFUL AND WRONG PRIORITIES IN THE HOME

1 Timothy 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

Daily Assignments

Read Proverbs 1-3. When is the last time we checked our priorities?

July 19th

“SEVEN THINGS DESTROYING OUR HOMES” PART III

Read 3 John 11-12

1 Peter 3:7, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

NOT LISTENING AND TAKING EACH OTHER FOR GRANTED

I know that this may sound a bit vain, but I truly believe that we need to admire and respect one another in our Christian homes. Professionals hire agents to improve their image, and we must build each other up to improve the other’s image. It is most important to feel accepted and a part of the Christian family. Husbands must remember that their wives are not the cover girls they see in magazines and on television. She is your wife and needs loving reminders that she is beautiful. On the other hand, a husband needs a wife to encourage him, because he is in the world of competition and temptation. Both the wife and the husband can feel that they are not appreciated for all they do.

NOT LEARNING TO APPRECIATE EACH OTHER

  • Maintain the vows you made on your wedding day.
  • Follow God’s not Hollywood’s standards in marriage.
  • Say something positive to each other daily.
  • Do not ever allow anyone else to take top spot in your life. Not your children, friends, job, hobby, etc.

LIVING BY THE WORLD’S STANDARDS

Take a few moments to pray over Romans 12:1-2.

Think of someone asking if he could come into your home to educate your children, brainwash them into rejecting all you have taught them, and teach them the godless philosophy of humanism. You would probably do, as I would, slam the door in his face.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 144-150. How are our standards according to what others see in us? Complete__

                        July 18th                

“SEVEN THINGS DESTROYING OUR HOMES” PART II

Moses said in Deuteronomy 6:5, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”

We must find time during the day to love Him. Let’s look at some ways we can bring Him back into the picture:

  • Pray on a regular basis.
  • Talk about the Lord. (Count your daily blessings together as a family).
  • Read the Bible everyday, together as a family.
  • Apply Bible principles.

LACK OF COMMUNICATION IN THE FAMILY OR HURTING EACH OTHER WITH THE TONGUE

Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

Think about the fact that you cannot stop communicating even if you try, because every look, gesture, movement, expression, and every word is a form of communication.

Someone said, “Some of our families are like the person who had only two brain cells and they were fighting all the time.”

A healthy family is one in which positive communication far outweighs the negative. The following are ways to improve our communication, and could save someone’s marriage.

  • Allow your spouse and children to communicate their ideas and feelings.
  • Encourage respect in communication: politeness, concern for others, as well as how to listen and when not to talk.
  • Have a daily time for communication: whatever works for you and the rest of the family.
  • Give positive feedback and don’t always lecture.
  • Avoid carnal language like shut up, stupid, etc.
  • Don’t attack another’s character.
  • Resolve conflicts with calmness.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 139-143. How do you respond to a challenge? Complete__

JULY 17TH

Family

DON’T MISS THE NEXT SIX DAYS OF:

                               “SEVEN THINGS DESTROYING OUR HOMES”                  

Joshua 24:1-15 Meditate on Verse fifteen.

In our performance-driven world, Christians often assume that God’s main calling on their lives is to work for Him. But working for Christ should be secondary to our devotion to Him. Oswald Chambers warned: “The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him.” Our Daily Bread 8/24/05

Sometimes we make life more difficult than it has to be, and we struggle through each day, unaware of the danger that is threatening our families. Then when danger or trouble comes into the family we are experts at blaming outside forces such as music, drugs, Hollywood, or television, when in reality, the problem is in the decision-making or lack thereof in the home. I believe that most of our problems could be resolved if we would make the decision to do so.

In this study we are going to address seven things destroying our families that we can do something about. These are not impossible things, but things we must change.

LEAVING THE LORD OUT OF OUR FAMILY LIFE

Joshua said, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”

From the time the alarm goes off in the morning to the last light out at night, most of us fill our lives with good things such as work, school, appointments, errands, shopping, sports, the library, eating, reading the paper or a good book, etc. These are all good things in the average Christian’s busy day; however, when your head hits the pillow, have you ever thought, “Where is the Lord in all this? Did I worship, pray, and serve Him today? Did I or my family learn to know Him better?” It is easy to leave the Lord out, in spite of our good intentions. He does not send us a warning letter like creditors do when our accounts are overdue. He does not advertise or call to remind us. He may even leave us alone if we neglect our relationship with Him.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 132-138. What is destroying our homes today? Complete__       

JULY 16TH

“Being a Good Example (Ladies),” Part 2

Read 1 Timothy 2:9 Proverbs 31:22, 25

Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

EXAMPLE IN CONVERSATION

  • She must have a controlled tongue. Study James chapter three very carefully.

  • She must not be a slanderer (false accuser), but a teacher of good

Titus 2:3, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.”

  • She is to know when to be silent:

1 Timothy 2:11-12, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

o   Refrain from gossip.

o   Refrain from criticism.

o   Refrain from spreading rumors.

We should be thankful for godly, spirit-filled and controlled women who are investing their lives in rearing families and giving blessed examples for our young ladies to follow.

EXAMPLE IN CHARACTER

C.H. Spurgeon said, “To favor sin is to discourage virtue, and undue leniency to the bad is unkindness to the good.”

A young lady who is willing to wait for God’s best, will, in most if not all cases, be the perfect help-meet for the young man who is also willing to wait for God’s best. We have seen this to be true in many marriages throughout thirty years of pastoring. Some wonderful Christians are seeing the blessing of God because they waited for God’s best.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 120-131. Did you read all of Psalm 119 yesterday? Y or N

                             July 15th                                    

Being a Good Example (Ladies)

Read Titus 2:1-5

Paul left Titus in Crete to start churches. Crete is one of the largest Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Mythology and tradition were plentiful, but many turned to the Lord. Titus was to set the churches in order by appointing elders who were to set good examples to the husbands and wives, as well as women and young men, etc.

In 2:3, “likewise” refers to what was directed to the aged men. Just like the aged men have godly characteristics to teach to the younger men, so likewise the aged women (spiritually mature) should be good examples in godly living to the younger women.

There are four particular areas in which the “aged woman” ought to set the example for the younger women.

EXAMPLE IN CONDUCT

Her conduct is to be that which becometh holiness. Becometh means to draw attention to and is truly an asset.

In her daily life her practice and manner are to display a parallel with her Saviour, Jesus Christ. Aged women are to demonstrate behavior that points to or attracts young ladies to holy living.

Five important things for a wife to remember:

  • Be Consistent.
  • Be Submissive and Respectful.
  • Be Orderly. 2 Thessalonians 3:7.
  • Be Godly.
  • Be Without Blame 1 Thessalonians 2:10.

Someone well said it: “The honor of the Word of God is the supreme sanction for right conduct.” EXAMPLE IN ATTIRE That is, her dress and appearance:

  • Should be modest and not sensual or revealing.
  • Should be up-to-date in fashion, but not worldly or carnal.

Ladies, how do you measure up thus far?

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 119. Our example speaks for us! Complete__

July 14th

                       Being a Good Example (Men), Part 3                            

Palm 119:9-11, “Wherewithal shayoung man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

  • Morals are to be based on the new birth.

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.”

  • Morals are manifested by the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance.”

  • Morals come from the heart

Hebrews 8:10, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” Read Philippians 3:7-10.

EXAMPLE WITH MONEY

Ecclesiastes 5:10, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” Also read 1 Timothy 6:10. Great will be the disappointment to a young man if he centers his life on making money. The only reasons for money are to make a living, support God’s work, and support one’s family.

EXAMPLE IN MARRIAGE

Much heartache could be avoided if young people would wait for God’s best concerning who they should marry.

2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” Also read Genesis 26:34-35. When Esau married outside of the will of God and his parents it was a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah. Just as the aged or spiritual men are to have godly characteristics to teach the younger men, so likewise the aged (spiritually mature) women should be good examples in godly living to the younger women.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 108-118. Whom do you admire as a parent? Complete__

July 13th   

“Being a Good Example (Men),” Part 2

2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

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.”

1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

  • Manly characteristics.
  • Manly character.
  • Manly completion.

That is, teaching him to work hard and finish each task at hand. EXAMPLE IN MANNERS  

  • To be courteous and respectful.

I believe children need to be taught to respect others’ property, and then perhaps they will respect their own. When a child makes a request, it should always include: “Please” or “May I please,” etc. When they respond with “Thank you,” “yes, ma’am,” and “yes sir,” they ought to be commended.

Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

  • To be kind and forgiving.

Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

EXAMPLE IN MORALS

God knows we need morality in our society today. With the lack of examples in our government and other institutions, Christians must work especially hard to teach their children to practice morality. One need only look at what the devil has done to fight morality in our country to see the terrible results. Morality has to do with conforming to standards with what is right and just in behavior, but it also has to do with that which is virtuous.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 106-107. Our children’s best example is ….. Complete__

                                         July 12th                                                  

Being a Good Example (Men)

Verse 12, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

“A couple in their early forties had three children of their own when the Lord led them to take in four foster children, all less than four years old. A month later, the woman found out she was pregnant! Over the next few years, with their house bulging and their budget straining, they discovered that their situation was an encouragement to the other families in their church, who could look at them and say, ‘And we think we have problems!’ They were a vivid example of joyfully following Christ’s leading, even when it’s difficult. They always seemed to have a smile, and said they would do it all again if given a chance.”

“Joyfully following Jesus the Lord, and trusting His lead every day makes us examples that others can see, to follow when trials come their way.” Daily Bread August 6, 1998

God requires both the husband and the wife to set proper biblical examples in marriage because a godly example is worth more than a thousand words. As the day of salvation is the beginning of our daily walk with God, so the wedding ceremony is the beginning of building a Christian family for God’s glory.

There are five important areas in which husbands and fathers should teach young men to be good examples so that they, too, may wait for God’s best.

EXAMPLE IN MANLINESS That is, having qualities generally attributed to a real man:

  • Manly courage

Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed.”

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 101-105. Remember, “Your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” Complete__

                                                                July 11th    

                               “BIBLICAL CHILD TRAINING,” CONCLUSION                                    

Read Ephesians 6:1-4

These duties are simple and easy to do with God’s help. On the other hand, if neglected, and the soul of the child is discouraged and lost, a parent will have to give account at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Many a Christian parent must learn the lesson of “How to Discourage a Child.”

Not that we need any training on how to discourage our children, but I thought it important enough to take at least one page to teach a lesson how to discourage our children.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

CONSTANTLY FUSS AT THEM

THINK OF YOUR NEEDS FIRST

EMBARRASS THEM PUBLICLY

COMPARE THEM WITH SOMEONE BETTER

DON’T SPEND MUCH TIME WITH THEM

DON’T TAKE TIME TO LOVE THEM AFTER DISCIPLINE

WHEN THEY HAVE A QUESTION, SAY, “NOT NOW, I AM TOO BUSY.”

FUSS AT THEM WHEN THEY MAKE A MISTAKE, EVEN IF NOT REBELLION

NEVER LET THEM HEAR YOU PRAY, READ THE BIBLE, OR SING A SONG

NEVER TELL THEM OR ASSURE THEM OF YOUR LOVE

DON’T HUG THEM OR BE AFFECTIONATE TOO MUCH

NEVER REWARD THEM FOR DOING RIGHT

ARGUE OR DISAGREE WITH YOUR SPOUSE IN FRONT OF THEM

SMOTHER THEM WITH YOUR LOVE.

How are we doing? Why not take a few moments to really determine what you can do to encourage your children?

We could add dozens of Bible Principles in Child Training; however, make use of these and your children will both honor God and you as a parent. Commitments must be made by parents and children to make every attempt to live these Bible principles.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 92-100. How many of the above are convicting? Complete_

July 10th

Continued from yesterday,

                          “BIBLICAL CHILD TRAINING,” PART 3                                                                 

PRAY!

Fathers teach their children how to make money, how to be successful, why not teach them to obey the commands of God? Often Christian parents teach the wrong things by their own bad behavior, such as using carnal or unkind language, or by neglecting things that are important.

Parents who neglect going to church teach their children to neglect going to church; parents who do not read the Bible teach their children Bible reading is not important.

  • Faith in God and the Bible will make children honest, diligent, open to conviction, and ready to follow the truth of God’s word.

Instilling the truths of the Bible is not narrow mindedness. Conversely, it is superstition, bigotry, unfaithfulness, and all error and falsehood that make the mind narrow and prejudiced. Several lessons for parents:

  • If parents do not teach their children truth, others will teach them error.
  • If parents do not train the child, the skeptic classmate, the ungodly teacher, the hater of God, the unprincipled movie stars, rock stars and television stars will teach the child.

Isn’t it better for a parent to teach a child the truth of the Bible than for a stranger to teach him error?

  • The truth of the Bible is the most important of all subjects and if the father or mother does not teach it, who will?
  • How does a parent teach the Bible?

1. By faithfully instructing them in the doctrines of the Bible.

2. By taking them to Sunday school and church, where they will be taught the truth. Notice we said, taking them, or going with them, not merely sending them to church.

3. By setting a Godly example in the home. Understand that all teaching is valueless without the example in the home.

4. By prayer for Divine help in these efforts, as well as praying for their salvation from the cradle.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 88-91. Who are the parents you admire the most? Complete

         July 9th   

            Biblical Child Training, Part 2          

Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-4 Results of disciplining in anger:

Bad parents generally have bad children. Parents are called to correct, not to punish their children. Those who punish usually do it out of revenge; those who correct do it out of loving concern, just as God corrects us as His children. (Please study Hebrews chapter 12).

  • The spirit of the child becomes discouraged if a parent disciplines in anger.

Colossians 3:21, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

  • When a parent punishes a child in anger the child feels:

1. That if his father is angry, it is not wrong for him to be angry. 2. The very fact of anger in a parent kindles anger in his child.

But bring them up, or place them under such discipline and instruction that they will desire to obey and fellowship with God.

In the nurture. The word used means, training of a child by means of education, instruction and discipline. In this case it means that parents are to train their children in such a manner as the Lord would approve; that is, they are to educate them in the traditional sense, but also for virtue and faith.

And admonition. The sense is that parents are to teach and warn children of the Lord’s existence, of His perfections, law, and claims on their hearts and lives. The reason this is so important is that this command is positive, and is in accordance with all the requirements of the Bible. To fail to do it God’s way means:

  • The child will grow up without any instruction in the Bible.

            This makes about as much sense as planting a garden and then not giving it any care. We wouldn’t be surprised when it became overrun with weeds

             and thorns; the same applies to children.

  • We instruct our children in many things, why not teach them the Bible?

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 81-87. How do children react to our anger? Complete__

                          July 8th                                

Biblical Child Training

Ephesians 6:1-4

We will address the responsibility of both the husband and the wife in a later devotion: the husband must love, provide, be faithful to and lead his wife. The responsibility of the wife is to love, submit, and be willing to serve her husband by being a homemaker, helping in his work and with rearing the children.

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHILDREN

  • They must first learn to obey.
  • They must learn to follow the right examples.

An experienced parent once said, “Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children, now I have six children and no theories.”

In Ephesians chapter five the church was designated as the Bride of Christ. In chapter six she is to be a good soldier of Christ. In the future the church will be presented as the Bride of Christ.

The first lesson a soldier must learn is to obey those in authority. He must learn to follow orders. His basic training starts in the home. In fact, to learn how to give orders largely depends on how he learned to obey his parents. The victories of the Christian life are won in the home.

In Proverbs 22:6, “Train” Literally means, “to touch the Palate of the child.” When a Hebrew mother would feed her baby she first chewed the food and then put it on the tip of her finger and in the mouth of the baby; this helps the baby to swallow.

Lesson: when the child grows old he will never have a problem (or depart from), because he was trained to swallow and take in the Word of God.

The Bible says in Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is the duty of fathers to use their God-given authority fairly and to God’s glory. That means avoiding all harshness and cruelty, because it will hurt your child and your testimony. If punished with harshness or cruelty, children will be hardened all the more.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 78-80. Who was the best Dad in the Bible? Complete__

  July 7th   

Influencing Our Children by

What We Fail to Do” Part 2

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. How can I teach my child to become a responsible adult? BE RESPONSIBLE YOURSELF

A child can be taught to pick up toys, put clothes in a hamper, sit up, and then be given more responsibility, as he grows older. He must be taught to carry his part of responsibility in the home. Mom and Dad, it is to your advantage to teach your children character by your good example. When he grows up he will not expect others to carry his load for him. When a person is irresponsible, it always puts an extra load on those who are responsible. When parents fail to teach children responsibility, they fail by what they are not doing.

TEACH THEM TO DO MINOR TASKS

There are some things you can trust your child to do. For example, Dads, if you are building something in the garage, don’t just show him how to drive a nail, let him practice doing it, and Moms, let your daughter bake some cookies. They will become dependent on others if you don’t teach them. Also, they will lack self-confidence, and this is the reason we hear so much about self-esteem. On the other hand, children taught to do things will take on new challenges, which will help them the rest of their lives.

TEACH THEM TO MAKE DECISIONS

One of the greatest problems people have is in making decisions. Teach your children to make decisions daily. Make them decide whether to have peanut butter or baloney on their sandwiches. If they cannot decide which toy to buy now, they will not be able to decide on purchases later in life. Now, here is the biggest problem: when some people finally do make a decision, they are never secure with it. God made us with the ability to choose and that is what our faith is all about. By the way, it will be easy to get your children saved when they are old enough to understand. Don’t delay any longer; start asking God to help you today to teach your children to be responsible in minor tasks, and to make decisions, so that you will not be guilty of failure because of neglect.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 72-77. How does your child respond to you? Complete__

July 6th        

Influencing Our Children by

                                    What We Fail to Do                                          

1 Kings 12:1-15  

Mark Twain said, “We all are like the Moon, we have a bright side and a dark side.”

Rehoboam was forty-one years old when his father Solomon died. On the surface, Rehoboam looked genuine, but secretly made his own plans. He was irresponsible and a counterfeit that had a lot of potential, but allowed his dark side to control him. He lived an ungodly lifestyle under Solomon. He had no desire to listen and learn.

We can learn from him in training our children: we need to understand that we can influence our children by what we fail to do, as well as by what we do. A short time ago I heard that peers and friends have a greater influence on how your children turn out than you, as parents do. One of the teens gave the example that he learns morals from his parents sometimes, but he learned how to wear an earring from his friend.

Have you ever thought that we can influence our children by what we fail to do? It is not just what we do, but what we fail to do. We can do perfectly right and good things, we can be good parents, but we fail to do some things. It is the positive things we do with our children that make them happy and give them good memories of their childhood, and will influence them positively all their lives.

Children can tolerate almost any kind of negatives in school, at play, etc., but if there is not a warm feeling of love at home, they become very unhappy. In addition to their physical needs being met, children need to hear the words, “I love you.” They need more than a neat home and three square meals a day; they need positive reinforcement and love. We have all heard of the “three R’s: readin’, ritin’, and rithmatic.” We should add another word: “responsibility.” Even small children can be given responsibility. They can be taught that certain things are expected of them. Rehoboam was taught right when he was young, but his parents failed to do many things.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 69-71. Where have we failed in our leadership? Complete_

July 5th

“Ten Principles on Teaching Children” Continued!

Memorize Colossians 3:21 THE PRINCIPLE OF POTENTIAL Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. In other words, don’t be too hard on them. Remember, you were once a child also.

  • Teach your children to realize their potential.
  • Point them to Christ and to follow Him at a young age.

THE PRINCIPLE OF RELATIONSHIPS

  • Teach your children to be encouragers by encouraging them.
  • Build them up and teach them to encourage others.
  • Never discourage them by saying things like, “You will never amount to anything good.”

THE PRINCIPLE OF STEWARDSHIP

  • Teach them to tithe on their allowance when young.
  • Teach them by example and that Malachi 3:10 is true.
  • Teach them that it all belongs to God and we are required to return only ten percent.

THE PRINCIPLE OF HONESTY Thomas Jefferson called honesty “the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” It occurred to me that, where there is an absence of honesty there is a greater absence of wisdom.

  • Teach them to be consistent in their words and actions.
  • Honesty is still the best policy.

THE PRINCIPLE OF GENEROSITY

  • Too many children today are self-oriented because the parents are.
  • Be generous in helping others who have needs.
  • By the time children reach their teens they ought to have this “living for others” in their character.

THE PRINCIPLE OF DEPENDENCE ON GOD

  • Be God reliant not self-reliant.
  • Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” Take it to heart.

As your children mature and learn to accept responsibility, teach them to begin to make their own right choices. The parents’ goal should always be to prepare their children to make the right choices throughout their lives. This is the real value of education and wisdom, because parents are the most important teachers of all. 

Read Psalms 60-66. Who is the head of your house? Complete__

JULY 4th

Pray for The United States of America

Ten Principles on Teaching Children

Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Several years ago I read a book by John Maxwell, author, speaker and former pastor. Although we may not be in agreement in all areas, I believe his teaching on basic character principles is quite useful. I have used his basic Ten Principles and taken liberty to add several thoughts under each. In the following lessons we will study the subject of families, practical Bible wisdom in rearing children, and how to acquire it. I believe there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Wisdom is the development of knowledge; however, it must consist of daily application through discipline. Abraham Lincoln said, “There is just one way to bring up a child in the way he should go, and that is to travel that way yourself.”As a child, John Maxwell was taught these ten principles.

THE PRINCIPLE OF RESPONSIBILITY

  • As soon as your children learn to walk, have them put their own clothing in a hamper.
  • Give them daily responsibility. If not done, have them do it on their free time.

THE PRINCIPLE OF A GOOD WORK ETHIC

  • Teach your children to work hard, but also smart.
  • Give them a good example to follow.
  • Teach them to work more and play less.

THE PRINCIPLE OF DETERMINATION Abraham Lincoln said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”

  • Make a start.
  • Be determined to complete the project. Continued tomorrow!

THE PRINCIPLE OF A GOOD ATTITUDE

  • Have a positive mental attitude.
  • Negative thinking produces negative results.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 52-59. How much time have we spent teaching our children the American Constitution? Pray for America’s leadership. Complete__

               July 3rd 

                         HOW TO REAR PARENTS!  PART 2                       

Review yesterday’s devotion Somebody said, “Physician heal thyself.”

I do not know if a Physician can heal our homes; however I am of the old fashioned belief that parents must take control of teaching their children not only to obey God, but also their parents.

Here is what I am saying in five simple C’s,

  • COMMUNICATE.
  • COMPLIMENT
  • COMPASSION
  • COOPORATE
  • CONSIDERATE

There are many kinds of parents in the Bible; many are not as good as your parents. Please study each of these: o   Abraham: Faithful – Genesis 18:18-19. o   Moses: Neglectful – Exodus 4:24-26. o   Hannah: Holy – 1 Samuel 1:11. o   Eli: Non-restraining – 1 Samuel 2:22-29. o   David: Discouraged – 2 Samuel 18:32-33. o   Prodigal son’s father: Forgiving – Luke 15:17-24.

When it comes to parenting, no one has all the answers; however, I have found that most parents try very hard to find the right answers and live by them. So children, be patient because one day you, too, will be parents learning how to parent.

Now four words to our children on how to rear a good parent – obey, love, honor and respect!

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 46-51. What kind of a parent am I? Complete__

                                      July 2nd                               

HOW TO REAR PARENTS!

Read Ephesians chapter six

Ephesians 6:1-3, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

For the next several weeks we will take a close look at our Christian families. I believe most readers understand and agree that the American Christian home is in serious trouble. The important age-old question is, “How are we going to make our home a real Christian Home?” It is our prayer that these few weeks of devotions will in at least a small way help to make this happen. These lessons are not just for Mom’s and Dad’s, but the principles will apply to us all.

This first of a series of lessons is a little different from the usual family lessons. Perhaps you think you are misreading the title, but I really do mean how to rear parents. Children have a part in making the family a functional Christian family, and children can have a part in rearing parents for the glory of God.

  •  Learn to understand your parents.
  •  Learn to compliment them.
  •  Learn to show thankfulness.
  •  Learn to do things for and with them.
  •  Don’t be embarrassed to be around your parents; realize that they too, have feelings.
  •  Learn to make your parents proud of you.
  •  Learn to communicate with them.
  •  Spend time with them; listen to them, and always obey them.
  •  Learn to show your love and compassion for your parents.
  • Learn to be cooperative with them.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 40-45. Children will learn from their parents? Complete__

July 1st 

“The Battle is the Lord’s,” Conclusion! 

Review yesterday’s devotion

  • The throne was established.

o   God honored David himself in order to give him a better testimony and greater influence with the king and the people verses 55-58, 18:2.

Even the Philistines for many years feared David’s name according to 21:11, “And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?”

o   David won three battles in a day, verses 28-30:

1.  He overcame his own spirit.

2.  He overcame his fears and doubts –unbelief.

3.  He overcame his enemy – Goliath.

This is exactly what God is attempting to do in the life of every Christian. Several practical lessons from David:

  • Pay attention to the providence of God.
  • Decide if this is a conflict He intends for you to undertake.
  • Yield yourself to the leadership of God and His Word, not unspiritual people like Saul.
  • Be selective in your battles.
  • Discern the weapons God wants to use to defeat your enemy.
  • Realize that success is determined by your motive.
  • Bathe your battles in much prayer.

Not long after David defeated Goliath and the Philistines, he was anointed to be one of the greatest kings in history. Perhaps God chose him due to his humility, faith, zeal and courage. He was the man whom God delighted to honor, because he was a man who sought after his own heart, and this is evidence or a real love for God and His people.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 36-39. Let’s ask God for humility of spirit. Complete__

June 30th

“The Battle is the Lord’s,” Part 5    

Think about the battles you face

Although to Goliath David seemed unarmed, he was fully armed by the power of God, because the battle was the Lord’s.

Zeal – he was not concerned about his reputation, but was very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts; much as Elijah in 1 Kings 19:14, “And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

When we fight for God, we can expect Him to fight for us, because “the battle is the Lord’s.”

Courage – was the fruit of his humility, faith and zeal. David said, “Is there not a cause?”

Spurgeon comments, “Brave men may expect to be misunderstood and charged with forwardness; but it will be to their honor if they bear it patiently and still persevere. His brethren rejected our Lord, but he did not quit His work of love, neither did he answer them roughly. If we can conquer our own spirits we shall be able to conquer others.”

GOD’S CAUSE WAS ESTABLISHED

  • The victory was achieved, verses 52-54.

Not only was the Philistine overthrown quickly and completely, but:

o   The enemy fled in terror and their power was broken verses 51-52. Just as our enemies will be disarmed if we will let the Lord fight the battle for us.

o   Israel was empowered with a new and better spirit verses 52-53.

This was the first step in God’s plan to raise David to the throne. Concluded tomorrow.

Daily Assignments Read Psalms 31-35. Who are your heroes outside of the Bible? Complete

June 29th   

“The Battle is the Lord’s,” Part 4      

Review the last three days devotions

We, too, must realize that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, or of the world. 2 Corinthians 10:4, “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds).”

  • By God’s leading he selected the weapon most effective for him in verse 40, “And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.”

This is not the first time a slingshot was used as we see with the 700 left-handed men in Judges 20:16, “Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.”

David selected five smooth stones carefully, knowing their purpose. The slingshot gave him an advantage because he was accustomed to it, and he did not have to get close to Goliath.

  • Notice the spirit David displayed, vs. 41-48.

Humility – his heart was not haughty or proud as his brother Eliab accused in verse 28, but it was humble and lowly.

Augustine said, “Humility is the first, the second and the third thing in religion.” Proverbs 18:12 says, “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.”

Faith – verse 45, “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.”

David looked beyond Goliath by looking to God. He did not compare himself to Goliath, but compared Goliath to God.

He believed God, spoke with confidence, fought courageously and prevailed. 2 Corinthians 4:13, “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.” Continued tomorrow.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 23-30. Let’s emulate Bible courage. Complete__

June 28th”

“The Battle is the Lord’s,” Part 3

Read Isaiah 59

He takes his staff, his sling, and five stones out of the brook, and goes to meet Goliath in verses 38-40; teaching us that the power of God is adequate for any need in our lives, and this was the basis of David’s response to the giant. The Philistines believed in their human power; while David believed in the power of God.

THE CONFLICT OF COURAGE, VERSES 38-54

I see several advantages David had over this Philistine:

  • David had been prepared for the conflict in his past life.
  • He was providentially led into the conflict.
  • The Spirit of God compelled him into the conflict. If he had gone any other way, no doubt he would have failed.
  • He was committed to his country, and taught them to rely upon God. He has been a pattern for generations of Christians in their conflicts with the world, the flesh and the devil. David represents the viewpoint of God in this conflict; while Goliath represents that of the world.

Notice the weapons David used, verses 38-40.

  • He did not use traditional weapons of warfare. Verse 38, “And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.”
  • He was not presumptuous to think that God would just hand him the victory; on the other hand, he did not blindly trust in his weapon, but used it wisely. The same is true with our soldiers, who must use their weapons wisely, while trusting in God. We as Christian soldiers must use our spiritual weapons wisely as well.
  • He rejected Saul’s armor, while recognizing its usefulness to others, but not to him. Verse 39, “And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.” Continued tomorrow.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 18-22. Who was the most courageous man in the Bible?

June 27th

“The Battle is the Lord’s,” Part 2

Review yesterday’s devotion I like what Matthew Henry said, “The bravest men are no more than what God makes them.” THE CHALLENGE OF A CHAMPION – GOLIATH, VERSES 4-11

Goliath draws near, despises, defies, and denigrates (curses) David in verses 41-44. David responds to his defiance in verses 45-47; upon which they draw near to each other, and David slings a stone, hits Goliath in the forehead, then kills him with his own sword by cutting off his head, verses 48-51. Upon seeing their champion defeated, the Philistines flee and are pursued by Saul’s army; while David brings Goliath’s head to Jerusalem in verses 52-54. Goliath is called “the champion” and symbolizes Satan, our great enemy. It is absolutely amazing how the Philistines defied Israel with their champion Goliath of whom they were almost as proud as he was of himself; while hoping to recover their reputation and dominion

THE CALL OF GOD’S CHOSEN – DAVID, VERSES 12-37

David enters the picture because his father sent him with supplies for his brothers in the army of Israel. Though he was sent to do only a simple errand, David knew in his heart that he was in that place at that time according to the moving of the Spirit of God. David had heard that there was no one to take on this giant; however, without hesitation he accepts the challenge and is brought before Saul. As would be expected, Saul objects to David fighting the giant due to his young age and lack of experience. David appeals to Saul, shows how he plans to defeat Goliath, and justifies his confidence by telling of his deliverance from the lion and bear, verses 34-37. The problem with Saul was that he looked at the giant with human limitations, but eventually gives in to David and supplies him with his own armor that David rejects because it would encumber his movements and had not yet been proven. Continued.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 10-17. In battle, are we cowards or courageous? Complete_

                           June 26th                                   

The Battle is the Lord’s

1 Samuel 17:31-54Verses 44-45, “And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.”

We dedicate the next few days to all of our troops serving throughout the world; however, in particular our desire is to honor those who are in our local church families all across America.

Since the day of our Declaration of Independence, and founding of our nation, thousands have paid the supreme price for liberty and freedom in America. We honor each for their sacrifice.

In verses 1-3 we see the Philistines on the southern side of the Elah Valley and the army of Israel on the northern side, or about fifteen miles west of Bethlehem.

It seems the army of the Israelites was superior in number and strength to that of the Philistines, which caused the Philistines to issue a challenge. The challenge called for each side to put forth one combatant; the people of the loser were to be servants to those of the victor.

“Goliath of Gath,” a giant measuring about ten feet tall defies the army of Israel and as the chosen Philistine, proposes to end all battles single-handedly, which greatly dismayed Saul and his men. Goliath’s coat of armor alone weighed about 125 pounds.

The people would not have been dismayed except that they saw Saul’s courage fail. The lesson is that we cannot expect followers to be courageous and bold if their leader is a coward. Continued tomorrow.

Daily Assignments

Read Psalms 1-9. Someone said, “At best, life is a battle.” Complete__

June 25th     

The LORD Direct Your Hearts

Into the Love of God! Part 4   

Review the last three days devotions

The Bible says in 1 Samuel 16:7 … “for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart,” and nothing is acceptable to Him except what is done in sincerity and truth. Their generosity was a result of the sacrifice David had already made, and the preparation of the heart was made for those who diligently sought the Lord.

“Prepare” in verse eighteen means to confirm the good work that you have directed in their hearts and by your grace keep them going in their work for your glory.

Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

God answered David’s prayer in verse nineteen by providing all his needs in the building of the Temple, and giving him a perfect heart; though Solomon abused the mercies of God when he refused to take down the high places.

God not only directs our hearts to love Him, but He also provides for our spiritual and physical needs, 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.”

Verse 20, “And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king.”

They worshipped God as the Supreme Ruler, and the king as His servant ruler. They gave God divine reverence and to the king, they gave dutiful respect. Solomon sat on the throne of the earthly kingdom and Christ sits on the Throne of the Heavenly Kingdom.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 41-42. When is the last time you hugged your mate? Complete

June 24th   

            The LORD Direct Your Hearts

           Into the Love of God! Part 3              

Review the last two days devotion

We must ask God to direct His love into our hearts and help us to be patient in our waiting for His coming, so that we, too, might endure dealings with the “unreasonable, wicked” and those that might treat us unkindly.

We see the same patience and love for God in David’s prayer for Solomon and the people in 1 Chronicles 29:18, “O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee.” Read verses 1-21.

In verse one David, “said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.”

David moves the congregation to help his young son, who God chose instead of David, to build the House of God, which became known as Solomon’s Temple.

This is a congregation that knew how to give in the building of the House of God and sets a great example for generations to follow. Notice that the gifts from David and the people amounted to about 112 tons of gold; 375 tons of silver; 675 tons of brass and 3,730 tons of iron.

These people gave their offerings willingly and with an attitude that was well-pleasing to God according to verse 9, “Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.”

We find the same to be true in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” Concluded tomorrow.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 38-40. God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and we are very blessed to be called the children of God. Complete__

June 23rd   

The LORD Direct Your Hearts

                        Into the Love of God! Part 2                     

Review yesterday’s devotion

It was only through the direction of God in Paul’s heart that he was able to carry on in the ministry. Though they caused him much pain and grief, he kept on. I am certain that as long as God had work for him to do, his prayer was that he might be preserved and delivered from unreasonable and wicked men.

No matter where Paul went on his missionary journeys, he always encountered both Jews and Gentiles that were, “unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.”

While he understood that “all men have not faith,” or are completely faithless, he placed his focus on those who were willing to live a life of patience in Christ and wait for His coming by the grace of God.

Spurgeon said, “They had been hasty in expecting the Lord to come at once, he now bids them be patient in their waiting. They were to look for the Lord soberly and patiently, and not as those fanatics did who ceased from their labors and neglected their lawful callings because they deemed that the end of the world was near.”

Paul diligently admonishes them concerning two things: love and a watchful patience for the coming of Christ. Only God through His grace can direct the Christian into His love, and keep him from the snares of the devil. For this reason He commands them to be patient until He comes.

HE DIRECTS THEM TO HAVE THE LOVE OF CHRIST IN THEIR WILL

Paul’s prayer was that God would direct the love of God in their hearts, and the patience of Christ in the midst of their suffering affliction and persecution. These can only come as we yield our will to God. Continued tomorrow.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 34-37. Where would you be without God? Complete__

June 22nd

The LORD Direct Your Hearts

Into the Love of God!

Into the Love of God!

Verse 5, “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”

Not many Christians understand the fact that it is God who must direct the path of the Christian and that He does so by directing the heart. I will never forget the day I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart, because it was on that day that I surrendered my heart as well as my life.

My wife first trusted Christ, then the children and then after a short time I, too, asked Christ to save me from my sin. Life has not been the same since that great day in my life, and things began to dramatically change in the lives of our entire family.

I was amazed to read and meditate on 2 Thessalonians 3:5 and thought, “That’s it; this is where it has to begin, to ask God to direct our hearts into the love of God.” The love of God is not sought or caught, but is directed into the heart by God Himself!

HE DIRECTS THEM TO HAVE PATIENCE IN THEIR WAITING

Paul admonishes them to pray that the Word of God may have free course and that God be glorified in all that is done in His name. He prays for those who were not only unreasonable in their dealings with Paul, but were false accusers and very dangerous for Paul to deal with. Continued tomorrow.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 30-33. Is it reasonable for God to ask to love Him? Complete__

June 21st    

The Spirit of God’s Love! Part 3     

Review the last two days devotion

The Law was given on Mount Sinai with fear and trembling by both Moses and the people, but the Gospel came by the humility and suffering of Christ on the cross, not nearly as dramatic or fearful. God hath not given unto us the spirit of bondage, but of power and love. Though we are bond-slaves for Christ, this is an opportunity to become as He is. It is the love of Christ that makes us able to believe, hope and endure all that comes with the work of the ministry. Another great blessing in this verse is that we are able to perform all that is required because He has given us a sound mind. Praise God, we have been given the opportunity to hear, learn and understand the will of God in our lives. God has not given us a spirit of fear or cowardice, but one of power and a spirit of fervent love for Christ, the church and one another.

BUT THE SPIRIT OF POWER

When God ordained this preacher into the ministry it was not due to fear, which comes as a result of bondage, but He stirred my soul by the love of Christ and thereby stirred my heart for the lost sinner.

Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

If we compare Acts 6:6, “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,” with 2 Timothy 1:8, “full of faith and power;” we see again that fear is the result of the bondage. Romans 8:15, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

BY THE SPIRIT OF LOVE

The spirit of power and love comes to us by the indwelling of the Spirit of God, and this power enables us to help those that are yet in the spirit of bondage. 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” God’s love moves us to speak the truth, but to do so in the spirit of love, according to 2 Timothy 1:8 and Ephesians 4:15. It is God’s love, His power and a sound mind that unites us in our duties to God, to one another and ourselves.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 25-29. Real courage reveals itself in our love for God!

June 20th     

     The Spirit of God’s Love! Part 2      

Review yesterday’s devotion

Paul was not only thinking of his relationship with Timothy, but also even more wanting him to be a help to him in his present condition. Timothy, on the other hand, had proven his sincere conversion and discipleship as well as his great desire to exercise the purity of his faith.

I believe the tears of which Paul is speaking in verse four are the tears he had already shed on behalf of his service to the Lord Jesus Christ. It also appears as though both Lois and Eunice were saved under Paul’s ministry, according to Acts 16:1, “Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek.”

Lois appears to have been the first convert to Christianity, and she instructed her daughter Eunice and both the grandmother and mother brought up Timothy in the Scriptures, which is the reason he had at least a general knowledge of Christ before he met with Paul in Lystra.

I love the expression, “Stir up” in verse six: anazopureo or re-kindle or revive, as a fire about to go out. This speaks of the re-kindling or reviving of the gift of God that was in him or those gifts that had been imparted to him by the Holy Spirit and by the laying on of hands.

1 Timothy 4:14, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.”

Or, neglect not to stir up your ability to carry out the duties of the ministry to which God by His grace has called you.

Spurgeon said, “Even when the miraculous gifts of the Spirit were in the church the most favored ministers were to study and meditate: how much more then is it now their duty!”

Someone said, “Those who speak without thinking seldom say anything worth thinking.”

Verse 7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

NOT THE SPIRIT OF FEAR

To be continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Job 21-24. Do we need to “stir up” our love for people? Complete_

                                   June 19th                                 

The Spirit of God’s Love!

Read 2 Timothy 1:3-7

Verse 7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Here is a case where Paul points to his Jewish forefathers that taught him to worship the true and living God. Yet, we also read of his persecution against the church. Is this an inconsistency in the life of Paul, or was it because of his upbringing under Moses’ law? Of course, we believe that he was only acting upon his teaching regarding the law as well as the true Messiah, who was rejected by the Jewish people. It was not until his experience on the road to Damascus that he discovered Jesus Christ is not only the true Messiah, but He is God incarnate.

I believe the heart of Paul’s message to Timothy is that he would continue faithfully serving Christ until God calls him home. Paul understood the debt he owed his forefathers and is making certain that Timothy understands it as well. We too owe a great debt, not only to Christ, and to those among us today, but to all those who came before us, according to Romans 1:14, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.”

In his challenge to Timothy, Paul is not making reference to the law, but to the Gospel of Grace and Christianity. It is a very rare thing to find a Christian in the church that is thankful for the ability to pray for others, but it is our love and prayers for others that will help us to increase our brotherly love, as well as our love for God. I believe that this is what binds us together in the Church of Jesus Christ.

You can imagine how Paul must have felt behind bars, writing a friend like Timothy and hoping to see him again. This is a great lesson showing that the older and younger generations can not only have a good Christ-like relationship, but can also be the best of friends, even unto their departure to heaven: 2 Timothy 4:6, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.”

Daily Assignments

Read Job 21-24. Do you have to work at loving God? Complete___

   June 18th    

                  God’s Love Will Keep You Going! Part 3                    

Read 2 Corinthians 4:13-18

He realized that all power is of God and comes from Him, not from any one leader or follower in the church. There is no question that Paul suffered both physically and emotionally, but it was the power of God and the love of Christ that kept him going in spite of all his trouble.

In 2 Corinthians 4:13-18, he compares his suffering with that of Christ, which caused his outlook to be one of hope, endurance, and looking unto Jesus. He does not lose heart because his “outward man perish,” for his light affliction is temporary when he compares it to eternity.

HE WAS PURE IN HIS MOTIVE

2 Thessalonians 2:3, “For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:”

He was not conceited or eccentric, and in verse four, he says “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” He was not trying to please men, but God, and he was not concerned about money according to verse five, For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness. His motive was to be a good steward of the Gospel which was entrusted to him.

HE WAS PERSONAL IN HIS CARE FOR PEOPLE VERSE 8

He gently nursed them in his care and commitment, in love and labor, as a mother would her child. It is not how much we know but how much we love. God knows the world needs real Christians who love.

HE WAS POWERFUL IN HIS MESSAGE VERSE 9

Teaching may be subject to interpretation, and we must preach, not let teaching take the place of preaching. God commanded us to preach the Word. We have a powerful message for a lost world.

Let’s get the Word of God out by faithfully preaching, teaching, and serving for the sake of our children as well as Christ. Let’s understand that it is only God’s love that will keep us going.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 13-16. Love somebody to Christ this week. Complete__

June 17th   

             God’s Love Will Keep You Going! Part 2                

Review yesterday’s devotion

Paul’s love for them was so strong that he compared it to a compassionate and loving mother caring for and nursing her children. I believe that is the love with which God loves us: with a tender and loving care, yet recognizing that love sometimes must correct. Paul’s was a “labour of love,” and this was his great force in his ministry.

If we are not careful, we may become discouraged and quit or become a castaway. We, as Paul, must learn that our labor for the Lord must be a labor of love. It must be a labor of love to be a faithful layman, teacher, parent, or preacher. We must keep going because we love Jesus Christ and others, and then we are not as apt to quit. I am saying that when it gets hard, you labor because you love.

Did you ever wonder what kept Paul going, knowing all the trials he faced? Before we learn how Paul kept going, we must learn three ways to endure:

  • Endure in hope.
  • Keep developing yourself.
  • Always look unto Jesus.

One of the secrets of spirituality is to develop our areas of weakness as well as our strengths. Most Christians quit when they set their eyes on themselves and others, rather than on Christ. So, how did Paul keep on going in the battle?

HE PERSISTED IN HIS METHOD

1 Thessalonians 2:2, “But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.”

We are living in a world of politics and polls, sarcasm and scrutiny of others; why not scrutinize or analyze the book of Acts and 2 Corinthians chapter four? This is where we see how Paul responded to their scrutiny, and it shows us that it was the power of God that kept him going in the ministry.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 9-12. When did God’s love keep you going, daily? Complete__

June 16th                

God’s Love Will Keep You Going!

2:2-5, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 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; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” (Please refer to, “A Labour of Love” devotional.

Do you remember how you felt when you were first saved and when you attended your first church service after being saved?

Do you remember attending your first school graduation or some kind of an awards service?

Do you remember how you felt when you led your first soul to Christ, or at least had a part in it?

Do you remember how you used to pray and simply expected God to answer and He did?

Do you remember how excited you used to be, but now it is labor and takes more character now than ever?

When Paul mentions that it was not “in vain;” he is probably already thinking of verse five and that he did not in any way attempt to persuade by using flattering words.

God leads him to correct charges of “deceit” and that his gospel was based upon false doctrine, encouraging “uncleanness and guile” in verse three. He also makes it clear that as an apostle he is entitled to financial support, but he was as gentle as a nurse who cherisheth her children. He points out that he did not wish to be a burden to anyone, and I believe this is the reason he labored night and day.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 5-8. Did Job have a little bit of pride? Complete__

              June 15th   

The Greatest Lessons of Love! Part 3                     

Read Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 How can we learn to have this kind of compassion?

  • Through the love of Christ.
  • Through thepraise of Christ.
  • Through the joy of Christ:

John 15:7, 11, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

There are two things all people watch: our actions and our reactions.

  • Through the power of Christ.

Study Acts 2:3-4:31 and notice the power of Jesus Christ for the church. Why? They were moved with compassion through the power of Christ.

  • Through the purpose of Christ

To seek and to save that which is lost

WE MUST HAVE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER

Again, not only love for yourself, but love for others. I believe Christians must set the example in love, not only for God, but one another. Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus also said in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

WE MUST HAVE AWARENESS

  • Awareness of the fact that God is in control.
  • Awareness of the fact that we must yield to His will.
  • Awareness of the fact that God wants all to be saved.

WE MUST LEARN TO BE RESPONSIBLE

  • For what God has entrusted to us – the Gospel.
  • What we do with that which He has given us – His Son.

In verses 19-22 we realize that our end is to return to dust and then face God for judgment; therefore, we should faithfully serve Him in this life, knowing that one day we must give account to God Himself.

Daily Assignments

Read Job 1-4. Compassion really does make a difference. Complete__

          June 14th                

The Greatest Lessons of Love! Part 2

Winston Churchill said, “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.” Many years ago in a “Nightline” telecast, Ted Koppel had Morrie Schwartz as a special guest. Morrie was a retired Sociology professor who was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease. (Mitch Albom has now written a best-selling book, “Tuesday’s with Morrie”). At the time of the interview with Ted Koppel, he had only several weeks to live and was asked the question: “What are the great lessons in life you have learned and can pass onto others.” I am not certain that Morrie was a born-again Christian; however, his response to Ted’s question captured my interest,

Of the many things he said, there are four great lessons he wanted to leave before he died. He said it is too bad we do not learn these four great lessons until it is too late. When asked why it is that we do not learn, his response was: ego, ego, ego; and vanity, vanity, vanity, “all is vanity.” He mentioned that it is true that we accomplish things because of ego, but it destroys things too, so we must be balanced. He said, “Love each other or die.” What are thefour lessons Morrie has learned?

WE MUST LEARN TO HAVE COMPASSION

That is, compassion not only for ourselves but also for others. I thought it was interesting that he said, “Compassion for yourself.” I believe it is true that you cannot have compassion for yourself until you have it for others. Regardless, whether Morrie was right or not, the truth of the matter is that we as Christians must have compassion. Jesus set the example for us, and the Bible says in Jude 22, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” When it comes to a fallen brother or sister we must handle them wisely and with compassion or drive them away entirely. There is a difference between those who have been led away by weakness or ignorance vs. those who are unwilling to submit to biblical discipline. They, because of their pride or an unwilling spirit have separated themselves from the Church. We can make a difference in the life of someone who is hurting by showing Christ-like compassion.

Daily Assignments

Read Esther 8-10. Name the Christ-like qualities you have. Complete__

                 June 13th                             

The Greatest Lessons of Love!

Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-22

Verses 21-22, “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?”

In this chapter, Solomon gives great thought to the Divine Plan of God and concludes that all things are divinely appointed. Though we do not always understand God’s plan for us, it is always best to resolve to do good and enjoy the gifts God has given.

Just as Proverbs shows the Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiastes shows his foolishness. The book begins with the problem stated: “all is vanity.”

Solomon will seek happiness in many different fields: Science, the laws of nature, philosophy, pleasure and materialism; as well as living for the here and now. He will explore fatalism, egotism, religion, wealth and morality. Then in the final verses of the book he will give us the result of all his experiments.

Keep in mind that the conclusions in each trial are human, not God’s truth. For example, “vanity” speaks of emptiness or of a wasted life without purpose or goal. It means to live like an animal. I think most would agree that there are a great many people that live like that today.

In chapter three, he adopts the philosophy of fatalism. This has always been common among the pagans. In fact, it is very common in America today.

In the first fifteen verses, we see Solomon’s fatalistic views, and in verses 16-26, we see his egotistic views.

They say we should take life as it comes, and there is a time to get and a time to lose. The problem with egotism is that it is an excessive love of self and self-interest. Egotism is the philosophy of this life, so there is no compassion. Why? Because people believe they came from animals, so they are going to act like animals.

Daily Assignments

Read Esther 4-7. What have you learned about loving people? Complete

            June 12th  

 A Labour of Love! Concluded!      

Review the last three days devotion

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

Hebrews 6:10-11, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:”

  • It must be an ENDURING labour of love.
  • It must be a DILIGENT labour of love.

Not only a work of faith, labour love,

IT IS PATIENCE OF HOPE IN OUR LORD, WHY?

Romans 5:3-5, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”

Romans 8:24-25, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Romans12:12, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”

  • You were called to it.

Verse 4, “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.”

  • You were given the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.

Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

Please meditate on Hebrews 6:15 and 10:36.

What an honor it is to labor in “a labour of love” and even a greater honor to endure to completion.

Daily Assignments

Read Esther 1-3. Today, thank God for the ability to love. Complete__

        June 11th   

                            A Labour of Love! Part 3                          

Review the last two days Often people ask, “Preacher, how do you endure and how can I endure?” Always remember: IT IS A WORK OF FAITH 

Notice in verse three it says, “without ceasing your work of faith.” The Bible also says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him:” Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned (genuine) faith that is in thee.”

Now notice, in Galatians Paul says “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”

  • It must be a LEGITIMATE (genuine) faith.
  • It must be a LABORING (working) faith.
  • It must be a LOVING (consistent) faith.
  • It must be a LIVING (growing) faith verse 3.

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death.

“By faith, Noah, being warned of God moved with fear, prepared an Ark to the saving of his house.”

“By faith Abraham obeyed: and went out, not knowing whither he went.” All these men had a legitimate, laboring, loving and living faith. REMEMBER, IT IS A LABOUR OF LOVE  Genesis 29:20, “Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

Daily Assignments

Read Nehemiah 13. Thank God and someone for loving you. Complete_

 June 10th  

                              A Labour of Love! Part 2                        

Read John 13:1-20

There may come a time when our afflictions may hinder us so that we cannot do the will of God, but we can be patient in it and pray for those who are able to do the work required. I believe that this is what God is saying in 2 Timothy 4:5, when Paul instructed Timothy, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

Do you remember how exciting it was when you were first saved and realized yours sins were forgiven and you were going to heaven? How your tears flowed when a sinner came forward for salvation? How exciting every sermon was to you? What has happened?

What happens to Christians who were once on fire, but have joined the ranks of quitters? Remember how it used to excite you, but now it is labor just to read your Bible or go to church? We all need to be careful, “lest we also become a castaway.”

1 Corinthians 9:27, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

In this lesson we are going to learn why so many good Christians seem to drift or fall away from that which once excited them. I am reminded of an illustration where in his video, “Pro-Golfer,” Wally Armstrong explains the “Grip-stance and follow through.” The golfer must have proper grip-stance and follow through. The same is true in the Christian life; there must be follow through and commitment. Too many Christians have failed because they do not follow through. It was once exciting, but now it is a labor. When the excitement is gone, it must be a “labour of love.”

If you don’t love it, you will soon lose it. You must serve because you love God and others, or you will not do it long. It must be a “labour of love,” and when things become challenging, you labor because you love.

Daily Assignments

Read Nehemiah 11-12. No one backslides accidentally. Complete__

            June 9th     

A Labour of Love!

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5

Verse 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.”

Paul wrote this letter, and he includes the names of Silas and Timothy because they had been with him and were well known in Thessalonica. Acts 17:4, 14, “And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.”

Paul uses the expression, In God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ; not only because of its deep meaning, but also because it reminds us that our union and communion is with the Father and the Son through faith.

In verse two, God gives what I believe is the biblical responsibility of every Christian: to express thankfulness not only to God but also for one another.

Then in verse three, God commends them for their three important gifts: work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope. This verse speaks of the very high Christian character of the believers in Thessalonica. They had a working faith; they had love for God and each other which produced a working of the whole will of God. Faith did its work, but love together with faith can do so much more for the glory of God and the salvation of men.

They also had hope – not a heartless demanding of God’s blessings, but a hope that produced a satisfying expectation of the future, and their love gave them hope, rather than impatience and unwillingness to endure hardships in life. One could say that faith did its work, while love labored, and hope endured patiently.

Daily Assignments

Read Nehemiah 9-10. Do something kind for your neighbor. Complete__

             June 8th        

Review the last four days devotions

Having been a servant of God for over forty years; I consider it to be the greatest honor and privilege of my life because,

o  It is a special or personal work (His might).

o  It is a sanctifying work (to make holy).

o  It is a cleansing work (to free from impurities).

  • Who is to do the work of Christ in the Church

o   You and I.

o   Every born-again believer in the church.

WE MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS CHRIST LOVED US 

John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

John 15:12, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

1 Peter 1:22, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” Please read 1 John 4:7-12.

I believe the church must take a second look and reassert its Christ-given mandate as His representatives on earth. He is the Head, Saviour, and Sovereign. He loved the church and gave Himself to sanctify, cleanse, and present it to Himself. The local, visible New Testament Church is His only plan for His Church, and we must serve Christ by loving Him, His church, and each other.

Praise the Lord for this great privilege!

Daily Assignments

Read Nehemiah 7-8. The ministry is great. Is it to you? Complete__

June 7th

Why Should We Love Christ? Part 4         

Review the last three days devotions

I wonder what would happen if we all submitted to Christ as THE authority of the church?

WE MUST LOVE WHAT CHRIST LOVES

Verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

  • Christ loves the church.

The church is not to take second place: Para-church organizations have sprung up like mushrooms, all claiming to “help” the church, but in fact, sucking its very lifeblood. Christ did not say He loves Para-church organizations or denominations. He said He loved the local, visible New Testament Church.

  • Christ proved His love by giving Himself – verse 25.

Gave means that He freely gave, presented; it means to hand over to another or to deliver.

  • He gave Himself as a sacrifice:

Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

WE MUST LOVE THE WORK OF CHRIST IN THE CHURCH

Verse 26, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”

  • What is the work of Christ in the church? Concluded Tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Nehemiah 4-6. What have we done to serve in church? Complete__

June 6th 

  Why Should We Love Christ? Part 3            

Review the last two days devotions Christ cares for, looks after, and preserves the church. We need a preserver because we are in the church. The body is made up of Christ and its members, and it is a local, visible, organized, living organism according to Colossians 1:18.

  • The church refers to the assembly’s authority.
  • The body refers to the assembly’s activity, life, and Christ-likeness.

BECAUSE OF HIS AUTHORITY OVER THE CHURCH Verse 24, “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

  • The church is subject to Christ.

Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” o  Because Christ gave us eternal life. o  Because each one of us is under His authority and rule. o  Because each one of us and the church will give account. Hebrews 13:17, “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.”

  • It is a privilege to Submit to Christ.

John 12:26, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” Continued!

Daily Assignments

Read Nehemiah 1-3. Nehemiah was a man of prayer and what were some of his other great attributes? Complete__

       June 5th

                                                   Why Should We Love Christ? Part 2                                           

Read yesterday’s devotion

Though all epistles were written to a church or to Christians in churches, we learn from Ephesians that the church is local, a body, the Place of God’s presence, the revealer of God’s wisdom, the place of ministry, the place of edifying believers, and it is under the complete control of Jesus Christ. God’s main purpose in Ephesians was His eternal plan in establishing and completing His body – the church of Jesus Christ. The church is presented as the bride of Christ, thereby teaching us that loving Christ and one another cannot be separated from any of these. Several reasons that we should love Christ:

BECAUSE HE IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH

Verse 23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”

  • He is Head because of His Deity.
  • He is Head because of His Office – anointed of God.
  • He is Head because He is perfect.
  • He is Head because He was chosen of God.
  • He is Head because He is the Chief Shepherd.

Two things about the Head:

o     The head is the most important part of the body.

o     The head directs the body.

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 preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”

The Church or Ecclesia is a called out assembly.

BECAUSE HE IS OUR SAVIOUR

That is, “the Saviour of our body and soul,” and one who brings salvation and deliverance. Continued!

Daily Assignments

Read Ezra 10. How did Christ become the head of the church? Complete

                                            June 4th                                                 

Why we should Love Christ!

Ephesians 5:23-27

Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon are sometimes called the prison Epistles, because they were written during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. Paul anticipated being released from prison, which he was. This allowed him to make several trips and write 1 Timothy and Titus; then he was arrested once again, and we believe he wrote 2 Timothy during his second imprisonment in Rome.

Ephesus was probably the first to hear the message of Christ through Aquila and Priscilla according to Acts 18:18-19, “And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.”

The book of Ephesians, written about the times of Paul’s second missionary journey is one of the pre-eminent books in the New Testament church. Paul actually made a third trip to Ephesus and stayed for about three years, which gave him the opportunity to spread the Gospel to Asia Minor according to Acts 19:10, “And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” I believe this is the reason for the strong testimony of the church of Ephesus.

The city of Ephesus was a great commercial, political and religious center. This was also the city of the great temple of Artemis (Diana) Acts 19:27, “So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.” Where trading was concerned, it was on the same scale as Antioch and Alexandria.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezra 8-9. Who was Aquila and Priscilla? Complete__

              June 3rd                           

Review yesterday’s devotion

In verse 38, I am persuaded. I have a strong and unwavering confidence.

Or in Latin I am certain that neither the fear of death, the fear of pains in torture, or even the most painful trials and persecution.

Nor life, when it is threatened. It was not uncommon for the persecutor to offer life to the Christians if they would renounce Christ and offer sacrifices to idols. All they required under Roman law was just to offer a few grains of incense on the altar of the heathen god, and that is all the devil wants from the Christian today; just a few grains of compromise, yielding, and giving in.

Nor angels … It seems apparent that good angels cannot be intended here.

The Apostle is saying that nothing can separate us from His love. Good angels are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. Hebrews 1:14.

Nor principalities … high powers or evil spirits.

Nor powers … often used for civil powers, but evil spirits in this case.

Nor heights … No possible circumstances in which a Christian could be placed, be it honor, wealth, high office, or any other could separate them from the love of Christ.

Nor depth … not even the lowest circumstance of depression, war, poverty or want; the very lowest rank of life.

Nor any other creature … created thing or being.Four great observations:

  • There is no greater honor than being a Christian. What a blessing to know Christ loves us so much He would not that any should perish. He declared us righteous the day we were saved, because Christ died, was buried, rose, and lives for us and in us; and will not condemn us.
  • Our trials in this life are hardly worth regarding in comparison to our future glory. Our trials, troubles, and obstacles in this life are not meant to discourage us, but to help us in the way He wills for us to go.
  • We should stand and bear our trials without complaining. Why? Because nothing stands in the way of living in His constant love and care, and nothing is outside of His control.
  • All safety is in the Love of God and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In travel or at home, God is our safe-keeper and His Holy Spirit our constant companion. Why? We are more than conquerors in Christ!

Daily Assignments

Read Ezra 6-7. Remember the Holy Spirit will guide you. Complete

                                            June 2nd                                                    

God’s Love Makes Us 

More Than Conquerors!

Verse 35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

We are more than conquerors, in Greek means, we gain the victory; that is, they do not have power over us, to stop His love for us or our love for Him, or to cause us to turn and quit.

Someone said, “Our faith is not destroyed, our love is not diminished, our hope is not blasted. But it is not simple victory; it is not mere life and continuation of what we had before; it is more than simple triumph; it augments (strengthens, magnifies) our faith, increases our strength, expands our love to Christ.”

There are two schools of thought in verse thirty-five: Our love for Christ, and His love for us. I believe this is speaking of His love for us. Who shall cause His love to cease, or for us to cease loving our Saviour? His love for us is so strong that it will survive any opposition, and so strong that we are willing to bear all for Him. Who shall separate us?

Shall tribulation? The implied answer is a resounding “No!” to pressure from without or within; not external or internal causes.

Shall distress? No! Not even when we do not know which way to turn or what to do for relief. Not even distress or anxiety such as the early Christian was often subjected to. In those days it was fighting without and fears within.

Shall persecution? No! They were constantly exposed to it according to Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Shall famine? As result of being driven from their homes. No!

Shall peril? That is, danger of any kind. No!

Shall sword? That is the sword of persecution; which meant great danger of their lives to which they were constantly exposed. No! Their love for the Saviour was so strong that they could overcome it all. The fact is that the more painful the trials to which they were exposed on His account, the stronger and more unwavering was their love for Him and their confidence in His ability to save them from it.

Daily Assignments

Read Ezra 3-5. Has God ever let you down? Complete__

June 1st

“The Love of Christ Constraineth Us” Continued!           

Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 again

You don’t have to do anything to win God over. He does not hate you, nor is He angry with you, but God loves you! Yes, He hates our sin, but He loves the sinner, and Christ did not come to charge our sins against us, but to pay our sin debt in full!

Notice in verses 20-21, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

An ambassador is an official representative from one nation to another, and as Christians, we are ambassadors for Christ, sent with a message of reconciliation.

We are not to take this responsibility lightly, because we are in a foreign land. Peter says that we are “strangers and pilgrims” here on earth. Paul says, “Our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven.”

Since our citizenship is in heaven, we are ambassadors here on earth. Only those nations that are on friendly terms with one another exchange their ambassadors. God is still friendly towards the world, but one day He will call His ambassadors home and judgment will begin.

What a privilege to be an ambassador for Him! We have the privilege of showing others that they may “be ye reconciled to God.”

Have you taken the opportunity to act as an ambassador for Him? What are you doing today to get out God’s Word of reconciliation? This is what the world needs to hear from us.

The lost world is reconciled to God due to His love for them, but they must be told, repent by faith, and come to Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

Daily Assignments Read Ezra 1-2. Explain an Ambassador’s Duty to someone. Complete__

                May 31st 

    The Love of Christ Constraineth Us! Part 3   

Review the last two days devotion

Reconciliation is not the same as salvation, as it goes a step further. It is more than having our sins forgiven with divine justice satisfied; it involves a completely changed relationship.

We must understand that He is the one who did the reconciling, verse 19, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”

Reconciliation is the ministry of changing completely, but who changes? Not God; He never changes, because He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” It says that God has reconciled us to Himself. He has given the entire world an opportunity to be reconciled through His Son, and according to Isaiah 53:6, “We have turned everyone to his own way.”

It is through Christ and the shedding of His blood that the world is reconciled to God, according to Colossians 1:20-22, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”

Notice that God has not reconciled; He has not changed, but the world has been put in a different position, why? Because Christ died for all, and now that Christ has died, the position of the world has been changed, and the “whosoever will” is now open to all.

It makes no difference who you are, the color of your skin, nationality, religious beliefs or whatever; Jesus Christ Himself bore all your judgment, placed it all on Himself, so that now you are reconciled to God.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 34-36. Make a study of reconciliation. Complete__

     May 30th 

            The Love of Christ Constraineth Us! Part 2            

Read yesterday’s devotion

2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”

  • The fear of the Lord compels us to persuade others.

Verse 14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:”

  • The love of Christ constraineth us.

This is not a restriction as thought by some, but that the love of Christ is pushing us out, or motivating us, because “we thus judge, that if one died for all….” The Lord Jesus came to this world absolutely sinless, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.  He came to save sinners from hell according to Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He literally took our place, and those who believe on Him will also be raised with Him.

2 Corinthians 5:17 is a tremendous statement, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

What are the old things that have passed away? We are no longer identified with the old Adam, the old relationships, or the world system. We are now identified with Christ. We have been baptized into the body of Christ and we belong to Him. The old things have passed away, and the new thing is this new relationship with the Lord.

Notice what God says in verse 18, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” The ministry of reconciliation is actually God’s call to the lost everywhere to come to Him with all their sins, all their burdens, all their problems, and all their difficulties to be reconciled to God.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 31-33. How do we develop a fear of God? Complete_

                    May 29th                

The Love of Christ Constraineth Us!

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Verse 14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.”

The love of Christ constraineth, compels or causes us to love so intensely that we, who were once dead while in our sin, should now consecrate our whole life to Him.

As the apostles of old, we should make every effort to convince others of the love of Christ, because Jesus Christ died for all mankind. Therefore, all were dead and needed His sacrifice, as well as the power of His Spirit.

All should now desire to honor God and live for His glory, because His sacrifice is the highest proof of His love, according to Romans 5:6-8, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

This wonderful chapter gives us three important motives to serve God and strive to be better Christians, soul-winners, and servants of God.

  • The Judgment Seat of Christ urges us.

We are going to stand before God one day to give account of our service, according to verse 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.

Judgment, or “Bema,” is the place where the judges of the city would meet to judge citizens for transgressions other than matters of life or death. Only believers will appear at the judgment seat. It is not a judgment of our sins, but whether or not we will receive or lose rewards.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 28-30. Do you fear the judgment seat of Christ?

May 28th

Review Yesterday’s Devotion

  • They were puffed up about their supposed spiritual growth.

1 Corinthians 4:6, “And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.”

They thought they had reached spiritual perfection and that put them above other Christians.

  • They were puffed up because of sexual immorality.

Some felt they were so spiritual they could tolerate immorality in their midst. We cannot tolerate immorality and expect to be blessed of God.

Notice where their arrogance failed:

When they should have been repentant, they were arrogant; when they should have mourned they were boastful and proud. They should have heeded the Scriptures that condemn conceit and arrogance.

Proverbs 8:13, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”

Proverbs 11:2, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” Proverbs 13:10, “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 29:23, “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” Remember that love with no biblical performance is not a biblical love, but is of the world. God’s love has no limits!

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 25-27. Has God ever failed to love you? Complete__

May 27th

Love is not Arrogant! 

Psalms 44:6,” For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.” 1 Corinthians 1:31, “That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 10:17, “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

Galatians 6:14, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

Romans 5:3, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.”

2 Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

The Song Writer said:

Naught have I gotten but what I received, Grace hath bestowed it since I have believed; Boasting excluded, pride I abase, I’m only a sinner saved by grace….only a sinner… LOVE IS NOT ARROGANT 1 Corinthians 13:4 

“Is not puffed up” translates “phusioutai,” a Greek verb, which means to blow; that is, one who is inflated with self-worth. Paul rebuked the church for this on several occasions:

  • Their puffed up attitude focused on their knowledge.

1 Corinthians 4:18, “Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.” Some of the people felt they knew all there was to know, and Paul’s visit would not be necessary.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 21-24. Who were the bullies in your youth? Complete

May 26th 

THE KINDNESS OF LOVE, PART 4

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-4 again.

  • Boasting is the other side of envy and jealousy.

Just as kindness is the other side of conceit; boasting shows our attitude toward ourselves, and is an effort to make others jealous of what we have.

  • Envy and jealousy put others down, while bragging builds us up.

They try to make themselves look good by making others look bad. Boasting is self-centered and wants center stage to be seen, heard and applauded.

Matthew 23:12, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

1 Corinthians 14:26, “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.” Let all things be done unto edifying.”

When boasting or “tooting our own horn,” we show that we are empty of love. Love does not boast! Jesus Christ had every reason to glory; instead He humbled Himself:

Philippians 2:6-8, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

  • Bragging and boasting result from pride or self-conceit.

Boasting has been called the “utmost evil,” because pride is at the heart of bragging.

  • Boasting ignores and denies truth.

The truth is that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” All of us are saved by grace and we have nothing in ourselves about which to boast. Christians have much that is good and proper in which they can boast:

Psalms 34:2, “My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 18-20. What have you boasted about today? Complete

May 25th    

The Kindness of Love! Part 3                  

Review yesterday’s devotion

Then there is the envy that says, “I want what you have,” or “I wish I had it,” or “I wish you didn’t have it.”

This is the lowest level of envy or as jealousy at its lowest level not only wishes for what others have, but it wishes them not to have it. This is certainly not love, because love is not envious. All Christians are capable of envy.

Psalms 73:3, “For I was envious at the foolish, [when] I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

Hatred and hostility show jealousy:

Cain’s jealousy for Abel caused him to commit murder.

Joseph’s brothers jealousy caused them to sell him into slavery, took the money, and caused their father to believe a lie.

Keep in mind that Paul lists these problems to correct the carnal condition of the church at Corinth because their envy centered on spiritual gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:31, “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”

Proverbs 14:30, “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.”

  • Envy really works against the one who has it. Proverbs 27:4, “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?”
  • Jealousy cannot be justified in any Christian. James 3:14-16, “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”

An envious person may be successful in this world, but it is not of God. In fact, I believe that such wisdom is demonic and destructive. The Holy Spirit was not in control, because it was another spirit that prevailed in Corinth, and confusion reigned; while order was non-existent, and selfish ambition raged.

LOVE IS NOT CONCEITED

“Vaunteth not” is in the negative in Greek: perpereuomai – to talk conceitedly.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 14-17. Ask God to remove our pride in our lives.

May 24th

The Kindness of Love! Part 2           

Quickly review the last four days

Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The root word for kindness is useful, beneficial in the way of help to others, because others will benefit from our kind gestures and acts. Someone said, “Kindness is character rather than an occasional act of goodness.”

Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

There is more than ample opportunity to show kindness to people, but the best role model for kindness is:

GOD

Titus 3:4-6 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

CHRIST

Acts 10:38, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”

LOVE IS NOT ENVIOUS

Envy is jealousy. Shakespeare called envy the “green sickness.”

Solomon called it, “rottenness of the bones” in Proverbs 14:30.

Bacon said, envy is the “vilest affection and the most depraved.”

Someone else said, “Envy is the enemy of honor and the sorrow of fools.”

Good envy is warmth toward others or a zeal for good works according to Romans 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

Bad envy is directed toward what others are and have and it is motivated by a covetous attitude. The determining factor is motivation.

A person moved by envy may try to outdo someone because he wants to be equal or exceed the other.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 10-13. Share someone else’s burden today? Complete

May 23rd  

The Kindness of Love!   

Review the last three days devotions Today we will learn more about the kindness of love.

Romans 12:17, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”

Matthew 5:39, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” 18:22, “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Ephesians 4:2, “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.”

Acts 7:60, “And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Luke 23:34, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”

LOVE IS KIND

Kindness is the other side of patience. Love is not necessarily love because it suffers long. Love is to love while suffering. It is kind, cheerful, and sweet, while patience endures much from others and kindness extends much to others. We may suffer insult and injury in silence and become bitter and filled with self-pity. This is not love! Only a Christian filled with the Holy Spirit can endure with kind words, a gentle spirit, and cheerful behavior.

Kind, Chrestenomai is only used here, but in related words like good, etc.

Romans 3:12, “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Titus 3:4, “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared.”

Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 7-9. Who is the kindest person you know? Complete_

May 22nd 

                        The Characteristics of Love!             

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF LOVE VS. 4-7 Review the last two days

In verses 1-3 God established the fact that love is important rather than define; He describes love. Each of the characteristics he describes is a verb, because love is active not passive.

LOVE IS PATIENT

“Suffereth long,” means, “large or long,” a word used for anger, and basically one who takes a long time to get angry or does not easily anger. He does not say that love is never angry, since God can be angry (righteous indignation) when circumstances warrant it. God is also longsuffering.

This is not saying that an outburst of anger means you lack love, but that only love and control can keep you from anger except for a right reason or cause.

Patience on the other hand is tolerant and endures. Impatience is intolerant and explodes like dynamite, and can do just as much harm

Colossians 1:11, “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.”

2 Corinthians 6:4, 6, “But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.”

Tolerance is patience directed toward a person, while endurance is patience directed toward things. We manifest endurance toward the unsaved, tolerance toward the saved, and it is a Christ-like quality. An important principle to remember is that in endurance we may not have a choice; in tolerance we have a choice.

The Corinthians needed this quality and the Greeks ridiculed what Paul wrote about love. Patience was foreign to their culture. The Greek philosophers taught intolerance and vengeance were virtues, and the one who fought back was a hero.

The Bible teaches the direct opposite of their view in the verses we will see tomorrow.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 4-6. What happened today in history? Complete__

May 21st     

                        GOD’S LOVE HAS NOT LIMITS!  Part 2                               

Sing the song again

 Notice in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

We learn what God’s love is by knowing and observing what love does.

In verses 1-3 love is absent in the exercise of giving.

In verses 4-7 love is present in the expression of grace. THE CHARACTER OF LOVE VS. 1-3 LOVE IS A PERSON That is, Paul gives love human characteristics.

In verses 1-3 He magnified love. Why? His motive was to transform not to inform the Corinthians and he is not analyzing love, he is admonishing them in love. He wanted them to see love in its acts and attitudes and change their habits to conform to the way of love. They were to apply God’s principles not just appreciate them. Whatever love did, they were to do, and to become people of love. Though love is not perfect in humanity; it ought to be present, because the world, the flesh and the devil turn it to lust. God creates love in the image of God, because God is love.

LOVE IS LIKE A PORTRAIT

Someone said: “Paul is painting a portrait and Jesus is posing for it, because He is the Model, Master, Miracle and Manifestation of love. Each description of love is a brush-stroke on the canvas, highlighting the life, ministry, and character of Jesus. He is the Person of the Portrait love displays. As a person love is resident in Christ. As a portrait love is revealed in Christ. As a picture love is reflected in Christ.”

LOVE IS LIKE A PICTURE

Hallelujah, Christ is the original, and each one of us is to be a reprint of His life of love, because the love God is talking about is always acting in relation to others. In fact, the name of Jesus can be substituted for love.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Chronicles 1-3. But you cannot love without giving. Complete__

                                                May 20th                                             

 GOD’S LOVE HAS NOT LIMITS!

Read Hosea 11:1-4 For the next nine days we will learn some wonderful truths about this subject.

Verse 4, “I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.”

God is saying that He loved the Israelites while they were in Egypt and did not provoke their ingratitude. They rebelled against God when the prophets called them to repentance.

Verse 4, “I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love.”

That is, I drew them because I loved them and treated them as friends and not as slaves. These cords make reference to teaching a child to walk by a twisted rope. The child would be at one end and the caretaker at the other. God is teaching us to walk with Him and His love in the same way. He always goes before and leads us by His hand to teach us “God’s love has no limits.” I love the song, by Annie J. Flint Taylor (1866-1932).

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater, He sendeth more strength as our labors increase; To added afflictions He addeth His mercy, To multiplied trials he multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance, when our strength has failed ere the day is half done, when we reach the end of our hoarded resources Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure, His power no boundary known unto men; For out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 27-29. You can give without loving … Complete__

                May 19th 

Love, the Greatest Power! Conclusion.          

Review the last two days devotions

THE SIMILARITY OF FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE

  • They are all great.

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 as well. It implies the recognition of good; a desire for good, and an expectation of good. It makes the present bearable knowing the promises for the future.

  • All three are permanent.

There abideth faith and hope; these last only as long as life.

THE SUPERIORITY OF LOVE 

The greatest of these is love. Why is love the greatest?

  • Love is a virtue in itself. There is virtue in faith and hope, but love is a godly virtue.
  • Love gives virtue to faith and hope. Where there is no love, the virtues of faith and hope are worthless.
  • Love is the only one 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. Only love can bring true happiness. Why? Love is happiness. You cannot say the same about faith or hope.
  • Love is the most God-like, because God is not faith or hope – God is love. God does not believe or anticipate, but He does love because God is love.

Someone said, “Love is the life of the soul. It warms every vein and beats every heartbeat.” The greatest of these is love.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 24-26. What does Jesus say about love? Complete__

May 18th   

Love, the Greatest Power! Part 2                      

Review yesterday’s devotion

The Bible teaches that the gift of tongues will cease, and the need of prophecy will pass away, but faith and hope are permanent in this life; while only love is eternal. Those things that pass away have to include knowledge, miracles, and the other gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Most believe that Paul is speaking of this life, and that he means to say in this life faith, hope, and love are here and now, but in heaven faith and hope will be done away, and therefore the greatest of these is love, because love is eternal. The practical application is that no home, church or nation can survive without faith, hope and love.

Think about this: not all of heaven can be appreciated or known all at one time. It would not be biblically incorrect to say that there will be no need of faith and hope in heaven, because Paul said that some of these will pass away.

We cannot be dogmatic by stating a specific time or place of passing away. But one thing is certain; the greatest of these is charity.

Not because it will endure the longest, but because it is the most important of the three. Faith and hope might pertain to individuals; love pertains to all of humanity, because no nation can stand without love. Love is greater because it will survive all the others.

Paul does not explain why love is best, but there may be some good reasons given:

  • Love is the root of faith and hope.
  • Love is for others; faith and hope is mainly for us.
  • Faith and hope are human, but God is love.
  • Faith and hope can only be manifested by love.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 21-23. Whom should you call today? Complete__

                                          May 17th                                       

Love, the Greatest Power!

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Verse 13, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

God sums it all up, “and now.” Of the three only love is eternal. Faith and hope are both temporal. “Greatest of these,” faith and hope are great, but love is the greatest, because true religion cannot exist without faith, hope, and love. But, of the three, love is the greatest.

Faith and hope are promised for the future, and if we have them now, why hope for them?

Many years ago Dr. Jack Hyles taught us the following truths:

  • Faith is a gift we can have and appreciate the spiritual blessings as we walk with God.
  • Hope gives us the expectation of blessings as we go through life.
  • Charity or love gives us the opportunity to show the goodness and grace of God; which we receive by faith in living a life of obedience.

The Bible says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him:” nor can we partake of the grace of God. Without hope we could not go on in our sufferings and difficulties in our Christian walk. But love is the fulfilling of the law; which is never said of faith or hope. The word abideth means to remain, continue, and is applied to remaining in a place, in a state or condition. It also implies permanency, and when all the other things have passed away faith, hope, and love would remain.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 17-20. Ask, “Have I hated anyone lately? Complete__

                   May 16th 

                     “Learning to Love God More,” Continued                      

Review yesterday’s devotion

Read all you can on His love for you. You say preacher, where do I find books on His love? Look no further than the Word of God. Look up “love” and how He loves you in your concordance.

SING OF HIS LOVE EVERY DAY

This is especially helpful if you are having a difficult time understanding the fact that He loves you. Read or sing through a song book and perhaps learn to memorize the songs of His love for you.

“I am so glad that Jesus loves me …” “Isn’t the love of Jesus something wonderful …?” “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” MEDITATE ON HIS LOVE EVERY DAY Think about the price God paid in sending His Son to die for your sin, and stop to thank Him for it.  LOOK FOR EVIDENCE OF HIS LOVE EVERY DAY Memorize Romans 8:35-38. TALK ABOUT HIS LOVE EVERY DAY

Quit talking about the weather, politics, and other events and learn to talk about His love. Soon you will realize how much He loves you and how you can love Him more!

These are simple thoughts, but very necessary for the Christian disciple.

                        Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 14-16. Find someone who needs love today. Complete

              May 15th                  

Learning to Love God More

1 John 4:17-21, Verse 19 text Verses 7-8, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” I believe all of us want to love God more than we do. The important question is, how? The greatest command in the Bible is that we are to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul. We can only do that if we obey Him. The Scripture teaches that it is a sin not to obey Him and if it is a sin not to obey, it is also a sin not to love Him. I love Him because He loved me first. Look at vs. 7-11. Several lessons:

  • God is light, 1:5.
  • God is love, 4:7-16.
  • God is life, Chapter 5.

Only the Spirit of God can enable us to love Him as we should. How and where do you find His love? Certainly His love is exhibited in nature, but He reveals His love for us in His Son.

Jude 21 says, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

The world is lost because we have not convinced them that God loves them – why? Maybe we ought to tell of His love first when witnessing. The more we realize His love for us, the more we will love Him. How can we love Him more?

READ SOMETHING OF HIS LOVE EVERY DAY I believe that our reading habits will determine how much we love God, and how we represent Him to a dying world.

                       Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 18-20. As a child, what was your first love? Complete__

May 14th 

      Rejoice in the Lord!                   

Read Philippians 3:1-21 When we look at what Jesus has done for us, and all that He has accomplished, why shouldn’t we rejoice? 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

Proverbs 15, Complete___

    May 13th 

The Love of Christ in our Mothers! Part 3             

Review the last two days

Here are some powerful verses remind us of the greatest love of all: Romans 8:35, 39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 15:30, “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” 2 Corinthians 5:14 “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.” John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” The Bible is very clear about the love of Christ. Jesus proved that kind of love for all of us.

I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the loving God, who was born of the promise to a virgin named Mary. I believe in the love Mary gave her son that caused her to follow him in his ministry and stand by his cross as he died. I believe in the love of all mothers, and its importance in the lives of the children, they bear. It is stronger than steel, softer than down, and more resilient than a green sapling on the hillside. It closes wounds, melts disappointments, and enables the weakest child to stand tall and straight in the fields of adversity. I believe that this love, even at its best, is only a shadow of the love of God, a dark reflection of all that we can expect of him, both in this life and the next. And I believe that one of the most beautiful sights in the world is a mother who lets this greater love flow through her to her child, blessing the world with the tenderness of her touch and the tears of her joy. An Affirmation from John Killinger’s Lost in Wonder, Love, and Praise.

What do you believe? Let’s remember to love our mothers and wives as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 21-23:20. Who loves you the most today? Complete__

May 12th  

                           The Love of Christ in our Mothers! Part 2                    

Review yesterday’s devotion

Almost every Mother’s Day sermon I’ve run across starts with an explanation of some kind, because, as preachers, we’re reminded not to get too sentimental about motherhood, and on the other hand, we must be sensitive to those who have lived a life that has had its trials because:

  • For some, motherhood is an accident, and not always a welcomed one.
  • For some, mothers weren’t all that nice.
  • For some, motherhood under the very best of circumstances is still less than a bed of roses.
  • While for others, Mother was always a pleasure to be around.

So, why bother with Mother’s Day at all? Because for all its barriers and broken dreams, for all the soiled diapers, spoiled plans, and lost opportunities, motherhood is a beautiful ideal, a natural part of God’s creative plan to bring love and caring to light. Motherhood is a constant reminder and demand for the gift of love and caring in the home. Think of where we would be without our loving mothers?

Children and husbands would find out very quickly what all Mom or wife does for us. I would challenge each one reading this to make a list of thirty one (one for each day of the month) things mother or wife does for you personally and the family for which you seldom express thankfulness. Why not make it a point of thanking her specifically for one of the thirty-one on each day next month? On each day of the following month, pay her a compliment on one of her good qualities, habits or talents. As a bonus, be prepared for a better relationship than you’ve enjoyed in recent years. I am of the opinion that no one deserves a special day all to herself more than today’s mother.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 18-20. What do you love most? Complete__

                         May 11th                   

The Love of Christ in our Mothers!

Let’s take a few days to love and honor our mothers

Verse 13, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

In chapter twelve Paul describes various gifts and helps from the Holy Spirit, and as we pointed out in the last chapter; God gives the greatest gift of all – love in chapter thirteen. He points out three important parts in this chapter:

  • The conviction (Excellency) of love – above all power and faith. All these gifts in chapter twelve would be without value if not encompassed in love.
  • The characteristic of love – peace of mind and heart.
  • The comparison of love – compared to prophecy, and tongues, which shall vanish.

Ephesians 3:19, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

Matthew 19:19, “Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

It is my hope that all will appreciate their mothers, without the benefit of which none of us would have the opportunity to honor them on this special day set aside to honor our mothers!

Thank God for our moms! Thank God for your mom! This chapter is dedicated to my and all dedicated Christian mothers. 

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 16-17. Who was the last person you loved? Complete__

May 10th

How to Love People You Do Not Like, Part 4                      

Review the last three days Here is a real test of our New Testament love.

Matthew 5:40, “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. In verse 30, Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.”

  • Give to them.

Barnes Notes says, “It is better to give sometimes to an undeserving person, than to turn away one really necessitous. It is good to be in the habit of giving. At the same time, the rule must be interpreted so as to be consistent with our duty to our families, (1Timothy 5:8) and with other objects of justice and charity. It is seldom, perhaps never, good to give to a man that is able to work, 2 Thessalonians 3:10. To give to such is to encourage laziness, and to support the idle at the expense of the industrious. If such a man is indeed hungry, feed him; if he wants anything farther, give him employment. If a widow, an orphan, a man of misfortune, or a man infirm, lame, or sick, is at your door, never send them away empty. See Hebrews 13:2; Mathew 25:35-45. So of a poor and needy friend that wishes to borrow. We are not to turn away, or deny him. This deserves, however, some limitation. It must be done in consistency with other duties. To lend to every worthless man, would be to throw away our property, encourage laziness and crime, and ruin our families. It should be done consistently, and of this every man is to be the judge. Perhaps our Saviour meant to teach that where there was a deserving friend or brother in want, we should lend to him, without usury, and without standing much about the security.”

o  Start by giving them your understanding. o  Give them your attention. o  Give them of yourself – putting them first.

                        Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 6-7. Think about the Love of God. Complete__

                    May 9th                       

How to Love People You Do Not Like, Part 3

Review the last two days Sometimes the only answer is to

  • Pray for them.

This is the only time the word epereazo is used in the New Testament and is illustrated in 1 Peter 3:16, “Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse (epereazo) your good conversation in Christ.”

In Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully (epereazo) use you, and persecute you.”

In spite of their accusing in a court of law, seeking to do us harm, we are still commanded to

o  Pray that God will forgive them for their sin.

  1. Pray for peace between you and them.

o  Pray for their salvation.

Spurgeon said, “Better suffer any loss than wrangle and go to courts of law, where indeed one is apt to increase his loss rather than repair it.”

In verse 29, “And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.”

  • Submit yourself to them.

Some believe that the cloak (himation) was the Jews’ outer garment and the coat was the under garment or the inner garment (chiton or tunic), which extended from the neck to the knee. This would mean that our response should be not only that we give the cloak that keeps us warm, but also to offer the garment that covers our skin.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 3-5. Have you submitted to anyone lately? Complete_

                   May 8th                  

Review what you read yesterday

Here is an important thought:

o  We can love them in spite of their conduct.

Though we do not approve of their conduct, we wish them well. This is the love we ought to have for our enemies or those that appear to hate us. It is impossible to love their conduct, but though we hate their conduct, and feel deeply affected by it, we still wish them well. We tolerate them but do not return evil for evil. This may be a God-given opportunity to seek to do them good and be more concerned about eternal values.

Romans 12:17-20, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

This is probably the highest test of our love and the reason so few of us rarely attain it. Next in verse 28, “Bless them that curse you.”

  • Bless them.

This means that we must speak kindly to and about them according to verses 23-34. It also means that we must speak kindly of them behind their backs, and point out their strengths not their weaknesses.

The word blessmeans to speak well of, not to slander, but to point out those things for which we can commend them. It means to regard them with favor, as God blesses us with His unmerited grace and favor.

In verse 28 … “pray for them which despitefully (epereazo) use you.”

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Chronicles 1-2. Be sensitive to people you do not like. Complete_

          May 7th                      

How to Love People You Do Not Like

Please study Luke 6:27-37

Verses 27-28, “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

For the next few days we will explore this important question of “How to love people you do not like.” Please stay with us!

The greatest demonstration of New Testament love is to be good to those who hate you. No subject is more important than human relationships, because God is making and molding us to live together for eternity; therefore, He wants us to love and live in harmony as a family. We, as members of the family of God, must never allow hate to come into our hearts. No person in the family should ever be treated as an enemy. So, how can I love my enemies?

NEVER REACT, STRIKE BACK OR WISH THEM HARM

Verse 27, “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.”

  • Do good to them

Love your enemies is completely against our human nature; however, we must respond in love, mercy and with compassion. There are basically two responses to those whom we have difficulty showing our love:

o   We can disapprove of their conduct and let them know it.

This is confrontational. In other words, we will confront them in a biblical way when Scripture requires it.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 23:21-25. Ask, “Have I hated anyone lately? Complete__

    May 6th      

 Do We Really Understand the Love of God? Continued!

We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19-21, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

When we learn to love like God, we know that “we dwell in Him, and He in us,” because there is a loving and abiding communion between us; as well as in each other. This kind of love is sure evidence of Him dwelling in us and us in Him. We know Him through His love, and they will know us through our love for them.

A cold heart can never understand a warm heart. On the other hand, a warm heart can have communion with another. So, we come to know God by learning to love like He loves and the more complete our devotion to God the more our devotion to others. The result is that we gain a richer and fuller knowledge of God’s infinite love.

We end the way we started: The heart that does not love, cannot know God and cannot love in a Biblical way.

As someone put it, “The love of God is so wide that it reaches the multitudes and so minute that it yearns for one sinner to repent. It is so active that it radiates the entire universe, and so tender that it would not that “even one of these little ones should perish.” How can a man who does not love understand all that? It is not God that closes His heart against man, but man that hardens his heart against God, and until the warmth of God’s divine love melts the cold frozen heart, no stream of love will ever flow from Him to bring joy to a dying world.” Unknown

How is your heart? Is it warm toward God? If so, it will be warm toward others. We need to love one another with God’s love.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 14-15. Complete__

May 5th      

Matthew Henry said, “He that would keep warm, must stay near the fire.”

  • First, God is Love.

We cannot know peace or happiness until we understand how much God loves us; that Jesus put away our sin and manifested God’s love in us.

  • Second, God’s love is unique.

We have our part and God has His. Notice in verses 10-11, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” Herein is love as if nowhere else, because all other love is as “sounding brass and tinkling symbol.”

Someone outlined it this way:

o  It’s origin – God’s own agape love.

o  It’s method – sacrifice of His Son.

o  It’s object – sinners.

o  It’s extent – the whole world.

o  It’s intent – so that we might live to love. We love because He first loved us.

  • Third, God’s love offers fellowship with Him and one another.

Verses 12-13, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 11-13. What do you do when you can’t love? Complete__

May 4th      

 Do We Really Understand the Love of God? Continued!

Keep in mind all that we have learned about our relationship with God and each other as we continue our study in 1 John.

Dr. Harry Ironside tells of a prideful lady who stopped him after an evening service and said, “I have no use for the Bible religion dogma, I just know that God is love.” Dr. Ironside asked her, “How did you know that?” She replied, “Everybody knows that.” Dr. Ironside said, “You did not learn it from any other book than the Bible.”

John spoke of the Antichrist and instructs the Christians to cleave closer to one another and be knit by the bonds of God’s love.

In 1 John 1:5 God is light; in chapter 4:7-16 God is love, and in chapter 5 God is life.

He said much about all three, but spends a special amount of time on the matter of love. Why? John was the disciple whom Jesus loved, because the love of God was in him.

Verse 8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In John 4:24, God is a Spirit, and here God is love.”

These three words tell more about God than all the books ever written on the subject. They are truly a revelation, because we are taught how to think about God, and if we stay on track, we cannot get too far off.

WE WILL MANISFEST GOD’S LOVE IN OUR LIVES, 4:9-10

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Through whom? His only Son. How? His blood. Why? For our sins. What purpose? So that we might live through Him.

To really understand the love of God, we must understand three important truths:

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 9-10. “The greatest of these is ________. Complete__

   May 3rd

Do We Really Understand the Love of God? Continued!

1 Peter 1:22, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”

  • That we can see God’s love, 1 John 4:9 -10.

God’s love is seen in one supreme Act. He sent His Son to die for man’s sin, and it is God’s way of saving man from sin and hell.

  • That God’s Spirit is within us, verses 12 -13.

God is not known by sight, but He is known only by love, and mature love will prove that God is in us.

  • That our testimony and confession are true, verses 14 -16.

o   The great testimony: God sent “Christ to be the Saviour.” o   The great promise: The person who confesses Christ dwells in God and God in him. o The great confession: We know and believe God.

  • That God is going to deliver us from judgment, verse 17.
  • That God delivers us from fear, verse 18.
  • That we in fact love God, verses 19 -21.

o   The basis – His Love. o   The illustration – a false profession. o   The commandment – God commands love. Verse 21, “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 6-8. Can you define the love of God? Complete__

           

                         May 2nd                         

Do We Really Understand the Love of God? Continued!

Read 1 Corinthians 13 

“And hereby we know that he abideth in us.” This is another proof that we are true Christians and really understand the love God. It is the Holy Spirit who leads us to His people to enlighten them, to build their faith, to help sustain them in times of trial, to challenge them in their service to God, and to instill in them the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When these traits are evident, we can be certain that the Spirit of God is with us, because these are the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22, and the effects He produces in the lives of every Christian. It will then be evident to all with whom we come in contact that we really do understand the love God.

WE WILL LOVE ONE ANOTHER, 4:7-21

  • This will prove that we are born of and know God.

1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

God very nature is love. If we love God we will become loving Christians and take on the very nature of God and people will see and know that we are born of God. They will see it by our love for God and one another according to Matthew 22:39, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 15:12, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” Romans 12:9, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12, “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 4-5. Whom have you noticed that shows love? Complete__                 

May 1st 

                          Do We Really Understand the Love of God? Continued!                             

Review yesterday’s devotion

Notice several truths about love:

  • Love will PROCLAIM our nature – new birth.
  • Love does not PERSECUTE the righteous.
  • Love proves we are PASSED from death to life.

WE WILL ESTABLISH A CLEAN HEART, 3:18-24

My little children or, my beloved children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed, and by merciful acts, allow the love of Christ and man to be evident in our lives.

And in truth. There are some good comments in Adam Clarke’s commentary on this point: “If love consisted in word only, then love ceaseth as soon as the word is pronounced. Such was the love between Balak and Balaam. But if love consisteth not in word, it cannot be dissolved; such was the love of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the rest of the patriarchs which were before them.”

“If our heart condemn us,” or if we are conscious that our love is insincere, we will feel inwardly condemned in professing to have what we do not have, because God knows every hypocritical act or word as He searches the heart and sees all the deceitfulness and wickedness of the heart that we cannot see. If we could see it, we would not be able to understand with our human nature, because He is the loving and just Judge, and He will condemn us more extensively than our own conscience could. On the other hand, “if our heart condemn us not,” we will be conscious of our own sincerity, and not with a deceitful heart.

Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” If we come to God with confidence, we can appeal to Him sincerely, and that is why He says in verse 24, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” When we are filled with and understand the love of God and man, we will do things that are well-pleasing to Him.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Kings 1-3. Have you shown your love this week? Complete__         

April 30th               

Do We Really Understand the Love of God? Part 5

Think about what you have read Go over some of the thoughts learned the last four days before continuing.

  • The PROGRAM of deliverance – man is sinful.
  • The PROVISION for deliverance – Christ.
  • The PROOF of deliverance – we will not sin.
  • The PRODUCT of deliverance – we are freed from living under sin.

WE WILL EXIST BY LOVE, 3:10-17

Those who are controlled by their father the devil will manifest the fruit of wickedness, but those who are controlled by the love and Spirit of God will attempt to live pure lives.

  • Who are the children of the devil? Those that commit sin.
  • Who then are the children of God? Those that have been saved from the power and penalty of sin

The Bible says in Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Those that work righteousness will stand or fall before God, whatever our belief may say to the contrary.

Notice verse 11, “For this is the message (or commandment) that we should love one another.”

The word command, or rule, would express what God is saying very clearly. Actually, the reference is to the law given by Christ as a permanent reminder to His disciples. Sometimes, we as Christians attempt to pursue a different course, but God has given us His Word as a reminder to stay on His course.

What all this really amounts to is that some of us work righteousness and love our brethren, while others do not. Here is another fearful thought: those who continually live in sin are taking an active part against Jesus Christ and His cause in favor of the cause of the devil.

If they continue on this course, they will be treated as the servants of Satan, and be made partakers of his evil deeds. But for the Christian who loves God:

Daily Assignments

Read I Kings 21-22. Picture Jesus’ love of sacrifice. Complete__

April 29th 

Do We Really Understand the Love of God? Part 4  

Review the last three days devotion

Verse 7, “Let no man deceive you.” In other words, don’t let anyone deceive you into thinking that you cannot be saved from sin, or that sin will not destroy you in the end. One of the blessings of being a Christian is that our sin cannot change the fact that we are children of God and our adoption is eternal.

He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. As God is righteous, so are we in a more limited way. Notice in verse eight that we cannot get away from the biblical truth that “he that committeth sin is of the devil,” and this proves that he still has the nature of the devil in him.

“For the devil sinneth from the beginning.” He is not only a liar, but also the father of all lies, as well as all sin. It is the devil that brought sin into the world, and he continues his sin by living in the hearts of his followers, thus leading them into transgression. By doing this, he is also going to persuade others that they cannot be saved from their sins. Why? So that he can continually have a place in their hearts and power over them. He knows if he has a place in the heart throughout this life, he will probably have it throughout eternity in hell.

Verse 9, “Whosoever is born of God.” That is, one who is begotten of God does not habitually commit sin as he used to.

Socrates was delivering a lecture, his pupils, wishing to put the principles of the man’s science to proof, desired him to examine the face of their master, and say what his moral character was. After a full contemplation of the philosopher’s visage, he pronounced him “the most gluttonous, drunken, brutal, and libidinous old man that he had ever met.” As the character of Socrates was the reverse of all this, his disciples began to insult the physiognomist. Socrates interfered, and said, “The principles of his science may be very correct, for such I was, but I have conquered it by my philosophy.” O ye Christian divine! Ye real or pretended Gospel ministers! Will ye allow the influence of the grace of Christ a sway not even so extensive as that of the philosophy of a heathen who never heard of the true God? Power Bible CD 3.5

Daily Assignments

Read I Kings 19-20. Understanding opens a heart of love. Complete__

April 28th

Do We Really Understand the Love of God? Part 3         

Review the last two days devotion

Do we love them, no matter who they are? If we love our fellow man, it proves that we love God. God has much to say about the matter of proving our love.

Six proofs of our love for God are given in chapters 3 and 4:

WE WILL EXPERIENCE THE LOVE OF GOD, 3:1-3

Volumes could be written on these three verses without exhausting the subject of the love of God. What great love, both as to quantity and quality! John does not even attempt to describe the length, the breadth, the depth, and the height of the love of God, because there is nothing we, who were once children of the devil, have done to be called the sons of God.

The Jews and all who do not know God and are seeking His blessing without understanding the depth of His love cannot begin to understand the sacrifice He made. As many today, the Jews did not acknowledge Jesus as Messiah, or approve of His message.

  • The PRIVILEGE of God’s love – we are sons of God.
  • The POWER of God’s love – we will be transformed.
  • The PURPOSE of God’s love – we will be made pure.

WE WILL TURN FROM ENSLAVING SIN, 3:4-9

Sin is the transgression of the law, and all disobedience is contrary to love; therefore, any transgression of the law is sin, whether the act refers immediately to God or to our neighbor.

Jesus came into the world to destroy the power and penalty of sin and Satan. He came also to pardon the guilty and cleanse them from the pretense of sin. He was born, suffered, bled and died for this purpose; and we can be sure that He will accomplish it to the end. We can abide in Him only by faith, love, and obedience, because our hearts are purified by faith, and Jesus is the Mediator between God and us.

John is saying that he who sins against God does not see Him; neither does he know Him, because his faith is darkened, so that he cannot see.

Daily Assignments

Read I Kings 16-18. Does your family know of His love? Complete__

   

April 27th 

             Do We Really Understand the Love of God? Part 2                     

Review yesterday’s devotion

Because fear hath torment. Fear is a painful and distressing emotion. We suffer from the fear of poverty, of loss, of sickness, of death, and of future problems.

“He that feareth, is not made perfect in love.” This is really food for thought: if our minds are consumed with fear and doubt, it proves that love has not yet accomplished its full work.

“We love him, because he first loved us.” Two thoughts regarding this short text:

  • The fact that He first loved us is motivation for us to love Him.
  • The reason we love Him is because He first loved us.

It is true that our love for God is usually in direct proportion to the blessings we have received from Him, but genuine love for God is something that cannot be explained by His favor, or blessing we have received. We must understand that it is the very nature and character of God to love. He gave evidence of His love for us by sending His Son to redeem us, and this explains why we now love Him.

He first loved us. John 15:16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar:” No matter what our professions may be, we cannot have any true love for God unless we love our brethren.

And this commandment have we from him. The command to love a brother is as much God’s Word as the commandment to love God. If we obey one, we should obey the other; we’ll never be true Christians unless we manifest love toward our brethren as well as love toward God.Three sure ways to measure whether or not we love God:

  • Do we love one another?
  • Do we love our neighbors?
  • Do we love our fellow man?

Daily Assignments

Read I Kings 14-15. Meditate on your love for Him. Complete__

           

                               April 26th                        

Do We Really Understand the Love of God?

1 John 4:7-21

Verses 17-21, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

Herein is our love made perfect or, the love that is within us is made perfect. The general idea is that love is made complete in the manner God specifies.

Love becomes what it ought to be, and will prepare us to appear with confidence before the judgment seat of Christ.

That we may have boldness in the day of judgment. The idea here is that if we have true love for God, we will have nothing to fear in the day of judgment, because, as He is, so are we in this world. In other words, we ought to have the same character traits that Jesus had.

There is no fear in love, or real love for God does not produce fear. Guilt makes us fear the future, but if our sins are forgiven and we are filled with the love of God, we have nothing to fear.

But perfect love casteth out fear. That is, love that is complete. If we love God with all of our hearts, we need never fear Him as our Judge, because perfect love gives us bold confidence and casts out fear.

Hebrews 2:14-15, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

Daily Assignments

Read I Kings 12-13. Meditate on His love for you. Complete__                                           

                                      April 25th                                               

Read Psalm 79 GOD’S LOVE WILL CHANGE US 

  • In our character. God will use circumstances and people.
  • In our Christ-likeness. God will help to apply the Word of God.

In other words, our attitudes and actions will become more like those of Christ. Certain things must never change: our message, mission and ministry, but our methods always change. A preacher defines himself in his message, not his method.

GOD’S LOVE WILL HELP US TO UNDERSTAND ACTIONS AND ATTITUDES We will not always understand everything, but we must learn to be

  • Teachable – because we do not understand it all.
  • Faithful – God does not always answer prayer the way we want Him to.

GOD’S LOVE WILL OPEN THE DOOR TO GREATER LEARNING AND UNDERSTANDING

  • Love is the key to relationships.
  • Love produces

o     Obedience o     Joy o     Love for others John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” HOW TO BUILD THIS KIND OF LOVE?

  • Through obedience and dependence on God.
  • Through the Holy Spirit and diligent study of the Scripture.

To make the love of God an adventure, we must stay in love with Jesus and He will help us to have greater love for Him and for one another.

Daily Assignments

Read I Kings 9-11. Share this lesson with friends? Complete__ 

April 24th

                          “An Adventure in the Love of God,” Continued!                        

Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

o     Love enables us to obey God’s commandments.

Psalmist in Psalm 119:32, “I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.”

According to the Bible we are “as sounding brass or tinkling cymbal without such love, And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

o      Love never fails, but always flourishes 1 Corinthians 13.

In verses 1-3 we see the motive of love.

In verses 4-7 we see the definition of love.

In verses 8-13 we see the action and attitude of love.

What is our motive for love? Love never dies; love is never defeated; love is never disillusioned; love is never disappointed because love is eternal.

“Love looks beyond the bounds of time and space, Love takes eternity in its embrace.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning

One of the reasons there are so many divorces in our culture is because we have forgotten how to love and what love really is. This is the kind of love that holds two hearts together no matter what. Christ never ceased to love and you cannot do anything to keep Him from loving you. Why? No sin is beyond His love! Love is about sacrificial giving and sanctimonious living.  Please read 2 Peter 1:5-10.

Love is the mark of real biblical maturity, and I believe there are three things we must understand to even approach maturity in biblical love.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Kings 8. How can we see the love of God? Complete__                              

                                                    April 23rd                                                  

Read Psalm 77

  • His love endures forever.

John 13:1, “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”

Two great Bible words are used: The word phileo means, “to have ardent affection and feeling,” or a type of impulsive love and the other word agapao means to have esteem or high regard.

In the discourse between Jesus and Peter in John 21:15-17, there is a play upon these two words. Jesus asks, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” (Esteem me?) But Peter replies, “Thou knowest that I love thee” (have ardent affection for you).

Then Jesus asks, “Simon, lovest thou me?” (have ardent affection for me?)   Peter responded that his love was phileo love – a love that held Jesus in high esteem and which was more than a fleeting feeling. The word agape is the characteristic term of Christianity.

Agape is used several different ways in the Bible.

  • Agape love indicates the nature of God’s love toward His Son, John 17:26; toward the human race, John 3:16, Romans 5:8, and toward those who are believers, John 14:21.
  • Agape love conveys God’s will to Christians about their love for one another as proof to the world of true discipleship, John 13:34-35.
  • Agape love can be known only from the actions it produces, as seen by God’s love in the gift of His Son, 1 John 4:9-10.

oLove is a perfect expression in the Lord Jesus Christ and Christian love is the fruit of the Spirit in the believer.

Daily Assignments

Read I Kings 5-7. How much do you love God? Complete__

April 22nd

An Adventure in the Love of God, Part 4    

Review the last three days devotions 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

2 John 1:3, “Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”

3 John 1:1-4, “The elder unto the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoice greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

By “An Adventure in the Love of God,” I mean that it truly is an adventure to realize the love God has for His children and the high regard we in turn should have for Him and our brethren. Hundreds of references to love in the Bible certainly prove it to be the most remarkable book of love in the world. The Bible records the greatest love story ever written – God’s unconditional love that sent His Son to die on the cross 1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

  • His love is everlasting.

Jeremiah 31:3The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

  • His love is undeserved.

Hosea 14:4, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.”

Daily Assignments

Read I Kings 2:26-4. How much do you love God? Complete__

     

April 21st

            An Adventure in the Love of God, Part 3      

Review the last two days devotions

1 John 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Verse 16, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

1 John 4:9, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”

1 John 3:16-17, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he Laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

His love is an adventure because it is the greatest among faith, hope and love, according to 1Corinthians 13:13, “the greatest of these is love” and it is evidence of being Christ’s disciple.

  • God’s love is the greatest love.
  • God’s love means service.
  • God’s love is of the Holy Spirit.
  • God’s love is among the brethren.
  • God’s love is truth.

John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

o  Love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22.

o  Love is the first thing Paul mentioned concerning Christian living.   Please read Ephesians 4:1-6.

o  True Christian love cannot be separated from truth, holiness and obedience.

Philemon 1:9, “Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.”

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Kings 1-2:25. Explain the love of God to someone. Complete__

April 20th 

                             An Adventure in the Love of God, Part 2                                                    

Read yesterday’s devotion

Think of it; His body is the cup that held the blood, which reminds us of the fact that we have forgiveness of sins because of His blood. We celebrate, or look back to an event that expresses love at its greatest. The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross has no equivalent as an expression of love. Think of all that was involved when Christ came to pay the penalty for our sins:

  • He had to leave all heaven’s glory to come to this sin-cursed world.
  • He had to humble Himself to become a man.
  • He had to experience hunger, thirst, weariness and pain.
  • He was spat upon, blasphemed and nailed to the accursed tree.
  • He hung in shame and agony before a bloodthirsty crowd.
  • He was rejected by His own people.
  • He was separated from His Father; the greatest pain of all.

All would agree that such love calls for a thankful response on our part; therefore, let’s surrender ourselves to our Saviour and Lord each time we gather around His table, and make it an act of gratitude for His sacrifice at Calvary, which is a demonstration of love as an adventure.

His love was undeserved, yet He gave it; it was even unwanted, yet He made us realize the need; it was even unappreciated, yet He gave it freely. How thankful we should be for His love, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Seven important Bible facts to consider about God’s love:

 Love is part of God’s nature.

Love is not only one of God’s attributes; it is also an essential part of His nature, “God is love.” Such love surpasses our understanding, according to Ephesians 3:19, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 23-24. Think of God’s love for you. Complete___

April 19th

An Adventure in the Love of God!

Verse 26, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”

Jesus said in John 15:13. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down is life for his friends.”

The purpose of this first in a series of the love of God is not to examine the Lord’s Supper in depth, except to say that when we eat the bread and drink of the cup at our communion services, “ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”

This may surprise some of our readers, but Paul was not present at this Supper, which proves that the words were divinely given. It was the night when the whole arsenal of hell met our Saviour.

Notice in verse twenty-four Jesus gave thanks while realizing that this was truly the night when He was in the valley of the shadow of death. Death was knocking at the door of the upper room. When we break the bread, it speaks of His broken body, but it also speaks of sharing with others. The cup speaks of the blood of Christ and the New Covenant. It is called the cup, and in some instances, the fruit of the vine, but never is it called wine.

Someone said, “The very mention of the breaking of bread involves distribution, and rebukes the Corinthian plan of every man for himself.”

Sometimes people ask why we do not use fermented wine when taking the Lord’s Supper. The simple truth is that God is always consistent, and we know it was unfermented because it was at the time of the Passover; a time of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at which time all was to be unleavened. It is foolish to argue whether it was wine or grape juice, because if we understand the Scripture, we know that it was juice. Wine is leavened grape juice and the Bible says wine is a mocker.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 21-22. Think of God’s love. Complete___

April 18th

An Adventure in The Love of God!

 The Introduction!

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 13

The Bible clearly teaches the importance of understanding the love Christ has for His Church. He would not have endured the shame and suffering of the cruelty of the cross-had he not loved us.

Jesus has taught us what real love is and what we must do to love one another and love those that are lost. He said in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

When I fell in love with my wife Mary many years ago, I was attracted to her in a typical attraction with which most young couples are familiar. It was over the period of many years of trial and troubles that created within me a deeper abiding love that has been tested and proven. I have often said that it was love at first sight as far as I was concerned.

When I met my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I must say without any disrespect, that it was truly love at first knowledge of Him. Though over the years the love I have for Him has greatly matured with a heart of yearning to see Him face to face.

It has truly been an adventure to learn how much He really does love me, and how I cannot help loving Him more each and every day.

The Standard of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and it would be a wonderful “Adventure in the Love of God” for all Christians to strive for this kind of love in their walk with God.

For the next several weeks we will make an exhaustive study of the wonderful love of God. It is my prayer that you will join us each day, in “An Adventure in the Love of God!”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 19-20. Find someone who is in need of someone to love them. You need not look far. Complete___

April 17th

“PRACTICAL HELPS IN PRAYER,” CONCLUSION!     

Review the last four days devotions

WHAT HINDERS PRAYER CONTINUED

  • Unconfessed sin, Proverbs 28:13, Psalm 66:18.
  • Unforgiving spirit, Matthew 6:14-15 (a bitter spirit).
  • Unbelief in prayer, Hebrews 11:6, a lack of faith.
  • Unwilling to believe when praying, James 4:2.
  • Ungodly motives in asking, James 4:3.
  • Unbiblical family relationships.

1 Peter 3:7, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

WHAT SHOULD WE PRAY FOR?

  • For the lost to be saved, 1 Timothy 2:1-4.
  • For the saved and their needs, Ephesians 6:18.
  • For our country, our leaders, and our military, Psalm 122:6.
  • For our preacher, Ephesians 6:19-20.
  • For the needs of the church, Ephesians 1:15-22, 2 Peter 3:18.
  • For God to be glorified.

Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

“Our laziness after God is our crying sin. The children of this world are far wise than we. They are at it early and late. We do not seek after God with order and diligence. No one gets God who does not follow hard after Him early.” E.M. Bounds.

Let’s work on being men and women of prayer!

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 17-18. Try to make a list of things you have learned in the past month about the matter of prayer, and share it. Complete___

April 16th 

 Practical Helps in Prayer! Part 3          

Review the last two days devotions

WHAT SHOULD WE PRAY?

Again we refer to 1 Timothy 2:1, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” Read Matthew 6:9-13.

  • Adoration: coming into the presence of God.
  • Thanksgiving for what He has done.
  • Praise for what and who He is.
  • Supplication: coming with a sense of need, like a beggar.
  • Intercession: coming on behalf of others.
  • Confession: calling sin by what God calls it, repenting and claiming the blood of Jesus 1 John 1:7-9.

E.M. Bounds said, “Jesus had many long season of prayer. Paul prayed day and night. Daniel prayed three times a day. David prayed mornings, noon, and night.”

John Wesley said, “Prayer is my business.”

WHEN SHOULD WE PRAY?

  • At a specific time everyday, Nehemiah 1. It took him weeks to get an answer from God.
  • Spontaneously: whenever there is a need, Nehemiah 4:4-6.
  • Without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

WHAT HINDERS PRAYER?

  • Unbroken idols or things that come before God. Ezekiel 14:3, “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 15-16. Pray for our President, Congress and all your local leaders over the next week. Complete___

April 15th

                          Practical Helps in Prayer!  Part 2                               

Read yesterday’s devotion

  • God hears the prayers of the saved.

Luke 18:13-14, “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

  • This is really where it all begins, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
  • He hears us because we are His children.

WHY SHOULD WE PRAY?

  • It is commanded of God:

1 Timothy 2:1, 8, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; v. 8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

  • It is commended of God:

Proverbs 15:7, “The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.”

  • Christ paid the ultimate price to allow us the privilege.

Hebrews 10:19, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 13-14. God did not promise to say ‘yes’ to all our petitions. Sometimes ‘”no” is the right answer. Think about it! Complete_                       

                          April 14th                                      

Practical Helps in Prayer!

Read Matthew 17:14-21 

Dr. Rice always said that prayer is asking. Prayer is talking to God. God speaks to us through His Word, and we speak to God through prayer, “Ye have not because ye ask not.” We should pray first when we have any kind of need.

E.M. Bounds says, “The value of prayer is not measured by a clock, but our purpose should be to spend much time with God.”

Martin Luther said, “If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. He that has prayed well has studied well.”

1 Timothy, 2:1, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.”

Luke 11:1-8, “I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” Also read Luke 18:1-5.

WHO SHOULD PRAY?

  • God does not promise to answer the prayers of the unsaved.
  • Those prayers do not please God, Luke 18:9-14.
  • We know that the prayers of the unsaved do not please God because Jesus did not argue with the statement, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners” John 9:31.

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 10-12. Who is the person you can help to pray? Complete___

April 13th 

       Prayer That Works, Part 3  

Review the last two days Devotions

Solomon for his faultless prayers of wisdom.

Jesus for His fervency in the Garden and in John 17.

WE MUST HAVE BE A PROPER CONFESSION

  • Unbelief hinders prayer.

Reconciliation must be made according to Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

  • Sin hampers prayer.

Our sin causes us to be out of fellowship with God, Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”

Psalms 22, 23 and 24 form a trilogy, or a musical composition:

In Psalm 22, the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

In Psalm 23, the Great Shepherd “is brought again from the dead, … that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”

In Psalm 24, the Chief Shepherd appears as King of Glory to reward His sheep.

1 Peter 5:4, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

The key to prayer that works is not necessarily to pray more, but to pray more effectively!

E.M. Bounds writes, “While many private prayers must be short, public prayers as a rule ought to be short and condensed; yet in our private communion with God is essential to its value.”

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 6-9. When all seemed hopeless, did you think to pray? Complete___

April 12th

Prayer That Works, Part 2      

Read yesterday’s devotion

In verse 1 He is roaring (as a Lion) or moaning out of pain; and in verse 6, He is like a worm. The Coccus (Khakas) worm was used to die curtains red or scarlet in the Tabernacle.

God said in 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.” Only Christ’s blood can save us from the penalty of our sin.

Canon Liddon said, “The greatest practical resolves that have enriched and beatified human life in Christian time have been arrived at in prayer.”

How can we learn to improve our prayer life from this Psalm? WE MUST HAVE A PROPER CONCEPT OF WHO CHRIST IS

  • He is real, just as real as the people in your life.
  • He is concerned, interested in every part of your life.

WE MUST HAVE A PROPER CONVERSATION

  • Pray properly, ask, seek and knock.
  • Pray accurately, study Bible examples:

Hannah for her faith in prayer.

David for his favor with God in his prayers.

Notice David’s prayer in Psalm 55:17, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”

David calls out to God because of the betrayal of a friend:

  • He prays in anguish, regarding himself in verses 1-8.
  • He prays in anger, concerning his enemies in verses 9-15.
  • He prays in assurance with respect to God in verses 16-23.

Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 3-5. Start using a prayer journal if not already using one. Complete___

April 11th     

          Prayer that Works!           

Read Psalm 22:1-31

Psalm 22 is quoted more than any other Psalm in the New Testament, because of its discourse on the sufferings of Christ. Much of this Psalm expresses the suffering of David, yet he places his trust in God in spite of His seeming rejection.

The Psalm points to the fulfilled sufferings of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It opens with Jesus’ cry on the cross; He cried out or prayed to His Father until He had no more power to speak. No one could or would help Him through this trial; as evidenced by the fact that all the disciples forsook Him at the cross.

Psalm twenty-two is called the Psalm of crucifixion because it graphically pictures the crucifixion. Most believe that Christ’s last seven statements while on the cross were directly or indirectly from this Psalm.

Verse 1, “My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken me?”

Verses 7-8, “Father forgive them.”

Verses 9-10, “Woman, Behold Thy Son.”

Verse 15, “I thirst.”

Verses 19-20, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit.”

Verses 25-26, “Today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”

Verse 31, “It is finished” (tetelestai).

  • His bones are out of joint in verse 14, and suffering causes His perspiration.
  • His Heartbeat is affected verse 14.
  • Thirst causes extreme pain.
  • His hands and feet are pierced.
  • He receives humiliating treatment verses 6-8, 12-13. Continued!

                 Daily Assignments

Read 2 Samuel 1-2. Call someone today and let him or her know you prayed for him or her. Complete___

April 10th 

                                     “The Character of Prayer,” Part 5                               

Read Proverbs chapter 8

How did he accomplish this?

  • By removing obstacles (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
  • By protecting from adversaries (2 Thessalonians 3:2)
  • By opening doors (Colossians 4:3, “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds.”)

Ephesians 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

PRAYER IS GOD’S DESIGN FOR SUPPORTING OUR SPIRITUAL WARFARE

  • Carried on in the Spirit
  • Conducted in behalf of the saints

Prayer changes people and things, and if prayer changes people and things, it also changes families and churches. If families and churches are praying, soon it will change our nation.

Let’s learn to be men and women of prayer, teaching our young people that prayer is important and absolutely necessary for them to succeed in their Christian walk with God.

E.M. Bounds said, “No ministry can succeed without much praying, and this praying must be fundamental, ever-abiding, ever-increasing.”

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 28-31. Our hope is that the focus on prayer has been a challenge to you and your family to daily fervently pray for God to heal our homes and country. Complete___

 

 April 9th 

          The Character of Prayer!  Part 4            

Review the last three days devotions

E.M. Bounds writes, “Prayer is a humbling work; it abases intellect and pride, crucifies vain glory, and signs our spiritual bankruptcy, and all these are hard for flesh and blood to bear. It is easier not to pray than to bear them.”

I believe that Daniel was spared because of his love for God and respect for man and his authority; however, he realized that when the law of man contradicted the law of God, he must obey God.

PRAYER IS A DUTY IN SPREADING THE GOSPEL

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2, “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.”

Richard Newton said, “Prayer, patience and faith are never disappointed.

Paul, also found himself in a position to make the call as to whether he was going to obey God and His commands or yield by way of compromise to the threats of man and his perceived laws.

Ephesians 6:19, “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.”

This, too, proves that Paul was a great man of prayer as well as bold in taking his stand for God.

Paul had but one desire in his ministry: to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be a blessing and help to his followers. Continued tomorrow

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 25-27. Let your boss know that you appreciate your job. Complete___

 

April 8th 

                        The Character of Prayer!  Part 3                         

Read Psalm 51

1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

PRAYER IS A DECREE DEMANDING OBEDIENCE

When we become dependent upon God for everything, realizing that we can do nothing without Him, then we too will always be in the spirit of prayer. When we feel the spirit of God moving in our lives, we too will often find ourselves in the exercise of prayer. In fact, the Bible commands in Luke 18:1, “men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

E.M. Bounds says, “The preachers that are the mightiest in their closet with God, are the mightiest in the pulpit with men.

  • The command: to pray
  • The continuation: without ceasing

In Daniel 6:11-17 we find that Daniel was in a real troublesome position: on one hand he had a decree from God, whose servant he was, while on the other there was a decree from the king whom he served. It did not take Daniel long to decide since he had already learned that it is better to obey God than man. How would Daniel respond to a king who had given him so much including the opportunity to serve in the highest of positions?

Verse 13, “Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.”

Their plan was to cause the king to have the same wicked attitude toward Daniel as they did, because this would give them the advantage of casting Daniel into the lions’ den. They sought to kill him for the terrible crime of praying to his God three times a day and because he chose to obey God rather than man and this ungodly law. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 22-24. Pray for a God-sent revival in America. Complete___

April 7th

                      The Character of Prayer!  Part 2                      

Read yesterday’s devotion

Daniel 6:11, “Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.”

Notice also in verse six, “Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.” They assembled or ran quickly, without wasting any time, in order to catch Daniel in the very act of praying to his God.

Think of how they must have hated Daniel for his character in prayer and his testimony for the Lord; for that, they brought him before the king as one of the vilest malefactors, to be cast into the den of lions, to be torn apart and eaten by the lions

.What was his sin? His only sin was that of praying to and worshipping his God. The placing of the stone was probably the providence of God. By the king sealing it with his own signet, no one could question the authenticity of this miracle. Daniel had an excellent sprit in him and did not fear for his life or for praying as he always had before. He offered himself and trusted in God for his deliverance.

Again, I quote E.M. Bounds, “Prayer by routine, habit, as a performance in a professional way, is a rotten and a dead thing. True praying sets on fire every high element of prayer.”

This is what I call the character of prayer. It is one thing to pray when you pretty much know the outcome before hand; it is quite another to pray when your very life hangs in the balance. What a contrast between the Spirit-controlled responses of Jesus to those that sought to kill Him, and in the securing of the tomb for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It, too, was sealed with the Roman seal, so that no one could legitimately question His resurrection. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 19-21. Let your Pastor know you prayed for him and his family. Complete___

 April 6th 

               The Character of Prayer!                 

Read Daniel chapter 6 Please study Daniel Chapter six along with this lesson and use Daniel’s prayer as a model prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-25, “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us.”

Think of where we would be if we did not have the ability and privilege to pray; or worse yet, if we could pray but never had an answer of any kind from God. Prayer is no more than asking and nothing less than believing. If I ask in faith, I know that He will answer according to my faith. In other words, when I pray, I must believe that He will answer. “For without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6).

Sir Thomas Buxton said, “Prayer is precious beyond all price. Never, never neglect it.”

“Prayer is the first thing, the second thing, the third thing necessary to minister.” Edward Pagson

What do we mean by the character of prayer?

PRAYER IS A DEVOTION REQUIRING PERSISTENCE Luke 18:1, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

  • The duration: always.
  • The demand: and not to faint.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 17-18. Let your Pastor know you prayed for him and his family. Complete___

 

April 5th 

WHAT TO DO IN A CRISIS! PART 4      

Review the last three days devotions

Jacob, by prayer, committed his case to God and went on about his business. No matter what Esau’s countenance may have been toward Jacob and his family, Jacob realized that nothing could harm him if he trusted in God.

Jacob bowed to Esau in a humble, submissive act of remorse. I believe this went a long way in turning away the wrath of Esau. The Bible says in Psalm 51:17, “a broken and contrite spirit God will not despise,” neither will a brother that has been hurt or offended.

THERE WAS A SOBER MOMENT OF WEEPING, 33:4

They had a great time of weeping for each other. Maybe that is what we need in our churches and in our families during these difficult times of crisis in our nation and in the world. We need some people weeping over the condition of our nation. These brothers had a great, sobering moment of weeping.

According to Psalm 56:8, God places our tears in a bottle and stores them in heaven and uses them for a sacrifice. If we fail to have a set time of preparation, a season of prayer, and a sobering moment of shedding tears, we may face a time of shedding blood in the future. God not only has the heart of man in His hands, but He can also change that heart however He pleases. It is not a sign of weakness to call upon God and to trust Him in a crisis, but even more so when we have to call upon Him in the day of trouble. Wow! Here is the best part. Proverbs 16:7, “when a man’s ways please the Lord he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Don’t just plan for a crisis to happen, plan for when it happens. Are you facing a crisis today?  Why not have set times of preparation, a season of prayer, and a sober moment of weeping?

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 14:24-16. What is your plan in facing your next crisis? Complete___

April 4th

WHAT TO DO IN A CRISIS! PART 3               

Review the last two days devotions

How did Jacob cope with this problem? There are several things that helped Jacob and can help us as well.

THERE WAS A SET TIME OF PREPARATION, GENESIS 32:1-23

At this point, Jacob was still greatly afraid and distressed (32:7) because he remembered the threat Esau had made in Genesis 27:41-42. On the other hand, this also caused him to pray with humility of spirit as seen in 32:9-12. Humility was certainly needed in the life of Jacob as it is for us.

The Bible says in Proverbs 16:21, “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongues, is from the Lord.”

We may have our own ideas and plans, but ultimately it is God that works out His plan if we will yield ourselves to Him. 

THERE WAS A SEASON OF PRAYER, 32:24-32

Jacob wrestled with the Angel all night and saw Him face to face. He is crippled (limped) now and has to depend on God in verse 32:31. Jacob bows seven times in showing respect with humility for his brother Esau. This was an act of utmost respect because it was the same seven bows offered to kings. Only bows to God with the face to the ground showed greater respect. When we bow to others, we place them above us and our own selfish intentions (33:6-7).

In the New Testament we see not only the example of humility in Jesus Christ, but He also placed much importance on prayer when He said in Mark 9:29, “such cometh by nothing but prayer and fasting.” 

  • Jacob had power with God because he prepared.
  • Jacob had power with God and man because he prayed.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 12-14:23. Who was encouraged by your presence today? Concluded tomorrow! Complete___ 

April 3rd 

       WHAT TO DO IN A CRISIS! PART 2            

Review yesterday’s devotion

Shechem was an important city in the land of Canaan, also a place where God had His protective hand on Jacob, because of the wickedness of the Canaanites as we see in chapter thirty-four. I recently heard a pastor say that Jacob and his family picture the Church under the yoke of the wicked who out of fear, are brought to subjection.

Jacob may have spent as many as ten years in Succoth before he moved on to Shechem and this was probably another time of preparation in his life. He would face some difficult days up ahead; not only his confrontation with God in the renewal of the covenant, but also of the death of Rachel and Isaac. It was at Bethel where Jacob was called to purge himself of all idolatry and heathen practices.

Some believe that Esau came with an intention to kill his brother and this is the reason he took four hundred armed men with him. There is no evidence of this kind of hatred on the part of Esau and no proof that the four hundred were armed. On the other hand, we do know that Esau acted with wisdom toward Jacob, because of his lies in the past.

My question is, with such a forgiving and forgetful spirit of all the pain his brother caused him, why would Esau be considered such an evil man throughout history?

Adam Clarke’s Commentary has some good comments on this subject: “Here is the secret. With some people, on the most ungrounded assumption, Esau is a reprobate, and the type and figure of all reprobates, and therefore he must be everything that is bad.  Whether true or false in itself, it has no support from the character or conduct of Esau.”

In this chapter, Jacob faces the crisis of having to meet his brother Esau. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 8-11. How did you respond to the last crisis you faced?  Complete___              

                                              April 2nd                                            

WHAT TO DO IN A CRISIS!

Genesis 33:1-20

Verses 1-2, “And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel, and Joseph hindermost.”

There are two ways to approach the study of the life of Jacob; one is to emphasize his pride and backslidden condition as in Genesis 27:19, “And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.” And Esau in Hebrews 12:16, “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.”

The other aspects of Jacob’s life to examine are his pain and brokenness after more than twenty years of fearful separation from his brother Esau. In this study, we will focus on his pain and brokenness.

Esau meets Jacob with four hundred men, and Jacob places his children near their mothers. He passes over before them, and bows himself to Esau, who welcomes him with great affection while Leah, Rachel, and their children give him respect. It is interesting that Joseph was the most protected of all the children.

Jacob offers Esau cattle, which he at first refuses, but after some pleading accepts Jacob’s gift as a matter of respect. Esau invites Jacob to go with him to Mount Seir, but Jacob excuses himself because of his flocks and herds, as well as his children, but promises to join Esau later. Esau offers to leave Jacob some of his servants, which Jacob declines, and Esau returns to Seir while Jacob journeys on to Succoth in verse seventeen, and on to Shalem a city of Shechem the land of Canaan, where Jacob buys a parcel of field from the children of Hamor and builds an altar which he calls El-elohe-Israel or (A Mighty God is the God of Israel). Continued tomorrow

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 4-7. What crisis have you faced this week?  Complete 

April 1st      

THE HIGHEST CALLING, PART 3

Review the last two days devotions

Jerusalem, which was once so strong and full of people is now destroyed, desolate and has become like a widow having lost her king and strong leaders. In the Scripture we find cities symbolized as mothers, kings as husbands, and princes as children. When cities or nations are deserted of these they become as childless widows.

The immorality and consequences of materialism of nations have often resulted in terrible judgment for their sins. These nations are used as reminders to the rest of the world of God’s power and control over human authority and His punishment to all those, however powerful, who continue to disobey Him.

Finally, we find the word solitary used only once in the New Testament in Mark 1:35, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”

What a picture of the need for Christians and America as a nation; how we must seek God in a solitary way or place. We find Jesus praying in the fourth watch; not that He needed anything, because all the fulness of the Godhead bodily was in Him; but He set a pattern of sacrifice for us. He departed into a solitary place, or a deserted place, in the wilderness. Hallelujah!  A place that was once a place of dryness, a place of rocks and a wilderness had become a place of prayer. I am sure that Jesus enjoyed some uninterrupted hours with His heavenly Father in a solitary place of communion. Spurgeon said, “He had much work before him, and therefore desired much communion with God.  Press of business should not excuse us from prayer, but rather urge us to have more of it. The Son of Righteousness was up before the sun. How much must our Lord have loved prayer to renounce his needed rest in sleep, in order to hold converse with his heavenly Father?  He was sinless, and yet needed prayer: far be it from us to dream that we can do without it. In private we must, like our Lord, equip ourselves for the public battle of life.”

Why the title, “The Highest Calling?” God setteth the solitary in families! The highest calling in the world is the Christian home with a solitary place of prayer.

Daily Assignments

Read 1 Samuel 1-3. What is the highest calling to you?  Complete__             

                      March 31st                  

THE HIGHEST CALLING, PART 2

Read yesterday’s devotion

The second time we find “solitary” is in Job 30:3-6, “For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste. Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat. They were driven forth from among men, (they cried after them as after a thief;) To dwell in the clifts of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks.”

Fleeing into the wilderness denotes seeking a way to sustain life even in the wilderness. This shows a desire to find solitary in a place that was once desolate and empty of any usefulness. In this case solitary means a place as dark as the night. The lowest of the low that Job had befriended were now insulting him.

The third time we find “solitary” is in Psalm 107:4, “They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.”

The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years and found no place of joy, or music, or any place in which to dwell.

The fourth occasion we find the word solitary is in Isaiah 35:1, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose,” or the wilderness will be a place of gladness, rejoicing and blossom as a rose.

Isaiah spoke of moral dryness and the coming judgment of Armageddon in chapter thirty-four and gives the promise of blessing when the desert will bloom with the promise of the millennium kingdom in chapter thirty-five.

The last time we see solitary used in the Old Testament is in Lamentations 1:1, “How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!”

How does a city or nation that was once full of morality and blessing become as a widow? Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Ruth 1-4. How would you grade your personal walk with God, or how about your family?  Complete___                     

                                      March 30th                                 

The Highest Calling!

Read Psalm 68:1-6

Verse 6, “God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” The Bible says, “God setteth the solitary in families.”

I remember when I was a child and teen-ager that one of the things I enjoyed most was to have mom at home when I arrived, not only when I had a bad day at school. It was so good to have an understanding, loving mother waiting for me.

What has happened to the love and security once found in the home? I can recall when the home was considered a haven from the world, but things have changed. For many today, the home has become a battleground from which they seek to flee.

  • What has happened to the home today?
  • Why are more than 50% of our marriages ending in divorce?
  • Why are children growing up in homes with only one parent?
  • Why are so many with a parent who has remarried?

I made a study on the word solitary in the Bible; it is mentioned six times in the Old Testament and only once in the New Testament.

The first time “solitary” appears is when Job cursed the day on which he was born, Job 3:7, “Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.”  Read verses 1-13.

The word solitary in the Hebrew is galmud, which means to cut off, to make bare or to amputate. It comes from the Arabic jalmud, meaning a great stone and a burden. I believe Job is saying, “Let that night be as a bare rock or a night of tribulation, and let there be no enjoyable sounds of music heard.”  Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Judges 20-21. What are your thoughts about your pastor and what have you done to help him.  Complete__

March 29th

Why Don’t we get our Prayers Answered? Part 6

Keep in mind that love, like obedience, is imperfect as long as there are doubt and fear of heart. When we ask in confidence and keep God’s commandments, we give evidence of the fact that we are led by love and faith in God.

1 John 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we are willing to hear God and to obey His Word, He will hear and give what we ask of Him.”

  • Pray with persistence, importunity.

Luke 11:8, “I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” (Please see, “Why we have to beg God.”)

E.M. Bounds said, “Prayer is not a little habit pinned on us while we were tied to our mother’s apron strings, but it is a most serious work of our most serious years.”

  • Pray in agreement with God.

Matthew 18:19, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

WE MUST BE HOLY IN OUR RESPONSE TO PRAYER

All Christians should, and can, experience answers to our prayers. If not, it is either that we are out of fellowship with the Lord, or He just wants us to be patient and keep on asking.

E.M. Bounds says, “Prayer engages more time and appetite than our longest dining’s or richest feasts. No learning can make up for the failure to pray.” Amen!

Daily Assignments

Read Judges 18-19. Make a list of things you learned the last few days and share it with a family member or close friend. Complete__

March 28th

Why Don’t we get our Prayers Answered? Part 5

1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”

  • Pray according to His will.

Since we do not completely understand all things about prayer and hope, we do understand that we must ask in faith and agree with God regarding His answer to our prayers. In other words, we will ask confidently that God will answer according to His will and His Word. The fact that we are praying acknowledges the fact that we have confidence in His answer. We can be confident that He will answer that which He has already promised.

Someone has said, “If we knew God’s will thoroughly, and submitted to it heartily, it would be impossible for us to ask anything for the spirit or for the body which He should not perform; it is this ideal state which the apostle has in view. It is the Spirit who teaches us inwardly, and Himself in us asks according to the will of God.” I believe that this is the key to prayer: that we pray as Jesus did, according to the will of the Father.

Hebrews 5:7, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.”

E.M. Bounds said, “Prayer that affects one’s ministry, must give tone to one’s life.” Wow!

  • Pray in obedience to His commands.

1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. Faith in Christ and love towards one another are joined together as we pray for others, and I believe it is an act of obedience because God is well pleased with such a spirit.

Daily Assignments

Read Judges 15-17. Who is in need of your love? Complete__ 

March 27th

Why Don’t we get our Prayers Answered? Part 4

Pray for five minutes before you start

When you pray:

  • Pray sincerely.

John 14:13-14, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”

Not only will Jesus go to the Father on our behalf, but He will also send the Holy Spirit for assurance of His answer. Though Jesus is speaking to the disciples about spreading the Gospel, He is also speaking to the Christian today.

James 1:6, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

When Jesus says, “In my name.” It is like saying “for His sake,” etc. Think of it: we have the privilege of going to God in Jesus’ name and for His sake. As undeserving as we are, God loves us for the sake of His Son. Wow!

He promised that whatever God said, that He would do it. According to Matthew 28:18, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Why? So the Father may be glorified in the Son. Christ has given several conditions to the deliverance of His promises:

o   Believe

o   Ask in His name

o   Forgive others

Spurgeon wrote, “Good prayers,” says Bishop Hall, “Never come weeping home. I am sure that I shall receive either what I ask or what I should ask. If the best of blessings are to be had for the asking, he who will not ask deserves to go without.”

E.M. Bounds wrote, “Prayer is no petty duty put into a corner; no peace meal performance made out of the fragment of time which have been snatched from business and other engagements of life, but it means of our time, the heart of our time and strength must be given.”

Daily Assignments

Read Judges 12-14. Think (pray) before you act. Complete__

March 26th  

Review the last two days devotion

 James 1:6, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

Waver: Greek diakrino – to doubt.

THEY FAIL TO PRAISE GOD FOR ANSWERED PRAYER

Ungratefulness is by far the biggest sin of many Christians in America. We must be thankful, remembering that God judged Israel for being unthankful.

THEY LACK IN PATIENCE AND STEADFASTNESS

They fail to keep on praying due to a lack of patience.

Colossians 4:2, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.”

There are two important questions we must answer:

  • How badly do you want God to answer your prayer?
  • Will you keep on praying and trusting? 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

How can we have our prayers answered?

WE MUST HAVE THE RIGHT HEART ATTITUDE ABOUT PRAYING

  • Search your heart to see if you are asking with the right motive.
  • Search your heart for known or unknown sin.

Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”

Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

E.M. Bounds, “The prayer which makes a prayerful ministry is not a little praying, but, the prayer must be in the body and form the blood and bones.”

Daily Assignments

Read Judges 10-11. No matter the opposition; for today, believe God and His promises.  Complete__                 

                            March 25th                      

Read yesterday’s devotion

Their trials could have helped them to mature had they obeyed God and prayed. This is why we are commanded to yield our members in Romans, chapter six. Now, what does this have to do with prayer? Too often we only ask for things to consume them upon our own lust, never realizing that we need to pray more, because no Christian can do without prayer. It is amazing how many Christian adults and teens think that they can live a good Christian life without prayer. The great evangelist Billy Sunday said, “Some Christians seem to look at God as kind of a spare tire. A spare tire is forgotten for months until suddenly we have a flat on the road. Then we want the tire to be in good condition, ready for us.” All this brings up the question, “Why don’t good Christians get their prayers answered?”

THEY DO NOT ASK IN FAITH

Many Christians do not get answers to prayer simply because they do not pray, or ask, and the average Christian tries to work the problem out by himself.

E.M. Bounds, “Fervent prayer, believing prayer lies at the root of all godliness. Prayer freshens the heart of man and keeps us in tune with God and understanding for people.”

James 1:6, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

THEY DO NOT ASK BELIEVING 

  • Many Christians do not pray because they do not believe that God will answer.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

  • Many Christians waver when they ask for things.

Daily Assignments

Read Judges 8-9. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” Believe without seeing.  Complete__

March   24th 

“WHY DON’T WE GET OUR PRAYERS ANSWERED?”

For the next few days, we will consider this question. Please don’t miss a single day of this important question.

Verse 2, “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.”

We will always have a conflict between passion of the flesh and better principles of the mind and conscience. James, brother of Jesus, was probably saved after Jesus’ crucifixion. The Book of James was written to Jewish Christians, and James was known to be on the legalistic side because of his synagogue experience. He used the called out assembly rather than Ekklesia.

There are basically two themes in James:

  • Persecution from without.
  • Problems from within.

The trials of these Christians to whom James was writing should have led them to perfection or maturity because of the division among them. Remember, it is not the body itself that is sinful, but yielding to the fallen nature that desires to control the body. Every war can be traced to one of five things: lust, love of conquest, ambition, revenge, and in some cases, self defense. Justice, equality, and fear of God never caused any wars; but lust has made the earth one big battlefield.

Socrates, on the day of his death, (according to Plato) said, “Nothing else but the body and its desires cause wars, seditions and contests of every kind; for all wars arise through the possession of wealth.”

Lust is not necessarily sensual; it is desire. These desires are always at work in the flesh and create problems. They did not stop to pray about these desires. When they did pray, they did it selfishly to add to their pleasure. They needed to mature, or grow up, in the Lord.

Daily Assignments

Read Judges 6-7. Others could probably tell you why you do not get an answer to your pray, but listen to God about it. Complete__

March 23rd   

Make a list of times you begged God

In verse four, it seemed as though he may have shown a little bit of compassion, but it was merely to avoid trouble or just to get rid of her. Whatever the case, it was because of her importunity that this judge helped her. Lest she weary me is a metaphor meaning to being beaten as a wrestler or boxer.

The Geneva Bible notes said, “God will have us to continue in prayer, not to weary us, but to exercise us; therefore we must fight against impatience so that a long delay does not cause us to quit our praying. If we yield to afflictions and adversities we are as those do who have lost heart.”

  • God wants you to continue to pray.
  • God will answer you in His time.
  • God will avenge you in His way.

PROCLAIM HIS GOODNESS WHEN HE ANSWERS

I believe the lesson of this parable is that if this judge would yield to the continual pleading of this poor widow for whom he felt nothing but contempt, how much more would God be ready to answer when we plead for His mercy to help in times of great trials and afflictions. Let’s learn to praise Him, though we may cry day and night continually,  though it may be a long time before we see Him answer, if need be, just keep on praying, pleading, and begging.

Notice Joshua 2:24, “And they said unto Joshua, Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us;” 3:5, “And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you;” 3:10, “And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.”

Daily Assignments

Read Judges 3-5. Take a few moments each day to plead with God to do something special in your life, and wait on Him. Complete__   

March 22nd      

Consider what we read this week

We too must pray and keep praying until Jesus comes to take us home.

1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.”

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.

Jeremiah 29:13, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Ephesians 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

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.”

Colossians 4:2, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT GOD IS TRYING TO TEACH YOU

Most judges of that day were unjust and would often delay a decision in hopes of receiving a larger bribe. This judge was unjust as well and had absolutely no regard for the poor widow; but judges were bound to obey the law, especially as it concerned widows:

Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”

Daily Assignments

Read Judges 1-2. What did you learn in the devotion today?  Complete__         

         March 21st        

Review the last two days devotions

It is true that God placed the command, need, and desire in the heart of Joshua to conquer the land; however, there also had to be a willingness on Joshua’s part to plead with God to give him victory in taking the land. You will remember that Joshua failed to pray in the taking of Ai and lost the battle in Joshua 7:1-5. But notice in chapter eight how God gave Joshua a second chance to take it, because he realized that without prayer and begging God the battle is lost. Most Christians just don’t want it badly enough to do it God’s way. Several lessons:

PERSEVERE IN SPITE OF DISCOURAGEMENT

Notice in Luke 11:5-8, “Jesus gives another example of importunity: And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.”

Barnes has some great notes on this, “God in no other sense than that he often hears prayers and grants blessings even long after they appear to be unanswered or withheld. He does not promise to give blessings at once. He promises only that he will do it, or will answer prayer. But he often causes his people long to wait. He tries their faith. He leaves them to persevere for months or years, until they feel entirely their dependence on him, until they see that they can obtain the blessing in no other way, and until they are prepared to receive it. Often are not prepared to receive it when they ask it at first. They may be proud, or have no just sense of their dependence, or they would not value the blessing, or it may at that time not be best for them to obtain it. But let no one despair. If the thing is for our good, and if it is proper that it should be granted, God will give it.” Continued tomorrow.

Daily Assignments

Read Joshua 22-24. Write a letter to a soldier overseas.  Complete__           

                   March 20th                   

  Review yesterday’s devotion

Many of us are so wrapped up in the things of self and the world that we have been filled with the wrong things in life. Perhaps all of us ought to do as most preachers do every time they approach the pulpit: “Lord, if you do not empower and use me, I’ll die.” Notice the example of Jacob wrestling with God all night long in Genesis 32:24-26, “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”

Do you really believe that God had a hard time overcoming Jacob? As in the case of Jacob, when we pray, it is ours already; all we have to do is claim it. We need to say, “God empty me, so that you can fill me.”

In Joshua 1:1-6, God told Joshua to take the land; that is, the whole land occupied by the seven Canaanite nations and as far as the Euphrates on the east; and all that was included in what is called the Promised Land, the boundaries of which already had been defined.

In verse three, the words, every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, were intended to express the ease with which they were to conquer the whole land, as in the taking of Jericho in verses 4-6. Then notice the promise God gave to Moses in Deuteronomy 34:1-4, “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.” Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Joshua 20-21. Memorize Matthew 7:7-8.  Complete__

March 19th

Why We Have to Beg God!

Verses 1 and 5, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”

Answer to prayer is often the result of begging or pleading with God, but somehow we have lost the art of prayer over the last few decades. Sometimes God places us in a position where we are forced to beg for His answer.

E.M. Bounds says, “Without prayer the preacher creates death, not life. We are thankful for a pastor who prays. Professional praying chills and kills both preaching and praying.”

I was thinking of the Christian martyrs who suffered great persecutions in Caesar’s stadium for the purpose of entertaining those who lusted to see their blood shed. I thought of the multitudes of thousands that have suffered by the hand of men that hated God and His followers. Believe me these martyrs knew how to beg God in prayer.

In Spurgeon’s sermon, “No Law Against Begging of God,” he said, “We are encouraged, yea, commanded to pray, and we have the promise that our petitions shall be heard. The more often we cry for help the better. We need not disguise our action, we do most distinctly beg and importune; but there are no officers employed by the court of heaven to forbid our appeals. We have it under the King’s hand and seal that we may beg as much as we will.”

Verse one proves the necessity of begging God. Someone said, “Beg God day and night and begin to see the light.” Begging is needed 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. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Joshua 17-19. Don’t ever give up on God!  Complete__ 

March 18th 

“LET’S START BY ASKING,” CONCLUSION!    

Review the last three days devotion

WE MUST ASK IN FAITH

Verse 6, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

This is difficult because the time will come when we realize our lack, specifically ask in faith, but still nothing happens. Have you ever tried to catch a wave? It is never there because there is no stability. Verse 7, “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”

If we do not ask in faith, it simply means we have no faith, because we will not get it bit by bit; but we get it all if we meet these three requirements with nothing wavering.

It is not a promise to the experienced or talented, but it is His explicit Word. Great faith with nothing wavering knows that God will keep His promises. Faith is not a matter of self-effort, but rather confidence in Christ.

Great faith is not intellect, knowledge, experience, or ability. Faith is to trust and take God at His Word.

WE MUST ACT IN FAITH

Christians in America fail to act in faith, or we trust man’s wisdom above God’s wisdom. We go to seminars, conferences, and even to church; but they are never to be used as substitutes for acting in faith. Let’s start by asking!

I know of no greater way to conclude this study then to begin to pray daily for those who are in need of prayer. Make it a practice and let people know that you are praying for them, when you do.

Daily Assignments

Read Joshua 14-16. What have you started to pray for, and have seen God give an answer in the past few days?  Complete__

March 17th

       “LET’S START BY ASKING,” PART 3         

Read the last two days devotion

Many have knowledge but very little practical or common sense. God is in the business of giving out wisdom liberally, and He will help us in times of trouble.  We are given four requirements for getting wisdom:

WE MUST REALIZE OUR LACK

Before you have children you think, “Why don’t they rear their children better?” Then you have your own children and realize your lack of ability. The strongest ability is to realize your weakness not your strength. God will never give wisdom until we acknowledge our lack of it. In John 15:5, “nothing” means absolutely nothing.

“If any of you lack”, not only the uneducated, but the educated; scholars and intellectuals as well. Wisdom is knowledge guided by understanding.

WE MUST ASK SPECIFICALLY

This means we must be specific in every area; not only in knowledge, but wisdom is the ability to know what and when to do it. For example, most of our praying is very general in nature, but our prayers tend to get very specific when a family member is rolled into the operating room.  How much time have you spent in dedicated, specific praying? We must ask individually because neither the pastor nor anyone else can do it for you.

God promises to give liberally, or with abundance in measure. Remember that this is God making the promise, not man.

Upbraideth means He will never criticize or condemn you by saying, “How many times do I have to tell you?”

E.M. Bounds has this to say about our lack of praying: “Never did the cause of God need perfect illustration of the possibilities of prayer more than this age. A prayerless age will have but scant models of Divine power. Prayerless hearts will never rise to these Alpine heights.” Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Joshua 11-13. Pray for Revival in your church.  Complete__

March 16th

LET’S START BY ASKING, PART 2

Read yesterday’s devotion again

It is easy for us to talk the talk, but it is sometimes more difficult to walk our talk. In this case we need to determine the things that are best for us by using God’s wisdom, since the wisdom of men is subject to debate and interpretation. This wisdom of which God is speaking is not of men but of God and is obtained simply by asking. This wisdom has to do with dealing biblically and doctrinally with the trials and afflictions God allows coming into our lives.

Let him ask of God because God is the only Instructor of this wisdom, and giveth to all men liberally. However, if we fail to ask for His divine wisdom, it shows that we do not think we need it. Someone said, “The knowledge of ignorance is the beginning of knowledge.” In knowledge, we may discern at least four things: intelligence, wisdom, discretion and reason. These four things will help us understand God’s reasons for our affliction and trials.

God’s wisdom will help us understand why temptations come and how they will help us become more fruitful Christians.  If we already have patience, then we must exercise it and ask God for wisdom. The wisdom of which James is speaking is the understanding of the things of God, compared to the wisdom of men, which is foolishness with God in 1 Corinthians 3:19, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.”

Again, E.M. Bounds said, “Prayer is the creator as well as the channel of devotion. Prayer and devotion are united as body and soul, as life and the heart are united. There is no real prayer without devotion and no devotion without prayer.”

James is a very practical book and deals with the principles of Christianity rather than with doctrine. Wisdom in this case is related to trials, which James has been addressing. The practical application for the Christian is that if we lack wisdom concerning a problem, we should go to God in prayer, because wisdom is the exercise and practical use of knowledge. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Joshua 9-10. God never fails to answer prayer.  Complete__          

                        March 15th                        

Let’s Start by Asking!

 Read James 1:2-11

Verse 5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

This concept may be difficult for the carnal Christian or the lost person to understand, but what God is saying is that we should not to be cast down or faint-hearted, but rather rejoice and be glad in the midst of our trials. When our faith is tried through affliction, our response should be one of thankfulness and praise for His constant comfort and care.

I love what E.M. Bounds said about this, “No amount of money, genius, or culture can move things for God. Holiness energizing the soul, the whole man aflame with love, with desire for more faith, more prayer, more zeal, more consecration, this is the secret of power.”

God gives us temptations and trials for our edification and to make us stronger; He does not take pleasure in our affliction. His pleasure comes when we respond in such a way that we realize the benefit of these afflictions. What are these benefits? We become better, wiser and more useful Christians as we learn to submit to God with gratitude and joy.

Notice also in verse three that the trying of your faith worketh patience. Patience is not only an excellent virtue in the life of a Christian, but it also proves that our faith is sound and gives us the courage to persevere.

In verse four we are given the result of bearing our afflictions, “that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” God uses our affliction as an instrument to polish and refine us, whereby we are perfected in Christ.

Verse 5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Joshua 7-8. Realize that Christ will intercede for you.  Complete__   

March 14th      

Review the last two days devotion

Here is the best part: Though we do not always know what our needs and desires may be, and we do not always know what is best for us. The power of prayer by the Holy Spirit will direct us with the words to pray.

It is difficult for us to know the right things for which to pray. This is due to our limited spiritual insight unless we walk by faith moment by moment. See Romans 8:24-25 and 1 Corinthians 13:9, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight:”

“With groanings which cannot be uttered” simply means that with our limited language we cannot begin to express the words. The Spirit Himself is in these groanings, making intercession on our behalf.

Notice in Romans 8:27, “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.”

“What is the mind of the Spirit? In other words, He teaches us to pray according to the will of God. What a blessing to know that our Lord maketh intercession for us by managing all the affairs pertaining to our salvation according to the mind and design of God; while making our prayers, the unutterable groanings, well-pleasing to God. We are not saying that Christians will pray in tongues but that the Holy Spirit will give us the words to pray by making intercession for us.

Some of our infirmities and desires are far beyond what we are able to express, so the Holy Spirit takes our prayers to God in groanings which cannot be uttered, or in the power of prayer.

He that searcheth the hearts knows the mind of the Spirit and understands the feelings and desires caused by the Holy Ghost in our hearts whether we say the words or not.

1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”

No wonder we feel such encouragement when we take the time to pray. The Holy Spirit literally pleads our cause before God and maketh intercession according to the will of God.

Daily Assignments

Read Joshua 4-6. Pray for America.  Complete__                               

                                                        March 13th                                                     

Read yesterday’s devotion

 Think of the blessing the Christian can experience by praying over need or wants, knowing that the Holy Spirit and Jesus make intercession to God the Father for those needs and wants. God help us to make time for regular prayer, to make it a matter of a prayer life.

There is absolutely no reason a Christian should be weary or faint under burdens or afflictions because the very prayers we pray become a source of strength to us. Glory! Think of it, the Person of the Holy Spirit dwells within us to help to bear our burdens in life. As a matter of fact, He also tells us how and when we should pray. Wow!

The same Spirit (Pneuma) bearing witness with ours that we are the children of God in verses 15-16 is the Spirit that helps us with our infirmities by making intercession for us. Praying Christians receive help from the Spirit of God. Regardless of our strength, we must not attempt to pray without the strength of God. Because we do not really know our needs, we are likely to make some terrible mistakes in praying without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Notice that in several verses the Holy Spirit is promised to give us His presence and be our Comforter and our Helper.

John 14:16-17, 26, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Also read John 15:26-27; 16:7, 13-14.

He maketh intercession for us by teaching us how to pray, what to pray for, and makes us aware of our desires for spiritual blessings both for ourselves and for others. As a matter of fact, all acceptable prayer is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and it is He that leads us to those desires that are according to the will of God. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Joshua 1-3. Think of the blessing of prayer.  Complete__                                        

                   March 12th                    

The Power of Prayer! (The Book)

Romans 8:26-34

Verse 26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

In his book, Power Thru Prayer, E.M. Bounds said, “The church is looking for better methods. Men are God’s methods! God’s plan for man is to make much of man, much more than anything else.”

One of the greatest joys of the Christian life is to know that God answers prayer. Having been saved for over forty years, I can say without reservation that God is always faithful in answering prayer.

I did not say that He always gave me what I wanted, but He always answered my prayer. At times, the answer came quickly; at others, well, I’m still praying. Not only am I still praying, I also still believe God for the right answer at the right time. God knows not only what we need, but He is also very good at giving us exactly what we need when we need it. Thank God for His unspeakable gift of answered prayer.

Most of what we pray for, we already have or we have the ability to get. For example, someone who is very wealthy could get almost anything he wants. On the other hand, only God can give us spiritual things, and among those things is the need of power in prayer. In this study we are going to undertake one of the greatest, most needful studies in the Word of God, which is the power of prayer. Please make a commitment to read this book from start to finish with an attitude of prayer for a real adventure in the power of prayer and a changed prayer life.

We must also understand that prayer is more than learning to pray, attending a service in which we are taught to pray, or reading a book on prayer. Prayer, first of all, must include the act of bowing the knee in submission to God. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 32-34. Call it an adventure in prayer.  Complete__

                           

                                                      March 11th                                                

Introduction to, “The Power of Prayer,” Part 3 

Read John 17

Second, there are also public prayers.  Here is an important lesson, don’t pray around the world every time you pray publicly, but pray pointedly and with a purpose.  Dr. Rice always said, “Prayer is simply asking.” When we are praying, we are talking to God; and when we read the Scripture, He is talking to us. I noticed in these chapters in Deuteronomy that the last thing Moses spent much time talking about was the Rock, which is a picture of Jesus. If we are going to focus on the things of God, we must be consumed with the purposes of God.

Someone said, “You’ll never have a collision with the world if you go in his or her direction, because the direction in which you go will determine how many collisions you’ll have.”

Someone else once said, “You’ll find God’s will in the bush.”

If you’ll notice in chapter 34, verse 1, Moses went up to Mount Pisgah to view the land of promise and not down.

Moses was, first of all, acquainted with God and had established a firm foundation of prayer and fellowship with God on Mount Sinai.

Secondly, we find that throughout his ministry he was wholly dependent upon God.  Oh yes, he faced some times of testing, as we do today; but he also always sought the power and the wisdom of God through prayer.

Thirdly, we find that he regularly communed with God in prayer. When you and I commune with God in prayer, in private, this is a time between God and us. What we pray, or what God says, is not anyone else’s business.

God gave Moses the Word to speak, and God will speak to you as you establish a close, personal relationship with God. Find a bush, find a rock, a closet, but go somewhere in private to be alone with God.

We find in the life of Moses that he pretty much died the way he lived according to the Word of God.  We, too, have seen some great miracles of God. In spite of times of testing, God is always faithful to answer our prayers.

Please read and pray through the following two weeks with a prayerful attitude, while asking God to give you fresh oil through The Power of Prayer.

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 29-31. Commitment is the 1st decision.  Complete__

March 10th 

Introduction to “The Power of Prayer,” Part 2   

We must make it a prayer life not prayer time.

I am sure each of us will agree that Deuteronomy, chapters thirty-two through thirty-four, is truly filled with the power of God. Moses, as you will recall, started his ministry for the Lord around the bush, and it was there where he not only received his call to the ministry but also was given the power to perform the ministry to which God called him.

Throughout the wilderness wanderings, God often displayed His power, as well His anger to the children of Israel, to Pharaoh, to the rebellious prophets, and to other nations through this great man of prayer.

Jeremiah faced much the same problem in Jeremiah 23:21-22, “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.”

Many prophets of God did not heed to His calling to prophesy His Word, and Jeremiah points out the importance of the fact that the prophet must preach so that the people will hear the Word of God, and then there is a good chance that they will turn from their sin.

Moses was not like one of these. Moses was a leader who had to learn to trust and follow the Lord completely.  It was not always easy for him, but it was through prayer that Moses was given the power to deliver the children of Israel. In Deuteronomy 32:31, we are told, “for their rock is not as our rock,” and in verse 32, “their vine is of the vine of Sodom.”  In verse 33, “their wine is the poison of dragons” and so forth.

These are those who failed to proclaim and prophesy the Word the God. There is no substitute for praying. It is important that we practice prayer and not just talk about it. The Bible commands “men ought always to pray”, and to, “pray without ceasing.” See Matthew 26:53 and Matthew 6:5-7.

The Bible gives us two kinds of prayer: First, there is private prayer.  God taught Moses how to pray. Moses was required to listen to God’s Word, to remember, and to memorize it. Oh, how important it is for the Christian today to pray in private, to memorize Scripture, to be filled with the Word and the promises of God!  Continued tomorrow! 

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 28. Pray for God to help you pray?  Complete__                     

                                         March 9th                                    

The next three days is an introduction to “The Power of Prayer”

Read Exodus 33:12-23

Exodus 33:13, “Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.”

I do not believe that there is a Christian on the planet that would disagree with the fact that Satan opposes prayer more than most any other spiritual activity in which we could be involved. I am not only speaking of those who may be full-time servants of God, but of all those who are seeking and attempting to be men and women of prayer.

Moses was such a man. I found that he literally spent his life praying for his people.

When God sent fire among the people in Numbers 11: 2, “the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched.”

God had sent the fiery serpents among the people and Moses prayed in Numbers 21:7, “Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.”

Moses prayed when God was going to destroy Aaron in Deuteronomy 9:20, “And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.”

And in verse 26, “I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.” Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 24-27. Pray for God to help you pray?  Complete__

March 8th  

                The Believer’s Journey to the Cross, Part 5              

Memorize Galatians 2:20

God will apply just the right amount of pressure to strip us of every human thing we rely on, because He wants us to say, “I am a failure, and I cannot do it alone.” Yes, we can say that He is the center of our lives because we go to church, but He will remove the mask so that we will see who we really are. Then we must come to the place where we say, “I admit my failure, but I give you permission to do whatever you want in my life and accept your crucifixion.” Now, it is no longer I that live according to Galatians 2.

In our journey to the cross we will experience what is already true, that Christ begins to live His life through us, unhindered, because it is His life not ours to live. You do not have to bear the load any longer, because it is Christ living through you. Are we willing to confess our need of taking that journey to the cross?

This brings us to the end of our study on “The Believers Journey to the Cross” and the beginning of living a life of trusting and relying upon God. For the Christian it is a matter of a daily walk with God. For those not yet saved and living a life of self; 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 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 10:9-13, “Whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.”

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 21-23. Did you ask Jesus to save you?  Complete__       

           March 7th          

               The Believer’s Journey to the Cross, Part 4              

 Read Romans 6:1-14 again

We get weary and worn and feel smaller and smaller, and what God is attempting to do becomes larger and larger, while failure seems all around us. Then we must remember: When Jesus was at Gethsemane He said in Luke 22:42, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

“Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb,

and shall I fear to own His cause, or blush to speak His Name?

Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease while others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?

Is this vile world a friend to grace, to help me on to God?

Sure I must fight, if I would reign; Increase my courage, Lord.

I’ll bear the toil; endure the pain, supported by Thy Word.

Thy saints in all this glorious war shall conquer, though they die; they see the triumph from afar, by faith they bring it nigh.

When that illustrious day shall rise and all Thy armies shine

In robes of victory through skies, the glory shall be Thine.”

There was no other way for Christ to win the victory, except through His journey to the cross and crucifixion; the same is true for us.

On our journey, Satan will always tempt with his shortcuts, but look what God can do with one grain of wheat if the soil is properly prepared.

If you do not take the detours or shortcuts Satan offers; you will be broken, and 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 17-20. Consider what wears you out?  Complete__   

March 6th

              The Believer’s Journey to the Cross, Part 3           

Review the last two days  devotion

Fear – we begin to ask, “What is happening to me; why have I lost everything?” This is when we must remember that He is walking right alongside of us in our frustration, defeat, pain, loneliness and fear.

At this point He is the only One we have, because He knows exactly what He wants in our lives.  This is the worst time for a friend to offer pity.

Rejection – we begin to feel as though no one cares or understands.

Humiliation – “I am not what I used to be, because I used to be happy,” but He wants to make us what He wants, not what we want.

Some might say, “Preacher, I thought you preach that we ought to feel good about ourselves and be successful.” True, but this kind of success can come only through what appears to be failure. We cannot experience true joy and victory until we fall and go through the valley of humiliation. We must remember that from the world’s point of view, Christ was a complete failure, but we are not finished yet!

Grief – in our spirit. I am doing my best and cannot do any better.

Anger – with God! This is where it spills over on others, because we have only two people to blame; God or ourselves.

Blaming God will not help, because we asked Him for victory.

Here is the key to the entire lesson, and we must not miss it: we do not have to go to the cross if we choose not to. God wants the cross to be an experience we live, not just a truth we have learned.

Rebellion – we rebel against people around us and tell God that this is just not working out as I planned. We try on our own to make things work and experience disaster after disaster.

Worthlessness – God, what in the world is going on? We say, “I cannot take any more of this.”

Now all the angels in Heaven begin to sing the Hallelujah Chorus and God says, “Exactly right, you cannot.”

We feel inadequate, as all seems to be falling apart, and that is just where God wants us. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 14-16. What are you feeling right now?  Complete__

     

March 5th      

          The Believer’s Journey to the Cross, Part 2           

Review yesterday’s devotion

When we were saved a lot of things happened that we did not know about or understand; for example: we were sealed with the Holy Spirit; our names were written in the Book of Life; the penalty for our sin was paid in full and we were reconciled with God.  We did not feel any of these things happening. We did not feel the Father or the Son, but He baptized us into death (verse 4). We were crucified with Him, yet there is a sin nature in us before and after salvation. According to Scripture, our old sin nature was to have been crucified and buried; from then on, we are to serve Christ.

Christ’s objective is not just to get us saved, because salvation is just getting us into heaven. Let me be clear that salvation is the one and only step, not one of many. Because we are positionally in Christ by the crucifixion, we are complete in the fullness of Christ by the resurrection. We will begin to say, “God, do something in my life.”

How many of us truly want to reach our full potential? This can come only through the journey to the cross, however, be aware that you will have some challenges on that journey.

All Christians will experience many or all of these obstacles on that journey to the cross:

Frustration – Lord, what has happened to me?

Defeat – nothing goes right anymore.

Pain – we begin to defend ourselves to God, but He shows us who we really are. We feel the pain of the cross when God shows us who we are, and this is where many believers decide to turn back.

Loneliness – God may isolate us for a time.  No one can go with us on this journey because it is meant to teach us to rely totally upon God alone and experience the crucifixion of self. It was a lonely trip for Jesus, and it will be for us; however, Christ is beginning to do something in our lives. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 11-13. Stop by to see or call someone who is lonely.  Complete___

                           

                                                      March 4th                                                

The Believer’s Journey to the Cross 

Romans 6:1-14

Verses 7-11, “For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The Ryrie Study Bible asks the question, “If grace abounds in the presence of sin (5:20), then shouldn’t we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid or by no means! Grace cannot be exploited for evil ends! Because of our union with Christ we are dead to sin and are alive unto God (v. 11). The new moral life is based on

  • Our union with Christ, verses 1-14.
  • Our being slaves to righteousness, verses 15-23.
  • Our new marriage union with Christ, (7:1-6).

Most Christians understand the significance of Jesus’ journey to the cross, but many of us have never really considered the journey we must take. When we were saved, we were saved by the grace of God. Jesus is our substitute in shedding His Blood for our past, present and future sins.

Then after we were saved, the Holy Spirit within us started changing things in our lives; such as bad habits and attitudes. These changes did not take place because of our own efforts, but because of the grace of God, otherwise we would have been saved by grace and kept by works. This means that Christ’s purpose is to prove us, not to improve us. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 8-10. Sometime during this series read Matthew chapters 2-27.  Complete___

 

March 3rd 

   “It’s The Heart”, Our Attitudes, Part 6       

Review the condition of your heart

Read Philippians 3:12-15 and notice in verse 15 perfect means maturity or to fulfill God’s purpose in life and in Philippians 4:10 Paul is rejoicing in the care (phroneo) the Philippians gave him while in Roman prison.

A mature attitude cares for the needs of others. Immature attitude cares only for self.

B.    How can we change our attitude?

 Most of us fear change of any kind; however, the one-thing God demands of all of us who are saved is to change. We must remember that repentance is a change of attitude?

In Mathew 16:23, the attitude by 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 God’s way at times 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.

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 also doing the will of God from the heart according to Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”    

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 5-7. If you and I were to have a spiritual heart surgery, what would have to be removed? Complete___

March 2nd

“It’s The Heart!” Our Attitudes, Part 5 

Look up the heart in a Bible Dictionary

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, and beliefs. In other words, it is a state of mind toward something.

Attitude and Aptitude come from Latin Aptus: “posture; position assumed or studied to serve a purpose.” For example: When Nebuchadnezzar changed his visage toward the three Hebrew children in Daniel 3:19.

Someone said, “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.”

 A.    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.

In Romans 12:3 we see that a Christian is not to think of himself more highly, but to think soberly. He is not to be proud. Here is what 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 heart attitude toward self.

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 3-4. One thing we ought never to worry about is our lack of worry. Complete___

March 1st

           “It’s The Heart!” Part 4          

Review the last two devotions             

Evidentially this church was involved with much jealousy among the membership over honors and rewards. Paul commends humility of heart and the right disposition that Christ Himself demonstrated and wants to give to His followers, according to verse five.

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 heart and 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 are 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.

The definition of a right heart attitude

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. Feeling can be good or bad, according to performance. Flunk a test and you feel terrible, but score a point and you feel great. Feelings can be changed by conduct.

Daily Assignments

Read Deuteronomy 1-2. Contentment is not found in the things of the world. Complete___

   

     February 28th         

It’s The Heart!, Part 3

Make a study of your heart

The Bible also contains the hidden man of the heart, in other words, the real man in 1 Peter 3:4, But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

The Bible speaks of a broken heart, a silent heart, a merry heart, a burning heart, a tender heart, an honest heart, a crying-out heart, and God’s heart.

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 all the Scriptures, study them, memorize them, and allow the Holy Spirit to use them in your Christian walk as we study our theme for 2014 “IT’S THE HEART.”

We have some exciting New Testament references regarding the heart:

IT REVEALS THE TRUE CHARACTER OR IT CAN ALSO CONCEAL IT

Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

Philippians 2:1-6, “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”                

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 31-33. “The heart is deceitful above all things…...

February 27th

            “It’s The Heart!”, Part 2          

Review yesterday’s devotion

David again vows to praise God in verses 1-5, which are virtually identical with Psalm 57:7-11. At times enemies too may surround us, but like David we must have a firm faith in God. When opposition comes, the best defense is simply to be quiet and praise God, realizing that our confidence is in His kindness, love and faithfulness. In times of suffering we must not turn inward with self-pity or outward to revenge, but upward to God.

The Bible speaks of coldness of heart, and it says in Jeremiah 17:9, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  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 has its seat in the center of man’s inward life, and then “defiles” the whole circuit of his actions:

 Matthew 15:19-20, For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”

On the other hand, the Bible regards the heart as the sphere of divine influence in Romans 2:15, Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”

Acts 15:8-9, And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 28-30. What evil has the Holy Spirit convicted us about in our heart? Complete__          

                                        February 26th                                   

It’s the Heart!

Read Psalm 108

Psalm 57:6-8, “They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.”

Have you ever stopped to realize how blessed you are if living in California?  At the time of this writing the temperature is 72 degrees, and one would think he was in the middle of Alaska or Siberia with such COLD temperatures. Until we realize that the Midwest and Eastern part of the country are experiencing record breaking cold with sub-zero temperatures along with record-breaking snowfall. How many times do we respond by, “It’s Cold?”

Let me address it from a spiritual standpoint. 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 makes hundreds of references to the heart.

David found himself in a cave where he had to hide from Saul and men whose hearts were burning with hatred toward him. But David voices his prayer in verses 1-6 and his praises to God in verses 7-11.

And again in Psalm 108:1-3, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory. Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations.”

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 25-27. Take some moments today to think and pray about the condition of your heart and make any necessary changes. Complete__                   

                                       February 25th                             

WILL THE TEARS EVER STOP FLOWING? CONCLUSION

Read Revelation 21

In Revelation 21:4 we see a wonderful promise, “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.”

Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, “I am weary with my groaning. He has groaned till his throat was hoarse; he had cried for mercy till prayer became a labour.  God’s people may groan, but they may not grumble.  Yea, they must groan, being burdened, or they will never shout in the day of deliverance. As an old man’s eye grows dim with years, so, says David, my eye is grown red and feeble through weeping.  Conviction sometimes has such an effect upon the body that even the outward organs are made to suffer.  Is it surprising that some souls be smitten to the earth, and begin to cry aloud; when we find that David himself made his bed to swim, and grew old while he was under the heavy hand of God?  Ah!  Brethren, it is no light matter to feel one’s self a sinner, condemned at the bar of God. The language of this Psalm is not strained and forced, but perfectly natural to one in so sad a plight.”

In verses 8-10 he gives warning to his enemies to depart from me, and he does so with confidence that the Lord will take up his cause, because in verse eight he appears to speak as a king purging his kingdom of his enemies. A lesson true for centuries is that when the wicked think the godly will perish, God delivers them, and destroys their enemies.

Jesus quoted verse eight in Matthew 7:23, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

This reassures those of us who return to God, that He will give comfort in times of tears and afflictions so that we, too, may triumph over our enemies. So, the next time we ask, “Will the tears ever stop flowing?” We will have a greater understanding of God’s purpose in allowing us to experience the trials that cause those tears.

                  Daily Assignments   

Read Numbers 22-24. Find occasions of “tears” in the Bible. Complete__ 

February 24th  

Will the Tears Ever Stop Flowing? Part IV          

Meditate on John 3:16

Jeremiah said again in Lamentations 3:48-49, “Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission.”

Jeremiah showed great compassion for his people and was greatly affected by the judgment brought upon Israel for their sin. Here is another principle of one who is a true pastor or servant verses the hireling.

Adam Clarke said, “This has been the sorrowful language of many a pastor who has preached long to a hardened, rebellious people, to little or no effect.”

On a personal note; I am delighted that in almost forty years of preaching, there has not been a moment when I felt I was preaching to a rebellious people. Though there have been moments of frustration, doubt, wondering if anyone was listening, and many tears and perhaps even questioning God, there has never been a time in my entire ministry when I felt I was preaching to a rebellious people.

We are reminded of Jesus’ tears as he prayed to His Father in Hebrews 5:7, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.” The Bible says that Jesus wept as He looked over the city of Jerusalem.

We are told of the day when God says in Revelation 7:17, “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 22-24. Love is supreme in a Christian’s life. Complete__

February 23rd 

Will the Tears Ever Stop Flowing? Part III 

Read Psalm 6 again

I believe there is an important principle in David’s prayer, because he understands that sin must bear the fruit of repentance, but it must also be totally destroyed. He also understands that God will not use him as a dirty vessel. What a truth for us to learn in this permissive generation. We must learn that sin always weakens the Christian and will always end in tears, heartache, and destruction if not repented of. David cries out, “O Lord, heal me for my bones are vexed.”

No doctor or medication can cure the disease of sin, because when both body and soul are diseased, only God can provide the cure. David’s strength had been exhausted when he says, “O LORD, how long before you will heal my broken heart?

In verses 4-5 he is pleading with God for deliverance. Return, O Lord, deliver my soul, ought to be every sinner’s or backslider’s cry to God.

Those that once had the light of God’s mercy, and by their sin have forsaken God must return and God will demonstrate His mercy and grace by returning to them. David also realizes that once in the grave there is no remembrance of Thee. We, too, must live our lives in such a way that brings honor and glory to His name.

In verses 6-7 he is weary of his sufferings.

John Wesley said, “David, who could face Goliath himself, melts into tears at the remembrance of sin, and under the apprehension of Divine wrath, and it is no decrease to his character.” Jeremiah, the weeping prophet said in 9:1, “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!”  Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 19-21. When is the last time someone showed you love and compassion? Let them know of your love for them. Complete__ 

February 22nd 

               Will the Tears Ever Stop Flowing? Part II            

Read yesterday’s devotion

Paul was probably as strong as anyone in the Scripture; yet we read of his many tears in Acts 20:19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: and again in 31, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”

In 2 Corinthians 2:4, “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.”

Paul was mindful of Timothy’s tears in 2 Timothy 1:4, “Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy.”

We need tears like those of Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, David and Jesus. We see quite a contrast between Nehemiah and most of us. He prayed all night and asked God to be “attentive.”  He wanted God to see his tears. We too must learn to pray for God to be attentive and for His continued blessing.

Nehemiah realized that he was part of the sin problem; though he was a very humble and righteous man, he still felt unworthy of God’s blessings. Psalm six is the first of David’s seven series of Penitent Psalms (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143)

In verses 1-3, David is saying: “though I deserve destruction, have mercy on me.” David in his frailty is asking God why He is using his enemies to chasten him. While he realizes that he deserves rebuke for his sin with Bathsheba, he is crying out to God to consider his frailty. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 16-18. Did you find anyone in need of your love yesterday? Try again today. Complete_             

                                    February 21st                                

Will the Tears Ever Stop Flowing?

Read Psalm 6:1-7

Verse 6, “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.”

Recently I heard of a mother who had lost her twenty-three year-old daughter. I was moved by one of her statements, “Will the tears ever stop flowing?” In answer to her own question, she said, “No, I doubt it, because there is not a day in my life that she is not missed. I look up into the heavens and realize that the lives she touched in her short life will live on forever.”

Do you ask yourself and wonder if the tears will ever stop flowing? Sometimes they seem to fall like showers, but at other times you wonder if anything ever causes you to shed a tear.  I believe both are absolutely normal. I know of people who have no difficulty shedding tears over emotional or sensitive issues that come into their lives; while others seem to move along in life as though they are made of steel and never shed a tear.

The Bible gives us many examples of shedding tears and according to Psalm 56:8, “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?”  God places our tears in a bottle – stores them in heaven and uses them for a sacrifice.

God not only has our hearts in His hands, but He can also change our hearts however He pleases. It is not a sign of weakness to cry out to God and to trust Him in a crisis, but wise to call upon Him in the day of trouble. Continued tomorrow!

                 Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 13-15. For the next few days, try very hard to find someone who is in need of someone to show them love. Complete__

February 20th

                    HOW TO HANDLE WORRY, PART III                      

Read Matthew 6:30-33

Hebrews 13:5-6, “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. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

 BE AWARE OF HIS PRESENCE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE

 I can be certain there are no lonely roads, no darkened houses, no hospital waiting rooms, no places at all that He is not there to comfort, sustain and strengthen me.

BELIEVE GOD FOR EVERY NEED

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. Don’t allow your concern for tomorrow to rob you of your joy and peace today.

I am reminded of the story of a farmer with a flock of chickens. Among the chickens was a rooster whose crowing bothered a neighbor. The farmer said, “He only crows a few times a night.”  “Yes, but waiting to hear when he’ll crow next keeps me awake.” Isn’t that just like us?  We too will find rest for our souls and not anxiously await the next crow of a rooster.

Why not claim the following verses right now?

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.” Memorize Philippians 4:6-7.

            Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 10-12. Write down some personal notes on things that have troubled you and have been helped the last three days. Complete__

February 19

HOW TO HANDLE WORRY, PART II      

Read yesterday’s devotion

 In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul gives us some good advice, “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.”

I realize that sometimes we don’t feel like praying, but that is 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 said: “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, and the indwelling Holy Spirit brings calmness to your soul.

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.”

Our hands are full of today’s problems, why take on tomorrow’s? Much of what we worry about never happens anyway, and when we trust in God, pray and live day by day we will 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

 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.” Continued tomorrow!

                   Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 7-9.  What was your last answer to prayer? Complete__           

                                    February 18th                                 

HOW TO HANDLE WORRY!

Philippians 4:1-13

The pressures of our society can be discouraging: competition, money problems, family problems, drugs, immorality, tragedies, indifference, violence, terrorism, war and rumors of war, temptations, enticements to do evil, etc.

Life has become more and more difficult. More people are struggling with emotional instability. Every age group, social standing, race and 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 leads to anxiety. When you analyze it carefully and honestly you realize that the responsibility is on you and me to handle worry successfully.  How?

TRUST IN THE LORD RATHER THAN YOURSELF OR OTHERS

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. 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

Prayer is not just asking, but asking specifically and believing He will answer according to His will. Continued tomorrow!

                      Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 4-6.  Are you a worrywart? Complete__       

 February 17th  

How to Deal with Sorrow, Part 2

Read yesterday’s devotion

This world is only our temporary home and one day we will be transported to glory. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 he was willing to be with the Lord.

RECOGNIZE THE PRESENT REALITIES

Just think, we close our eyes in sleep down here and open them up there. We breathe our last breath down here and inhale our 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 the 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 when you can join them, never again to part, and no more disappointments or tears, and no more heartaches etc.

Never wish you had told them “I love you,” rather, tell them now while you can. However, if you did say some terrible things to a loved one who is now in Heaven, don’t be depressed over it; it does not matter to them now, just live with a new kind of love and compassion for those who are in sorrow now.

REJOICE OVER THE FUTURE

Anticipate that future reunion with love ones, because death does not separate believers forever. The Bible promises this in vs. 13-14, and vs. 16-17. The day is coming, perhaps today that Jesus will come with a shout, and the souls who are redeemed will descend toward the earth.

The graves of departed saints will open and the resurrected bodies and souls will be rejoined; they will meet the Lord in the air and be in the presence of Jesus forever. Verse 18 says, “comfort one another with these words.”

We realize that it hurts to lose a loved one.  No one can take his or her place. The world suddenly seems empty and there is a continuous ache in the heart, but only Jesus can fill that void. Just think of that glorious time of reunion. We have that bright and blessed hope in times of sorrow. If you are grieving over something or someone today, keep in mind these guidelines.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 1-3.  How will you respond to sorrow? Complete__

       

          February 16th              

How to Deal with Sorrow

At any given time, many are going through some kind of sorrow.  We all face sorrow at some time in our lives; it may be losing a loved one, or some sickness or injury, etc. You feel like giving up, or if it were possible, giving the sorrow to someone else.

In the next two days we are going to focus our attention on sorrow and how to cope with it, even when we lose those who are more precious to us than anyone or anything else in the world.

In times of sorrow, I suggest we follow these helpful guidelines:

REMEMBER THE PAST BLESSINGS 

  • Reflect upon past times when you and your loved ones rejoiced together.
  • Recall the precious hours you spent together, in the church, home, or with the 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 which drew you even closer together. This may cause the tears to come, but there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, this may give you the emotional release you need.  There is no honor in not weeping when loved ones are lost.

We have too much dry-eyed Christianity today. True believers do not sorrow as those who have no hope, but sorrow nonetheless hurts, because there is always pain in the separation of loved ones. We should not hold back our tears, but remember that God stores each one in a bottle.

Psalm 56:8, “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?”

Never teach your children to be brave in times of sorrow, but allow them to release their emotions. Yes, take comfort in past blessings, but also, know that he or she is or will be in His presence and someday will meet you in Heaven.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 25-27.  Complete__

February 15th

Getting Control of your Thought Life, Part 3

Review the last two days devotion

 Quote James 4:7-8 five times to start reading on. Here is the secret formula to success: Pray, confess, meditate, memorize and quote scripture, then surrender. If that does not work, quote scripture until it does. Remember the promise in:

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.”

Here are some important helps:

  • Don’t look at anything questionable.
  • Don’t ever get near it.
  • Don’t even entertain it in your mind.

DEVELOP CHARACTER BY CONTROLLING YOUR THOUGHTS

Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Here are a few thoughts on how to develop your character:

  • Do the same thing over and over
  • Improve on what you are doing
  • Learn to live by a schedule
  • Plan what you want to think about
  • Think on good things by impulse
  • Be careful where you put your eyes, ears and mind
  • Be careful where you go
  • Don’t even think about quitting

And for those who are really serious here is how to have great character:

  • Make commitments in life.
  • Have the courage to carry them through.
  • Be consecrated.
  • Be competitive.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 22-24. Remember it starts with the thought, then the act, then the habit, then the character and then the destiny. Complete__ 

February 14th   

Getting Control of your Thought Life, Continued!

Read yesterday’s devotion

Proverbs 15:26, “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.”

Proverbs 23:6-7, “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”

Matthew 5:28, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Our thoughts are the “springs of action as well as a means of knowledge.”

Proverbs 14:23, “In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury…”poverty.

Here is a good quote: “The mind is a garden where thought flowers grow.”

LEARN THE SECRET OF CONTROLLING YOUR THOUGHT LIFE

James 4:7-8, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

  • Put away anything between you and God. Psalm 66:18.
  • Search your heart Psalm 139:23-24.
  • Memorize scripture Romans 12:1-2.

To renew means: Complete mental process of change, for good, or gradually conforming to Christ.

Isaiah said, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is staid on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”

Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 19-21. Yield your thoughts to Christ. Complete__

        

                February 13th               

Getting Control of your Thought Life! 

Read 2 Corinthians 10:1-6

Without question, this is one of the most important studies for each of us reading this. It is a lesson that is needed by everyone, young and old, male or female alike.

Someone said, “Input determines output, program determines production.”

Another said, “The thought precedes the deed, as lightning the thunder.”

Wise men think out their thoughts, fools proclaim them.

Definition: The desires and purposes of the souls of men.

If we can master our thoughts we can master ourselves as well as the world and live life in victory.

One of the greatest problems with most men is their thought life.

The truth is that everyone has a problem with this at one time or another.

It is important to remember that every act is first preceded by the thought.

Every act of adultery, immorality is first preceded by the thought.

As a matter of fact every command of God is first preceded by the thought to obey or disobey.

So, how can I get control of my thoughts: 

REALIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR THOUGHT LIFE

Someone said, “From thoughts to destiny.”

What made God destroy the world?

Genesis 6:5” “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 16-18. First come the thought, the act, the habit, the character, and then the destiny. Be careful at first. Complete__

February 12th

How to Control our Passions, Part 3

Read the last two days devotions

Doing His will must be more important to us than giving in to some worldly habit. 

CALL UPON GOD 

Claim the spiritual help God has provided because you know the Bible spells out how to live right. The Holy Spirit dwells in us to give us spiritual power, and through prayer we commune with God, drawing upon His help. We can receive guidance and help from Christian friends and be involved in church, prayer meetings, devotions, and close relationships. Practical suggestions to follow:

  •  Avoid surroundings that cause you to be tempted.

Avoid those who may cause you to think about your weakness. If you get angry when tired, get more rest. If being around certain people causes you to be discouraged avoid them until you are able to get a handle on this problem. 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 worth getting 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 home or friendship.

  • Watch that your mind does not focus on things that bring spiritual defeat.
  •  As a practical means of controlling emotions of passion, 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, and don’t live like a peasant, you are a child of the King.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 13-15. Meditate on Galatians 6:22 all day. Complete__   

February 11th 

How to Control our Passions, Part 2 

Read yesterday’s devotion How can we control our passions that lead to defeat? ADMIT YOUR WEAKNESSES 

To try to excuse or justify our weaknesses because of failure in the past is not the answer. Facing up to them is the most important step.

So, confess the weakness to the Lord. Admit to yourself that you have no control over your 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, but said, Romans in 7:24, “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death.” Verse 25, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”

DECIDE TO OBEY JESUS CHRIST 

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 emotions.

John 14:15, “If ye love me keep my commandments.”

John l5: 14, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatever I command you.”

Paul told the Roman believers in Romans 6:13, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God.”

Obeying the Lord involves the will. We must decide to obey in all things. Realize that we are responsible for our own behavior.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 10-12. Plan your thoughts through the Word. Complete__               

                                   February 10th                                    

How to Control our Passions

“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. & Mrs. Smith.” His attraction to his best friend’s wife was about to result in a shameful, adulterous relationship.”

Tragically such headlines do not occur only in newspapers and television, but all too often in real life, and respectable homes. Too often those of us who claim to be Christians are involved in terrible events such as these. 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 outbreaks in violent temper, jealousy, greed and lustful thoughts and deeds.

Emotions that God built into us for good, when distorted by sin, are all too often channeled into deeds that are destructive.  Our natural appetite for food or drink becomes gluttony; the proper sexual drive becomes adultery, and the desire to succeed often leads to selfishness and pride.

I believe that victory over these passions is possible, because we are not dealing with some mystic power, or uncontrollable force, or weakness to which we have to surrender.

As believers we are on the battleground with Satan, the enemy of our souls, and we are in a constant struggle with him, as well as with our old nature. Nevertheless, the Bible tells us that sins of passion, such as anger, jealousy, greed, and the Christian who sincerely wants to be victorious over any immorality can overcome pride.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 7-9. Ask God to control your passions. Complete__

February 9th 

       Broken and Remade, Part 4           

Read Jeremiah 18:1-11 again

We may be clay, but the Potter can make something beautiful out of us. On the other hand, He can put a useless vessel on the shelf. The clay cannot be molded into something beautiful without putting pressure on it; the same is true with us. How we respond to the pressure will determine what kind of vessels we will become. Clay must have a potter and the potter must have some clay to shape. God spends much time on His vessels, so allow Him to work on you.

SIN IS THE MARRING

This is important for us to understand: if the potter finds something in the vessel that resists, he has to remove the impurity and make the vessel again. The tragedy is that our potential is limited and can be greatly reduced if we resist. We throw a lot of things away in our lives when we resist the Potter. The vessel can shrink because of marring, teaching us that we can shrink in our Christian life because of sin.

THE WHEEL IS OUR LIFE

The question in this message is, “How can we escape the discouragement, despair and depression of life after it is marred?” Examples of ruin in the Bible are meant to encourage, not discourage us. When the clay was marred it did not become worthless, because the potter still had a use for it. God still has a purpose for you! He still wants to work with you!  Don’t continue to resist, because it will lead to destruction in the end.

Your life can still be useful, satisfying, worthwhile, and of great value.  No matter how far you have gone into sin, God can still make you useful and be pleased with your life.

Lesson: A vessel is good for only one thing – to contain something, but there are some requirements for the vessel to be used as a container: It must be clean and it must be empty.

God can make or reshape your life and mine, and only He can bring it to perfection; because He is the Potter, we are the clay, sin is the marring and the wheel is our life. Someday all vessels will be finished by THE POTTER’S HAND!

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 4-6. Teach someone what you have learned. Complete__

February 8th 

Broken and Remade, Part 3 

Review yesterday’s devotion As the Prophet Jeremiah we too must learn that, GOD IS THE POTTER

  • God, as the Potter, has a plan for each of us.
  • He has a goal and a finish line in mind for each of us.
  • Most Christians doubt His plan.
  • Some Christians ignore His plan.
  • Some Christians submit to His plan.

His plan is always the best, and He never fails to give His best to those who leave the choice up to Him. The Christian who waits for God’s best is truly blessed.

  • The Potter wants us to prosper in His plan.

This is really a wonderful blessing for the Christian who is willing to allow God to shape his or her life. Love is always building; if we love, we will want to build up our own lives and ministries.

The difference between success and failure is shown by the account of the prodigal son: first he said, “Father give me,” and when he came back he said, “Father make me.”

  • The potter is patient.

The clay resisted the potter’s hand. Don’t resist God’s hand, because He is a God of a fresh start, and He never writes anybody off, but is patient and longsuffering with us.

WE ARE THE CLAY

The two most important questions in our Bible studies are: how and why? Clay is not worth much because it is just dirt.

Diamonds are just lumps of coal, but are valuable and beautiful because they have been proven. God did not say we are diamonds, but that we are clay, just clumps of dirt, but look at what God can make out of dirt. Clay is cheap, but the potter can make it something that is priceless, worthwhile, useful and beautiful.

  • Clay can yield to the hands of the potter.
  • Clay can be pliable and be made over again, not so with a beautiful diamond.

Daily Assignments

Read Numbers 1-3. Take a clump of clay and try to shape it. Complete_   

February 7th 

Broken and Remade, Part 2

Read yesterday’s devotion

Jeremiah went to the potter’s house not to preach a sermon, but to receive a sermon. This was not a sermon to hear, but a sermon to see from God Himself.

Matthew Henry said, “Those who had a sermon need not study them, if given by Divine Inspiration.”

There is a national and a personal application to what Jeremiah saw:

  • He applies it to the person vs. 1-4.
  • He applies it to the nation in vs. 5-9.

The first thing Jeremiah saw was the potter making a vessel, and something caused it to be marred. So “he made it again.”

God is saying that we are like clay in the potter’s hand and like the clay, we resisted; but God is a God of a second chance and opportunity – “He made it again.”

According to verse eight, God may even repent (change His mind) concerning His judgment upon the nation, if they will turn from evil.

On the other hand, God may also repent of the good with which He would bless them according to verse ten. God is saying to the nation and to us as individuals, “I am trying to make something great out of you.”

The potter can make something beautiful out of clay, and God can make something beautiful out of the Christian who is pliable.

Jeremiah was quick to do what God said in verse two, and look at what he did in verse three, “Then I went down to the potter’s house.”  That’s a real working faith:

  • Obedience is essential in order to hear the voice of God.
  • God speaks to us through the routine things in life.

Tomorrow and the next day we will see four very obvious and important lessons we need to understand in this portion of Scripture.

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 25-27. Obedience is a great sign of faith. Complete___                   

                                        February 6th                                 

Broken and Remade

or

The Integrity Crisis! 

Verses 1-3, “The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.”

Will Rogers was known for his laughter, but he also knew how to weep. One day he was entertaining at the Milton H. Berry Institute in Los Angeles, a hospital that specialized in rehabilitating polio victims and people with broken backs and other extreme physical handicaps. Of course, Rogers had everybody laughing, even patients in really bad condition; but then he suddenly left the platform and went to the rest room. Milton Berry followed him to give him a towel; and when he opened the door, he saw Will Rogers leaning against the wall, sobbing like a child. He closed the door, and in a few minutes, Rogers appeared back on the platform, as jovial as before. If you want to learn what a person is really like, ask three questions: What makes him laugh? What makes him angry? What makes him weep? These are fairly good tests of character that are especially appropriate for Christian leaders. I hear people saying, “We need angry leaders today!” or “The time has come to practice militant Christianity!” Perhaps, but “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). What we need today is not anger but anguish, the kind of anguish that Moses displayed when he broke the two tablets of the law and then climbed the mountain to intercede for his people, or that Jesus displayed when He cleansed the temple and then wept over the city. The difference between anger and anguish is a broken heart. It’s easy to get angry, especially at somebody else’s sins; but it’s not easy to look at sin, our own included, and weep over it. Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, pp. 75-76. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 22-24. How do you think Jeremiah felt . Complete___

February 5th   

                               DISCOURAGEMENT, CONCLUSION                                 

Read Psalm 75 Here is one of the greatest blessing of just keeping on going in spite of the many discouragements in life:

  • In the great PAYOFF.

Please study Psalm 73:12-28, and you will see that our payoff comes in heaven.  Also, read Hebrews 6:12-20. The next time you are tempted to fret and worry, remember you have His presence – the wicked do not. You have His promises – they do not. You have a great payoff – they do not. Let your trials become your triumphs so that others may learn of His wonderful presence, His blessed promises, and the great payoff. HOW CAN THE CHRISTIAN DEFEAT DISCOURAGEMENT?

  • Keep your eyes on the Lord.

Keep on trusting in Him. Look at what Job said: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

  • All of us have trials.
  • All of us can overcome trials.

Our trials are designed to make us stronger if we are in fellowship with Him, but if not, they are given to bring us back into fellowship with God.

  • Get busy for the Lord.
  • Get off the defensive and go on the offensive.
  • Get back to where you fell out of fellowship with Him. Far too many Christians are quitting their God-given responsibilities.
  • Go back to the most important priorities.

A Christian need never lead a defeated and discouraged life. Don’t let the Devil have victory over you. We pray this eight-day study has been a help and blessing in your spiritual life.

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 19-21. Pray these lessons will continue. Complete___

February 4th

   DISCOURAGEMENT, PART VII  

Review the last six days devotions Notice Psalm 146:10b, “…but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.”

In Psalm 42:1-6, David rebukes himself for being depressed, and in Psalm 43:5, he is preaching to himself.

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. What is that sweetness?

Please take a few moments to meditate on Exodus 15:23-25, “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.”

God used a tree to make the bitter waters sweet, and the tree is a picture of Calvary.  There is 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, as you have them. He does not promise pleasure or prosperity, but He promises plenty. Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 16-18. Who upset you this week? Complete___

February 3rd

DISCOURAGEMENT, PART VI

Review the last five days devotions

I am reminded of a ninety year-old woman who, when asked how she lived so long, replied, “When I works, I works hard. When I sits, I sits loose, and when I worry, I goes to sleep.”

A story is told of a worrywart who went to a psychiatrist. After he listed all the man’s problems, the psychiatrist asked him to name one instance when worry helped, and then explained that 99% or more of what we worry about never happens.

Sometimes a person becomes so depressed about evil in the world that it results in his own downfall.

In Psalm 37, David warned us about this problem. Three times he used the little phrase, “Fret not” in relation to our frustration with the wrongs around us. There are three very important lessons we can learn from David:

  • Do not get upset when you see the wicked get away with sin (verse1).
  • Do not get angry when these same people prosper more than you (verse 7).
  • Do not get resentful (or moody) which may cause you to become and act wicked yourself.

If resentment has filled your heart because others are getting away with doing wrong, you are on dangerous ground. The word “fret” means to blaze up with anger, to have zeal and jealousy.

Proverbs 24:19 says, “Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked.”

The only time this word is used is when we are commanded not to fret over the wicked or those who prosper.

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 13-15. Think about who you are. Complete___

February 2nd

                                    DISCOURAGEMENT, PART V                                     

Read Psalm 73 again Someone might say, “God what you are asking is too hard for me.” Yes, but “Is anything too hard for God?”

  • Christians sometimes get discouraged by the prosperity of the wicked, Psalm 73.

A truth or two about what God says about prosperity: The true secret of prosperity is

  •  God’s blessing

Psalm 35:27, “Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.”

  •  God’s guidance

In Genesis in 24 we see the beautiful story of how the servant gets the bride for Isaac by,

  •  Trusting in God

Nehemiah 2:20, “Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.”        

  •  Listening to God’s prophets

Ezra 6:14, “And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”

  •  Believing God’s Word

2 Chronicles 20:20, “And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”

It is a sin to fret over those who prosper and do evil. Please read Psalm 37:1-11.

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 10-12. What has been a help to you in these 5 days of devotions on discouragement? Make a list of these. Complete___

February 1st 

                                     DISCOURAGEMENT, PART IV                                       

Read Psalm 73 again

Charles Spurgeon said, “Fretting, groaning, and complaining are very easy, but they are ungrateful, unholy and useless habits. How wretched a thing is discontent? Complaining and discontent is always the same old and cruel slander; but each time there is more sin in it.”

In verse 6 they acted like serpents in hissing at Moses, and now serpents are sent to punish them. God has many ways of chastising sinners. He, who made Moses’ rod a serpent, can also use a serpent as His rod to smite Israel. He will sting those who sting His servants.

In verses 7-8 we cannot help but admire Moses. He prays at once for the people who had been so harsh toward him in their complaining. What a lesson in returning good for evil!

Satan will always try to get Christians to stop living for the Lord, but when all else fails, he uses his greatest tool – the tool of discouragement.

Several important lessons:

I. DISCOURAGEMENT COMES WHEN A CHRISTIAN TAKES HIS EYES OFF THE LORD

The children of Israel took their eyes off the Lord and put them on their circumstances.

  • Christians sometimes get discouraged when the way is too hard, but God says, “And the cause (problem) that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will bear it.” 
  • Christians sometimes get discouraged when the task is too difficult. All of us face difficulties at times.

Look at Nehemiah in the building of the wall when his people said, “We are not able to build the wall.”  Why? There was too much rubbish and the burden bearers were weakened. What did Nehemiah do? He looked unto the Lord.

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 7-9. How do you respond to discouragement? Complete___

January 31st 

DISCOURAGEMENT, PART III   

Review the last two day’s devotion               III. LOOKING AHEAD BROUGHT DIRECTION Read Psalm 73:24-28.

  • We have a conscious goal.
  • We have a subconscious goal.

Conscious is what we PROFESS. Subconscious is what we PRETEND.

Have you been looking around or within? If so, start to look up and experience delight and God’s direction in your Christian life.

We have learned that looking around brings discouragement (depression of one’s spirit). We mentioned the causes of and remedies for disillusionment, and how to turn “discouragement and depression” to “delight and direction.”

In this portion of the chapter we will address how Satan uses discouragement and how we can defeat it.

Please Read Numbers 21:4-9.

Chapter 20 brought the end of the wilderness wanderings. In chapter 21 we see the first victory in their warfare and the 8th and last murmuring. This is the first victory for Israel since the conflict with Amalek back in the first part of the wanderings after leaving Egypt.

God clearly gave them the victory; however, they now have to go by way of Mt. Hor near the Red Sea. Since they cannot go through Edom, they have to go in a circle and come in from the East.  The way is hard and in their plight, they begin to complain.

In verses 4-5 at Mt. Hor Moses had seen his brother Aaron die and now, all alone, he has to deal with the complaining of the people; yet he was not alone because God was with him.

The people were getting weary of tent life and of the inconveniences of perpetually moving, but they forgot their many mercies, and the great deliverance, which the Lord had wrought for them. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 4-6. Who was a blessing to you today? Complete___

January 30th

           DISCOURAGEMENT, PART II         

Read yesterday’s devotion              

I am sure you may already have faced some of the following today:

DOWNHEARTEDNESS

Look at Elijah under the juniper tree in 1 Kings 19:4.

DISILUSIONMENT

Look carefully at the wise preacher Solomon in Ecclesiastes 7:23-29.

What are some of the remedies for disillusionment?

  • Presence of God.

God said to Elijah, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9-18. Elijah fled to Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God where God met with Moses.

  • Proper casting.

“Cast thy burden upon The Lord, for He careth for you.” Psalm 55:22.

  • Pointed prayer.

Mark 6:31 “Come ye apart … and rest awhile.” Jesus often went alone to pray and rest.

  • Practical preparation.

Luke 21:28, “For your redemption draweth nigh.”

We need to get ready for the coming of the Son of Man.

II. LOOKING WITHIN BRINGS DEPRESSION

Please read Psalm 73:4-13.

  •    He did not accept God’s forgiveness, verse 13.
  •    He felt guilty even though he confessed, verses 14-16.
  •    He looked at his failures, verses 14-16.

III. WHEN HE LOOKED UP IT BROUGHT DELIGHT

Read Psalm 73:17-23.

  • He remembered who God is.
  • He remembered what God said.
  • He remembered what God has done.

                Daily Assignments

Read Leviticus 1-3. Look to Jesus all day today. Complete___                         

                                            January 29th                                        

DISCOURAGEMENT!

Read Psalm 73 For the next eight days we will be studying one of our greatest challenges:

Verses 2-3, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Verse 14, “For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. Verse 16, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me.”

One of Satan’s greatest tools is the matter of discouragement. In this devotion we are going to learn how to change from discouragement and depression to delight and direction. In studying both Psalms 73 and 37 we see that discouragement and depression are much alike in that they both cover concern over prosperity of the wicked, which led the psalmist to discouragement. I believe we need to count our many blessings in this world of wealth and materialism, because we have so much.

How can we learn from this psalmist (believed to be Asaph), and what did he learn? He learned several important lessons:

I. LOOKING AROUND BRINGS DISCOURAGEMENT

Psalm 73:1-3 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Confucius said, “A man who does what he likes will never have to work a day in his life.” DISPLEASURE Look at Moses when he was displeased and discouraged in Numbers 11:10-15. DEFEAT Look at Joshua 7:7-9 after the loss of Ai. Discouragement: Depression of one’s spirit. Tomorrow we will see some of the causes?

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 37-40. What caused your last discouragement? Complete__

January 28th

THE MISERY OF SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, PART III 

Read the last two day’s devotion

The Bible says in Psalms 4:4, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” Psalm 63:5-6, “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.”

Why is it that so many of us lose sleep over anxieties?

Most worry over their circumstances.

There is nothing more hopeless, because they think only of the dark, depressing side of things. One great lesson to remember at times such as these is that most of what we fear at night never comes to pass in light.

Others worry over their sins.

This can certainly be a more hopeless condition, because our estimates of ourselves at night are seldom true ones; besides this matter of going over past sin is adding sin to sin, and is wicked. Why? God has already buried these sins in the deepest sea and if God can no longer remember them, don’t you think it is wrong for us to do so?

Still others put their thoughts on God.

Of course, this is the proper response to sleepless nights worrying over circumstances and past sins because,

  • Even the worst of circumstances seem more hopeful when we can see God in them.
  • Even our sins can be calmly reviewed, when we can see how God has dealt with them, and what He has done for us through them.

Praise God! He has not only promised to bury our sins in the deepest sea, but He has also promised to give His beloved sleep.  People without Christ look to other people for help, or sink down in discouragement; while the Christian can trust in Psalm 34:17, “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.”

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 34-36. Turn to God in times of worry. Complete___

 

January 27th  

THE MISERY OF SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, PART II           

Read yesterday’s devotion

Some are unrealistically hopeful, and fail to respond when circumstances do call for some anxiety; while others may act appropriately in handling the matter before them. Bottom line, we all have the same Saviour to flee to for help. I believe there are times we fail to recognize God working through the anxieties of the mind, as well as through the pains of the body. In other words, we deceive ourselves by thinking these mental trials are in no way from God because we made them ourselves, and so we fail to associate God with them, and lose what would be our best comfort and relief. The truth of the matter is that God is able to use our anxieties to work in our hearts and minds in three ways:

  • Sometimes anxieties keep us convinced of the spiritual.

Suppose we took everything in stride, were never troubled, never concerned. We could say that such a person has it all together, or do they? These folks fail to understand that there is a world of thought and feeling and this world is very intense and real to some people.

  • Other times anxieties keep control over the battles in life.

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.”

  • At times anxieties might bring us closer to God.

The question really amounts to this: “Do we yield to our anxieties or do we resist them by letting God work His work of grace through them?” Notice in verse three that the psalmist remembered God or he thought upon God.

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 31-33. Claim, “He giveth his beloved sleep”. Complete___

     

                     January 26th               

THE MISERY OF SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

 Read Psalm 77:1-6

Verse 2, “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.”

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; yet he refused to rest. The causes of sleepless nights in most cases are burdens on the mind, rather than pains in the body. We begin to think about things that cause us to worry and we can’t sleep.

Asaph apparently suffered with mental depression, because he was anxious over the condition of his nation. I am sure to get some disagreement on the next statement: “Times of mental depression are not always wrong or because of sin.” They are often the natural response of the mind to physical conditions surrounding us and outward circumstances over which we have no control. It might also mean that there is “sensitivity” on the part of the one that is suffering with this depression.

Each individual’s response is different from others because God has made each of us different. He did not put us in a cookie mold and make everybody the same. Some are easily depressed because they have possibly suffered more. Some may have had a terrible upbringing. Some see the glass as half empty while others see it as half full; neither is wrong, but they look at things differently. Some see the black clouds gathering in the sky to be threatening; while others say, “Whoopee, here comes some rain.” Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 28-30. Pray for your family before bedtime. Complete___

                  January 25th                 

HOW TO DEAL WITH LONELINESS!

Hebrews 13:1-6

How lonely we all get at times. We must all face it. One needs only visit in a rest home and retirement centers to see the loneliness of the elderly. Why not take a few moments out of your busy schedule and talk to a poor widow lady who has to try to make it on her own. Or, encourage a husband who is struggling after the loss of his lifelong mate.

David knew something about loneliness in Psalm 63:1-11. Paul said in Romans 1:1, “I long to see you.” In Philippians 1:8 he said, “How greatly I long after you all.”

In his book, “Coping with Loneliness,” Leroy Peterson points out four kinds of lonely people.

THE LONELINESS OF ALIENATION

You just don’t feel a part of it – don’t belong. You feel left out, even in the family. No one cares about you.

THE LONELINESS OF ISOLATION

Those living alone without any relationships whatsoever: rest homes, etc. Often even Christians who have isolated themselves. Both of these can be helped. If you feel no one cares or you feel isolated – find someone else worse off than you and make him/her feel like he/she is important.

THE LONELINESS OF SEPARATION

Having lost a loved one, etc.

THE LONELINESS OF EXISTENCE

You just exist, without apparent hope of any kind. This is one we definitely do not need in our life. Look at verses 4-6. God cares about each one of these. Come boldly to Him for help, because you feel that even He does not care and that you have lost all contact with Him.

So, get back in touch with Him, because He has not left. Come boldly to the Throne of Grace to find mercy and help in time of need, AND keep on coming back to Him. Think of how Jesus must have felt in the Garden all alone; on the cross, all alone; on the Mount of Temptation, all alone; alone in all night prayer meetings; alone in suffering, etc. Just think: He is your helper!

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 25-27. Start to help others who are lonely. Complete___   

January 24th 

HOW TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION, PART IV

Review the last three days devotions

Much of our depression may be due to the,

LOSS OF A VISION

Study Judges chapter 15 and 1 Kings 19:3-8.

  • Sampson is certainly a good example of defeat after a great victory.
  • Elijah is another example of defeat after his great victory on Mt. Carmel. In the following chapter we see him running from Jezebel.

When the excitement is over ask God to give you a fresh vision, and never do anything because of its excitement, but because it is right and needs to be done.  If you have excitement as a byproduct, have it. Be motivated by the need rather than the excitement. Major on the simple, obvious, needy and not on wishful thinking.

Now, here is an important lesson:

THE DEVIL USES DEPRESSION AGAINST GOOD CHRISTIANS

Please study Psalms 42-43.

Chapters 42-49 were written by the sons of Korah, a Levite who rebelled against Moses; however, his sons and descendants did not join his wickedness, but faithfully continued to serve God as musicians in the Temple for hundreds of years. The important lesson in these chapters is that the psalmist learned to focus on the goodness of God in times of depression. Rather than focus on his inability to help himself, he focused on the ability of God to help in times of trouble.

The lesson for each Christian reading this devotion is to focus not only on the goodness of God, but His ability, action and our attitude.

Learn to enjoy working in the valley, and with problems, because the more success you have, the more valleys you will experience. The higher you go the lower you fall.

I am of the firm belief that depression can lead to bad attitudes or a yielding to and falling into sin. The prescription for depression: Go to God; realize that He wants you and wants to help you; don’t complain to anybody and get busy praying, helping others, working on a solution, and in some extreme cases perhaps professional help may be needful.

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 22-24. How have these last four days been a help to you? I would appreciate you letting me know. Complete___  

January 23rd        

HOW TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION, PART III

Read the last two days devotion I believe there are times all of us respond to situations too quickly and maybe even too harshly. A FEELING OF BEING TRAPPED BECAUSE OF PRESSURE

Going nowhere fast! Is there one among us who has not been there? A good way to help overcome this feeling is to be led of God to start things, not because of being pressured by someone or something. Be patient, and keep working at it.

NOT ACCEPTING GOD’S FORGIVENESS

We must learn to put our sin under the blood of Christ and forget it.

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Weariness and exhaustion will surely follow if we do not forget about our sin or weakness; soon we become ineffective in our duties.

GUILT OVER PAST SIN

Please meditate on Matthew 27:1-10. Judas confessed but not to Jesus. He felt guilt but went to the wrong place for confession – the priests. As wicked as his sin was, he could have experienced forgiveness had he confessed his sin to Jesus.

Here is a good rule: If you feel condemnation it is from the devil, and if you feel conviction it is probably from God.

MONEY PROBLEMS AT HOME OR BUSINESS

Judas Iscariot is a picture of one whose greed led to money problems and much worse. Why not make it a law of the Medes and the Persians, “If you don’t have it don’t buy it.” In other words, build your future on common (cents)?  Our ministry goal ought always to be, to build people not buildings.

Dr. Hyles said “Don’t use your people to build your work, but your work to build your people.”

Money problems in the home, business or even church can cause the worst kind of depression. Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 19-21. When was the last time you prayed for others? Complete___

January 22nd 

HOW TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION, PART II            

Read yesterday’s devotion

2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

Always blame yourself and not others by saying,  “The Buck stops here.” Even if you fail, learn from it and don’t make the same mistake again. God put you in a place where you can succeed, and if your goal is to live for others you cannot fail.

UNFAIR COMPARISONS WITH OTHERS

We compare ourselves with others, and as a result we are too hard on ourselves. Oh if we would learn to be the man, woman or young person God wants us to be. Here is an important truth: don’t try to be like someone else, instead be what God wants for you; and if another has what you need, don’t copy, but learn from that person.

A good practical lesson: don’t try to “measure up” to others’ expectations; just be what God wants for you.

There is really only one way to be successful: be in the center of the will of God! In other words, be everything God wants you to be. If you use God’s will as a measuring rod in your life then you cannot fail. Though you may be lacking in some way, God will supply the tools you need.

REJECTION AND/OR LONELINESS

Respect and rejection often go together. Love and loneliness can be close friends at times. The more you love the more you give and the less you seek to get, right?

Here is a remedy: learn to be comfortable when alone by being alone with God, and don’t let the lack of love from others bother you.  Some of us have learned that our stand and belief will always offend some people. The key: Don’t you be offended, because the psalmist had it right in Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 16-18. Who was the last person that disappointed you? What was your reaction to him/her. Complete___

            January 21st           

HOW TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION, PART I

Read Philippians 4:1-13

One of the greatest downfalls of Christians and especially full-time Christian workers is the matter of depression. Most Christians would rather avoid the subject; however, none of us will escape it at some time in our lives.

Webster’s Dictionary says depression is: a failure of the spirit, low in spirit, melancholy or a lowering of vital powers. Many say that the biggest reason for depression is money problems; others say that it is because of family problems.

What are the causes of depression, and how can we overcome not so much the depression itself, but the cause of it? Obviously I am not a professional when it comes to diagnosing mental depression, and do not claim to have all the answers, but I am of the firm belief that the following are some of the reasons people are constantly depressed:

DISAPPOINTMENT OR DISILLUSIONMENT WITH OTHERS

A good rule to practice is, don’t expect more of yourself than you are able to deliver, and don’t promise what you cannot deliver. On the other hand, sometimes we expect too much from others and are too lenient with ourselves. Our expectations of others are more than they are able to produce, but God uses man because of sincerity and willingness not so much ability.

SEEMING FAILURES ON THE JOB OR IN THE FAMILY

Failure is often the back door to success, because success only comes to those who have imperfections. We must remember that we are working with imperfect people and as a result we often suffer with disappointment and disillusionment, which can lead to discouragement and depression. Why not make it a rule to never try just once and quit, but keep on trying as long as you have breath. Don’t let failure stop you, because you only fail if you quit. You may get knocked down but you need not be knocked out. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 13-15. How many times have you heard, “Don’t talk about it? Yet, you need someone to listen and to understand.

Complete___

 

 January 20th

THE CURE FOR GUILT    

Read the last two days devotions

If you are a born-again child of God and you believe the Bible, then believe God for this. You can know both the joy of peace with God and the peace of God, because He stands ready and willing to forgive your every sin.

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

You will notice that there are no exceptions, no matter how small or great the sin. Christ died and paid for all sin. God never becomes weary of an honest confession, nor does He ever run out of patience for those who sincerely seek forgiveness. Be thankful to the Lord for this great blessing. How foolish for us to go on feeling guilty! How foolish we are to dig up what He has buried, etc.

Psalm 103:10-12, “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

Jeremiah 31:34, “I will forgive their iniquity, and will remember their sin nor more.”

When God forgives He forgets. You cannot forget your sin, but God does. Therefore, if you are struggling with something in your life that displeases the Lord, don’t let it get you down but confess, repent and forget it. Try with His help to forsake it, and claim His forgiveness. Break free from the feeling of guilt by accepting His forgiveness.

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 10-12

List some of the people who are a blessing to you.

Complete___

   

             January 19th          

Read yesterday’s devotion

 WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF GUILT?

We must understand the difference between real and imagined; genuine and distorted guilt. Genuine is real, while distorted is not. Genuine is based on truth while distorted is emotional. The genuine has direct cause; distorted involves a misunderstood effect. In genuine guilt we are guilty of violating some law, but with distorted guilt, we only feel guilty.  It is important to understand the difference.

Genuine guilt is usually the result of disobedience to God – breaking His biblical principle or law; in other words, 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 we should deal with it before we can be at peace with God, others, or ourselves.

Dealing with distorted guilt is a different story: it is not real guilt, because there has been no breaking of God’s law.  There should be no feelings of guilt, but there are. Understanding and overcoming this feeling is not easy. This guilt is often the result of making unrealistic expectations for us.

The standard is set so high that it is impossible to reach, and when we fall short, we become disappointed and discouraged. We feel guilty because we have failed again. A vicious cycle of guilt that is not real can occur. Again, it came from unrealistic goals, comparisons or having an oversensitive spirit. The result of this guilt can be tragic and has to be dealt with.

WHAT IS THE CURE OF GUILT?

God did not intend for us to be overcome by failure. 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 to freedom is to appreciate and appropriate His forgiveness. Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 7-9. What have you been feeling guilty about? Complete___            

                         January 18th                       

     Guilt!     

2 Peter 3:9-17

For the next several weeks we will study topics from the booklet “How to Handle your Emotions,” (digital version is available at hnikoley.com). These lessons will help us to handle our challenges and emotions in a biblical way. We will have an occasional interruption for other special dates and matters. Today we begin with the subject of guilt. Please be sure to read each day of the week. We will have an occasional interruption for other special dates and matters. We begin today with the subject of guilt.

Philippians 4:6-7, “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.”

The Bible commands us to be careful (anxious) for nothing, yet one of the most common problems among Christians is the matter of guilt, which leads to discouragement. Many feel beaten down by it as they dwell on their inadequacies and failures.

They fret over their weaknesses, and somehow believe that if they could undo the past, things would be different; on the other hand, they realize they cannot change the past. They see others as carefree, while they themselves are burdened down with feelings of wrongdoing.

As a result, such people are spiritually crippled and fall 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 must learn to overcome it. If we handle it in a courageous manner, it will help us to live the Christian life at its best. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 4-6. What have you been feeling guilty about? Complete___

January 17th

A Recipe for Contentment, Part 5

Review the last four days devotion Philippians 2:21, “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” A CATEGORICAL DESIRE TO HELP OTHERS

That is, an unconditional desire to help others, without expecting anything in return. An important lesson for every Christian to learn is that personal contentment will grow as we learn to help others. There will be contentment even as we are burdened about others; while lacking some of the so called “nicer things” in life.

Notice what Paul wrote on the subject of others in Romans 15:1-7, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.”

  • Help the weak and the 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.

It is absolutely true that contentment comes from our close and intimate relationship with Christ, a consistent faith that He will supply our every need and give us a desire to help others.

Daily Assignments

Read Exodus 1-3. What is your response to discontentment in others? We hope the last five days have been profitable for you. Complete___

January 16th

A Recipe for Contentment, Part 4

Review the last three days devotion

Many will not acknowledge the reality of Christ, yet He makes Himself known to them in so many ways, even our calendar starts with Christ.

  • Think about your daily fellowship with Christ.   John 15:14, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
  • Think about the fact that Jesus is coming again.

A CONSISTENT FAITH THAT GOD WILL SUPPLY YOUR EVERY NEED

1 Timothy 6:17-19, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

We must start with work on our part.   2 Thessalonians 3:10-11, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.”

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, bills, etc.
  • He will supply if I ask Him.  James 4:2-3, “Ye have not…”
  • He will supply if I will share it with others.

The sin of selfishness will sever our prayer line. Concluded tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 47-50. Why not be a Joseph to your family? Complete___

January 15th 

A Recipe for Contentment, Part 3

Review the last two days devotion

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, verse 11-12.
  • We are to exhort the rich of the world, verses 17-19.

The rich need help just as much as the poor among us; they too need God’s grace. 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. For example, look at some of the movie stars, music and rock stars, as well as athletes constantly displaying their discontentment. Much of the world is trying to find happiness in sex, drugs, alcohol, excess, money, power, or reality TV.  In this devotional, let’s not look at what many are seeking, but what God says in His Word. Make up your mind to consider three important truths:

A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST

Try anything we want – only the Saviour brings contentment. Paul points out several times the necessity of dying to self. Think of the sufferings of Christ and the many who have known Christ for years, but have a light attitude toward His suffering.

We need the mind of Christ.  Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 44-46. Find your favorite verse and share it with someone today. Complete___

 January 14th

A Recipe for Contentment, Part 2

Read yesterday’s devotion

Start out by writing down your first thoughts or concerns first thing this morning. Were you content with the way things are going for you, or was there some discontentment?

  • Contentment is not covetousness of what you cannot afford.

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.”

  • Contentment is not craving (envying) things others have.

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, and there is no common confidence; there is no drawing together of direction and effort; there is no cooperation in encouraging 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 that has seen the effects of this on a family or church will have any doubt that where a spirit of strife prevails there is disharmony, because 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, a church, or even a nation. Where this spirit prevails, it is impossible to expect any progress in spiritual things, and will make any effort to do well vain. Continued tomorrow!

 Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 41-43. Be a goal setter not a goal dodger.

Complete___

January 13th

A Recipe for Contentment!

 1 Timothy 6:1-10, Psalm 145:7-21

1 Timothy 6:6-8, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

The word godliness signifies true Christianity and contentment is a sufficiency or a portion of the secular things in life which are necessary for our support. This is not speaking of what we might think to be sufficient to meet our needs.  According to these verses, if we have Christ to meet our needs of food and raiment we have great gain.

Contentment is a state of mind or a satisfied feeling of freedom from complaining. In other words, if we have Christ who gives us peace of heart and mind, then we are regarded as being truly rich.

Proverbs 15:16, “Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.”

Someone said, “It requires but little of this world’s goods to satisfy a man who feels himself to be a citizen of another country, and knows that this is not his rest.”

Spurgeon said, “It makes us truly happy, by making our little into much and sweetening all the trials of life.  Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.”

All of us know Christians who are unhappy and in some cases it may even be understandable. This brings up an important question:

“How can we be content?” Notice what contentment is not:

  • Contentment is not concern over what God has already promised in Matthew 6:25-34.

  • Contentment is not complaining about what we do not have.

1 Corinthians 10:10, “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 38-40.  Write down some qualities a successful servant of God. Complete___

January 12th

A Passion for the Bible! Part 2 

Read yesterday’s devotion

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.”

BECAUSE OF ITS CARE AND COPY

Monks would copy Septuagint with much care and time.

  • Preserved throughout history.
  • Proclaimed by the blood of the saints.
  • Promises fulfilled by the Father.

BECAUSE OF ITS AMAZING CIRCULATION

  • Amazing in its prominence.
  • Amazing in its popularity.

The Bible is still the World’s bestseller.

BECAUSE OF ITS UNIVERSAL APPEAL

  • It appeals to all languages and nations.
  • It appeals to all backgrounds.

BECAUSE OF ITS ABSOLUTE HONESTY

Look at David and Solomon…etc.

  • The purity of God’s Word.
  • The integrity of God’s Holiness.

BECAUSE OF ITS POWER TO SAVE

  • Power to save the simple and intelligent.
  • Power to save the poor and rich.

Have you read it? Is the Bible the most important book to you?

Do you have a PASSION FOR THE BIBLE?

Remember what you do with the Bible determines what God will do for and through you. Also remember to make much of the Bible and God will make much of you.

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 35-37. Pray an extra ten minutes for God to give your pastor His power as he preaches on Sunday.

Complete___                                   

                                                January 11th                                             A Passion for the Bible!

Psalm 119:89-112

When was the last time you gave thought as to the value of the Bible? I am not asking whether you thought to bring it to church, but have you thought about the Word of God. What meaning does it have in your life? What value would you place on your Bible? Is it an old Book with some good philosophical ideals or is it a Book of survival to you. Have you ever thought about your belief about the Bible? How do you know that God has spoken through the Bible? Ten reasons why I know the Bible is the Word of God:

BECAUSE OF ITS AMAZING UNITY

  • Sixty-six Books written by forty different individuals.
  • One in unity with the other, which makes the Bible the only Book that makes sense.

BECAUSE OF ITS INDESTRUCTIBILITY

  • Emperors and others have tried to destroy it from the very beginning.
  • Fools have tried to discredit the Bible. Ingersoll, Payne, etc.

In 303 AD Diocletion ordered, “Get rid of all the manuscripts.” In 313 Constantine asked, “are there any left” as many as 50 were found. BECAUSE OF ITS HISTORICAL ACCURACY

  • Accurate in history.
  • Accurate in character.

BECAUSE OF ITS SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY The Bible is not a Book of Science, but all it says is true.

Isaiah 40:22, ‘It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

BECAUSE OF ITS PROPHETIC ACCURACY

  • The prophecies fore-told by the prophets.
  • The prophecies fulfilled as spoken. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 32-34. Spend some extra time with your child tonight. Complete___

January 10th    

A Passion for Christ, Part 3

Review the last two days devotions

THEY WERE PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR SERVICE TO OTHERS. VERSE 44

They were willing to give it all, these days we keep what we have.

THEY WERE PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR OWN LIFE. VERSE 46

On Jan 25, 1990, Avianca Flight 52 from Colombia crashed just 15 miles short of New York’s Kennedy International Airport, killing 73 passengers. Reason: The plane just ran out of gas. Under international regulations, an airliner must carry enough fuel to reach its destination as well as its assigned alternate, plus enough extra to handle at least 45 minutes of delays. Due to low fuel condition, the Avianca pilots had requested “priority” (not “emergency”) landing. Because the exact word “emergency” was not used, and due to heavy traffic and bad weather conditions, the ill-fated plane was placed on a holding pattern…until it simply ran out of. Source unknown

These Christians were happy in their everyday life. They were happy and looked happy not sad, why? Because they gave up their old world and every day was a gift. Who won the Super Bowl will mean nothing a hundred years from now. So, the question this is: How is your passion for Christ today?

Acts 2: 46-47, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 29-31. Work on memorizing the books of the Bible.

Complete___  

January 9th 

                A Passion for Christ, Part 2               

Read yesterday’s devotion

Passion: Comes from the Greek word (Pathos) meaning, “affection.” Or, someone said, “a deep feeling with working results.” There is a passion for good or evil.

Think of it: Most men have more passion for a football, baseball game, golf, fishing, hunting, camping, job, etc. They have a real passion for it. But, how many have a real passion with fervent zeal enthusiasm for Christ?

This reminds of a certain wife who after she woke up, told her husband, “I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace for Valentine’s Day. What do you think it means?”  “You’ll know tonight.” he said. That evening, the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it to find a book entitled “The Meaning of Dreams”

These Christians paid a price for what they believed and practiced.

Here in Acts two, they had a real passion for Jesus. Three things:

THEY WERE PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR SPIRITUAL DEVOTION TO CHRIST VERSE 41

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust:  Confidence with heart and intellect.

To be steadfast in something would relate to all churches and members today. These had passion, now we have prosperity: or the give me generation. They loved the preaching of the Word of God, today we are like the usher in a little country church where an elderly woman walked into the local country church. The friendly usher greeted her at the door and helped her up the flight of steps. “Where would you like to sit?” he asked politely. “The front row please.” she answered.’ “You really don’t want to do that”, the usher said.” “The pastor is really boring.”  “Do you happen to know who I am?” the woman inquired. “No.” he said. “I’m the pastor’s mother,” she replied indignantly. “Do you know who I am?” he asked. “No.” she said. “Good”, he answered. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 26-28. Spend some extra time with your child tonight.

Complete___

         

                        January 8th                      

A Passion for Christ!

 Read Acts 2:37-47 This text is filled with excitement in the New Testament church. There was a passion for Christ and to bring men to Him for salvation.

“I have but one passion; it is He, He only.” Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf.

There is a tale told of that great English actor Macready. An eminent preacher once said to him: “I wish you would explain to me something.” “Well, what is it?” I don’t know that I can explain anything to a preacher.”  What is the reason for the difference between you and me? You are appearing before crowds night after night with fiction, and the crowds come wherever you go. I am preaching the essential and unchangeable truth, and I am not getting any crowd at all.”  Macready’s answer was this: “This is quite simple. I can tell you the difference between us. I present my fiction as though it were truth; you present your truth as though it were fiction.”  G. Campbell Morgan, Preaching, p. 36.

The Devil was walking along with one of his cohorts. They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny. “What did he find?” asked the cohort. “A piece of the truth,” the Devil replied. “Doesn’t it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?” asked the cohort. “No,” said the Devil, “I will see to it that he makes a religion out of it. Klyne Snodgrass

When he was pastor for the Methodist church in Scarborough, William Sangster had an eccentric member who tried to be a zealous Christian. Unfortunately, the man was mentally deficient and usually did the wrong thing. While working as a barber the man lathered up a customer for a shave, came at him with the poised razor, and asked, “Are you prepared to meet your God?” The frightened man fled with the lather on his face! Warren Wiersbe. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 22-25. Spend extra time praying for your pastor. Complete__

 

January 7th

             A Contrast of Two Men, Part 2             

Read yesterday’s devotion

WHAT IS THE BLESSED MAN DOING? VERSE 2

His delight is in the law of The Lord.

Whatever Jesus did, He based upon the will of the Father, not His own thoughts.

This happy man has strength; he is practical, energetic and he meditates day and night.

WHAT IS THE CONSEQUENCE OF BOTH? VERSES 4-6

  • The Godly man shall be like a tree planted where it can grow. That is, deep roots, beautiful. Beauty in the Bible is always connected with righteous living.
  • Whatever he does will prosper. He will have honor, truth and righteousness.

But, the ungodly are not so – like what? Like the blessed.

  • The sinner has a brief day. No vitality, spirit, comfort, joy, etc.

Oh yes, he will have happy moments and times of joy, but it will be on the surface only not in the heart.

  • He is like the chaff blown away by the wind.

The threshing of wheat separates the chaff (outside shell) from the inside kernel. It is held up against the wind, and just a little breeze will blow the chaff away. That’s just like the ungodly man; he simply is one who tries to get through life without God and is blown away when the storms in life come. What can feather weight chaff do against a raging wind? The great wind will catch all excuses from the lips.

Compare that to the godly man again:

  • He is blessed and ungodly are not so.
  • He is like a tree planted: like an evergreen.

In other words, his joy in life will last and the ungodly are not so.

The godly will stand like a TREE PLANTED.

The ungodly or unsaved are like THE CHAFF, there will be a separation form the righteous. They will perish.

Thank God for Jesus Christ, a picture of our righteous living.

         Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 19-21. Write out three groups of people that we are supposed to love, and put a reference verse beside it. Complete___

                   

                                           January 6th                                          

A Contrast of Two Men!

Read Psalm 1 Psalm one is a picture of a blessed (happy) man, but also a picture of Jesus Christ in the midst of ungodly sinners.

In verses 1-2 we see the PRACTICE of the blessed man.

In verse 3 we see the POWER of the blessed man.

In verses 4-6 we see the PERMANENCY of the blessed man.

Listening to counsel is good, but listening to the counsel of the ungodly is not walking by faith. Our counsel must come from godly men.

The ungodly just simply “leave God out.”

Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” 16:2, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.”

Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

God is opposed to the “scornful” man:

Proverbs 1:22, “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?”

Proverbs 3:34, “Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.”

I want to bring out three important thoughts or questions from Psalm 1.

WHAT IS THE SINNER DOING? VERSE 1.

The blessed man is described in three negatives:

  • He walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.
  • Nor standeth in the way of sinners (evil associations).
  • Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful (evil way).

There are more ways of saying, “Thou shalt not” and “Thou shalt.” Continued tomorrow!

       Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 16-18. Write out three groups of people that we are supposed to love, and put a reference verse beside it. Complete___

January 5th

                     Are you connected to a proper Power Connection? Part 2                                  

Read yesterday’s devotion We must make an effort to get going again in our weakened condition.

I like what Spurgeon said about this text: “He had much work before him, and therefore desired much communion with God.  Press of business should not excuse us from prayer, but rather urge us to have more of it. The Sun of Righteousness was up before the sun.

How much must our Lord have loved prayer to renounce his needed rest in sleep, in order to hold converse with his heavenly Father.  He was sinless, and yet needed prayer: far be it from us to dream that we can do without it.  In private we must, like our Lord, equip ourselves for the public battle of life.”

Someone else said: early rising, for the purpose of engaging in secret prayer before entering on the duties of the day, is the dictate of true wisdom, and is highly conducive to health, excellence, usefulness, and enjoyment. 

Jesus went to a solitary place at 3AM. Abraham went to a solitary place to build an altar to make a sacrifice. Moses went to a solitary place to meet with God. Job offered a sacrifice in a solitary place early in the morning. John Wesley got up at 4AM to pray for three hours in a solitary place. E.M Bounds prayed for hours early in the morning. Jesus often prayed early in the morning. It is not a matter of time or even a lack of time but a matter of discipline. Not only a WEAKENED CONDITION, a WILLING CONSECRATION  RECOGNIZE THE WORKING CONNECTION VERSES 35-39 We do not know what He prayed, but that he prayed and if He prayed how much more should we pray. “Come boldly to the throne of grace…” Seek the Lord and His strength continually.

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 13-15. Make an outline of the last Sunday school lesson. Complete ___

 January 4th  

Are you connected to a proper Power Connection?       

Read Mark 1:29-39

Think about using a jumper cable when battery has died. The cable is the proper connection for power.

The Bible says in 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.”

Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”

1 Corinthians 2:1-5, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

Now back to our story: Jesus first cast out devils in verses 21-28. It was a busy day for Him in preaching, teaching, casting out devils and healing.

THERE WAS A WEAKENED CONDITION VERSE 32

John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

When the flesh is tired, we need a jump-start.

THERE WAS WILLING CONSECRATION VERSES 31, 34-35.

Just realizing your battery is dead will not accomplish anything – must have a jump-start. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 10-12. Memorize one verse today.

Complete ___       

 January 3rd       

How to Praise God in the New Year! Part 3

Read the last two devotions

When we say that our God is to be feared we are not talking about a fear of what He might to do harm us, but that we are to give Him reverence as we praise Him. On the other hand, we need to fear and have a healthy respect for the judgment of God.

In verse five we are given the reason: For all the gods of the nations are idols. Images of wood and stone are nothing, but the Lord made the heavens. The false gods have no power over creation, but our God is the author of all creation. False gods are earthly and empty, while our God is not only heavenly, but He made the heavens.

Honour and majesty are before him and Him alone, because Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

In Him all is mighty and lovely, powerful and glorious. We have all seen strength without beauty, and beauty without strength, but when we see both strength and beauty they are greatly admired.

Do we desire strength and beauty, or are we more interested in beauty regardless of strength? 1 Chronicles 16:27 Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.

Psalm 96:6 and 1 Chronicles 16:27 do not disagree in the sense that it is not in outward show or parade of expensive things that do not bring honour to God.

The Psalm was written by David 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 is a picture of the presence of God.

The Ark was brought back after several victories over the Philistines and David writes this song of thanksgiving taken from 1 Chronicles 16:23-36 (please read the passage). C.H. Spurgeon said about this song of praise: “A new salvation creates a new heart; suggests a new song; secures new testimonies; produces new converts.”

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 7-9. Ask God for to give you sensitivity to others pain. Complete ___

January 2nd      

How to Praise God in the New Year! Part 2

    

Read yesterday’s devotion

Praise Him for the fact that the Gospel is the clearest revelation of Who He is, and the fact that the gift of salvation through His Son outshines all of His creation.

The Psalmist is saying; let us proclaim His name continually with praise in our hearts; for a testimony to the heathen.

Declare his glory among the heathen.

His salvation is His glory, and the Gospel gives glory to Him through His Son.  We should proclaim the good news of the Gospel to all nations.

In other words, let all people hear and proclaim the good news and use all methods to proclaim it.

His wonders among all people.

Every Christian needs to understand that the Gospel is made up of wonders and miracles, because when Jesus walked the earth it was full of wonders and miracles, and Christian history is full of them.

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised

God is not some kind of Santa that gives gifts to us whether we are naughty or nice, but He is great in power and authority, great in mercy and grace; as well as giving.

Someone said, “Our praise should be proportionate to its object, therefore let it be infinite when rendered unto the Lord. We cannot praise him too much, too often, too zealously, too carefully, and too joyfully. He deserves that nothing in His worship should be little, but all the honour rendered unto him should be given in largeness of heart, with the utmost zeal for his glory.”

He is to be feared above all gods.

It will never cease to be amaze me how people and nations worship graven images and all kinds of gurus and gods, but they refuse the True and Living Jehovah God.

Even if these other gods could deliver what they appear to promise, they cannot begin to compare with our God. Continued tomorrow!

Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 4-6, Try to recall the main points of Sunday’s sermon. Complete___         

                               January 1st                          

   How to Praise God in the New Year!

Read Psalm 96:1-13

Study verses 1-6.

Throughout Scripture there is no question that God’s people are commanded to praise God for His love, grace, mercy, care. Praising God has its own reward. This Psalm has been called the missionary hymn of all ages and is made up of three stanzas:• A call for all the earth to praise God, because He is righteous verses 1-6.

  • • A call for all the earth to praise God, because He is righteous verses 1-6.
  • • A call for all nations to worship the Lord, because He is ruler over all nations verses 7-11.
  • • A call for all nature to praise God because He is coming to judge the world with righteousness and truth verses 12-13.

O sing unto the Lord a new song. Sing unto the Lord, all the earth.

After a season of glad tidings and good will towards men; let us sing a new song of praise to our loving, gracious and merciful God.

As we begin the New Year we must keep asking God to give us a new song in our hearts. He has given us reason to sing of His mercies in the past, and now we ought to sing a new song for His new mercies. It is always a great blessing to hear Christians singing and praising God in the local church, but God’s desire is for every corner of the world to praise His name; as well as for every Nation and race to hear His message of love, grace and mercy.

All His creation and all the earth is commanded to sing a song of praise to Him. As the sun shines brightly giving light and beauty to hills andvalleys, so all nations are to delight in the light of the Son of Righteousness. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name. The name of the Lord is repeated three times in the first two verses, and reminds us of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Continued tomorrow!                                                                Daily Assignments

Read Genesis 1-3, Call someone today and let him or her know you love them. Complete ___

2 responses to ““MY DAILY WALK” VOLUME IV

  1. Happy New Year, Hans and Mary and brothers and sisters in Christ. We praise our God because He is worthy and we are thankful that He stoops to hear and answer our praise and prayers. God bless you. Jacky

    • Thank you so much. It is our prayer that you will have another blessed year praising and loving our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Thank God He loved us to Himself. Happy New Year to you as well.

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