Maranatha Devotionals
"maranatha devotionals" "devotionals" "maranatha"

Friday, September 29, 2006

Topical Devotionals

Table of Contents - Nuggets from Proverbs

Day 30
Apples of Gold

Day 29
What is Your Tongue Worth?

Day 28
Pride

Day 27
Wandering

Day 26
The Proverbs Friend

Day 25
The Way That Seems Right

Day 24
God Sees All

Day 23
Wisdom, Knowledge, Discretion and Understanding

Day 22
Train Up A Child

Day 21
Sowing Wisdom Reaps Kindness

Day 20
Whose Way

Day 19
The Mouth

Day 18
A Prudent Man

Day 17
Studying and Teaching

Day 16
The Merry Heart

Day 15
Receiving Instruction

Day 14
Discrete or Indiscrete

Day 13
Do You Struggle With Pride?

Day 12
The House Filled With Wind

Day 11
How Are You Building Your Home?

Day 10
Friendship

Day 9
Wise and Discrete

Day 8
The Clamorous Woman

Day 7
How Firm a Foundation

Day 6
Wise or Brutish?

Day 5
The Light of the Word

Day 4
To Speak or Not to Speak

Day 3
The Fools from Proverbs

Day 2
Teachings of Humility in Proverbs

Day 1
What Fruit Are You Bearing?

Labels:

The Clamourous Woman

Prov. 9:13 "A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing."

Proverbs is such a great book - full of instruction and wisdom! Why, then, is its wise counsel not heeded? I think each of us knows someone who fits the description of the lady of Proverbs 9:13. I know I do!

I looked up clamorous in Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary and I must say that it was more than what I thought it meant, which was noisy!
CLAMOROUS, a. Speaking and repeating loud words; noisy; vociferous; loud; turbulent.
Now that it's put that way, can you imagine living with someone like this? Better yet, are you that someone?

Someone I know quite well is exactly like this. A dear friend of mine lives next door to someone who fits this description perfectly. These women probably have no clue that they are this way - or they probably don't care. Solomon says that these women are not only loud but repetitious! That means they are naggers and complainers and they do it loudly! I don't know about you but I truly do not want to be known as a clamorous woman! Nor do I think a man would want to live with one either.

Solomon goes on to say that the clamorous woman is simple and knows nothing. Why do you think he said that? I'm sure it had nothing to do with how smart she was. Noah Webster defined "simple" as being weak in intellect. In fact, the lady I personally know is quite intelligent. However, I believe Solomon means that the clamorous woman is simple in the Word of God. You can "know" an instruction but it does not mean that you have applied it to your life. Any believer who spends daily time in the Word seeking the Holy Spirit's will is going to be convicted of sin in their lives. So, obviously, this woman does not make the Word part of her daily life. If she does, then she is most certainly quenching the Holy Spirit.

I surely feel badly for the man who is married to such a woman. I think of another Proverb, "It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house." (Pro 25:24) How sad it is when a women is so prideful that she does not allow the Holy Spirit to work in her life.

The Lord has much reward in store for the woman who can be taught. Let's look at the flip side of Proverb 9:13 - the exact opposite "A prudent woman is quiet: she is wise, and knoweth the will of God." Are you this woman? Or, instead, are you the Proverbs 9:13 woman? Why would you want to be known as a clamorous woman? Won't you allow the Holy Spirit to teach you?

Dear God...
Help me to see myself as You do
Each wicked sin and weakness reveal
Show me in Your Word and please grow me
So my broken spirit will be healed

Day 19 - Are You Boasting of Your Good Works?

Reading: Ephesians 2:8-9


Today’s verse:

“Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:9)

Oh my! The floor has just come out from underneath 99% of today’s religions. How many “good” people have you come across in your journey on this earth? I can think of so many who have done good in my city alone. History also has many. Abraham Lincoln was instrumental in the freeing of the slaves. Mahatma Gandhi was a philosopher, a man of peace and a resolver of conflict. The Foundation Center claims that Andrew Carnegie was one of the world’s greatest philanthropists. Siddhartha Gautama was the founder of Buddhism, which was a religion of morals. No matter how good these men were or how much good they contributed, none of their work could gain them entrance to Heaven. There is not enough money which could be paid that would gain entrance to Heaven. Jesus’ blood is the cost for entrance to Heaven.

The Apostle Paul is quite clear in this very short verse: Not of works, lest any many should boast. If I were able to get to heaven because I prayed the right prayers several times a day, or gave to charity, or visited the sick and shut-ins, then I could easily boast about my accomplishments. If these actions were enough to get to heaven, there would not be a humble person in heaven. Heaven would be comprised of people boasting about their abilities. Even more thought provoking is the fact if we could get to heaven on our own merit, why would Jesus have to come to earth to die on the cross?

There are many religions which believe that after we die, we go to a “place” where unconfessed sin is purged so we may be clean upon our entrance to heaven. This purging is done via earthly prayers by family members or by other earthly means. These acts indicate that Jesus’ shed blood was not enough. It indicates that His blood is not able to include these sins. "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10)

Again, I ask you, why would Jesus have to come to earth to die on the cross? If you believe as the other 99% of the world, you are saying that the work on the cross is not sufficient. When Jesus died, He said “It is finished!” His redemptive work was done. He died for all sins and the work was finished. Dear friend, can you not see this?

There is no redemption in anything else but Jesus’ blood. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:14)

Dear God…
To Thee I give my heart
I know my sin is great
I confess them all, I do repent
I no longer wish this fate

Forgive me, God, and cleanse my heart
I acknowledge Jesus as my Saviour
I know He reigns with You on high
I long to meet Him, my Redeemer

Labels:

Thursday, September 28, 2006

How Firm a Foundation

Prov. 9:1 "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars"

Anyone with even a bit of imagination can visualize the building of a house. It is especially interesting to pull together the verses which deal with this topic. I love to see the "big picture" that God is trying to paint when He refers to our spiritual lives.

Amuse me a bit as I take you along my mental project of house building. I've never built a house, but I have watched many a home improvement program to know the process. One of the important factors is having a solid piece of land to lay the foundation on. There's no sense in laying a foundation on sand - no matter how strong that foundation is, it will crack. A good solid ground, yes even a good solid Rock, will hold up the foundation. This is the starting point. A word search on the word foundation blessed my heart so much.

As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation. (Pro 10:25)

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (Isa 28:16)

He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. (Luk 6:48)

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1Co 3:11)

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (1Co 3:12)

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Eph 2:20)


Here we see that Christ is the Chief Corner stone (the strongest stone used in a foundation because it unites two sides) of the foundation. The apostles and prophets (the Word of God) make up the rest of the foundation. As we read through these verses, we see that the saved's foundation is eternal because it is the foundation of Jesus Christ. The building materials reflect our spiritual homes as they are built upon the foundation (gold, silver, precious stones or wood, hay and stubble). We should take a moment here to compare this to the quality of building supplies you use in building your earthly home... do you use cheap insulation or did you go with the good stuff? When the cold winter winds blow, do you see your curtains moving and drafts coming out of all the cracks? Your house will reflect the time and money you put into building it. What about your spiritual house?

The shell of the house is next - putting up pillars (if that's your design) - solid load-bearing walls, insulation, drywall, etc. We see that Wisdom's house in Proverb 9:1 had seven pillars! The number seven in the Bible depicts completion. Creation was finished and God rested on the seventh day. There are seven days in the week. There are seven churches referenced in Revelation, etc. Seven is known as God's perfect number - the number for completion. Wisdom has seven pillars on her house. The house is perfectly solid – it is complete.

Why would God use this application for wisdom? Everyone knows what it’s like to start a new job. Oh the feeling of insecurity we have because we don’t know all the “ins and outs” of that position just yet. Our manager can teach us the various tasks and we can take thorough notes, but until we actually perform those tasks ourselves, we do not have that warm fuzzy feeling of comfort. Each day, we become more and more experienced with the day-to-day tasks at hand. Eventually, we can perform those same tasks with our eyes closed.

This simple example can be applied to our own spiritual lives. When we are saved, we now have the foundation of our spiritual homes. The more we are in the Word of God and apply and practice His teachings in our lives, we are constructing our spiritual homes upon the foundation. If our building materials are weak, we will not weather the storms of life and the devil’s attacks – our house will be shaken. However, we can start over and rebuild using those materials which are everlasting. Those same storms can come, but this time our house will stand strong and firm!

Let's apply wisdom in our spiritual lives and building upon Christ's solid foundation. In so doing, we will have precious building materials in our spiritual house which will fair the storms of life.

How Firm a Foundation
By John Rippon

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

Labels:

Day 18 - The Gift

Reading: Ephesians 2:8-9


Today’s verse:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8)

The definition of grace is “undeserved kindness.” God shows undeserved kindness toward us by offering us the gift of His Son. We accept this Gift through faith. There is nothing I can do to earn a gift. I can earn a prize by winning a race. But I cannot earn a gift. A gift is something I do not have to earn … it is freely given to me. However, a gift cannot be given to someone unless that person receives the gift in his hands. Otherwise, the gift has not been received.

For example, it’s your birthday and I come to your party. I put your birthday gift on the table along with the others. You open all the gifts except mine and you leave mine on the table, untouched and unopened. My gift remains untouched and unopened for days. Did you truly receive my gift? Of course not. You don’t even know what it is. You have not opened it. The same goes for God’s gift of His Son to us. If we do not receive Christ by faith, you have not accepted the gift.

What is stopping you from this simple step? Are you afraid because you have to repent from your sin? You can’t ask God to forgive you of your sins and continue down the same path. That is not repentance. Repentance is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God. If you say you are saved but your mind still dwells on sin and not on God, you have not had a change of mind at all. All you did was pray a useless prayer. As we look back to our story about the birthday gift, notice how there is an action that must be taken by you in order for you to open that gift. You have to pick that gift up in your hands. The same goes with the gift of salvation. You have to be willing to repent of your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour through faith.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8)



Dear God…
Repentance is not an easy thing
It is difficult to understand
But I pray You would guide me in my quest
To understanding Your Simple Plan.

Labels:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Day 17 - Don't Wait Until It's Too Late

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)

Are you struggling with the gospel messages you have read thus far? You struggle dear friend because you are in darkness. Your sin has created a spiritual "film" - a darkness over your eyes. Your heart cannot see the blessed light which is shed on the Gospel because you have long lived in this darkness. Ask God to lighten your way and help you with your unbelief. As was previously written, you are not alone in your unbelief. "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark 9:24)
There is no sin that has been sinned since creation of man that God cannot forgive. Jesus’ blood cleanses from ALL sin. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

There is only one sin which will not be forgiven mankind and that is rejecting Christ as Saviour. The Holy Spirit’s job is to guide and direct us to the work of Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the cross. "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:" (John 15:26)

If we deny the Holy Spirit’s guidance and do not accept Christ as our Saviour, this sin (blasphemy against the Holy Spirit) will not be forgiven and we bring upon ourselves condemnation and eternal life in the lake of fire.

"Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men." (Matthew 12:31)

Do not delay your decision. Today is the day you should get saved. God has led you to a point where you understand. Take heed before it is eternally too late. “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.: (2 Corinthians 6:2b)

Dear God…
Let not my head be darkened
With ideas and logic from friends
But let my heart seek truth and love
In Your Son’s precious nail-scarred hands.

Labels:

Wise or Brutish

Prov. 12:1 "Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish."

Prov. 15:32 "He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding."


As I was reading Proverbs this morning, I noticed in Prov. 12:1 that the Lord says that the person who hates to be corrected is brutish. I had a mental picture of what brutish meant but found Noah Webster's definition quite interesting.

BRU'TISH, a. Like a brute or beast; as a brutish form.

1. Insensible; stupid; as brutish men.

2. Unfeeling; savage; ferocious; brutal.

3. Gross; carnal; bestial.

4. Ignorant; uncivilized; untaught.
When we refuse spiritual correction, we are being insensible, stupid, unfeeling, carnal, ignorant and untaught! Ouch! We do not totally realize what we do when we refuse correction or "buck" against it. God knows, however. He is quite clear in His Word.

Another Proverb that hit me between the eyes was Proverb 15:32. God says that we hate our own soul if we refuse instruction. Those are not comforting words at all. These words should get the Christian stirred up.

Do we interfere with the Holy Spirit's work in our lives by being brutish? Are we hating our own souls by refusing instruction? Why in the world would we want to be classified amongst those that are? Instead, the Lord promises knowledge and understanding if we heed instruction and reproof!

In the yielding of our hearts to the Spirit's teaching, His fruit becomes evident in our lives. The Word builds our faith and with that faith we put forth fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance!

More Like Jesus Would I Be

More like Jesus would I be, let my Savior dwell with me;
Fill my soul with peace and love—make me gentle as a dove;
More like Jesus, while I go, pilgrim in this world below;
Poor in spirit would I be; let my Savior dwell in me.

If He hears the raven’s cry, if His ever watchful eye
Marks the sparrows when they fall, surely He will hear my call:
He will teach me how to live, all my sinful thoughts forgive;
Pure in heart I still would be—let my Savior dwell in me.

More like Jesus when I pray, more like Jesus day by day,
May I rest me by His side, where the tranquil waters glide.
Born of Him through grace renewed, by His love my will subdued,
Rich in faith I still would be—let my Savior dwell in me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Light of the Word

Prov. 6:23 "For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life"

Some of us who are older can recollect being spanked by our parents. (It's a sad state of affairs today where children threaten their parents with reporting them to Social Services if they spank them!) With each spanking I received as a child, I learned that what I did was wrong - sometimes I learned quickly and other times not so quickly. But the key here is that I learned from each spanking.

So it is with our Christian walk. Instead of parents, however, we have the Word and our Heavenly Father. God has given us the Word to intruct us. I love the way Proverbs 6:23 says that the Word is a lamp and a light for us. It is not a deep dark secret with hidden messages only to be interpreted by a priest or rabbi. It is a light to the one who is seeking God's will. We all can know what the Bible has to say without depending on another for intepretation. I find it interesting that the Holy Spirit impressed upon Peter to pen the following verses:

2 Peter 1:20-21, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (20) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (21)

It is not man's interpretations that we should be seeking. We should be seeking the Holy Spirit's interpretation because He wrote the Bible using men who submitted themselves to be used by Him. This is not the way I was raised as a catholic. In fact, not once was I encouraged to read the Bible from the time I could reason to the age of 25. Not once... instead I was told to listen and obey my parish priest blindly. I was told that this was true faith. Now that I am born again and can read and understand God's Word on my own, I say that this was not true faith but sheer stupidity on my part. Only I will be accountable before God for my actions - not anyone else but me! So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Rom 14:12) No one can stand before me in a court of law today and give an account and take my punishment for breaking a law in the United States. No one! Why should it be different before God - the Lover of righteousness? I cannot blame my actions on anyone else.

The second thing I noticed in this Proverb was that reproofs of instruction were a way of life for the believer. Daniel Webster defines reproof as:
1. Blame expressed to the face; censure for a fault; reprehension.

Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise.

He that hateth reproof is brutish. Prov 12.

2. Blame cast; censure directed to a person.
Why would God include this immediately after stating that the Word was a lamp and light to us? Clearly the Word has been given to us to teach us the right way to go. When we get off the right path and disobey that instruction, God then corrects us and sometimes must chastise us. For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. (Pro 3:12) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Heb 12:6)

Don't follow man's teaching blindly - no matter who that man is. It is good to listen to good preaching but it does not remove your responsibility as a born again child of God to make sure that what you are hearing is in line with God's Word.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2Ti 3:16) When a man (or "church") teaches something contrary to God's Word, you must search it out for yourself. We will each be accountable to God for what we did in life. We won't be able to blame another when we stand before God and give an account for believing what "the church" or "the preacher" taught us. The Word was given to each of us as a lamp and a light - it is clear that this is not a case of the blind leading the blind - the blind see no light. The born again believer is no longer blind!

Therefore, God makes it quite clear that His Word shines brightly with His teachings and doctrine. For the believer, this is very encouraging because we are not left alone to our own devices. Rom 1:21-22, "But to the unsaved, you are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (21) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (22) Dont' be a fool today. Let the light of the Word shine in your heart and draw you to the cross where your burdens may be lifted!

Dear God...
Your Word lightens my way
No more in darkness I hide
Desperately seeking I find
Your Precious bleeding side

Labels:

Day 16 - Are You Too "Good" For Hell?

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18)

If you think yourself too good for hell, you are dearly mistaken. After we die, we must all stand before Christ. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Heb 9:27) The judgment of the unsaved is hell. "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:15)

Those who are born again are no longer under condemnation according to John 3:18. We have been set free from the punishment of hell because Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross of Calvary. Those who believe in the work of the cross must repent from their sins and believe it is so. JESUS said we must repent, not some man. "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3)

Repentance AND Faith - the two sides of the coin of salvation; both must be together. Without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation (trusting in His shed blood and finished work on the cross of Calvary), grief for sin is just human reformation, trying to clean yourself up, trying to lift yourself up to Heaven by your own good works - by your own bootstraps - and it will never work! BUT without repentance for your sin - a desire to turn from it in the heart - without seeing your lost condition in the eyes of God - turning to Christ is just being religious, just saying a prayer, just getting your "fire insurance", with no saving value! Both must be together: you must see your sin in the light of the Word of God and turn from it in your heart to the Saviour to save you from them and from the punishment due you because of those same sins - believing in your heart that Jesus can and will save you. THEN the Holy Spirit gives you eternal life, makes you a new creature in Christ Jesus, and begins to change you from the inside out. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Won’t you set aside any theology you have been taught up to now? Won’t you turn to the Bible where the truth is simply laid out for you? Allow the Holy Spirit of God to reveal the simplicity of the gospel to you. There is no other way to heaven. Neither Buddha nor Allah will get you there. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

Dear God…
Show me the way that leads to You
Let my path not be darkened with lies
Of those who choose to deceive and distract
But clearly guide me to eternal life!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Day 15 - Which Twin Are You?

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17)

Let’s say your twin daughters both run away from home to sow their wild oats. You discover where they are living and send your son, their brother, to talk some sense into them. Here you’ve created a beautiful home for them, complete with love and care. But now they have chosen to go against your wishes to live a life of sin and rebellion. If they knew you would have approved of their sin, they would not have run away. But they knew how you felt, thus their actions.

Your daughters no longer live in the comfort of your home nor are they protected by you. They are on their own. Your son begs the twins to turn from their wicked ways and to come home with him. He is able to reach one sister but the other is adamant. There’s nothing her brother can say - she does not want to return.

You rejoice greatly because one of your daughters has come home. However, you are heartbroken because the other daughter has chosen to stay in her sin. You do not love her any less but you are grieved beyond what words can say. She has chosen to sever the fellowship between you.

Can you now imagine how God feels? His creation, Adam and Eve, chose to sin. They did not realize that their sin brought the consequences of a broken relationship. Because God knows the future, He realizes that they will never be able to keep the Law. It grieves God that fellowship is broken so He makes a plan to send His Son. The Law requires that blood be shed for the remission of sins.

"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22)

Because God is holy and cannot break the Law He created, He sends His Son (the Perfect Lamb) to shed HIS own blood for all man kind’s sin. What a beautiful picture. How much God loves us. God’s initial design was not to condemn the world. But because of the world’s sin, He sent His Son so that the world could be saved and fellowship could be restored.

Dear God…
Please help thou my unbelief.
Increase my mustard seed faith.
Open my eyes that I may see
The Gift Thou has sent my way!

To Speak or Not to Speak

Prov.17:28, "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."

There are not too many verses in Scriptures which say that the fool can actually do something "right"! This is one verse that says even a fool can do something right - and it has to do with keeping his mouth shut! Even the "spiritual" christian struggles with holding his tongue.

The Book of James has four verses dedicated to man holding his tongue:

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. (Jam 1:26)

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (Jam 3:5)

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. (Jam 3:6)

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (Jam 3:8)
I know that we have all heard the verses on holding one's tongue. We have also heard many messages on the same topic. But if the fool can be counted wise when he holds his tongue, how much more the believer? What testimony do we have if we witness to someone and that same person hears gossip or cursing coming out of the same mouth that witnessed to him?

The believer has the ability to conquer the tongue. We have the Holy Spirit residing within us. It is His fruit that we display. If we would be displaying His fruit, we would not have the need to be bridling our tongue.

The believer who has fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance would not be struggling with his tongue. The believer would not be struggling with blessing God in one breath and then cursing someone in the next breath. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (Jam 3:10)


Do not be a wise fool but we a wise christian who displays the fruit of the Spirit. It is accounted unto this fool that he is wise for holding his tongue. All the more responsibility do we have as believers to hold our own tongues.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Col 3:16)


Dear God...
May my words be a blessing to those
Who are filled with dismay and strife
Let my words encourage the weak
And lead them to the Fountain of Life

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Fools from Proverbs

Prov. 10:21 "The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom."

Ahhh, the lips of the righteous feed many. What a beautiful picture that is indeed. I think of kind words, encouraging words, exhorting words, comforting words, wise words, words that teach, words that preach, and uplifting words. There are so many ways we can feed another person.

But the fool does not have these words to feed. In fact, the fool is dying to have wisdom. Noah Webster has interesting definitions for the word fool.

3. In scripture, fool is often used for a wicked or depraved person; one who acts contrary to sound wisdom in his moral deportment; one who follows his own inclinations, who prefers trifling and temporary pleasures to the service of God and eternal happiness.

The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. Psa 14.

4. A weak christian; a godly person who has much remaining sin and unbelief.

O fools, and slow of heart to believe all the prophets have written. Luke 24.


So the fool does not necessarily have to be an unbeliever but can be a weak christian as well.

Haven't you ever heard an unbeliever or a weak christian make a comment over a situation that just seemed void of wisdom? I think of new believers who come into our churches and have not grown in the Lord yet. Older christians make unwise comments about the way they dress or look or smell or whatever. The new believer is offended and never steps foot in that church again. How sad that the lips of the righteous were not the first words that new believer heard in that church. That new believer could have been feeding that babe in Christ. Instead, the fool spewed forth words which showed his foolishness. How sad is that?

As christians, we are encouraged to ask God for wisdom and He promises to give it to us liberally, nor will He reprove us for asking Him for it. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (Jam 1:5)

How are your words today? Do they feed those around you or do you show your lack of wisdom? Are you the type of person that people come to for counsel? Or do you keep going to others for counsel? God promises to give you wisdom if you ask. There are 54 occurences in 53 verses of the word wisdom in the Bible. It is an excellent study. The person who is wise is gentle and longsuffering with others, knowing that everyone must grow in grace.

Fruit of the Spirit:
  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Longsuffering
  5. Gentleness
  6. Goodness
  7. Faith
  8. Meekness
  9. Temperance

Fruit of the Fool:

  1. Hate
  2. Sadness
  3. Turmoil
  4. Impatient
  5. Harshness
  6. Badness
  7. Disbelief
  8. Assertiveness
  9. Over indulgent

The wise person displays these fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). The fool displays fruit, but a totally different kind. This kind of fruit would cause anyone to die!

Dear Lord, for wisdom we do pray
So our words are used to feed
Those needing to see Your love
And to Your side we need to lead

Day 14 - Is Your Child Rejected?

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

This verse is probably the most popular Bible verse of mankind. The entire Gospel message of Jesus Christ is wrapped up in this one verse.

God’s love is so great that He gave up His Son for us. For those of you who have children, you can appreciate the love of a parent. You can also appreciate the extent of that love. Even more so, you parents who have lost a son or daughter in the line of duty for their country. You gave up your child on behalf of your country. How clear is God the Father’s love now?

If war haters were to smear your son’s name or criticize the war, you would take it personally. You would be upset that these objectors could not see the good that your son was fighting for. Our Father in Heaven has given us an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as punishment for our sins. If we do not accept His payment for our penalty, we reject God. It is the same with your son. If the anti-war demonstrators curse your son and his efforts, they do not accept the wonderful freedom he fought so hard to keep for his country.

Our Father knew that we could not work our way to heaven by keeping the commandments. The Jews had not been able to keep the commandments and the Law. Man is a sinner. If we were able work our way to heaven on our own, why would God have sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross? What would have been the need? If there were no wars to be fought, why would your son have had to give his life for his country? Do you not see the wonderful comparison here?

The most relevant point in all this is that Jesus died for our sins while we were yet sinners. He knew that we could not “clean up our act” before accepting Him as Saviour.

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

Dear God…
Please help me to belief by faith
The work of the Cross that day.
Your Only Son gave up His life
For our sin debt He died to pay!

Labels:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Teachings of Humility in Proverbs

Prov. 6:3 "Do this now, my son, deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend."

Prov. 15:33 "The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility."

Prov. 18:12 "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility."


According to Noah Webster, the word humility in this context means:
In theology, humility consists in lowliness of mind; a deep sense of one's own unworthiness in the sight of God, self-abasement, penitence for sin, and submission to the divine will.
If Christians today practice even 10% of this definition in their humility, there would not be many fighting Christians in churches today. Each Christian has been given a gift from the Holy Spirit to use within the church body. When each believer uses his gift according to the will of God, we make a whole body and function as one in our church.

When one or more stop using their gifts, the body no longer functions as a whole body but in bits and pieces. That body has become disfunctional. How can you tell? Look around you and see if the fruits of the Spirit are evident! Galations 5:22-23 list the fruits of the Spirit:
  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • longsuffering
  • gentleness
  • goodness
  • faith
  • meekness
  • temperance
One who is humble and practices humility is one who displays some of the fruits of the Spirit listed above. Can one be humble if he has no joy, gentleness, meekness or temperance residing within! Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (Jam 3:11)

I love to take teachings such as these and relate them to how the Holy Spirit equips us to fulfill the will of God through those same teachings. There are so many that are applicable and we will visit these over the next month. I pray you will be blessed!

More Like The Master
Charles H. Gabriel

More like the Master I would ever be,
More of His meekness, more humility;
More zeal to labor, more courage to be true,
More consecration for work He bids me do.

Refrain

Take Thou my heart, I would be Thine alone;
Take Thou my heart, and make it all Thine own.
Purge me from sin, O Lord, I now implore,
Wash me and keep me Thine forevermore.

More like the Master is my daily prayer;
More strength to carry crosses I must bear;
More earnest effort to bring His kingdom in;
More of His Spirit, the wanderer to win.

Refrain

More like the Master I would live and grow;
More of His love to others I would show;
More self denial, like His in Galilee,
More like the Master I long to ever be.

Refrain

Day 13 - Listening With Your Heart

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:15)

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is summed up in this short verse. Jesus tells Nicodemus that the Son of Man (verse 14) must be lifted up – a depiction of His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus was vague here because he knew Nicodemus was listening with his head and not his heart.

Most of us who were raised in the United States in the first half of the 1900’s can safely say that we heard of Jesus Christ. We either learned about Jesus Christ in church or His name was a curse word on the lips of our fathers. We “know” that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We “know” that He died on the cross for all sins. We “know” that He arose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. In fact, many of us have prayers we have memorized from childhood which recite these very facts. Jesus knew that Nicodemus knew his Bible. He knew that Nicodemus had much of the bible memorized. So Nicodemus had “head” knowledge of the coming Messiah just as we have head knowledge of Jesus Christ.

But what about the heart? Jesus says in John 3:15 that whosever BELIEVES will not perish. It’s not just knowing “about” Jesus Christ, but it’s knowing Jesus Christ “personally.” You cannot say that you really know your spouse after just a few days of marriage. However, there’s nothing like a good dose of several years of marriage to help you learn about your spouse’s little habits, likes and dislikes.

You cannot know Jesus Christ just by hearing about Him in church or by reading about Him. One must be born again. At the very moment of your conversion, the Holy Spirit (the Comforter) enters in and begins to teach you. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26) The Holy Spirit’s main job in a Christian’s life is to glorify Jesus Christ, teach the Christian about Jesus Christ and reveal the truths in the Word to the Christian. "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13) and "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." (John 16:14)

Dear God…
Please help me to learn the truth
About Your Son Jesus Christ.
May Your Holy Spirit enlighten me
Direct me and open my eyes!

Labels:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Day 12 - Are You Earthly Minded?

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" (John 3:12)

Jesus can see what is in Nicodemus’ heart at this point. He knows that if Nicodemus cannot believe those things which he can see with his only eyes, how can he possibly believe heavenly things which he cannot see! It appears that Nicodemus is lacking faith. That is why Jesus spoke of receiving salvation like a little child. "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." (Luke 18:17). I think we can all agree that there’s no better description of faith than that which is displayed by a child.

Jesus does not allow Nicodemus any excuses. Nor will we have any excuse when we stand before the Throne to see if our name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life. "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:15)

Only those who have been born again will be found in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Once we are born again, we are sealed by the Father and we will be given everlasting life. The Word of God in the Bible is the “meat” that draws us to salvation.

"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." (John 6:27)


Dear God…
Please help Thou my unbelief!
Remove this veil from my eyes.
Show me the way that leads to Thee.
Only Thou art truthful and wise.

Labels:

What Fruit Are You Bearing?

Proverbs 1:29-31, "For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: (29) They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. (30) Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. (31)

Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (22) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (23)


It does not take a rocket scientist to see a person's spiritual fruit. You are either producing good fruit or evil fruit. Your life speaks volumes and also reveals from where your fruit is coming, my friend.

Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."

Which one are you today? Are you a wise son or a foolish one? Do you hate it when the Pastor preaches on a subject matter that you just can't stand? Do you cross your arms in a defensive stance when the message he's preaching is about something that you are guilty of doing?

Whether spiritual warnings are from your Pastor, the Word of God or a dear friend, the way you respond will determine the condition of your heart. It will also determine what type of fruit you will be bearing.

If you hate what you are hearing and have a "He won't tell me what to do!" attitude, then you will be eating of the fruit of your own way, according to Proverbs 1:29-31. Your desires are not to stop sinning at all - in fact, your desire is to continue in your sin with no shame or remorse. When you despise being taught God's Word and what is right, you are a fool, according to Proverbs 1:7.

I love Galatians 5:22-23 because it clearly outlines the type of fruit that a child of God bears when they are growing in Christ. Yes, the child of God will undoubtedly sin, but the desire to continue in sin won't be there. This same child will be quick to repent and to get back on the path of righteousness. There is nothing more beautiful than to see a born-again Christian displaying the fruit of the Spirit. How can one be a bad testimony to the unsaved world if he has the fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance?

You can park here and do a study on these nine fruits and walk away with many golden nuggets. But the bottom line is this: What kind of tree are you and what fruit are you bearing? I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5) If you are saved, you should be producing fruit. If you're not, why not?

A tree bears more fruit when it is pruned. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)What areas of your life are hindering your fruit from growing? Don't be a fool. Allow the preaching and reading of the Word to convict your heart. Take that conviction and heed it - repent and be rid of that sin. Immediately, you will receive the fruit of joy and peace - the others will soon follow if you maintain and allow the Lord to prune those areas which hinder the growth of your spiritual fruit.

The Man Is Ever Blessed
by Isaac Watts

The man is ever bless’d
Who shuns the sinners’ ways,
Among their councils never stands,
Nor takes the scorner’s place;

But makes the law of God
His study and delight,
Amidst the labors of the day,
And watches of the night.

He like a tree shall thrive,
With waters near the root;
Fresh as the leaf his name shall live;
His works are heav’nly fruit.

Not so th’ungodly race,
They no such blessings find;
Their hopes shall flee, like empty chaff
Before the driving wind.

How will they bear to stand
Before that judgment seat,
Where all the saints, at Christ’s right hand,
In full assembly meet!

He knows, and He approves
The way the righteous go;
But sinners and their works shall meet
A dreadful overthrow.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Day 11 - So You Think You're Religious?

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness." (John 3:11)

Jesus continues to reach Nicodemus in the heart of his religious beliefs. Nicodemus is not only a good Jew; he is a teacher; he is a leader; he is the ultimate Jew, a Pharisee. Yet Jesus does not allow Nicodemus’ prestige to gain him entrance to heaven. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Jesus emphatically tells Nicodemus that despite all his knowledge, Nicodemus still does not believe their witness and testimony!

Nicodemus suffered from what all very “religious” people suffer. He knows so much and has lived so long that he believes he can no longer be taught any truth. He relies on his religious knowledge to be enough to get him to heaven. Jesus reprimanded many Pharisees in the Book of Matthew and called them all hypocrites. Nicodemus was recognized as a leader by Jesus in our earlier reading. But Jesus goes further in this next verse by telling the Pharisees that not only were they not going to enter heaven but they were preventing their congregation from going to heaven as well! Oh my!!

"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." (Matthew 23:13)

WE are responsible for our OWN salvation, not a religious leader.

"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men," (Titus 2:11)

Dear God…
Please help me to see
Your truth and testimony.
Help me to receive by faith
Your salvation so full and free!

Labels:

Encouragement - Day 30

God Cares for YOU!

A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. (Deu 11:12)

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1Pe 5:7)


I searched for the word "careth" in the King James Bible and found it is used six times. Only twice is it used in reference to God. In Deuteronomy, God tells Israel that He cares for their land and that His eyes are always upon it - every day throughout the year. The Word says in 1 Peter 5 that we are to cast all our cares upon the Lord because He cares for us!

The God of yesterday is the God of today and the God who holds tomorrow! What greater comfort can a believer have then to know that this same God who told Israel He had His eye on them 24/7 cares for our needs today? What greater comfort can a believer have than to know that this same God is aware of every detail of our future. His eyes are on us 24/7 and He never sleeps! In fact, while we sleep, He is taking care of us! I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. (Psa 4:8)

What encouragement and comfort we are privileged to have when we are born-again children of the King! Worry should not even be in our vocabulary! Rejoice, oh Christian! Your Father never sleeps and is looking out for you, ready to guide you and protect you! Thank You Lord!

Come With Rejoicing
Fanny Crosby

Come with rejoicing, come with delight,
Nature in waking, glad and bright;
Hearts overflowing gather today,
Fill us with rapture, Lord we pray.

Refrain

Praise our Redeemer, tell of His love,
Praise our Redeemer, God above;
Tell of His mercy, boundless and free,
None can protect us, Lord, like Thee;
Tell of His mercy, boundless and free,
None can protect us, Lord, like Thee.

Guarded from danger, sheltered and blest,
Under His banner, calm, we rest,
Come we before Him, come with a song,
Tell how He leads us all day long.


Refrain

Oh! what a Savior, gracious to all,
Oh! how His blessings round us fall,
Gently to comfort, kindly to cheer,
Sleeping or waking, God is near.


Refrain

Still may His mercy tenderly flow,
Still may He guide us here below;
Then when our journey safely is past,
May we be gathered home at last.

Labels:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Encouragement - Day 29

Great Is Thy Faithfulness!

Lamentations 3:19-23, "Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. (19) My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. (20) This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. (21) It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (22) They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (23)"


Oh Christian, as we near the end of our 30-day series on discouragement and encouragement, I want to emphasize where our encouragement comes from - our Source is the one and only Word of God! Happiness is achieved from tangible things or circumstances in our lives. But true joy comes from the Lord Himself.

Meditate on the trials of your past as Jeremiah did. This weeping prophet said in verse 20 that these afflictions were still in his memory. He did not forget because in those memories, he had hope! He had hope that his God would not leave him alone through the trials. Jeremiah had hope because he knew that the Lord's compassions did not fail (verse 22). He had hope because the Lord's compassions were new to him every morning (verse 23). Jeremiah had hope because he praised the One who was faithful! He did not forget to praise and thank the One who showered him with mercy!

My friend, have you praised God today? Is thankfulness and gratitude at the bottom of your list in your prayer life? The Creator of heaven and earth and Redeemer of your soul deserves to hear from your lips how grateful you are. This same faithful God filled with compassion is there daily providing us with new mercies! Oh, thank You Lord!! My heart is overflowing with gratitude today! A heart filled with gratitude does not have room for discouragement!

Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Thomas O. Chisholm

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Refrain

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Refrain

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


Refrain

Labels:

Day 10 - Whose Food Are You Eating?

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?" (John 3:10)

Jesus doesn’t let Nicodemus off the hook here. He holds him to task. In fact, Jesus questions Nicodemus and asks him why he doesn’t know these things being that he is a “master of Israel”! Religious leaders have so much more responsibility in God’s eyes. They are supposed to lead the spiritually blinded to the truth. This isn’t just with the Jewish religion but it is true with every religion on the face of this earth. Each has a leader of some kind, whether it is a Rabbi, a priest, a minister, etc.

Why do we need someone else to read, interpret and digest the Bible for us when God tells us that we are responsible for doing this ourselves? Do you allow someone to eat, chew and swallow your food for you? Of course not! Then why do you allow someone else to read the Bible, understand it and glean from it for you?

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (John 5:39)

Each one of us must eat for ourselves to keep our bodies alive. The same goes for our spiritual bodies. We must feed our own spiritual bodies with spiritual bread. No one else will stand before God and give an account for your life but you!

"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:35)

Dear God…
Oh Jesus, Thou art the bread of life.
I seek the Truth, I’m sincere.
Guide me where I can find this bread
And draw You ever so near!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Day 9 - How Can This Be?

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?" (John 3:9)

Even after hearing what Jesus had to say, Nicodemus still returned to the logic of the mind. He was so religious and knew so much, yet he could not grasp even this simplest of truths.

Have you ever said “How can this be?” All of us have said this at one time or another. I always wondered how rockets could possibly launch a ship so it could reach the moon and back. But just because I don’t understand rockets does not make me believe they don’t exist.

You must commend Nicodemus for his tenacity. At least he kept asking. Some people just give up if they don’t understand something the first time around. Nicodemus kept right on asking questions as if to say, “Help me to understand!”

Won’t you ask God to help your unbelief today? Don’t let what you have been taught all these years to blind you. Don’t let the religion of your fathers stand in the way of seeking the truth.

"And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark 9:24)

Dear God…
It’s not easy to change my ways.
I’m filled with much doubt and fear.
Cause my uncertainty and unbelief
To depart after so many years!

Labels:

Encouragement - Day 28

Our Blessed Hope!

1 Thess. 4:13-18, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (13) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (14) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (15) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (16) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (17) Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (18)


My heart needed encouragement this morning. Ever since the first day I was saved, over 26 years ago, not one day has gone by that I haven't thought about the Rapture. This great and blessed hope that we born-again believers have was placed in the Word of God so that we could encourage ourselves and we could encourage one another! That is the purpose of my blog today.

We do not have any reason to be discouraged, my friends. A tragic event is about to take place upon this earth which will last not just for a day, or a week, but for seven long years. It's been a year since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and they are still cleaning up. That "storm" lasted less than 24 hours! The events that will will take place during the Tribulation will make the Holocaust seem like child's play.

Paul didn't want us to be ignorant - God left us His Word so that we would not go uninformed. What a merciful and gracious Father we have! He knows we need to encourage ourselves.

Times have never been so "ready" for the tribulation. All we have to do is watch the news. My Google main page has the Earthquake Watch and already there have been 13 earthquakes around the world today - it's only 9:40 a.m. Eastern time! (Matt. 24:7) Kingdom against kingdom is more prevalent today than when I was growing up. The news is filled with Muslim terrorists, Korea's nuclear arms, etc. Pestilences are not just once in a while but many are of concern today - West Nile, mad cow, cancers of every kind, E. coli outbreaks, AIDS, deadly TB strain, bird flu, mumps are coming back, etc.

Yes, all these happened all through history. But those were the beginning of sorrows (Matt. 24:8). Ωδινων is the Greek word used here, referencing a woman in labor - birth pains. Anyone who has witnessed the birth of a child knows that labor starts easy - I actually thought if that is all it was, it would be a breeze! Yeh, RIGHT! But as the labor progressed, the pains became stronger and more frequent. Each stage of labor grew worse than the previous until the blessed event of birth occurred. U.S. history is a perfect example of these birth pains. The wars and internal uprisings have increased as our beautiful nation has turned away from God. Each year seems to be worse than the previous one. The Lord wants His children to be aware and alert.

The judgments from Revelation will have a cataclysmic effect on the people who are left here! No wonder Paul called the Rapture our blessed hope! What does the mid-trib or post-trib believer have? There isn't a blessed hope in any of the judgments which will be let loose upon this world, my friend. Paul would not have used these terms. Rev. 3:10 says that we will be spared from the hour of temptation which will come upon all the earth. No event since the Great Flood of Noah's days has ever affected the entire earth. Revelation is clear in its depiction that the Tribulation times will affect the entire earth and we, born-again Christians, will be spared from this! Praise His Holy Name! Thank You Lord Jesus for this great gift! Thank You for giving us a Blessed Hope to look forward to!

We believers don't need to be afraid. We need to be busy doing the Lord's work. Our time is short! The end is near and we must make use of what little time we have left for the Lord. Praise God that we won't be here to witness the tragedies which will be let loose upon this earth! I am so thankful that we have been spared from this! Now THAT, my friend, is a blessed hope!

That Great Reunion Day!

Just thinking about that day to come
When we all will be set free
Makes me simply want to burst with joy
And get on bended knee

How thankful we should be for this
That Jesus had to die
So we could sing and praise His Name
On that blessed day in the sky

Yes, that day is foremost in our minds
We Christians, one and all
It's our payment for our work for Him
No more will we ever fall

Thank you dear Father for this great gift
The price Christ had to pay
We all look forward to our meeting
On that Great Reunion Day!

Labels:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Day 8 - The Spirit's Movement

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8)

What a wonderful example given by Jesus to explain what the Spirit is like. You can’t see the wind but you surely can hear it. You can see its movement in the trees but you cannot see it. The Spirit is the same. You cannot see the Spirit but you see the Spirit’s movement in the believer. He changes the damned soul into a life-everlasting soul. The Spirit lives within every born-again believer. The unsaved do not understand because they do not possess the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of truth.

If you were to buy a used car, you would want to know the truth about this car’s history … has it been involved in an accident? Does it have any hidden mechanical issues, etc. Don’t you want to know the truth about eternal life as well? Why would we want to know the truth about everything else in life but not about where we will spend eternity?

Don’t you want to have the Spirit of truth living within you? Don’t you want to have answers to questions you’ve been too afraid to ask? Don’t you want your soul to have life everlasting?

"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John 14:17)

Dear God…
Oh God, help me to understand
The truths within Your Word.
May Your Holy Spirit open my heart
And lead me continuously forward!

Labels:

Encouragement - Day 27

Comforter and Teacher

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (Joh 14:26)

How wonderful to know that our Heavenly Father knew we would need Someone after Christ ascended into Heaven! Not only did our Father send the Holy Spirit to reside with us until we get to Heaven (Eph. 4:30), but He sent us Someone who would comfort us and teach us!

Noah Webster defines comforter as:
1. One who administers comfort or consolation; one who strengthens and supports the mind in distress or danger.
Don't you just love that definition? Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He gives us the Holy Spirit to console and comfort us when we need strengthening. This same Comforter supports our minds when we are in distres or in danger! No wonder God used the word Comforter to describe the Holy Spirit! This comforts my heart, doesn't it comfort yours as well?

God also describes the Holy Spirit as our Teacher. John 14:26 says that He was sent by the Father in Jesus' name and will teach us in all things. This is a wonderful depiction of the blessed Trinity. Our Teacher will reveal to us exactly what we need, when we need it. The Lord's prayer encourages us to ask the Father for our "daily bread" but I do not believe it is for food for the body. Why? Because Matthew 6:31 states that we should not worry about what we are to eat because our Heavenly Father knows we have those needs... so why should Christ teach us to ask for our daily bread then? To me, this would be Scripture contradicting Scripture and we know that this cannot be so. I believe that the Lord's prayer is teaching us to ask God for our spiritual bread - our daily spiritual nourishment - what HE wants us to learn that day in the Word.

I don't know about you, but I am encouraged knowing that my Heavenly Father not only sent Christ to die for my sin and take my punishment, but He sent a Comforter and a Teacher to be with me, to comfort me and to teach me. What a compassionate God we serve! Thank You Lord!

Oh Father, You thought of everything
That this frail soul would surely need
As I walk on this pilgrim's pathway
I will follow You as You lead!

Labels:

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Day 7 - The Father Is Never Wrong

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:7)

Jesus told Nicodemus “Don’t wonder that I’m saying, you have to be born again.” In other words, don’t try to put logic into it when it takes faith. Jesus was giving him the key here. Don’t try to put reason and logic into the plan of salvation. Why would Jesus say to receive the simple plan of salvation like a child?

"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein". (Luke 18:17)

Have you ever noticed how a child looks to his father and mother for answers? A father could give any answer at all and the child would believe him. The child trusts his father explicitly and believes with all his heart that his father will bring him no harm.

Do you believe like a child? Or do you allow deeply embedded doctrine from your past to cloud the simplicity of the Gospel? Ask God to remove any obstacles and to give you that child-like faith that is needed to be saved.

Dear God…
Oh Lord, I struggle to believe
What the Bible says I must do.
Help me to accept its words as
Final authority and truth!

Labels:

Encouragement - Day 26

Tell of His Excellent Greatness

Psalm 100:1-5 [A Psalm of praise.] Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. (1) Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. (2) Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (3) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (4) For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (5)

Each moment that we dwell on our circumstances and trials, we lose focus of all the good that Lord has done for us. Like a muscle, we must exercise that part of us which God has provided to encourage ourselves. If the Lord commands us to encourage ourselves, which He does in Psalm 100, then not only is it do-able, but He provides us with the way to do it.

As I read Psalm 100, the Psalmist clearly outlines in progression what we are to do:

  1. Make a joyful noise (sing)
  2. Serve with gladness
  3. Sing some more
  4. Remember that God made us and we are His sheep - He knows us because He is our Creator and our Shepherd
  5. Be thankful
  6. Praise Him
  7. Be thankful some more
  8. Bless His Name - praise Him some more
  9. Acknowledge that God is Good, His mercy is forever and His truth endures - again, praise Him some more

I noticed that singing, being thankful and praising God are key as they are mentioned more than once in these five verses. Certain music puts us in a right heart and mind to focus in the right direction. A mind that is thankful and full of praise to the Father is not a mind that is focused on discouragement and circumstances. There have been times where singing a song has changed my whole spirit. The Lord gave us music to lift our spirits - especially the Psalms.

Is it any wonder that Fanny Crosby penned the words to Praise Him, Praise Him? Won't you read these wonderful words with me today and exercise your heart and fill it with song, thankfulness and praise to your Heavenly Father Who provides for us everything we need?

Praise Him, Praise Him
Fanny Crosby


Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to His holy Name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long:

Chorus:
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died.
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.
Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.

Chorus

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring!
Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever.
Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King!
Christ is coming! over the world victorious,
Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong.

Chorus

Labels:

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Day 6 - Born of the Spirit

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6)

What a simple sentence spoken by Jesus here. Yet, here Jesus was speaking it to a religious leader. It shows that even those who appear to have all the truth and answers must be given a simple message. The message was so simple that even a child could understand it. "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." (Luke 18:17)

Jesus knew that it would take child-like faith for Nicodemus to be saved. Nicodemus would have to let go of all the religious knowledge he had crammed in his brain. He would have to let go of everything he had been taught and rely on this simple message to speak to his heart. All the laws and rules Nicodemus had learned would have to be set aside and he would have to rely on the Word of God to speak to his heart.

It is not rocket science … flesh begets flesh … dogs have puppies, cats have kittens, and humans have babies. But, if we accept the simple plan of salvation, we receive the Holy Spirit and are now born of the Spirit. It really is not difficult at all when God reveals the truth to your heart.

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

Dear God…
I pray that I will never be
So heavenly minded yet blind.
Open my eyes with Your Truth.
Remove those chains that bind!

Labels:

Encouragement - Day 25

Comfort Your Heart!

Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. (2Th 2:17)

What comfort we believers have in the knowledge of our place in the Body of Christ! We are eternally saved - nothing can separate us from the love of God. Rom. 8:38-39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (38) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (39) Our hearts should be rejoicing and giving praise, honor and glory to the One who died for us so that we can say this with boldness and be comforted! Thank You, blessed Father in Heaven!

Paul tells the Thessalonians to "stablish themselves in every good word and work." Everyone can say that they have set out on a mission to be a blessing to someone and, in turn, have ended up being blessed by that person instead. Every good word and work we do each day is fulfilling the will of God. The good word we have is sharing the Gospel - encouraging a saint when a heart is heavy - exhorting a spiritually weaker brother to righteousness. A good work for Christ comes forth when we purge ourselves of the wood and stubble found in our spiritual lives and striving toward being a vessel unto honour - fit for the Master's use. There is nothing more rewarding in the Christian's life than to know that the Father is working through us for someone else's benefit!

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. (2Ti 2:21)

Christian, encourage yourself today to be a vessel that God can use. You are a child of the King! Represent Him with a life that is yielding to His Spirit's convictions. It may not be easy, but a yielded life is always God's will.

Yielded to Your Spirit I wish to be
Ever growing in grace each day
Remove from me the fleshly desires
Which hinder me along the way

Labels:

Friday, September 01, 2006

Encouragement - Day 24

I Am Not Alone

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. (Joh 16:32)

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Joh 16:33)


Jesus, our Example, shows us that we are not alone. Just like He had the Father with Him, we do also. No matter how alone we feel in life's trials, the Father is right there by our side. I remember when my children were little and they would get hurt. The first thing they did was to look around to find Mommy or Daddy and they would run to us for comfort. They did not look around for their sibling or a friend or other adult ... they looked around for Mommy or Daddy. What a lovely picture of the Christian running to His Father when he is hurt and in need. Oh that we should be as little children and run to the Father's side when we have needs instead of running to others.

Psalm 23 is such a great Psalm to read when one is in need of refreshing the soul and spirit! I went to visit my Shepherd there this morning in search of a spiritual refreshing. No one can provide this but Him in times like these. This Psalm is not just for funerals, my friend. It is a Psalm for the weary Christian on his journey.

Psa 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. My Shepherd and Guide is my own personal Shepherd - He is MY Shepherd and He will see to it that I lack nothing.

Psa 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. My Shepherd provides rest to my spirit and is always leading me to His Word where they are not turbulent and confusing but so still, I can see clearly. Turbulent waters are murky - but these waters are still and clear and I will find my answers there. The spiritual refreshment is not hidden or difficult to find. My Shepherd sees to it that I find exactly what I need for the moment.

Psa 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. In times like these, our soul needs to be restored and encouraged. My Shepherd leads me to His Righteous Word for restoration. We all need refueling.

Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. I think of discouragement as being the dying of one's countenance or spirit. My Shepherd says that I do not need to fear anything because He is with me. His guidance brings comfort. He will guide me away from this shadow. Thank You Lord!

Psa 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Ole slewfoot doesn't stand a chance, although he will surely try to test my metal. Thank God for my Shepherd who is busy preparing a place for me in Heaven and will return to receive me unto Himself. I have a place secured for me in Heaven because of what my Shepherd did for me! Yes, my cup is overflowing, for sure. Meditating on that alone is enough to encourage my spirit.

Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. My Shepherd's goodness and mercy are always there during my pilgrimage on this earth. Not only do we benefit from His goodness and mercy, but we have the wonderful knowledge of knowing that we will be dwelling with Him for ever!

Thank You Lord, for encouraging my heart today! I stand amazed at how personal a God You are and a Father to me!

How comforting to know that You are there
In the midst of my trial You are found
Not sitting idly by as I struggle with life
But your goodness and mercy abound

Labels:

The Fundamental Top 500