Devotional Thought for Today – 02/02/2021

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Deuteronomy 6

I have had some argue that these verses do not apply to “New Testament” Christians, how foolish and wrong can one be? Jesus himself in Matthew 5:17-20 says Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil…

While we can or at least all should agree we are not under the old covenant law (no one except Jesus could live up to its standard) we should still follow the moral precepts laid out by the LAW including that of our text. 

In context Chapter 6 is all about obedience to God.  In v.1-3, Moses declares that the people must be attentive and follow the laws of God. 

Then he gives the why in v.4. Because The Lord our God is one Lord: (KJV)  a better or easier way to reads this would be because the Lord you God is the only TRUE God.  John Gill in his commentary says the one self and all-sufficient, and perfect Being.

What is our response to such a God, the creator of the heavens and the earth? Moses says in v.5, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being] (AMP).  Sound familiar? It should to all those who read the New Testament too, Jesus is asked in Matthew 22:36-40 what is the Greatest Commandment and replies with something very similar. Does God, the one true God, omnipotent, omniscience, and omnipresent Triune God deserve anything less? 

Are you fully committed to loving God today?  Pray with me…

Dear Lord, 

Help me daily to LOVE You with all my heart, soul, mind, and might that I may honor and glorify You in all I do. AMEN

 

Saturday’s Military Devotional – BEING STRONG

 

Joshua 1:9

2 Timothy 2:4

AMP and RVR 1960 


CONTEXT:

This is the Apostle Paul’s second letter to his young disciple Timothy. In Chapter 1  Paul urges Timothy to guard all he has been entrusted with. Specifically the Gospel and it’s Good News of Christ.

Chapter 2 v.1-13 begins with Paul telling Timothy to be Strong. Not just any ordinary strength (in the faith) but that of a soldier for he is surely to endure many battles.


BREAKDOWN:

No soldier – This is not the first time Paul has referenced Christians as soldiers Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 

gets entangled – He is making it clear then (Ephesians) and here that we are in a serious battle and we have no time for 

in civilian pursuits, outside distractions. I want to be clear that is not to say we should be ignorant of the world around you, or silent about it either (See yesterday’s devotional) Paul is making the case for our FOCUS.  

since his aim – What is the aim, goal or mission at hand? Is it to be tied up in worldly affairs while trying to Pastor a church or serve overseas missions? The obvious answer is no. 

is to please – Our aim, focus, goal, mission is always to please…

the one who enlisted him. (superiors) –  That is to be a well disciplined soldier for God 


APPLICATION:

In the military a Soldier, Marine (or any servicemember) does not obey orders and focus on the mission to “please” their superiors. They do it because discipline and training has taught them it saves lives in battle.

The same applies to the Christian soldier in their daily walk. Life’s distractions and the interloping of Satan’s minions to temp us can easily sway our focus. That is why Paul in Ephesians stresses the need to Armor Up and here encouraging Timothy to BE Strong and stay focused. 

C.H. Spurgeon said it best: 

The man who has given himself wholly to the service of Christ must not undertake any other business that would prevent his giving his whole strength to his Master’s work. 


Today’s Questions:

Say What?

Observation: What did I read? What struck you as most meaningful?

So What?

Interpretation: What does it mean? Overall and the most meaningful? Did it change your view on Being Strong?     

Now What?

Application: How does it apply to me?

Then What?

Implementation: What do I do? How can I start living it out today?

Saturday’s Military Devotional – BEING STILL

10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Psalm 46:10 ( AMP and RVR 1960) 


CONTEXT:

Have you ever heard the expression(s) 

    1. There are no atheists in the trenches.
    2. There are no atheists in foxholes.

A quick search on the internet finds some 38,000 plus results for them. With quoteinvestigator.com giving the best explanation of it’s origins. 

I will not argue today whether the expressions have any validity to them, that is not my point I refer tho them only because even in them we find someone saying, here in the midst of Calamity, the Chaos of Combat man will reflect upon the greater purpose of life. 

Psalm 46 is a Psalm of the sons of Korah, it is a Psalm of refuge, security, and strength. Something we all need from time to time, especially in times of Chaos and Calamity. 


BREAKDOWN:

Be still, –  We do not do a whole lot of fighting in trenches and foxholes any longer but no matter the location, or whether your “fight” is as a combat soldier of Soldier of the Lord, there are times we need to just Be still,. No matter if it because the enemy approaches or you need to listen carefully to something, we are often called to quiet ourselves.

and know that I am God: – In those quiet moments, especially in a combative situation human nature causes us to reflect on many things. Man will often consciously or subconsciously cry out for help. It is here that God is present, always omnipresent in all situations.  

I will be exalted among the heathen, – Oh there are many a naysayer (unbelievers), but as I have often said they are without excuse in the end (Romans 1:20). God will be exalted by everyone Philippians 2:10-11.

I will be exalted in the earth. – God’s omnipotence ( Psalm 46:2-3 ) is constantly on display (the unwise call it mother nature) He alone is sovereign over all creation Psalm 66:4.


APPLICATION: 

Simply put with all the calamity and chaos going on around the world and especially here in America today, when did you last pause to:Be still, and know that I am God:”

Please pray for all our service members and our first responders. 

Today’s Questions:

Say What?

Observation: What did I read? What struck you as most meaningful?

So What?

Interpretation: What does it mean? Overall and the most meaningful? Did it change your view on Being Still? 

Now What?

Application: How does it apply to me?

Then What?

Implementation: What do I do? How can I start living it out today?


Other Resources:

Psalm 46:10 Commentary – The Treasury of David

THE SOLE CONSIDERATION, THAT GOD IS GOD, SUFFICIENT TO STILL ALL OBJECTIONS TO HIS SOVEREIGNTY. by Jonathan Edwards

What does it mean to be still and know that I am God?

 

Living the New Life in Christ

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

CONTEXT: 

In this 4th chapter of his Epistle to the church at Ephesus, Paul begins v.1-16 with an exhortation to Christian Unity. In v.17-24 we find his opening of today’s theme Living the New Life in Christ where Paul emphasizes putting away the old life and adopting the new life wrapped in the likeness of God. 

In order to get to pour main text above I need to again put it in context of the whole with which it was written v.25-32:

25 Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor,[j] because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin.[k] Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the devil an opportunity.28 Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need29 No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need,[l]so that it gives grace to those who hear.30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him[m] for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you[n] in Christ (CSB)

Efesios 4:25-32 Reina-Valera 1960 (RVR1960)

If we just take v.32 it sounds goo, in fact I am sure many of us have heard if said by non-believers accusingly something like; ‘I thought you Christians were supposed to be king and caring full of forgiveness.’  

So how is it “we Christians” can answer those accusations? Paul tells us in the text: 

Always speak the truth to our neighbors.

If you get angry (natural for all men) do not let it cause you to sin.

Do not give the devil a toe hold in your life. If you are angry at someone deal with it Matthew 18:15 (note while this addresses Christian brothers it is applicable to all)

Work hard and share with those in need. Haters will always be out there, but it is hard to argue with hard work and caring. (Matthew 25:40)

We (God’s Chosen Elect) Christians are indwelled by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) the Third person of the Triune Godhead. As such He cannot abide with sin Psalm 5:4 says For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil cannot dwell with you. By putting away sin that is making every effort not to sin and when we do to quickly confess our sins, we avoid Grieving the Holy Spirit 

Finally whatever comes out of our mouths must be Graceful to the hearers. You do not want folks hearing you trash talk others, curse and carry on. In all our speech Glorify God.

APPLICATION

We cannot on our own do any of this. That is (in my opinion) why Paul reminds the Church at Ephesus to Unify in fellowship and as individuals to put on the new life in Christ. Our strength to defeat our old ways and the devils temptations comes not from self but from God and fellowship with like minded brethren.

What is the Joy of the Lord?

Image result for NEH. 8:10

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. Nehemiah 8:9-12 (ESV)

Some background for those of you who do not know the Book of Nehemiah. It is one of my favorites, as it epitomizes this ministries goals of restoration for individuals. 

Briefly Nehemiah is a trusted servant in the courts of the Persian King. He hears of the squalor conditions of Jerusalem and petitions the king to go and restore it. He is met with resistance once there from the local ruling class but eventually succeeds in restoring the city walls.

We pick up the story here where for the first time the Law was read to the people (Nehemiah 8:1-8). The people hearing and clearing understanding the Law, apparently react (v.9) with mourning and tears, both for their sins of rebellion against God and one would imagine all the hardships they had been through.

Nehemiah and Ezra the Priest tell them this is not a time to morn, do not be grieved, a lesson for all of us. Our Christian lives will be (and should be if we are active for the Kingdom) filled with times of turmoil we have a choice mourn and grieve our situation or as Nehemiah and Ezra tell the people of Jerusalem do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. In other words we can lean on, count on and depend on the strength of our Lord to get us through those difficult times. 

There are (hopefully) some obvious differences between the nation of Israel in the time of Nehemiah and Born Again Believers today. The Israelite’s had gotten themselves into their situation by consent and blatant disobedience to God’s Law whereas a true Christian does not blatantly live in disobedience to God’s Law. . The result was exile from their homeland for all but a remnant. What is in common however is the response to knowledge that our Lord is the great provider of strength for our daily walk in life, Nehemiah tells the people and us to (v.12) make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. 

If you understand that the Lord is our strength then you also understand that He is also our Joy. 

 

Where Else Does the Bible Talk about the Lord’s Strength?

  • “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29
  • “The way of the LORD is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked.” Proverbs 10:29
  • “The LORD gives his people strength. He is a safe fortress for his anointed king.” Psalm 28:8
  • “The LORD is my light and my salvation- so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?” Psalm 27:1
  • “God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.” 2Samuel 22:33
  • “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30
  • “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, to that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 

God is Our…

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Whom is it that you turn to in times of trouble? Is it a friend, spouse or maybe a pastor? David understood that none of these were good enough, our only true refuge and strength comes from God. While we can lean on others for support it is God we depend on to get us through those tough times and we must not forget to praise Him in the good times too. – Mike

The Treasury of David

EXPOSITION

Verse 1. God is our refuge and strength. Not our armies, or our fortresses. Israel’s boast is in Jehovah, the only living and true God. Others vaunt their impregnable castles, placed on inaccessible rocks, and secured with gates of iron, but God is a far better refuge from distress than all these: and when the time comes to carry the war into the enemy’s territories, the Lord stands his people in better stead than all the valour of legions or the boasted strength of chariot and horse. Soldiers of the cross, remember this, and count yourselves safe, and make yourselves strong in God. Forget not the personal possessive word our; make sure each one of your portion in God, that you may say, “He is my refuge and strength.” Neither forget the fact that God is our refuge just now, in the immediate present, as truly as when David penned the word. God alone is our all in all. All other refuges are refuges of lies, all other strength is weakness, for power belongeth unto God: but as God is all sufficient, our defence and might are equal to all emergencies. A very present help in trouble, or in distress he has so been found, he has been tried and proved by his people. He never withdraws himself from his afflicted. He is their help, truly, effectually, constantly; he is present or near them, close at their side and ready for their succour, and this is emphasized by the word very in our version, he is more present than friend or relative can be, yea, more nearly present than even the trouble itself. To all this comfortable truth is added the consideration that his assistance comes at the needed time. He is not as the swallows that leave us in the winter; he is a friend in need and a friend indeed. When it is very dark with us, let brave spirits say, “Come, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm.”

“A fortress firm, and steadfast rock,
Is God in time of danger;
A shield and sword in every shock,
From foe well known or stranger.”

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

We sing this Psalm to the praise of God, because God is with us, and powerfully and miraculously preserves and defends his church and his word, against all fanatical spirits, against the gates of hell, against the implacable hatred of the devil, and against all the assaults of the world, the flesh and sin. Martin Luther.

Power Through Weakness

Image result for II Cor. 12:9

Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me9 but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My loving kindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively]in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me10 So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength]. 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 (AMP) 

We seem to have become a community of complainers. It is natural for the unrepentant man to complain, his sinful nature causes him to despise everything that burdens lifestyle. 

Yet the Bible tells us for the redeemed this should not be our way. We are given two examples to follow, Christ of course being the first. His obedience in all situations to the Will of the Father was without complaint.  Then there is the Apostle Paul who in the above verses makes it clear how we should look at and respond to difficulties in our life. 

Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, while we are not told specifically what this “torn” is we do know it was very bothersome. Paul says, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me and each time apparently God said NO. Instead He informs Paul that My grace is sufficient for you. We are able to get past the thorns by relying on God’s Grace. The more we lean on God the more His power is being perfected…in [our] weakness.

So what is Paul reaction to this, does He complain and whine, no his example to believers is to boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christmay dwell in mePaul understood and relied on the fact that the weaker his natural man got the more powerful he lived a godly life; when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong.

 

God’s Purpose in Our Pain; Sermon John MacArthur

The Grace of God

 

 

 

He will sustain you!

(J.R. Miller)

“Cast your burden upon the Lord — and He will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22

Continued at Source He will sustain you!