Daily Devotional Thoughts

September 30, 2017

Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?  (Mat. 7:7-11)

September 29, 2017

For Your Consolation

And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or if we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. (II Cor. 1:6)

Jesus told His disciples that it is certain we will have tribulation in the world.  But the God of all comfort is with us in our troubles, not just for our consolation, but so that we can then be a comfort to others.

Paul was an example to the Corinthians in his sufferings; it surely must have been comforting for them to know their sufferings were no different than his, though theirs were less in severity.  And just as God had sustained and comforted Paul in his afflictions, He would also be a comfort to the believers at Corinth.

We as the body of Christ should suffer and rejoice together.  May we show our care and concern for each other by comforting one another with reminders of God’s love and faithfulness.

 

September 28, 2017

Things Which Defile

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. (Mat. 15:19-20)

The Pharisees condemned Jesus’ disciples because they didn’t follow their tradition of ceremonial hand-washing before eating.  Jesus told the Pharisees that they had transgressed the law of God by their traditions, and added that they honored God with their words, but their heart was far from Him.

Jesus was (and is) concerned with the condition of the heart, the center of our thoughts, emotions, and attitudes.  Outward appearances (for show) are meaningless; we should be much more concerned with our desires and motivations than with how others view us, though this will help us to avoid all appearance of evil.  When we examine our heart and find that it is defiling us, may we do as James admonished and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

September 27, 2017

I Delight To Do Thy Will

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. (Psa. 40:6-8)

King David speaks prophetically the words of the Lord Jesus Christ as He proclaims that it His delight to do the will of the Father.  He says, For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (John 6:38-39)

In the book of Hebrews, this Psalm is quoted and we are told that by this will (the Father’s) we are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ; by this offering we have been perfected forever.  Since Jesus delighted to do the Father’s will in sanctifying us, may we delight to do His will in our lives today!

September 26, 2017

Become As Little Children

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  (Mat. 18:2-6)

As men, Jesus’ disciples were sometimes guilty of pride and envy.  They wanted to have a position of great authority and prestige, and wondered which of them would obtain such recognition.

When Jesus calls a little child to come to Him, He tells His disciples that they must humble themselves as that child and be converted, or they will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  He is not telling them that they are hell-bound sinners, but they cannot enjoy His presence and fellowship while maintaining a prideful spirit.  However, there is a solemn warning in His words to anyone who would belittle a young believer.  May we serve the Lord with a child-like faith, and also be an encouragement to the little ones who believe in Him.

September 25, 2017

Mercy, Not Sacrifice

But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.  (Mat. 12:7)

The Pharisees in Jesus’ day loved rules rather than people.  They were constantly looking for something to judge or condemn in others, feeling themselves to be superior.  On this occasion, they condemned Jesus’ disciples, who were very hungry, for picking some grain to eat on the sabbath day.

Jesus tells the Pharisees that, not only was it not wrong for His disciples to do what they had done, but the Pharisees as the religious leaders did not even understand what the prophets had written.  He quotes the writings of Hosea, where the Lord tells His people that they have turned from Him because they thought that as long as they went through the motions of performing the sacrifices required by the law, it did not matter if they were kind or merciful.

Do we sometimes fall into the same erroneous thinking?  Do we put rules above compassion for the needs of others?  May we examine our own hearts and minds, and remember what God truly desires, which is mercy.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

September 24, 2017

Walk in Love

Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children:  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor. (Eph. 5:1-2)

Our “walk” is our manner of living.  We are to love each other as Jesus gave us an example.  He gave Himself for us, enduring great physical and emotional agony when He died as the sacrifice for our sins.  Having been delivered from walking in the vanity of their minds as pagan idolaters, the believers at Ephesus were now instructed to walk in love.

John writes, My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:18)  Our love is best demonstrated by our actions.  We should express our love to one another often, but let us back up our words with our walk.  This is the way that we are truly followers of God.

September 23, 2017

The Golden Rule

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.  (Luke 6:31)

Most people are familiar with what is commonly called “The Golden Rule” – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – a paraphrase of Jesus’ words to His disciples.  This type of behavior is not to be limited to those who are friendly to us.  Jesus spoke those words in the context of loving our enemies.

The principle of treating others the way we want to be treated is so fundamental that Jesus states “this is the law and the prophets.”  It is the same thing as loving our neighbor as ourselves, which James calls “the royal law”.  May we follow this commandment without showing respect of persons or partiality, as is fitting for the children of God.

September 22, 2017

Integrity of the Upright

The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.  (Prov. 11:3)

We should be committed to living our lives with integrity.  God has written His laws in our hearts and minds; He has also inspired men to record His words in the Bible.  This should be the basis on which we weigh all of our words and actions.  If we do this consistently, we have integrity.

Many of the proverbs provide a contrast between opposing ideas or actions.  Here, the integrity of the upright is contrasted with the perverseness of transgressors.  Integrity speaks of soundness, being held together, a oneness of purpose.  Perverseness is a corruption or turning away from that which is right and good.  Let us be honest in all of our dealings, truthful in all of our words, and be led by the Spirit of God that our motivations may be pure and guided by our commitment to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

September 21, 2017

House on a Rock

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell:  and great was the fall of it.  (Mat. 7:24-27)

What are we building the house of our lives upon?  Jesus makes a contrast between the one who builds upon a rock and one who builds upon the sand.  Both heard the sayings of Jesus, but only one put them into practice.

There are serious consequences in our lives if we fail to do the things which Jesus teaches.  The example that Jesus gives speaks of great destruction and loss.  May we diligently obey His words and enjoy the stability that comes from building upon the Rock!

September 20, 2017

Seasons and Times

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. (Ecc. 3:1-8)

September 19, 2017

Glory in the Lord

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (I Cor. 1:30-31)

God has called us to be saints.  This calling is what makes the difference in our lives.  We were not wiser, greater, or more noble than those whom the Lord has not called.  If the Lord had not called us, the preaching of the cross would be foolishness to us.

Since it is God’s work that gave us our position in Christ Jesus – not anything we have done or ever will do – He deserves all of the glory.  We do not have anything that we did not receive, so we should not glory as though we have something good that was not given to us by God.  Let us give the Lord the glory due unto His name!

September 18, 2017

To Live Is Christ

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Phil. 1:21)

Paul had a great love for the Lord’s people to whom he ministered.  He loved their fellowship and desired that they would grow in spiritual maturity.  But he also looked forward to the time that he would depart this world and be forever with the Lord.

We are in the same “win-win” situation today.  We have the opportunity to live in fellowship with God and His people, serving one another.  Likewise, we have His promise that we will be in His presence immediately upon the death our our body.  May we rejoice in the goodness of the Lord today and thank Him that we will never be separated from Him!

 

September 17, 2017

Crucified with Christ

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)

We are commanded to mortify (put to death) the “old man” – our carnal nature with its evil lusts.  For the Apostle Paul, that included pride in his position that he previously held with the religious leaders of his day.  He no longer sought justification by keeping the law, but realized that Jesus had justified him and his faith was in Christ.

We also need to “take up our cross daily” and follow Jesus in a life of faith.  He lives in us, and enables us to turn from the evil trappings of this world and to serve Him and each other.  Since He loves us and gave Himself for us, let us spend our lives serving Him!

September 16, 2017

Washing of Regeneration

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour 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 Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Tit. 3:4-7)

Jesus paid the sin debt for all of His people when He offered Himself without spot to God on the cross of Calvary.  His sacrifice purged us from our sins.  We have been legally declared “not guilty” (justified) by the grace of God because Jesus endured the punishment for our transgressions and gave us His righteousness.

When we are born of the Spirit, Jesus’ work is applied to us in a vital way.  We no longer are “foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lust and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Tit. 3:3), but our hearts and consciences are washed.  May we live in a way that demonstrates that we have been cleansed by the washing of regeneration, and lay aside those things that pertain to our former manner of living.

 

September 15, 2017

Thy Word Is Settled

For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psa. 119:89)

God does not change; therefore, His word does not change.  He has given us His word in the scriptures.  We are not to add to it or take from it, lest we be a liar. (Prov. 30:6)

God’s word accomplishes what He intends for it to do, so it is unnecessary for Him to modify it in any way.  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and making it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall proper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isa. 55:10-11)  May we esteem the word of God highly, and be thankful that it is completely dependable and unchanging.

September 14, 2017

Taste And See

O taste and see that the LORD is good:  blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Psa. 34:8)

God is good to all of His creation, providing the natural blessings that sustain life.  But He is especially good to His children, having blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ.  Many times we are not fully aware of the extent of God’s goodness to us.

It requires something from us to better understand God’s blessings upon us: we must “taste and see” His goodness.  That is, we must have our hearts and minds focused on God, considering how He has blessed us and giving Him thanks.  As we do this, we realize that He is faithful and we can trust Him.  May we not be blind to the goodness of God in our own lives!

September 13, 2017

Furtherance of the Gospel

But I would that ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; (Phil. 1:12)

Paul was put in prison for preaching the gospel.  No doubt his enemies thought that would deter him from spreading the good news about Jesus Christ, but they were wrong.  He says that, instead, his imprisonment was an occasion for the gospel to spread even further through the preaching of others.

He wrote to Timothy concerning his afflictions for preaching Jesus, “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.” (II Tim. 2:9)  We should not become discouraged when we face persecution or ridicule for telling others about Jesus’ victorious work.  God is with us, and He will be glorified through the praise and thanksgiving of His children who hear and obey the gospel.  The word of God is not bound!

September 12, 2017

Think On These Things

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. (Phil. 4:8)

There is much injustice and deceit in the world.  This is a vexation to the spirit of God’s people, and we desire to see judgement and justice performed, and for people to know the truth and reject lies.

However, we must not allow our minds to dwell on the evils of this world.  When we take our eyes off of the Lord and become focused on the world, we can become cold and cynical.  Our spirits are refreshed by thinking about God’s goodness and mercy and love.  Let us spend more time thinking of virtuous things and thanking God for His many blessings!

September 11, 2007

Adorning the Doctrine of God

Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. (Tit. 2:9-10)

The way that we live speaks volumes about what we believe.  Here Paul instructs Titus to teach  servants (those who work for others) to faithfully perform their duties with a good attitude.  He says that this will “adorn” the doctrine of God.

When we adorn (place ornaments upon) something, it is to draw attention to it; we desire that others will see its beauty.  Although we can’t make the doctrine of God more beautiful that it already is, we can live in a way that causes God’s children who see our lives to understand better the “good way” and how it glorifies God.  Let us adorn the teachings of God by faithful obedience and an humble, charitable attitude.

September 10, 2017

Thou Art My God

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. (Psa. 63:1-2)

David confesses that he serves the true and living God.  Even though he is in a desert place, he knows that God can bless him there.  It is his desire to feel the presence of God there in his affliction as he has experienced His presence in the house of the Lord.

God has promised, “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.”  May we lay hold of this promise and confess as David did that God is our God.

September 9, 2017

To Fight Against God

And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to naught: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. (Acts 5:38-39)

What could be more foolish than to fight against God? He has all wisdom and power; what could possibly be done to defeat Him? There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD. (Prov. 21:30)

Yet, this is exactly what we do before we are born of the Spirit.  We are by nature the enemies of God.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Rom. 5:10)  Let us now fight the good fight of faith!

 

September 8, 2017

Every One That Loveth

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. (I John 4:7)

The love spoken of in this verse is more than a sentimental feeling.  It involves thinking of others rather than self, and is demonstrated by action that addresses their needs and concerns.  This love is more closely connected with action than emotion, even though the emotion may be strong.

Jesus taught that His disciples would be identified by the love that they have one to another.  This verse tells us further that all who have this kind of love are born of God, and are therefore His children.  God looks on the heart and knows the true motivation for all that we do, but a loving spirit, especially when accompanied by acts of kindness, is the best evidence we have that someone is born of God.  May we abound in love today!

September 7, 2017

Singing With Grace

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. (Col. 3:16)

Singing is the new testament pattern for giving praise and thanksgiving to God in a musical way. The psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that we sing also instruct and remind us of the wonderful attributes and acts of God.  Our singing should be with heart-felt gratitude to God for His grace and mercy.  This is an important way in which the word of Christ dwells in us, as we express our love and adoration to Him and teach one another.

September 6, 2017

Praise Ye the LORD

Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.  Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.

Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.  Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.  Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD.  Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 150)

September 5, 2017

Visit Me With Thy Salvation

Remember me, O LORD, with the favor that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance. (Psa. 106:4-5)

These words of the psalmist are preceded by praise to God for His wondrous works and followed by confession of sin.  We know that God is gracious to His people, but we long to experience the joy of His salvation in our own lives.

The deliverance that we receive in this life from our troubles and cares is a blessing from God.  There is a sense in which God is good to all, but He has especially blessed His chosen people.  May He visit us today with salvation from the things of this world that hinder us from praising Him as we should!

September 4, 2017

Renewing of Your Mind

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. (Rom. 12:2)

Our mind, by nature, is conformed to the thinking of this world, with its pride, sensuality, and selfishness.  If we allow our mind to dwell on worldly things, we will not experience spiritual growth and transformation.

In the new birth, we were given the ability to understand things that pertain to the Spirit of God.  Our mind is renewed when we meditate (think deeply) on God’s word and His blessings in our lives.  O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. (Psa. 119:97)  May we be more aware of what we allow our mind to dwell on, and bring our thoughts back to God and His word throughout the day.

September 3, 2017

Light Is Sown

Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. (Psa. 97:11)

Light is symbolic of glory, of righteousness, and of understanding.  It may seem strange to us to consider that light is sown, or planted, but this is God’s doing.  Seed is planted in order to produce a harvest that is a multiplication of the seed.

When we walk in the light (understanding) that we have been given, we are blessed with a greater understanding of what it means to live righteously.  May we walk in the light, as He is in the light, and glorify His great name!

September 2, 2017

A Word Fitly Spoken

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Prov. 25:11)  Words can be powerful.  One proverb says that death and life are in the power of the tongue.  We should choose the words and tone of voice we use with great care.

It takes a lot of maturity and spiritual discernment to speak words that “fit” in a difficult situation.  Many times we struggle to know what we should say, or if we should speak at all on some occasions.  We should “speak things that become sound doctrine”; that which is in agreement with the word of God.  When we are blessed to fitly speak our words, they are precious and beautiful to the hearer who has the right attitude.  May we speak graciously, and graciously receive the words of others.

September 1, 2017

Offer For Thy Cleansing

A leper came to Jesus, begging Him saying, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”  Jesus had compassion on him and cleansed him of the leprosy.  The law of Moses required a sacrifice to be made when a person was cleansed of leprosy, and Jesus told the man, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. (Mark 1:44)

We have been cleansed from the guilt of sin; from the power and penalty of sin now, and some day from the presence of sin.  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. (Heb. 13:15)  May we offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God for our cleansing today!

August 31, 2017

Nothing Shall Separate Us

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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. (Rom. 8:38-39)

God’s children are foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, and glorified by Him.  Since this is His purpose, and no one can prevent Him from doing what He pleases, our eternal destiny is certain.

There are many things that oppose us in this life.  We may endure great problems and persecutions, but we can take comfort in realizing that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 

August 30, 2017

Do Not Boast

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. (Prov. 27:1) The only time boasting is spoken of favorably in the Bible is when the boast is of God or others, not self.  Boasting in ourselves shows a prideful attitude.

One of the ways we may boast is in our plans for the future. We are reminded in James, Chapter 4, that our lives are as a vapor, that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.  Therefore, rather than boasting about the future (which is uncertain to us), let us say that if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and carry out our plans.  Planning is good, but let us trust God for the future!

August 29, 2017

If Thou Believest

An Ethiopian eunuch was returning home after having been to Jerusalem to worship.  The Spirit of God told Philip to go to him and preach Jesus.  After Philip preached to him, as they came to a place with water, the eunuch asked what would hinder him from being baptized.  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.  And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Acts 8:37)  After the eunuch had professed his faith in Jesus, they both went into the water and Philip baptized him.

Belief in Jesus as the Son of God is the requirement for baptism.  We believe “according to the working of his mighty power”.  When God has given us faith and blessed us to hear the gospel message, we should respond by committing our lives to follow Jesus and His teachings.  The first step in that journey is to be baptized.  Baptism is both a duty and privilege for God’s children.  May we seek to be obedient to the Lord in all things, beginning with this important commandment.

August 28, 2017

Good and Profitable

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.  These things are good and profitable unto men. (Tit. 3:8)  We have been created in Christ Jesus unto good works.  Jesus told His disciples that when men see our good works, they glorify our Father in heaven.

The reason we need to be careful to maintain good works is because it is our natural tendency to think of ourselves rather than others.  Helping others demonstrates the sincerity of our faith and love.  May we, as we have opportunity, do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

August 27, 2017

By Grace Ye Are Saved

By our fallen nature, we are the enemies of God, dead in sin, seeking carnal pleasure rather than seeking God.  In this condition, the preaching of the gospel is foolishness to us.

Although we didn’t deserve it, God by His grace saved us from our ruined condition and gave us eternal life (not merely eternal existence, which all men have), which is to know Him and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and to be with Him forever.  Let us praise God for His glorious grace today!

August 26, 2017

The Field of the Slothful

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.  Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it , and received instruction. (Prov. 24:30-31)  This proverb speaks of the disastrous effects of laziness and neglect.  No field that is overgrown with thorns and weeds will produce a good harvest.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus taught that seed sown among the thorns gets choked out.  In His explanation to His disciples, He identifies the thorns as the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.  Let us be diligent to clear the thorns from the field of our heart so that the word of the kingdom brings forth much fruit in our lives to the glory of God!

August 25, 2017

Bought with a Price

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (I Cor. 6:19-20)

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

God paid the greatest price possible, the life of His only begotten Son, Jesus, to redeem (buy back) His people.  Let us consider the sacrifice that Jesus made to pay for us, and gladly live our lives to serve and honor Him!

August 24, 2017

Never Man Spake Like This Man

The Pharisees sent officers to take Jesus when they heard people saying that they thought He was the Christ because of the miracles He performed.  When the officers later returned without Jesus, the leaders asked why they had not brought Him.  They replied, “Never man spake like this man.”

Jesus told His disciples, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”  After Philip had asked Him to show them the Father, Jesus told him “the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”  Jesus spoke truth with power and authority.  May we take greater heed to His words today!

August 23, 2017

Our Refuge and Strength

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. (Psa. 46:1-3)

The psalmist speaks of great natural catastrophes to figuratively describe the crises of life that come to us from time to time in this life.  We have the assurance that God is here to help us through whatever we face, to give us strength and protection.   Let us thank Him that He has promised to never leave us or forsake us!

August 22, 2017

What Manner of Man Is This

Jesus was asleep in a boat with His disciples when a great storm caused the boat to be filled with water.  The disciples were terrified and woke Jesus, Who calmed the wind and the sea.  They then asked among themselves, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41)

The disciples had seen Jesus perform many miracles.  He had cast out devils, healed all types of infirmities, and turned water into wine.  Yet, His disciples did not fully grasp the greatness of His power.  As the Son of God, all power was given to Him in heaven and in earth.  Jesus is God in the flesh.  Do we acknowledge the manner of man that He is?

August 21, 2017

A Soft Answer

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Prov. 15:1)  We choose the words and tone of voice with which we respond to the actions and words of others.  The tendency of our fallen nature is to respond harshly if we feel that we are being treated unfairly or if the other person uses a harsh tone with us.  This only escalates into more and more anger.

The Spirit leads us to be kind, gentle, and longsuffering.  James tells us, “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body.”  May we use gracious words in all of our conversations.

August 20, 2017

Power to the Faint

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 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. (Isa. 40:29-31)

As we “run with patience the race that is set before us”, may we wait upon the LORD, and not try to walk in our own strength.  Life can be overwhelming, but let us cast our cares upon Him; he has promised to renew our strength when we depend upon Him!

August 19, 2017

A Good Name

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. (Prov. 22:1)  What kind of reputation do we have?  We should live, speak, and act in a way that those who know us would speak well of us to others.  It is necessary for us to have integrity, humility, and empathy for others if we would have a good name.

The temporary pleasures which can be provided by the riches of this world can’t compare with the inner peace that comes with a good conscience when we endeavor to follow the Lord and His ways.  Although the world may “say all manner of evil against you falsely” (Mat. 5:11), let us be diligent to avoid anything that would damage our good name, and even more importantly, that would give the enemies of God occasion to speak reproachfully against Him!

August 18, 2017

Not of This World

Jesus told the Pharisees who contended with Him, “Ye are of this world; I am not of this world.”  Many times He said that He was sent here by the Father.  He told His disciples that He would be here with them (physically) for only a little while; He came from the Father, and He would return to the Father.

This world is not our home either.  We are “strangers and pilgrims” while we live here. Let us live each day here in great anticipation of the time when we will leave this world to be with Jesus and the Father!  May we be encouraged by the knowledge that the troubles of life are temporary, and be faithful to Him Who will return to take us home with Him!

August 17, 2017

Search the Scriptures

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  (John 5:39)  Jesus spoke these words to His enemies, but His instruction is good for us also.  The scriptures do not give us life, but they testify of the One who does.

Romans 15:4 tells us, For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. It gives us great hope and comfort to read God’s word.  May we search for the testimony of Jesus in all of the scriptures.

August 16, 2017

Honor the Son

Jesus angered the religious leaders during the time of His earthly ministry because He said that God is His Father, making Himself equal with God.  They thought He blasphemed, and wanted to kill Him.

Jesus told them, ” For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.  He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”

We honor Jesus when we believe that He is the Son of God, God in the flesh, who came and died to save us from our sins and give us eternal life.  May we honor Him with the life He has given us!

August 15, 2017

God Is a Spirit

When Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, she raised the issue of the correct location to worship God.  Jesus’ reply lets us know that the physical location where we worship is not important; what matters is that we worship God in spirit and in truth.

Jesus told Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  God gives spiritual life to each one of His children.  Let us use that life to worship Him acceptably today!

August 14, 2017

Behold the Lamb of God

John the Baptist was given a revelation by God that the Son of God would be made known to him by the Spirit descending upon Him as John baptized Him.  After John had witnessed this when baptizing Jesus, he tells his disciples, seeing Jesus nearby, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

Today, we behold (see) the Lamb of God through the eyes of faith that we have been given by God.  We see Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, the One who “appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,” (Heb. 9:26) and praise Him for saving us!  Let us behold Him today and be thankful that He is the Lamb of God!

August 13, 2017

The Eternal God

LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. (Psalm 90:1-2)

We can take great comfort in the understanding that we serve an eternal God, who has no beginning or end, whose power and understanding is not diminished by time, and who desires to have us with Him forever!  May we worship Him today and praise His holy name!

August 12, 2017

The Lord Is My Helper

In Hebrews Chapter 13, contentment is tied to the understanding that God has said that He will never leave or forsake us.  Because of this, we need not fear man, but we can say with confidence that the Lord is my helper.

Paul suffered many things as an apostle of the Lord, but he called them “light afflictions”.  When he was giving his defense before King Agrippa, he said “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”  God helped Paul to finish his course with joy, and He will do the same for us today!

August 11, 2017

Blessed Ones

There are similarities between Psalm 1 and the first section of Psalm 119.  Each describes the blessings on God’s people who walk (live) in His ways, according to His teachings and commandments.  They love and meditate upon His word, and their desire and manner of living is to avoid iniquity and to do good.

These blessings come to us in this life.  We avoid the disastrous consequences of sin and enjoy a close fellowship with God when we walk with Him.  May we thank Him for His blessings and meditate on His goodness today!

August 10, 2017

The True Vine

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” ( John 15:1) In Isaiah 5 and Psalm 80, the nation of Israel is described as a vine or vineyard that the Lord planted.  God was not pleased with the fruit that this vine produced.

Today, the church is God’s vineyard (I Cor. 3:9).  We are branches of the true vine, Jesus.  He tells us to abide in Him that we may be fruitful.  God, as the husbandman, purges us so that we may bear more fruit to His glory.  May we strive to show more of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

August 9, 2017

The Conclusion

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”  Ecc. 12:13  Life can seem very complex to us at times.  We may become overwhelmed with trying to process all of the information that comes to us, or in making the many decisions we are faced with daily. It is good to have a summary thought to which we can return to help guide us.

Jesus summarized the law into two commandments: love God and love our neighbor. Micah said that God has showed us what is good: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.  When we feel overwhelmed with the complexity of life, may we remember these simple summaries and seek to apply them.

August 8, 2017

Close Companions

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”  Prov. 13:20  How seriously do we consider the character of those with whom we spend our time?  This proverb tells us that there is a definite, life-changing consequence to our choice of companions, and the contrast between the choices is plain.

We must not deceive ourselves into thinking that we are not influenced by the people around us.  Although we can’t avoid some interaction with those who lack spiritual wisdom, we should try to limit it as much as possible.  This includes those that we “walk” with by reading, listening to, or watching as they present their ideas, as well as those in our physical presence.  May we have the wisdom to discern between those with whom we should walk and those whom we should avoid.

August 7, 2017

Pray Without Ceasing

Jesus spoke a parable teaching that we ought always to pray, and not to faint (become discouraged and cease). In the parable, a widow pleaded with an unjust judge to order that one who had wronged her be made to correct the injustice against her.  Even though the judge was evil and had no concern for the widow, he eventually agreed to grant her what she asked because he grew tired of her continually coming to him with the request.

God is perfectly just, and when we pray to Him we have confidence that He hears us and will grant our requests according to His perfect will. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

August 6, 2017

They Shall Never Perish

Jesus said that He is the Good Shepherd, and He would give His life for the sheep (His people). Because they are His sheep He gives them eternal life and they shall never perish.

Although we know that the outward man (our natural body) is perishing, as soon as we depart this world our soul and spirit are immediately in God’s presence.  Even this mortal body will be raised from the dead by Jesus at His return, and we will enjoy that eternal life in Heaven for all eternity!

August 5, 2017

The Works of God

Many people looked to find Jesus after He had miraculously fed them in the wilderness.  Jesus told them not to follow Him for the natural food, but for the spiritual food that He provided.

Afterward they asked Jesus, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”  Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:19 that we believe “according to the working of his mighty power.” God, who raises the dead, has raised us up from spiritual death and given us the gift of faith in the new birth.  The most important “work” that we have been given is to believe on Jesus and all that He has told us in His word.

August 4, 2017

Blessed Eyes and Ears

Jesus told a parable to the multitudes about one who sowed seed, and concluded it saying “Who hath ears to hear, let  him hear.”  Afterward, His disciples asked Him why He spoke to them in parables.

Jesus’ reply was that he spoke in parables so that the multitudes would not understand.  This may seem strange to us, but Jesus said that this fulfilled Isaiah’s prophesy about them.

Jesus then told his disciples, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”  If you are able to understand spiritual things, you are very blessed!

August 3, 2017

Who Is the Greatest?

James and John requested to sit on Jesus’ right hand and left hand in His glory.  The other ten apostles were angry with them for wanting to be in a higher position than the others.  There was strife among them over who would be the greatest.

Jesus taught them that those who are great in this world rule over others, but it would not be so in the kingdom of heaven.  He told them that the greatest among men in the kingdom would be servant of all, even as He had come to minister and to give His life a ransom for His people.  May we have a servant’s heart and attitude in all that we do today!

 

August 2, 2017

Impossible with Men

A rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked what good thing he needed to do to have eternal life. When Jesus told him to keep the commandments, the young man said that he had kept them from his youth. Jesus then told him to sell all that he had and give to the poor, and to follow Him. The young man went away sorrowful because he had great earthly riches.

When Jesus then tells His disciples that is it easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man (who trusts in his riches) to enter the kingdom of God, they are amazed and ask Him, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered them, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

When we consider that it was impossible for us to save ourselves from the condition of being dead in sin and worthy of eternal punishment and separation from God, how thankful we should be that God has given us eternal life! Not only was it possible for God to save us, He actually did so!

 

August 1, 2017

Is Anything Too Hard for God?

God promised Abraham that his wife Sarah would bear him a son. At that time, Abraham was 99 years old and Sarah was 90 years old, their bodies “dead” as far as any natural ability to conceive a child was concerned.  When Sarah laughed at the news, God asks “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” Gen. 18:14

Do we sometimes forget that God has all power?  God rebukes the wicked, saying “thou thoughtest I was altogether such an one as thyself…” Psalm 50:21  Let us remember that we serve the true and living God, the Almighty “that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”, and realize that nothing we face in this life is too hard for Him to bring us through it!