Category Archives: devotional

To see what is right

“To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.” Confucius

Is it?

Does the person who clearly understands the correct choice, yet chooses not to act is simply lacking courage?

Or is it something more?

Mark 4:19 KJV — And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

It is through the Word of God we find out what is right and what is wrong.

In Pilgrim’s Progress Christian and Hopeful discuss another man named Temporary.

Hopeful: What reason of his sudden change, and why do others backslide in this way? Christian: That is a good question. What do you think is the reason? Hopeful: In my judgement there are four reasons for it: First, though the conscience of some men is awakened, yet their minds are not changed. So when the feeling of guilt wears off, they naturally turn to their old carnal ways again. They’re guilty conscience causes them to fear hell, and the fear of hell begets their interest in heaven. But when the feeling of guilt is gone, the fear of hell vanishes and they lose their interest in heaven. So they go back to the old life for the fleeting pleasures of the world. Pilgrim’s Progress in today’s English by John Bunyan retold by Jamesh Thomas, Moody Publishers, 1992, pg. 145

Hopeful continues to give the other three reasons: fear of man, pride, hardening of one’s heart.

Not doing what is right,

or doing what is right,

are both choices.

Scripture is clear, we are to do what is right.

Proverbs 3:27 KJV — Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.

Not only is it wrong to choose sin, it is as wrong to refrain from following through on what is right.

Doing right, following God’s command to do good is not a seesaw for when we feel like it or reserved for those who do good to us.

We are not to play favorites, but rather do good unto all.

Galatians 6:10 KJV — As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Because Jesus is our example:

Titus 2:14 KJV — Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

For our choices reflect upon our Lord.

Matthew 5:16 KJV — Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

1 Peter 2:12 KJV — Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the truth and clear outline of right and wrong we find in Your Word. Lord, thank You for living in those things, showing us how to apply Your truth. Lord Jesus, please quicken my heart when I’m in error. Show me my danger that I might not sin against You either by doing wrong or by neglecting to do right. Thank You, Lord. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14 KJV Amen.

Truth

God’s Word is truth and we find the answers to life’s questions within.

Psalm 25:5 NKJV — Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.

This leading and being taught by the Lord is a journey.

Psalm 25:10 NKJV — All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.

He’s infinite and we are finite, thus we can be blessed with continually learning from the Lord throughout our days on Earth.

Psalm 33:4 NKJV — For the word of the LORD is right, And all His work is done in truth.

He is God Almighty and He’s given us such an awesome gift in His Word, for through it’s pages are righteousness, truth, and the knowledge of the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Psalm 40:10 NKJV — I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth From the great assembly.

Not only should we enjoy regular time in the Word, we should speak of it with others.

For it is a gift far too precious not share.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your gift of salvation, righteousness, and truth. Lord, please continue to encourage each one of us through the washing of Your Word upon our souls. Lord, help us to be diligent to etch the Word into our hearts, to apply Your standards to our lives, and to encourage those around us to do the same. Thank You for Your wonderous works and Your great love for us. I love Your Word, Lord. Thank You for it. Amen.

Love without…

hypocrisy.

The Bible doesn’t just tell us what not to do.

Rather, God gives us both the do and the don’t.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Romans 12:9‭-‬14 NKJV

Here, we see the instruction: “Let love be without hypocrisy.”

Followed up with how we are to accomplish this.

Starting with abhorring what is evil.

We can’t possibly love and not be hypocrites if we allow wickedness in the form of a “pet sin” to reside in our hearts.

Therefore we must confess our sins to God, ask for forgiveness, and cling to what is good.

Luke 18:19 KJV — And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

Only God is good.

When we are clinging to God, we can indeed, be kindly affectionate to others, in brotherly love, giving honor and preference to one another.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 KJV — See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

Hebrews 12:14 KJV — Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

God’s goodness is where we first see love without hypocrisy, for the sins of mankind has tainted our love.

Yet, we can love without hypocrisy by cleaving our hearts to God with diligence and earnest continuance.

Acts 18:25 KJV — This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

Scripture speaks clearly of what occurs if one neglects this step.

Matthew 24:12 KJV — And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Our actions must be in response to our love for God.

Loving without hypocrisy means we are serving the Lord, rejoicing in our hope of eternity, patient in trouble and looking to God, continuing in prayer with perseverance.

These choices bring us to serving others in practical ways such as:

“distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
Romans 12:13‭-‬14 NKJV

It’s not about living unto ourselves nor our pleasures nor our needs nor our own ideas.

It’s lovingly looking to God Almighty and living as He directs us through His Word and the Holy Spirit.

If God loved the world so much that He died to save us, we too need to walk in such love.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:16‭-‬17 NKJV

Love without hypocrisy means our hearts, and thus our lives are reflecting the love of God to those around us.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your Word which teaches me about that love and about You. Lord, please continue to help me to be directed by Your Word and to apply it to my heart and my life. Lord, please show me where I’m loving with hypocrisy. Please reveal my heart’s condition that I might repent of any sin. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

When surrender was Victory

Picture what it must have been like for Jesus’s disciples.

Standing in the Garden of Gethsemane, watching Judas Iscariot lead an entire detachment of soldiers towards them.

The noise of many feet, the sound of the armor, and the cold dread which must have clung to the hearts of these men, who loved Jesus so much.

Then, all eyes focused on Jesus, as he walked towards this dangerous crowd.

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?”
John 18:4 NKJV

Adrenaline had to be coursing through the veins of every man, for all present, save one, seemed to anticipate a fight.

They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
John 18:5‭-‬6 NKJV

Can you hear the sound of these men falling to the ground and then quickly, awkwardly standing again?

Can you imagine the wonder at what the disciples just witnessed, they had seen a great many miracles, but never had such a circumstance occurred before.

Every nerve must have been tingling, what could possibly be coming next.

Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”
John 18:7‭-‬9 NKJV

Was the handle of Peter’s sword already within his grip as he, with astonishment, listened to the words of Jesus?

Obviously, surrender wasn’t what Peter had expected, nor was he willing to quietly move aside and let this mob take his Lord.

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
John 18:10 NKJV

To completely clarify that He was doing the will of His Father, Jesus spoke.

But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”
Matthew 26:52‭-‬54 NKJV

God loves us so much that He didn’t want any to perish, and this was the way of salvation.

Jesus surrendered to torture and death that He might have victory over sin and eternal death.

“A sinless Man in an appointed garden was about to do battle with Satan’s representative (Luke 22:3). The first time this happened, the sinless man failed. The Second Adam would not fail.” David Guzik

Jesus also knew that this time the cunning lies of the enemy would lead to His death, but it would turn the tables on Satan, making it possible to free mankind from the sin Satan tricked us into at the beginning.

Although, the disciples couldn’t grasp these truths at the moment in the garden, they understood completely when Jesus rose from the dead and the Holy Spirit was given.

Acts 2:14 KJV — But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

Acts 2:22-24 KJV 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: :23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Acts 2:36 KJV — Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Acts 2:37 KJV — 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?

Acts 2:38 KJV — Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The truth of Jesus’s surrender and sacrifice is as life changing today as it was more than two thousand years ago.

It is the single most important choice anyone can ever make.

For those who chose to surrender themselves to Jesus, it is a continual decision, made daily to live in surrender to our Lord, for He Himself said we are to take up our cross and follow Him.

Luke 9:23 KJV — And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your love and encouragement. Thank You for teaching us through Your sacrifice how to live in surrender to You. Lord, I love that it wasn’t a circumstance of You having no choice, You could have easily defeated ten times the number of people who came against You. Instead, it was Your gift to us. Your blood cleanses us from sin and Your sacrifice closed the gap between us and eternal life with You in Heaven. Thank You! I simply can’t put into words the depth of my gratitude for Your amazing sacrifice. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You. Amen.

Crowning himself king

This picture was taken of the painting of The Coronation of Emperor Napoleon I and of the Empress Josephine in the Notre-Dame de Paris, from the book Exploring World History part 2, by Ray Notgrass, 2014, p 580

“As the pope approached Napoleon with the crown, Napoleon took the crown and placed it on his own head. Napoleon did not want to answer to anyone.” Ray Notgrass, Exploring World History part 2, 2014, p. 580

He crowned himself king.

As arrogant as this action speaks to us of the pride of Napoleon, we dare not pass it off as merely one man’s error.

For arrogance is simply the offspring of self being allowed to rule within one’s heart.

We might fool ourselves or others, as to the extent we allow self to rule.

But God is never fooled.

Not only is He always aware of the complete standing of one’s heart, He is also seeking to teach us what is there as well.

Our teachability comes from who sits upon the throne of our heart.

“While Judas called Jesus ‘Rabbi’ (Matt. 26:49), there is no record that he used the term ‘Lord’. It has always been possible to claim allegiance to God without ever handling over the soul’s title deed…How many attend church regularly and give Jesus intellectual assent, but not their hearts? How many call Him King, only to assume their own thrones?” Charles Stanley, The Life Principles Bible, Nelson Bibles, 2005, page 1257

Have I crowned myself king?

Or do I allow God to rule my heart?

The Lord knows the truth and we should be honest within ourselves as to that truth as well.

Because God doesn’t share lordship.

Either we grant Him the place He deserves our we don’t, it’s never a partial thing.

Luke 16:13 KJV — No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

“That faith alone is true which rests on God alone, that confidence which relies but partly on the Lord is vain confidence.” C. H. Spurgeon

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your Word. Lord, please continue to show me my heart and the motivations there. Lord, I want You to rule and reign. I want my life to bring You glory. I want my actions, attitudes, and words to be honorable before You. Lord, I know You have everything in Your hands. Your ways are perfect and blessing comes from You. Please continue to teach me how to walk in today letting You be King, for You are the King of all kings. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Suddenly, there was…

Can you imagine how the shepherds felt?

The Bible describes several different people seeing an angel and the most common response is fear. (Numbers 22:31, Judges 6:22, Dan. 10:7, Matt. 16:5)

These shepherds are no different.

Luke 2:9 KJV — And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

But they experienced something more.

Luke 2:13-14 KJV — And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

These humble shepherds saw and heard a host of angels proclaiming the birth of Jesus.

The gift of God’s Son was so momentous an occasion that a host of angels sang.

Luke 2:20 KJV — And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The shepherds glorified God, praising Him.

The praises of those messengers of God and those of the shepherds of long ago stand as an example.

May we join them and together, rejoice in the salvation of the world!

A symbol of Christmas

Isaiah 9:6 KJV — For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

“As you think of Christmas, let me encourage you to think of a cross.” Pastor Chuck Swindol

Pastor Swindol went on to explain how the horizontal beam of the cross is the line “a child is born” and the vertical beam of the cross is “a son is given”.

God chose a human to bare His own Son, as He came from Heaven to Earth.

Who would have thought a baby would be the answer for mankind’s desperate need of a Savior?

Only God could weave such an incredible story.

Even Jesus’s disciples did not expect the cross, but God knew the way to conquer sin was to sacrifice His Son.

As weighty as the sins of all mankind were, they had no power over Jesus Christ, for His death on the cross was actually a victory which was clearly displayed when Jesus rose from the dead.

A symbol of Christmas is a cross, for it was as much a part of Jesus’s miraculous life as His birth.

The light of salvation shines through Jesus, for He is the light of the world.

May our Redeemer be reflected in our lives this day.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your incredible gift. Lord, during this Christmas season please help us to live as You did, to love as You do, and to rely completely upon You. Lord, please help us to keep our focus upon Your blessed gift of redemption. Please help us to freely give the gifts You’ve given us: forgiveness, joy, compassion, understanding, and truth. Lord, please help us to be faithful in doing good, looking for the opportunities You provide to share the truth of Your birth. Lord, please keep us from growing bitter, hardened to those around us. Instead, please remind us that You died to save the lost. Thank You! You are the reason we can celebrate and have hope for eternity. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

An announcement that couldn’t be ignored

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luke 2:8‭-‬12 KJV

God announced the birth of Jesus in such a manner as to dispel any confusion.

He sent an angel to tell the shepherds and gave specifics as to how they would know Him.

The angel proclaimed, in detail, who He is: a Savior, Christ the Lord.

It was obvious to the shepherds that responsibility came with this announcement.

They didn’t miss it, but went and found Jesus.

Then they proclaimed all they knew.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Luke 2:17‭-‬18 KJV

We too are privileged with the knowledge of Jesus’s birth.

With that knowledge comes responsibility: we should be seeking Him daily and proclaiming the truth of who He is and what He has done.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your miraculous birth and all the blessings of it. Thank You for the shepherds who were the ones chosen to spread the announcement of Your birth. Lord, thank You for Your Word and the blessings we have in these events being recorded for us. Lord, please help me to be diligent to seek You daily and to live a life which proclaims You. Thank You, Jesus for all You have done and are doing. Thank You for Your love. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

“Prepare ye the way…”

Isaiah 40:3 NKJV — The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.”

These words, penned hundreds of years before, we’re fulfilled.

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judæa, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
Luke 1:5‭-‬7 KJV

They were righteous before God, but they were childless.

Elizabeth’s barrenness wasn’t a punishment, but rather an opportunity.

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Luke 1:11‭-‬17 KJV

Elizabeth’s only child was the man God used to fulfill His Word through Isaiah.

Mark 1:2-4 KJV — As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Mark 1:7-8 KJV — And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

John the Baptist not only declared the Messiah throughout his adulthood, he was used by God to confirm His Word to Mary before he was born.

Luke 1:41-45KJV — And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

This Christmas may we need these things and prepare our hearts before God as well as declare the truth.

Jesus Christ is the reason for this holiday and He is returning some day.

“Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God!”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the miraculous life of John the Baptist and how You used him so mightily to prepare the hearts of people. Lord, please continue this blessing. Work through those who are following You to prepare the hearts of people for Your return. Help us remember that You gave specific instructions to those who would follow You. Lord, I want to be about Your business. I want to be walking in Your will daily. Thank You for the scriptures which are truth and life and blessing. Lord, my life is Yours. May it bring glory to Your name. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Need of a Savior

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. Genesis 3:13

Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and thus mankind’s first sin was rebellion.

Since then, all mankind has fallen into sin.

God knew that we needed a Savior.

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Genesis 3:14-‬15 KJV

He sent His Son.

In our current culture, where truth is relative and it’s wrong to tell someone what they have done or said is wrong, we seem to be buying into the lie: that our own ideas and values are enough.

What better way to beguile than to tell us we are not guilty and thus there’s no need of the salvation Jesus offers.

Although lies have worked from the very beginning, they can’t stand up to the truth of the scriptures.

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

Thus, Jesus was born of a virgin, taught the truth, lived righteously, was executed although guiltless, rose victorious, and ascended into Heaven to prepare a place for those who would believe on Him and be saved.

May we never fall prey to the lie that we are not in desperate need of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your life. Thank You for Your gift of salvation and the promises You fulfilled. Thank You that we can read the scriptures and clearly see the truth. Thank You for working throughout to save us from sin. Lord, please help me to be on my guard against the lies of the enemy. Lord, please help me to hide Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You. Please reveal my sin quickly that I might repent. Please teach my lips to speak only truth and edification. Please fill me with Your praises. I love You, Jesus. I humbly request these things in Your name. Amen.