Devotional Thought for Today – 05/15/2021

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1 Peter 2

As I have been riding across the US I see signs of COVID restrictions lifting in some areas and not so much in others. Mainly I am speaking of wearing a mask, some fuel stops and store have signs that say “Mask Required” other have none. The other thing I found interesting was the level of folks so willing to ignore these business owner’s practices yet demand to be served.

On at least two occasions when clerks asked someone to “please mask up” because it was local policy” they were met with a flurry of curse words. One such individual had a little fish symbol on the back of their truck as they sped away.

Christian behavior, I think not, I personally HATE these mask mandates, I think they are stupid and science does not support them. That being said, nothing that these local stores are doing goes against the Word of God, and as our text above notes, my job is quite simple. Follow the rules or go somewhere else.

Submission to authority is a hard pill for many “Christians” to swallow these days, but it one that the Bible is quite clear we must until it violates the law of God.

So how do we express our displeasure with the current mask mandates and other seemingly totalitarian government rules? John MacArthur’s Devotional for today has an answer:


The world doesn’t need another opinion—it needs God’s absolute and authoritative Word!

Speaking the Truth in Love (John)

The twelve apostles included “John” (Matt. 10:2).

Seek to maintain a proper balance between truth and love

Some people picture John as overly sentimental and egotistical, lying with his head on Jesus’ shoulder and constantly referring to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. But that’s not an accurate characterization of one of the “Son of thunder”! He loved Jesus deeply and was amazed that Jesus loved him—especially after he wanted to burn up the Samaritans and then secure a prominent place for himself in Christ’s kingdom. Calling himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (e.g., John 21:20) was simply his way of marvelling over God’s grace in his life.

As much as he loved Jesus, John never allowed his love to deteriorate into mere sentimentalism. In fact, the proper balance between truth and love is the hallmark of his ministry. In his writings we find the word love more than eighty times and witness nearly seventy times. His profound love for Christ compelled him to be a teacher of love and a witness to the truth. To him, obedience to the truth was the highest expression of love. As 1 John 2:5 says, “Whoever keeps [God’s] word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.”

John’s greatest joy was to know that his spiritual children were walking in the truth (3 John 4). He firmly denounced anyone who attempted to divert them from that goal by denying or distorting God’s Word.

Today, media talk shows and other influences have blurred the lines between opinion and truth. One man’s opinion is purported to be as good as the next, and there’s little talk about what’s right or wrong.

Truth suffers even within the church because many Christians are willing to compromise it to avoid upsetting people. They forget that true love flourishes only in the atmosphere of biblical truth (Phil. 1:9).

Amid such confusion, God calls you to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). The world doesn’t need another opinion—it needs God’s absolute and authoritative Word!

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the gift of His love and the power of His truth. Ask Him to make you a person of ever-increasing biblical integrity.

For Further Study

Read Revelation 2:1-7.

  • What strengths did the church at Ephesus have?
  • What did it lack?
  • What did Jesus require of it?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Devotional Thought for Today – 05/11/2021

Matthew 28:18-20

In its simplest terms, evangelism means to announce or proclaim the “Good News.” Evangelism is NOT about:

  • Your personal testimony
  • Inviting someone to church
  • It is not social gatherings or entertainment
  • It is not apologetics or defending Biblical truths

Evangelism is all about Christ and what He did on Calvary for the redemption of sinners.

  • It is about communicating the Gospel
  • It is about relying on the work of the Holy Spirit to convict people
  • It is not about asking God, it about accepting God’s free invitation of Grace
  • It is not about people it is always about God and His Glory

In my study this morning I found there are books describing up to eight (8) types and methods of evangelism. Seriously, folks, the Bible gives us all we need in one method/type, it says share Christ and Him crucified. All this movement towards what is current in the world is the WRONG direction for the church. We are told NOWHERE in the Bible to bring the world into the church, we are however told to go forth into the world.


Leading Others to Christ (Andrew)

The twelve apostles included “Andrew” (Matt. 10:2).

Leading others to Christ should be a top priority in your life.

Andrew was Peter’s brother and a native of Bethsaida of Galilee. From the very start we see him leading people to Christ—beginning with his own brother.

The gospel of John records his first encounter with Jesus: “John [the Baptist] was standing with two of his disciples (Andrew and John), and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. . . . One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus” (John 1:35-37, 40-42). Later Jesus called both Andrew and Peter to become His disciples, and they immediately left their fishing nets to follow Him (Matt. 4:20).

Our next glimpse of Andrew is in John 6:8-9. It was late in the day and thousands of people who were following Jesus were beginning to get hungry, but there wasn’t enough food to feed them. Then Andrew brought to Jesus a young boy with five barley loaves and two fish. From that small lunch Jesus created enough food to feed the entire crowd!

Andrew also appears in John 12:20-22, which tells of some Greeks who were traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast. They came to Philip and requested to see Jesus. Philip took them to Andrew, who apparently took them to Jesus.

Andrew didn’t always know how Jesus would deal with a particular person or situation, but he kept right on bringing them to Him anyway. That’s a characteristic every believer should have. Your spiritual gifts might differ from others, but your common goal is to make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20), and that begins with leading sinners to Christ. Make that your priority today!

Suggestions for Prayer

When was the last time you told an unbeliever about Jesus? Pray for an opportunity to do so soon.

For Further Study

Do you know how to present the gospel clearly and accurately? As a review read Romans 3:19-28, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Ephesians 2:8-10, and Titus 3:4-7.

Why did Biden Nix God in Prayer Address?

NEW YORK, May 7, 2021 /Christian Newswire/ — Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on President Joe Biden’s National Day of Prayer address:

President Biden raised more than eyebrows when he omitted any mention of God in his National Day of Prayer proclamation. What he did was unprecedented: No previous president has failed to mention God since the day it was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress and signed into law by President Harry Truman…

Source: Why did Biden Nix God in Prayer Address?

Also see: Biden Omits God and Prayer from National Day of Prayer

Daily Devotional for Today – 05/08/2021

GENERAL PATTON: LEAD OR FOLLOW" METAL SIGN - Pin-Ups For Vets Store
https://images.app.goo.gl/pP7qi1sxZTNM1gpw9

This may seem a bit of a strange way to start a devotional but it struck me this morning as I was reading my daily devotionals that God’s Army is much like the Army I (and Gen. Patton) served in. There were leaders, followers, some who stood by the wayside (out of the way) watching the world pass them by and I will add a 4th category, those who collaborate with the enemy who loves the world so much they will turn on their neighbors.

Like all good Armies, God’s Army needs leaders too. The first of such was Peter. John MacArthur’s devotional does an excellent job of making this point:

Building a Leader: The Right Experiences (Peter)

The twelve apostles included “Simon, who is called Peter” (Matt. 10:2).

Your present experiences contribute to your future leadership ability.

Stan Carder is a dear brother in Christ and one of the pastors on our church staff. Before coming to Grace Church he pastored a church in Montana. While there, he was riding one night in a truck that was involved in a very serious accident. Stan suffered a broken neck and other major injuries. As a result he underwent months of arduous and painful therapy.

That was one of the most difficult periods in Stan’s life, yet God used it for a specific purpose. Today, as pastor of our special-ministries department, Stan ministers to more than 500 physically and mentally handicapped people. God needed a man with unique qualifications to show love to a group of very special people. He chose Stan and allowed him the necessary experiences to fit him for the task.

God doesn’t always permit such serious situations, but He does lead each of us into life-changing experiences that heighten our effectiveness in ministry.

Peter had many such experiences. In Matthew 16:15-16, for example, God gave him a special revelation about the deity of Christ. In Acts 10 God sent him to preach the gospel to Gentiles—something unheard of at the time because Jewish people resisted any interaction with Gentiles. Perhaps the most tragic experience of Peter’s life was his denial of Christ. But even that only increased his love for Christ and his appreciation of God’s grace. After His resurrection, Christ forgave him and restored him to ministry (John 21:15-19).

Peter’s many experiences helped prepare him for the key role he was to play in the early church. Similarly, your experiences help prepare you for future ministry. So seek to discern God’s hand in your circumstances and rejoice at the prospect of becoming a more effective Christian.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for both the good and bad experiences you have, knowing that each of them is important to your spiritual growth (cf. James 1:2-4).

For Further Study

Read Acts 10, noting what Peter learned from his experience.

  • What vision did Peter have?
  • What was the point of the vision?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Devotional Thought for Today – 05/07/2021

Nahum 1:7 - KJV - Bible verse of the day - DailyVerses.net
https://images.app.goo.gl/zi875EdYYeYknZQ26

NAHUM 1

Y’all may have noticed that we have not posted for a few days. well, a Tornado ripped through greater Jackson, MS on Tuesday, May 4th.

Thankfully the worst of the storm missed us but our house and neighborhood were not without damage. We lost power Tuesday afternoon and just got it back last night. Our roof was a mess a branch penetrated a corner of the garage, and many shingles were torn off. Three neighbors have or had trees on their homes and many across streets.

Some of the debris from yard
Big oak tree from neighbors yard
Back of our garage where tree went through

I do not show these pictures to garner sympathy, but to demonstrate the grace of God. We all experience God’s Providence, Protection, and Promise in those moments. Everyone in our neighborhood is okay. No one was hurt and other than the inconvenience of being without power for nearly 3 days we all are doing well.

Nahum is a prophet tasked with delivering the final judgment of God against Nineveh. The same Nineveh that had repented some 150 years earlier with Jonah’s message.

Our text today is the Good News, that God promises His people He will be their strength and stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows [He recognizes, cares for, and understands fully] those who take refuge and trust in Him. (AMP)

You do not have to experience a tornado to have that same promise, it is available to all God’s people. All one has to do is understand that we are incapable of living a moral and just life by ourselves. That Jesus Christ lived that perfect sinless life and paid the sacrificial cost of those sins. If we sincerely acknowledge the need for forgiveness for our transgressions and Christ and Lord of our lives, God is faithful to welcome us as His children, adopted into the kingdom of God.

Praying through Nahum 1:7
Heavenly Father, thank You for Who You are and what the Lord Jesus has done for us. Thank You for being our good and gracious God. Thank You that You are my stronghold in the day of trouble and the Comforter to Whom I can fly for refuge. How I praise You for Your never-failing faithfulness to Your people Israel and grace towards the Church. Thank You that You are not only a God of love but a God of justice and that a day is coming when You will avenge all those that have suffered at the hands of Your enemies. I pray for those who have not yet trusted in You and remain dead in their sin and ask that they may be convicted of sin and come to faith in Christ. This I ask in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Nahum/1/7

Devotional Thought for Today – 05/04/2021

14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

2 Chronicles 7

As always context is here is so important. The immediate context of v.14 tells us that King Solomon has finished the Temple and the fact that God will send judgment upon the land in the form of drought, locusts, or pestilence for their disobedience. God hears Solomon’s prayer but gives him this dire warning of the consequences of continued rebellion, v.12-14.

God’s promise of restoration v.14, is offset with ongoing warnings in verses 19-22 for abandoning the law, seeking and worshipping false idols. The consequences of which are so grave, that not only will the temple be forsaken but the people of Israel will be ridiculed among the nations; I will cast this house, which I have consecrated for My Name, out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and an object of scorn among all nations (AMP).

So the question becomes can this text be rightly applied to America today?

My answer is yes, under certain very specific parameters:

  • If my people,NO, we are not as a nation God’s chosen people, No, we were not founded as a Christian Nation (I would be happy to discuss this), Yes, we were however clearly founded upon Judeo- Christian principles, that we as a nation have forsaken.
  • which are called by my name, – God does not call all citizens of America His children as were the those of the Nation of Israel. However, Pew Research as of 2019 shows 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians. That is 213.2 million Americans.
  • shall humble themselves, The first requirement for Israel back in the time of Solomen and for America today is proclaiming for Christians must humble themselves all other actions fall short.
  • and pray, and seek my face, – Next, Christians need to be in an attitude and altitude of prayer. Just as God told Solomon here, the only way one can hope to forestall the Lord’s righteous judgment is to earnestly seek Him in prayer.
  • and turn from their wicked ways; – Finally, we must Repent, obviously for our own sins of commission and omission, but also for the sins of the nation as a whole.
  • then will I hear from heaven, – God promises to hear the prayers of the righteous.
  • and will forgive their sin, – God promises to forgive the sins of the truly repentant.
  • and will heal their land. – God promised to heal the land of Israel, but as we know from history they were overrun many times and still to this day live in turmoil. Here in America are praying for revival, for the end to abortion, for the destruction of anti-Christian enemies, etc. I pray more “Christians” would Humble, Seek, Pray and Repent before the Sovereign God of all creation. Imagine if all 213.2 Million had the same goal to Make America MORAL Again.

Are We Praying?

Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Repentance According to the Scriptures: 2 Chronicles 7:14 …

America’s New 94% Religion

American Pastors Network

America’s NEW 94% Religion: The Reality and Implications of an Unbiblical Worldview

Stand in the Gap Radio update on April 16, 2021,  Stand in the Gap Today Hosts Sam Rohrer and Dr. Gary Dull interviewed George Barna, founder of the original Barna Research Group and current President of the Cultural Research Center with Arizona Christian University. Their discussion focused on the recently released survey titled, “Introducing America’s Most Popular Worldview: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”.  

LISTEN to the entire program HERE!

READ the transcript HERE!

Devotional Thought for Today – 05/02/2021

Logos.com

Daniel 2

Matthew Henry breaks this Chapter down as follows: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. (1-13) It is revealed to Daniel. (14-23) He obtains admission to the king. (24-30) The dream and the interpretation. (31-45) Honours to Daniel and his friends. (46-49). Some modern bibles have headings that are even more detailed in their division. The AMplified Bible for example has eight (8) divisions our text for today is found in the one containing v.44-45, The Divine Kingdom.

Some days seem so overwhelming and we need a pick me up. I am not referring to the kind found in a bottle or a pill, of course, I and referring to the kind found in scripture.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to Pastor Mark Chanski preach at our church, as he was visiting the area. In his sermon, he spoke of seeing pictures of glory in God’s word. I can think of no better picture than today’s text.

In the days of the final 10 kingdoms (toes in v.42), Christ will triumphantly set up His final kingdom. Not like the kingdoms before it, this one will not be based upon man’s failings and pride.

Indeed Christ’s earthly kingdom (Christianity) has been in motion since His birth and continues until this day. Yet His Final Kingdom, the one which happens with His second coming, will be no secret or quiet event, Christ’s return will be announced by the archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God…

This Final Kingdom can never be destroyed, Christ’s earthly kingdom has already outlived all other earthly kingdoms and will prevail in eternity. Yet we know as Paul wrote to the church in Corinth that Christ must rule over all things.

The final thing I find in this text is the kingdom shall not be left to another people, I find this to have a two-fold meaning. First, in context, it refers to the succession of empires that had plagued the known world. Babylonian to the Medes and Persians; to the Greeks; to the Romans and so forth. Secondly, it means that upon Christ’s return His Final Kingdom is reserved for those in Christ.

As Pastor Chanski said paint a picture in your mind, look at the glory of the Second Coming of Christ and the Final Kingdom. Suddenly the care and worries of this world do not seem so troublesome when we have promises like that.


Dear Lord,

We pray that all those in Christ will find comfort in your Holy Word. That we will read and study scripture painting pictures in our minds so as to realize the abundance of your Mercy and Grace. We also pray that those who know not Christ will succumb to the urging of the Holy Spirit and repent today that they may be partakers of the Final Kingdom too. AMEN

Sunday Sermon Series – PRAYING AND WAITING

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 1 John 5:14-15

1 John 5

Chapter 5, begins by reminding true believers that they can overcome the turmoil of this world v.1-5 through the power of Christ. in v.6-12, John also reminds us that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, and life begins with Him. Finally in John wraps up the Chapter and Book with v.13-21, reassuring true believers that they can know they have eternal life.

Our text for today comes from the latter and expresses perfectly John’s and the Holy Spirit’s meaning:

  • We (true believers) can have confidence in Christ
  • We can ask anything of Him according to His will, NOT OURS
  • He hears all those petitions
  • Because those petitions are in God’s will we have no fear of them not being heard, not being granted, for we put our Faith, our Trust in the Sovereignty of God.

SERMON

1 John 5:13-15 – Praying and Waiting by C H Spurgeon


Additional Resources/Sermons

Devotional Thought for today – 04/30/2021

Logos.com

Isaiah 55

As I read this in my inbox this morning it struck me that there are two types of men described in the bible who “return to the Lord.” I will get to that more in a moment but first as always some context. Previously I have posted on Isaiah 55:8-9, in which you will find a good overview of the beginning of the chapter. Then I also posted on seeking God, Isaiah 55:6 with a detailed breakdown of that verse. So that leaves v.7:

  • Let the wicked forsake his way – Those guilty of sinning against God
  • and the unrighteous man his thoughts – wicked, idolatrous thoughts
  • and let him return unto the Lord – Hebrew word Shuwb, meaning to turn back, repent, restore, make afresh, renew…
  • and he will have mercy upon him – compassion and love on those who end their evil ways
  • and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon; – God here is the Hebrew ‘elohiym, plural meaning the triune God
  • The Lord does abundantly pardon – this indicates God’s mercy, His desire to pardon nows no boundaries

I am not a Biblical Scholar (no fancy Ph.D.) so I read about a dozen commentaries this morning referencing V.7, and most agree that the wicked forsaking their ways means everyone. I disagree, and here is why.

  1. Isaiah is writing to the nation of Israel, Jews, who knew the God of the bible.
  2. To forsake something (sin) you need to understand your guilty of it unbelievers have no knowledge of their guilt
  3. To repent, be restored, renewed, etc. you first had to be in covenant with someone
  4. God’s covenant was with the Jews (and now all peoples)
  5. God’s promise to abundantly pardon was only for those who repented and returned to the flock

Remember in the beginning I said two types of men described in the bible who “return to the Lord.” One we are all familiar with that of the Prodigal Son, the wayward child who eventually comes to his senses and repents, and begs forgiveness of his father. The other is one you may not recognize, Jonah. This is the story of those called by God, who think they know better and God puts them in a place where they eventually surrender all.

What do these men and our text have in common, both knew God but thought their ways were better than God’s. It took severe hardship to turn them from their evil rebellious ways and get God’s unmerited merciful pardon and love.

Maybe you too, have been running from God’s call or something as simple as just sitting on the pew and letting the world go by. It is time to answer the Holy Spirits’ urging and repent of our own ways and get on board with God’s plan.

Lord God, your ways are made clear to us, yet we rebel and desire our own ways. We ignore the chosen path for one that seems right in our own eyes. We ignore all the helps you send our way as our hardened hearts desire self. Lord, we beg you to soften that heart, that we might repent of our rebellious ways, and renew a righteous Spirit in all areas of our lives. I ask that we seek your guidance and will daily, for we know that our ways are never better. All this we pray in Christ’s Name. AMEN