Devotional Thought for Today – 03/24/2021

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Romans 6

Just about a year ago, I used this same verse in a devotional entitled Wages of Sin. My focus then was God’s call to salvation. Today however as I read this verse, something completely different bothered me, the actual phrase the wages of sin is death. 

Everyone likes getting “paid” for their work.  Even volunteers get paid in the sense they see the results of their efforts. For those with a job that has a monetary wage, that paycheck is their reward, their payoff for hard work. That is their WAGE, their RECOMPENSE, or REWARD.

I think for the first time I put it all together that “we” work hard for our final payment of death.  In other words, the payoff for all our hard work of living a sinful life, our reward,  is eternal death. Culture tells us to just live life to the fullest and damn the consequences.  The Bible makes clear the consequences. In the end,  there is no one else to blame, no one to turn to except ourselves, we are without excuse.  Maybe it is just me but I can think of far better rewards, can’t you?

As I noted in last year’s devotional; Is the Holy Spirit tugging on your heartstrings? Answer God’s call Repent of your sins and make Christ not only the savior of your life but Lord of your life today. 

Today’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, I am a sinner and deserving of eternal death and the lake of fire, I am not worthy to set my foot in Your heavenly home, but I believe that the Lord Jesus paid the price for my sins through His death on Calvary and I heed Your call, Your free gift of salvation and eternal life IN HIM. I ask that Christ be Lord of my life, let the Holy Spirit guide my paths that I may do Your will.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, AMEN.

Modified from Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Romans/6/23

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/22/2021

Logos.com

2 Corinthians 9 

In short, this Chapter is a reminder to the church in Corinth to fulfill their promise to help the church in Jerusalem.  Paul reminds them that gift-giving should be done willingly and cheerfully, that God blesses those who do so and closes with our ext v.15.

Paul uses v.15, as a reminder that they, the members of the church in Corinth had already received a very special gift.  The CSB, NASB, and NIV all render it “his indescribable gift!”  The ESV is depicted above the KJV uses “unspeakable and the NLT renders it “this gift too wonderful for words!”

What is this gift?  It is interesting (to me at least) here Paul does not clearly spell it out, one has to dig a little, I think he understood the church at Corinth should know and so should all true believers. A clue is given in the previous Chapter 8:9 (AMP)For you are recognizing [more clearly] the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [His astonishing kindness, His generosity, His gracious favor], that though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich (abundantly blessed).  The Gift that goes beyond measure is none other than Christ.

Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary – Read the whole commentary here

REFLECTIONS

It will be a blessed improvement from this Chapter, Under the Lord’s teaching, to learn, while Paul is speaking of alms-deeds, and liberality to the poor; how pure that source of real charity is, which runs from God, and leads to God. What an astonishment would it induce in the minds of some men, if they were told, that as no alms-giving whatever is real charity, unless it ariseth, as a stream doth from a fountain, from the love of God; the numberless public charities as they are called, which have not this origin for their birth, cease to be real charities; and will be found more the effect of pride, and ostentation, than either intended for divine glory, or human happiness. If all the actions of men on the score of charity, were ascertained by this standard, what a draw-back would be found, in the calculations of self-righteous Pharisees, of their real state before God? Reader! do attend to the Apostle’s character of the love of the heart, in that which comes from God, and leads to God. God loveth a cheerful giver. Not simply self-delight, in the deed; for this is often the choicest fruit the self-righteous character gathers, from his charity, in the offering made to the shrine of his vanity: but a cheerful giver to the Lord, of his own bounty, as the Lord’s Almoner. Cheerful in seeing the Lord’s poor, fed from the Lord’s gifts; in which self hath no gratification of pride, but feels humility. Here it is, the cup of cold water becomes a precious gift. And the hundreds of the affluent, given without it, hath no value in the sight of God.

But, Reader! if things be so, think what a gift was, and is, that which flowed, and will forever be flowing, from the free, pure, disinterested love of God, in the gift of his dear Son? Think, what a sovereign, unlooked-for, boundless, bottomless mercy, in the gift of God the Spirit! Oh! for grace to have a right apprehension, of this unspeakable gift!

Today’s Prayer

Loving heavenly Father – thank You for the unspeakably precious gift of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ – Who has been freely given to me and to all who will sill simply believe in His name. Father the gift of Your only begotten Son is beyond all expression, beyond all measure, and beyond all bounds. I fall on my face and worship You for Your unspeakably precious gift to me – in JESUS’s name I pray, AMEN.

Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/2-Corinthians/9/15

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/20/2021

God is the one who dishes out justice, let Him handle it! - Psalm 37:8-9 eCard - Free Facebook Greeting Cards Online

PSALM 37

SUBJECT. The great riddle of the prosperity of the wicked and the affliction of the righteous, which has perplexed so many, is here dealt with in the light of the future; and fretfulness and repining are most impressively forbidden. It is a Psalm in which the Lord hushes most sweetly the too common repinings of his people and calms their minds as to his present dealings with his own chosen flock, and the wolves by whom they are surrounded. It contains eight great precepts, is twice illustrated by autobiographical statements, and abounds in remarkable contrasts.

DIVISION. The Psalm can scarcely be divided into considerable sections. It resembles a chapter of the book of Proverbs, most of the verses being complete in themselves. It is an alphabetical Psalm: in somewhat broken order, the first letters of the verses follow the Hebrew alphabet. This may have been not only a poetical invention but a help to memory. The reader is requested to read the Psalm through without comment before he turns to our exposition… C.H. Spurgeon

Our text today v.8-9 imparts an important principle for all believers. Worthless or unrighteous anger, and how to deal with it.

Before I continue I want to make sure we understand that righteous anger is not forbidden in the bible. We should be angry at abortion, same-sex unions, LBGTQ stuff, the lack of Christian fighting the good fight, etc. 

Here v.8, the psalmist is saying stop being so angry at these rich evil men or at God for allowing them to be in power. Remember pent-up anger can turn to wrath and that can lead to ungodly acts of rage. In v.9, we find a twofold promise. Those who do evil will be cut off from the eternal kingdom and those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

They shall inherit the earth. He means that they shall live in such a manner as that the blessing of God shall follow them, even to the grave. John Calvin.

The “Christian” that says I never get angry or it’s a sin to do so, is either not living or never read the book. Most “stuff” in the world today really makes me mad, and Jesus certainly got mad more than 0nce. Yet the Bible is clear Ephesians 4:26–27 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (ESV). We are to be angry at the immorality, the unethical behaviors around us without sinning. 

Today’s Prayer

Lord, whenever I see injustice and unbiblical acts I can easily become angry.  Far too often, I keep this anger within, this affects me and those around me.  It prevents me from serving and glorifying you. Help me Lord, to have this righteous anger yet never sin.  To understand your promises concerning those who do evil and to pray for their souls. Teach me to respond to others with graciousness and love.  In the name of Jesus I pray – Amen. 


“What does it mean to not let the sun go down on your anger?”

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/18/2021

Thomas Fuller.jpg

Riches are . . .

  long in getting — with much pains,
  hard in keeping — with much care,
  quick in losing — with more sorrow. (Thomas Fuller)

Fuller was of course speaking of earthly riches or treasures, Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 6:33, Matthew 16:26, that society pushes folks to concentrate on. He was warning us that focusing on them brings nothing but pain, hardship, and sorrow. 

What are you building for future generations?

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/17/2021

Call of Abram

Logos.com

Genesis 12

Summary: God calls Abram, and blesses him with a promise of Christ. (1-3) Abram departs from Haran. (4-5) He journeys through Canaan and worships God in that land. (6-9) Abram is driven by a famine into Egypt, He feigns his wife to be his sister. (10-20) – MHCC

Our text today is from the first part of the chapter.  There are a few things that strike me as pretty amazing;

      • There is no apparent previous relationship (interaction) between God and Abram (See Previous Chapters)
      • God calls Abram to abandon all he knows (v.1)
      • God makes great promises to Abram (v.2-3)
      • Abram at age 75 obeys unhesitantly (v.4)

Today’s question is simple if you are a child of God, what has God called you to do for the Kingdom that you are not willing to abandon all for? 

Today’s Prayer

Lord God, I pray today for faith like Abram, to be ready and willing to surrender all you have given me in order to go and serve you for the needs of the kingdom and your Glory. I count your promises to watch over and protect me send your Holy Spirit to guide my path. AMEN

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/16/2021

Drawing Near

Every once in a while it is good to share something besides my writing and thoughts. 

Today’s devotional is from John MacArthur’s book Drawing Near and is based upon the text,  “Hallowed be Thy name” (Matt. 6:9).

God is holy and deserves your highest respect and your humble obedience.

Hallowing God’s Name

Devotioinal Thought for Today – 03/15/2021

10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:10-12

ACTS 4

Here, I. Peter and John are taken up, upon a warrant from the priests, and committed to jail, Acts 4:1-4. II. They are examined by a committee of the great Sanhedrin, Acts 4:5-7. III. They bravely avow what they have done, and preach Christ to their persecutors, Acts 4:8-12. IV. Their persecutors, being unable to answer them, enjoin them silence, threatening them if they go on to preach the gospel, and so dismiss them, Acts 4:13-22. V. They apply to God by prayer, for the further operations of that grace which they had already experienced, Acts 4:23-30. VI. God owns them, both outwardly and inwardly, by manifest tokens of his presence with them, Acts 4:31-33. VII. The believers had their hearts knit together in holy love and enlarged their charity to the poor, and the church flourished more than ever, to the glory of Christ, Acts 4:33-37. – Matthew Henry 

Christianity is the largest religious group in the world, and in 2020 there were about 2.6 billion adherents globally.[5] What defines a “Christain” [or how one becomes one]  these days man be within some of those denominations up for question, but the bible as our main text proclaims is very clear. 

Salvation is through faith alone in Christ alone. Christianity is dogmatic, it is a narrow way, for God’s chosen, His elect only and here in Acts Luke is relating Peter saying  …there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” (AMP)  

In the end, I do not care if you are part of any of these or their various offshoots:

      • Catholicism 
      • Protestantism 
      • Eastern Orthodoxy 
      • Oriental Orthodoxy 
      • Non-trinitarian Restorationism 
      • Eastern Protestant Christianity 
      • Church of the East 

Without the saving power of Christ and Christ alone, you are not a Christian!

Today’s Prayer

I thank You, Father, for Jesus my Saviour. Thank You for Your gift of salvation that has been given to me through Christ alone. Thank You that salvation is so simple, that even a little child can understand it. Give me the strength and wisdom to speak out daily sharing the Good News.  I pray Lord for your Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of my friends, family, and those who read this that know you not, that they too may rest eternally in Christ.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, AMEN.

Modified from source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Acts/4/12

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/13/2021

FOOD, MEAT, NOURISHMENT

Logos.com

JOHN 4

This is a very long Chapter packed with lots of great biblical insight. According to Matthew Henry, it can be broken down as follows: 

Christ’s departure into Galilee. (1-3) His discourse with the Samaritan woman. (4-26) The effects of Christ’s conversation with the woman of Samaria. (27-42) Christ heals the nobleman’s son. (43-54)

Our text v.34 comes from the third section when the woman has gone off to tell her town folks about Jesus and He and the disciples are conversingOne of the disciples asks v.33 “Has anyone brought Him something to eat?”  It is then Jesus states out text. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me… 

But what can HE possibly mean by saying it? Food is meant to refresh, reenergized the body. From a spiritual standpoint, the Word of God is our daily Bread of Life.  Yet Jesus is referring to neither of these. 

In one of the most profound statements in the New Testament Jesus says I am fulfilled, nourished, complete by doing the Will of God.  C.H. Spurgeon said;  “The man of the world thinks that, if he could have his own way, he would be perfectly happy, and his dream of happiness in this state or in the next is comprised in this, that his own wishes will be gratified, his own longings fulfilled, his own desires granted to him. This is all a mistake. A man will never be happy in this way.” 

Jesus knew the only way to be whole in this life was to do God’s will.  Have you surrendered to His will for your life today? 

Today’s Prayer

LORD God, all-powerful and merciful creator of the universe, I pray you will grant me the wisdom and knowledge to live in your will and do the work you have prepared for me each and every day. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/12/2021

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

2 PETER 1

The first chapter of Peter’s second epistle can be broken down as follows:

v.1-2 – Peter Introduces himself as an Apostle and bondservant of Christ  

v.3-4  – The theme or Thesis of the Book, God has called and equipped His saints 

v.5-11 – The means for Growth in Christ

v. 12-21 –  The need for consistent spiritual truth

Our text comes from the section containing the Theme of the Book, verses 3 and 4.  They are linked in such a way the reading them separately leaves one wondering for more.  An example look at the picture above, most folks emphasize “Divine Nature” in the sermons I reviewed but look at Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might…  The only way to know what the “these” are is to read v.3

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

“These” or those things are the knowledge of things (in or through Christ alone) that we need to live a godly life. That is the theme the message Peter is relaying to the early church and to us. Sola Christus not only can we be saved by no other means but we can not grow on faith or holiness by any other. 

I can not speak for everyone today, but I would think most folks would want to partake of this great promise so as v.4 (AMP) says:  by them, you may escape from the immoral freedom that is in the world because of disreputable desire, and become sharers of the divine nature. 

Today’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, How I praise and thank You that I have been called out of darkness into Your glorious light. Thank You that in Christ I have been given all that I need to live a godly life that is pleasing to the Father. Thank You that by Your divine power I have been called, chosen, redeemed, accepted, and equipped by You, to live the godly life. that You desire of me. Thank You that I have been imputed with Christ’s righteousness, in-dwelt by Christ’s Holy Spirit, identified with all His goodness and grace and accepted by the Father, in the Beloved – by grace through faith in Him. Thank You that I have become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and that through a knowledge of Him I have been granted everything that pertains to life and godliness. I pray that I may come to a fuller knowledge of Him, Who called me to be His child, by His own glory and excellence. You alone are worthy of all my honor and praise – a world without end, AMEN.

Modified from Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/2-Peter/1

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/11/2021

Facebook

The Bible has much to say about the Glory of God, here are a few sources to look at:

King James Version (KJV) by Book Order

Crossway, 100 Verses  (ESV) not in book order

Biblical Texts to Show God’s Zeal for His Own Glory

Why is Soli Deo Gloria important?

Of course, you can google thousands more some good some not so much. That is where biblical discernment comes in, but that is for another day.  Today I want to look at two main points of application as it applies to God’s Glory. 

Someone once said, “Show me your redeemed life and I might believe in your Redeemer.” That’s a fair request! As Christians, we are Christ’s ambassadors to a dying world. With His Spirit in our hearts and His Word in our hands, we are to speak His truth in love and live a life that lends credibility to what we say.¹

This should lead us directly to 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Back in 2018, I posted an article entitled  This, and nothing but this is true Christianity! It began with the first question from the Puritan catechism: Q1: What is the chief end of man? A1: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, ( 1 Corinthians 10:31 ) and to enjoy him forever. (Psalms 73:25 Psalms 73:26 ) and continued with a piece from Edward Griffin.  The main theme of everything a true believer does will be in an attempt to Glorify God. 

There is however a second aspect of Glorifying God most folks overlook and that is in prayer. God’s glory must be the ultimate goal of every prayer request we make.¹ 

How is that possible? Simply praying in God’s will. Never asking for things outside of God’s will or good pleasure. Let me see if I can give an example. Abortion, most of you know it has been something I have been passionate about for nearly 25 years. I want God to eliminate (shut down) all abortion clinics, to heal the hearts and minds of those working at those places. I would never pray for God to “eliminate” the workers how does that  ‘Show someone your redeemed life?’

Our walk should match our prayer life and our prayer life our walk. I am convinced a praying believer walks upright and an upright believer prays. 

Today’s Prayer

Praying for God’s Glory

O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous and just acts, please let Your anger and Your wrath turn away from our nation.  Because of our sins and the wickedness of our leaders your people (remnant)  have become an object of scorn and a contemptuous byword to all who are around us.  Therefore, our God, listen to (heed) the prayer of Your servants and our supplications, and for Your own sake let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary.  O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and look at our desolations and the Nation which was founded upon your principles; for we are not presenting our supplications before You because of our own merits and righteousness, but because of Your great mercy and compassion.  O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! Do not delay, for Your own sake, O my God, because our nation and Your people are called by Your Name.” based upon Dan. 9:16-19

 

¹ Source