No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. – Luke 16:13
What is it that I serve? Do I truly serve God? What have I done for God lately? Many times, in the day, my mind can get distracted by all the things going on and all the demands that I have put upon myself in life. It can almost feel like I am chasing my tail and chasing the things that need to be done. But, is this truly loving God?
God tells us not to worry about life. Not to worry about the struggle, not to go chasing the answers, but to listen for direction from Him. I want to do what’s best for my kids and do what’s best for my wife. I want to provide them with good things, as all fathers ought to want to do for the ones they shepherd. However, at what cost is this happening?
Do I serve money by spending those extra few hours at work, instead of with my family? Am I a slave to my work or to the Lord. Sure, I have to provide for my family, but what am I providing? Do I have a car, do I have a phone, a television, a/c and heat? If you have these things, you are part of the 1%, the 1% in the world that have, while others do not. I provide for my family far beyond comfort, right into indulgence.
I must be careful here because if I am indulging at the expense of loving God, then I am wrong and have sinned. Perhaps its time to scale back on what I provide, so that I am available for the Lord when He call, whatever that may be.
Too many times I have not had cash on hand when I needed it to help others. Too many times I have forsaken the needy for my wants. Too many times I have forsaken my mission to Christ in order that I might be comfortable in my indulgences. I repent today of these things. I no longer will serve money, but the Lord. I will no longer serve comfort, but the Lord. I will no longer serve indulgence, but only the Lord who provides for me that I might provide for others in need.
See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
God love you, do you know that? I want you to know that today, God loves you and his mercies are new every morning. (Lam 3:22-23) Do not be afraid, but be encouraged today for the Lord looks for you and wants you to come to Him. He wants to be in relationship with you each and every day. He wants to bless you and pour out His love upon you. He wants to dote on you as a father to His children.
Jesus Christ gave up His life for me. Now, for many of us, this conjures feelings of guilt and shame. However, God did not intend for us to linger on such things. No, He knew what He was doing and did it willingly, not so we would feel guilty forever, but that we would understand His love for us. So that I would understand His love for me; He would go to any length for my salvation and that makes me feel loved, not shameful or guilty.
Love overcomes a multitude of sin. (1 Pet 4:8) When Jesus went to the cross, He did so to wipe out my sins. He did this so I would be able to come into relationship with God, the Triune Father. He did this to close the gap between God and humanity. If I had the chance to offer myself up so that my children could have a perfect life for eternity, I would willingly do so. And God’s love is far more infinite than my own.
God loved us so much that He gave his only son so that I would not parish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) There are so many verses about God’s love in Scripture, as a matter of fact they are the most numerous, there are over 500 verses in both the Old and New Testament about love. That should come as no surprise because, “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) So, we have this God who love us and is love and so wants us to come into that love.
It is a very simple thing to do, just accept His love. If you don’t know what it looks like, find someone who does, I would be ecstatic to share with you about the Love of Jesus. Then once you know, you accept, come into repentance and fulfill fully His Lordship. To show our love in Christ we become obedient, not as one following rules, but as someone who wants to please and love and do what’s best for the other person, which is what love is all about. In doing this, He pours out His blessing upon us.
I don’t know about you, but I will bask in His love today. Won’t you join me in just enjoying the presence of the Lord and allowing His love to flow over us today. Won’t you join me in His grace and mercy, allowing the Lord to love and forgive you. Be blessed and in the joy of the Lord today.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
The writer of Hebrews is addressing the humanity of Jesus Christ. He is addressing the fact that Jesus was as much human as He was God. He suffered what we suffer, He was tempted by what tempts us and He felt every bit of what we feel in our lives. He had to live as man so that through the sacrifice we might be set free from death.
“Oh, grave where is your victory, oh death where is your sting.” (1 Cor 15:55) One of my absolute favorite verses in Scripture. It reminds me there is no longer any need to fear death. As a matter of fact, we can welcome this friend when it is our time. We realize it will be our transition into eternity with the Father.
There is nothing to fear in death, it has been defeated. I can now look forward to my eternity of perfection. As a matter of fact, it is this very knowledge that pushes me to brings others into a knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is this fact, that Jesus defeated death, that I can have joy in any circumstance in life because I know it brings me one step closer to the Father.
Jesus has died and been buried and resurrected. It is time for us to fully accept this concept. Too many times, we as Christians, start to believe the lie that this is just a great moral story and that some of these things didn’t really happen. But we must buy in, lock, stock and barrel, if we are to taste the eternal reward that is in Christ Jesus.
We can no longer half-heatedly accept the Scripture, where and when it suits me to follow it or believe in it. Either we are in or we are out, Jesus was pretty clear that there are no fence riders allowed. As for me and my house, we are all in. I believe in the resurrection, I believe in the eternity that is to come. I take comfort in those things and I allow the chains of death to fall from my hands as I serve Christ in freedom. May it be with you today as it is in my heart, free from death and free to live in Christ. I look forward to the day of eternal rest and peace that comes from our loving God. And I will share with all who will listen.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Heb 4:16
God Already knows that I need grace and mercy. He already knows that I am a sinner and broken. He already knows my short comings and faults. Yet, God offers us the same grace and mercy; He knows we need this grace and mercy. He has freely offered up this grace and mercy for us to take a hold of and hold tightly to this salvation found in grace and mercy.
So, because of this, I ought to come boldly before Him, but for what? To ask humbly for the grace and mercy that come freely to us. God is just waiting for us to come forward and ask for what He is offering. It is like walking through Sam’s Club on a Saturday afternoon. You find the free tasting cart in the aisles. I don’t avoid them, I boldly walk up to them and ask for a sample.
God’s throne of grace and mercy are the same thing, freely offered up to any who would not pass by. Freely offered to any who would humbly come forward and request this grace and mercy. God is not trying to trick us or make us feel belittled, no He is offering up His grace and mercy for free, now He just wants you to come forward and receive what is offered.
So, today, I will decide to approach the throne with freedom and confidence. I will know that my God has offered me grace and mercy. I will know that salvation is for free, because He paid the price. And so, I will come humbly, but with confidence to the throne and receive the reward of belief and faith, which is grace and mercy.
Why do you cry out over your wound, your pain that has no cure? Because of your great guilt and many sins, I have done these things to you. – Jer 30:15
Israel has been taken into captivity and some utterly destroyed because of their sins they have committed. Not even the necessarily the sins they have committed but the sins they have ignored in others. The nation of Israel had become completely corrupt. They had either sinned against God or committed the sin of silence as other sinned against God. And then their world fell apart and they wanted to cry out to God.
Why do I cry out when my marriage stinks and I want to blame God, even though it’s because I haven’t treated my wife right? Why do I want to blame God for my kids if I let them sit in front of electronics all day? Why do I want to blame God for all the bad stuff in my life and yet not even address my own sin? First, I must look to myself and see how I am living outside of God’s will and then once I have corrected that, I will have the answers I need.
Now, I am not trying to say that all bad things happen in this life because of sin, nor do I think that God doesn’t answer my prayers sometimes because I don’t have enough faith. But, before I go about blaming God for things in my life, first let me take at look at self and see how close to Christ I am living. He has promised us time and time again that the closer we are to Him the less we will face the consequence of sin.
Life has enough trials of its own because we live in a broken world. I don’t need to add to my stress, by running around and living a life of sin. Now am I saying that I can be perfect, No! What I am saying is that I can discipline myself to get rid of the sins I know about. It is pretty easy to stop lying to people, to stop stealing from them, hopefully to stop killing people, to stop treating people with disrespect. Those should be pretty easy. Some of the tougher ones, like addiction, whether it is to drugs, pornography or alcohol, can be tougher, but not impossible with God.
So, today, let’s decide to face our trials with an open heart. Let’s decide to start cutting out the sin in our lives. Let’s decide to be more Christlike and less selfish in life. For when we repent, God rejoices and promises us, So you will be my people and I will be your God.” (Jer 30:22) There is hope, let’s start reducing our stress by reducing our sin and turn our lives to honoring God.
Praise the Lord,
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. – Heb 3:12-13
It is a crazy world that we live in today. I watch the news and cannot believe the new lows that humanity will sink to and not call it sin. The word sin isn’t even in most people’s vocabulary anymore. The Devil has done a fantastic job at erasing spirituality from everywhere in the US today, well maybe the one exception is still the Church, in some cases.
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. – 1 Tim 4:16
Paying close attention means we must be able to know what true teaching and doctrine are in our lives. To know this, we must be in Scripture and must be taught as well. We do not have the mysteries revealed to us without instruction, the Bible is clear about that. How do we hold tight to a belief that we cannot even define or express, that is why the Word of God is so important in our lives. We cannot just describe our salvation by experience, but also by the Word of God, the Good News.
In a world where evolution’s lie is accepted as truth and our children are taught all kinds of worldly things, we must be very careful to hold tight to our beliefs, lets we have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns from God. I cannot allow myself to be distracted or deceived by sin, I must guard my heart and my belief in God.
So, today, I will encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ. I will get my Bible out and spend time in contemplation of the Truth revealed in those words. I will pray to God that He guard my heart and give me strength to defeat wickedness and sin in my life. I will have faith in God that He will hold tight to His promise, “For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.” – Heb 3:14
Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says about the things that are left in the house of the Lord and in the palace of the King of Judah and in Jerusalem: “They will be taken to Babylon and there they will remain until the day I come for them,” declares the Lord. “Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.” – Jer 27:21-22
The passage is describing what is going to happen when Babylon comes and takes possession and dominion over the lands of Israel. God is using Babylon to discipline the people, to draw them back to Him. And even in their wickedness, God relents and gives them a way out. If only they go into captivity with Babylon, He will restore them after a time. God is always faithful to the promise.
I have to hand on these promises and faithful fulfillment of God. His fulfillment of the promise is why I trust in Him. He has always been faithful to Israel and to every promise He has made. So, because of that, I know I can trust Him in faithfulness now. He has promised that those who are in Christ will be forgiven and have eternal life. Therefore, I fulfill my part of the promise by having faith.
I have been asked so many times why I decided to be a Christian and how I can trust the Bible. I can be certain that neither the Lord, not His Word has ever let me down. Every time I have put God or His Word to the test, they have passed with flying colors. Now, I would never suggest putting these things to the test, but through my weakness I have and God has been faithful to provide and to rescue.
In 1 Cor 10:13, it speaks about sin and God offering a way out for anyone so that we will never be tempted beyond our capability. This is the same out He provided Israel in their sin, if only they would follow His way and bow. It is the same offering He gives us through Jesus Christ; He has offered the way out of sin and death. And because it is a promise of God, it is solid and trustworthy.
So, today as you go about your day, try to remember the promise God has given you. That you have been set free from sin and death is you proclaim Christ as Lord. If you haven’t, then do so, find someone who can teach you about the promise of God. And the rejoice with all believers in the power of Jesus that has destroyed the Devil and conquered sin and death in all who proclaim His name.
For God’s Glory,
This is what the Lord says: “Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. This I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.” – Jer 26:2-3
What is the Word of God? Do I get to pick and choose what I want to preach and teach or is all of it applicable? In a day and time were evolution and billions of years is the commonly accepted thought on the age of the universe and with people do whatever is good in their own eyes to do, the Word of God is so important.
I must give the Word of God in a pure and unaltered version. I cannot substitute to make people feel better. I cannot interpret the Scripture out of the original meaning. I must know and preach the Word as God has given it, not as I see fit. I cannot teach what I want and leave the hard stuff out. I must teach the whole Word of God as good leads it to be taught, anything short of that and I am not in the Will or Service of our Lord.
Many people come to Church service looking to feel better or get justification in their lives, to feel comfortable. But I am here to tell you, the Word of God in its true form, will convict and challenge our lives. We should be nudged to change when we come before the Word of God. It should be a call to action and a call out of our comfort zone.
So, this day, I will proclaim the Truth of the Word of God. I will not make excuses or try to water down the Scripture. I will stand firm in the Word and God’s way and not sway or be moved. Because the Lord God has commanded me to stand firm and to “Tell them everything I command you.” (Jer 26:2b) I can no longer spare feeling or try to be PC, I must share what the truth is and then I must live my life according to what it says, without apology!
Therefore, the Lord Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words, I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations.” Jer 25:8-9a
There is a very interesting phrase in here, “my servant Nebuchadnezzar.” Did he really belong to God, well yes! All men and women ever born belong to God. God is the author and creator of life. He has brought this universe into being and so everything belongs to Him already. All people of this Earth are God’s people. He loves all of them and wants all of them in relationship with Him. So, why is this important?
As I look out into the world and see the things that are happening, I have to ask myself, what has happened to our humanity? Perhaps that is exactly what has happened, we have called it humanity, meaning we have seen people through people’s eyes instead of God’s eyes. There is a great Brandon Heath song out there that says, “Give me your eyes for just one minute, give me your eyes so I can see.” See through God’s eyes, I wonder how our perspective would change if we looked through God’s eyes.
When we see people, do we see God’s loving hand upon them, just waiting to bring them into His fold? With the craziness at the border and all the human trafficking going on in this world, I wonder how long will God relent against this evil? So, we must be the eyes of God, we must be His hears, His hands and His feet. That is what He has sent us here to do. We have to see the people the way that God sees them.
If I do not look through God’s eyes, I might miss the next Paul, who persecuted and murdered Christians, yet became one of its greatest leaders. Who can I be Jesus to? Well, I have to start by seeing people through God’s eyes instead of my own. See the potential to be in love with God, not what is in front of me. So, today, I will look with God’s eye upon the people of the world. For all have been called to follow Him, and all already belong to Him. Now its time to bring the lost sheep home.
By the Grace of God,
The Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the Lord. One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basked had very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten.
The Lord was showing Jeremiah the two kinds of people in this world, those who stand for God and those who do not. There is no middle ground with God. God says to the luke warm I will spit you out. You cannot have it both ways, sinning and serving the flesh and serving God, you have to choose one or the other.
I know this feeling from my own daily struggles. I cannot sit and say I love the Lord and speak hate against people. I cannot sit and say I serve the Lord, while fulfilling the flesh. The two do not mix. If we serve God we must die to the self and if I serve self, I have no place with God. What is it that I want to do in my life. If I serve the flesh I am the rotten figs that have no place and no purpose.
You see, those who are not found in Jesus have no purpose in this life. If you claim to be an atheist, you claim to have no hope or reason for being. Sure, you can say, it is to leave the world better or to make man kind better, but why? What is the reason or purpose, if I don’t have a supreme and unwavering authority that gives me direction, then I must only live for myself and then die. There is no other purpose.
However, there is good news! Those who come to Jesus and are found in Him have purpose. They have a higher authority on which to rely for what is good and what is evil. They have a God that will guide them into peace and joy beyond their understanding. It comes from having purpose. Now this does not mean perfection, but it does mean redemption.
So, today, this about what fig you want to be. Do you want to be the ripe fig that has a purpose and a purpose giver or do you want to be the rotten fig with no purpose and no direction in life? Personally, I choose the former because it brings peace and joy to the one who comes to Him. May God be the light and direction in your life today through Christ our Savior.