Maranatha Devotionals
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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 14 - Direction

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. (Isa 42:16)

John Newton spoke his heart when he penned the words to Amazing Grace.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
This first verse shows a man that was lost and blind as he walked the world's path to a Christless eternity in hell. It also shows the beautiful transformation that took place when Christ entered this same man's heart and this man was led down a new path. This man now had a new direction in his life - he was no longer lost. He also found that he was no longer blind. There now was light shining on his path pointing him in the direction he should go. Do you get the impression that John Newton spent time with the Lord? Do you think he found the direction he needed in his Bible?

The Lord does this same thing in each believer's life. All we have to do is read His Word and we will see how God's character shines through in this area. God desires to direct us and lead us. He does not want His children to walk about blindly not knowing which way to turn. Do you have life changing decisions you need to make? Do you worry about your future and what is in store for you? You need not be. God's promises are written in the Word for our encouragement. We can depend on Him to keep His promises. He's not a man that He should lie (Num. 23:19 and 1 Sam 15:29).

I hope you are blessed by the verses I'm sharing with you today. Please, take the time to read each of them and let the Holy Spirit fill your heart with confidence. You do not have a Father who will fail you and lead you down the wrong path. Our Heavenly Father is perfect and loves His children - His desire is to light our way and clearly guide us. We need to learn to acknowledge just Who we are serving and allow Him to show us His will and the direction that He sees is best for us.

To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luk 1:79) Our God guides even the lost to a place where they can hear the plan of salvation - how much more will He guide us?

NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105) In the midst of the pages of our blessed Bible, we find answers to questions which directly impact our path.

The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. (Psa 119:130) As we read and meditate on the Word, they enter our hearts and help us to understand God's direction.

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. (Psa 119:133) Sin darkens our path when it reigns in our lives. But the light of the Word overpowers this darkness.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; (Psa 139:9) Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. (Psa 139:10) No matter how desperate our situation may be, the Father's hand is right there waiting to hold us and guide us. Doesn't this remind you of the Footprints in the Sand story? I can envision this in my mind's eye right now, can't you?

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. (Psa 37:23) When a Christian is striving to live a godly life, his steps are ordered by God. This verse says that God delights in this Christian - like a father delights in his child when his child is obedient and doing right. We cannot be perfect and sinless but we can strive toward the mark.

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psa 32:8) God's eye is ever on us, oh Christian. How wonderful is that? How comforting is that? God sees what we're doing and where we're going. He guides us through His Word. No Bible, no direction - Know the Bible, know direction!

The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. (Psa 25:9) We cannot be taught if we do not yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit. Yielding does not have the connotation of simply reading the Word but reading and applying what God teaches us.

Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. (Psa 73:24) God guides us using many forms - His Word, the Pastor, and even wise friends.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (Psa 23:3) Our souls have been restored through the precious work of the Cross. Jesus Christ's own blood has been shed for our sins and has restored fellowship between man and his God. To this child is a promise that his Heavenly Father will be a leader to him and will show him how to live that holy life that He commands us to live. ... Be ye holy; for I am holy (1 Pet 1:16)

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. (Joh 16:13)
My friend, we possess this Holy Spirit of truth. He resides within each of us. We have the wonderful opportunity of daily tapping into this truth. This truth will guide us and direct us on our Pilgrim's path!!

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Pro 3:5) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Pro 3:6) When we turn to our own thoughts and logic, we can easily be distracted and misguided because we are fallible. Our sinless and Holy God can be trusted because He is infallible. He has never failed, my friend! NEVER! Is this not enough encouragement for you? When we trust our unfailing Father, He provides yet another promise of directing our path.

And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isa 58:11) Don't you feel yourself sitting beside a babbling brook right about now? Do you hear those birds chirping and the crickets? Your thirsty soul needs to drink from that Fountain. God awaits to fill you in His Word.

I pray these verses have encouraged you today to turn to God for His direction for your life. He knows what is best - He has seen the future and can guide you in the here and now! And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. (Isa 30:21) Do you hear His still small voice, my friend? He longs to speak to you and guide you. Once again, get in the Word and you'll find Him there - He's waiting.

Dear God...
Guide me down Your path I pray
That path You chose for me
Shine Your blessed light so bright
So clearly I may see

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 13 - Sanctification

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. (2 Tim. 2:21) That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; (1 Thess 4:4) We are sanctified when we are born again because of Jesus' finished work on the cross. However, every day we should be growing in Christ, as we study and learn from His Word. I love the message God gives us through the life of a butterfly. While in its cocoon, the butterfly struggles to be free. To watch it struggling, one is tempted to help this butterfly along. But in so doing, we deprive that butterfly of the strength it gains during its struggle. Helping it only kills it. So is the Christian. We need the struggles in our Christian walk so we can turn to the Word and allow it to heal us. The more we break free from sin, we become conformed to Christ's image. We can rid ourselves of the sin that so easily besets us and be set free like the butterfly.

Noah Webster defines sanctification as "The act of making holy." God commands us to be holy as He is holy.

Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. (Lev 20:7)

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; (1 Pet 1:15)

Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Pet 1:16)

I found it interesting that this statement from God is found three times in the Word. Our Three-in-One God is a holy God. We will never reach a perfected state of holiness in this lifetime but we are to be a constant "work in progress" as we walk this Pilgrim's path on earth. We sanctify ourselves through our daily time spent in the Word. The Word then washes us as we apply its applications to our lives. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (Eph 5:26) We can read the Bible faithfully every day - but without applying it to our lives, it is of no value. A police officer can look at body armor all he wants and admire how it can protect his body from bullets. However, the body armor does him no good if he does not put it on for protection.

The Word of God is just not for reading, my friend. The Word convicts the heart of sin. If we do nothing with that conviction, what good is it? The Word is truth and leads us in the path of becoming more like the Father, thus fulfilling His command to be holy as He is holy. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (Joh 17:17)

Jesus was our perfect example of One who practiced sanctification. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. (Joh 17:19) As we study the Word and learn about Jesus and how He lived His life, we learn of His meekness, His faithfulness and His love. We learn how His desire was to seek the Father's will and not His own. So should we, as children of the Living God, work diligently weeding out sin in our lives. The more we work to be more like Christ, the more sanctified (set apart) we will become. That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; (1 Thess 4:4) Emphasis mine. We are to know how to do this. We cannot know without being in the Word!

This is the difference between a Christian who is moving forward in his spiritual walk and one that is at a stand still. Twice Paul spoke of those who were still babes in Christ because they did not get into the meat of the Word - they were still drinking milk. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. (1 Cor 3:2) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. (Heb 5:12)

My friend, repentance brings forth sanctification. One cannot say he is growing in Christ if he is continuing in the same sin. Are you struggling with a particular sin? Until you have forsaken it, you cannot grow more into the image of Christ. I truly believe that many Christians have become complacent to their sin and are satisfied with living with known sin. They live a life of delusion and they will not be a vessel meet for the Master's use. What kind of vessel are you today? Are you enjoying a Christian life sanctifying yourself daily so the Master can use you? Or are you satisfied with the way you are now, not interested in setting yourself apart from the world? Only you can answer this and only you can change the answer.

Dear God...
May the complacent be pierced today
May he see his sin as You do
Help him to sanctify himself
So that he may better serve You.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 12 - Confidence

Are you known to be a confident Christian? Where does your confidence rest? In what does your confidence rest? Is your confidence based on the promises of others? Do you have your future carefully planned and laid out? Everyone knows that "life happens" and these carefully laid out plans can quickly change in the twinkling of an eye. However, there is one thing our confidence can be based on and it will never change and that is God's promises.

Because we are born-again children of God, we have a new covenant with God which states that His promises are never to be broken. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. (Heb 8:6) My friend, isn't it wonderful that we can rest in God's promises? The promises of God are many in His Word. But let us encourage our hearts that He who is our Creator and holds our salvation in the palm of His hand will fulfill each and every promise! Read with me this morning and be grateful that God's covenant with you does not rest in your feelings but in His promises!!

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Num 23:19)

Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant. (1 Kings 8:56)

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. (Psa 9:10)

He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. (Psa 105:8)

... yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. (Isa 46:11b)

And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. (Rom 4:21)

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Heb 6:12)

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

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (2Pe 3:13)

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. (1Jo 2:25)

How can one not have confidence when God has made these promises? He does not lie, therefore, each will be fulfilled! Praise ye the Lord!

Dear God...
Thank You for Your promises
There are so many in Your Word
They are not based upon man's ways
But our covenant with Christ our Lord

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 11 - Confusion

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psa 32:8) I'm sure we can all say that we've been to a similar cross-roads in our life, can't we? I know I can. It seems like just when I thought I was on the right path, the rug was pulled from underneath me and wham! I didn't know in which direction I should go! Or just when life was smooth sailing and there were no obstacles in the road, hurdles arose and I felt like my world was falling apart!

I'm so thankful for my salvation! I'm so thankful for God's Holy Word which encourages my heart through these obstacles and hurdles and shows me that my Heavenly Father loves me and will help me through these difficult times. And you know what, my friend? He's there waiting to do the same for you! Our Heavenly Father loves us so much! He does not want to see us in a state of confusion. The Christian needs to be a testimony to a lost and dying world. The world is confused and they are the ones that need direction. How can we show them the way if we are living in confusion? How can we be a testimony to them if we do not have the peace that passes all understanding?

Prov. 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (5) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (6) What do you "look" like when you're going through trials and tribulations? What does the world see in you when your life is filled with confusion? Do you look like our friend here? Or are you secure in the Lord, knowing that He will work out every situation in your life? There is no greater testimony than when the world sees us rise above chaos. They don't understand how we can do it. Are you going through family problems right now? How are you dealing with it? Are you going to work complaining to your unsaved friends at work? Or do they see you calm and collected because you started your day off with the Lord and laid those cares at His feet?

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (Psa 55:22) Our Father wants to be there for us and He is there for us. He is able and desiring to take on our burdens. Don't you want your children to come to you with their cares? You would hate it if you knew they were keeping everything inside and they were miserable, wouldn't you? Our God says to cast our burdens on Him and He shall (not maybe) sustain us! The Lord does not stop there either! He continues on to say that He shall never allow the righteous to be moved! Notice this refers to the righteous. None of us are righteous. All our righteousness are as filthy rags according to: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isa 64:6) But because of our salvation, Jesus' righteousness is what the Father sees. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (1 Co 1:30) When we abide in Him and in His Word, the Lord encourages our hearts. We cannot do it apart from the Word of God, my friend. Without spending time in the Bible, one cannot expect to be encouraged in a time of confusion.

God wants to give us strength through the wisdom of the Word. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. (Isa 40:29) 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 can you pass a test without studying? How can you know the end of that novel you're reading without first reading it? How can you glean from the blessings of the promises in the Word when you don't spend time searching for them? A baby can only drink milk for so long. He then must move on to baby food then solid food. Without this natural progression, the baby will grow very slowly and will be sickly. Paul compared believers in this same light. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. (Heb 5:13) My friend, God says you are "unskilful" in the Bible because you are a spiritual baby. Does this not shame you? It should!

There are so many promises in God's Word to the believer. Confusion should not be part of our daily lives - instead we should have peace because we have given our cares to the One who not only can handle them but can solve every problem. God waits to show us the way to go. We don't have to go down the path of confusion. God's way may not always be clear but His way always brings peace if we go to the one map that guides us without error - the Bible. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psa 32:8)

Dear God...
Help me be a testimony
To the lost who are watching me
May confusion turn to bless-ed peace
And be a witness to them of Thee

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 10 - Courage

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psa 27:14) How I love Noah Webster's definition of courage!
COURAGE, n. [L., the heart.] Bravery; intrepidity; that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness; resolution. It is a constituent part of fortitude; but fortitude implies patience to bear continued suffering.

Courage that grows from constitution, often forsakes a man when he has occasion for it; courage which arises from a sense of duty, acts in a uniform manner.

Be strong and of good courage. Deu 31.
Doing a search of the phrase "good courage" yielded a goldmine for me! I hope you are blessed as well. God's Word clearly defines "courage" and portrays that we can only have courage through God.

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deu 31:6) Emphasis mine.

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Jos 1:9) Emphasis mine.

And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight. (Jos 10:25) Emphasis mine.

And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. (1 Ch 28:20) Emphasis mine.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. (Psa 31:24) Emphasis mine.

Dear Christian, do these verses not encourage your heart? How can we fear what lies before us when God stresses over and over in His Word how He will not fail us or forsake us? Are you dealing with belligerent unsaved loved ones? What about co-workers who mock your stand? Are you chastised by the lost because you share what God's Word has to say about homosexuality, adultery, or fornication? Do even other believers shake their heads at you for your stand on the King James Bible? Is the battle for the Lord becoming weary? Be of good courage and take heart! And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luk 21:28) Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. (Jam 5:8)

It won't be long before our battle is over, my friend. Have courage - be strong - it won't be long before we are with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (Rev 22:3) And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (Rev 22:4)

Dear God...
Be strong and of good courage
Your Word so clearly states
Help me be obedient
As each battle I await

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 9 - Shame

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(2 Tim 2:15)

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Rom 10:11)

Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. (Psa 119:6)

Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed. (Psa 119:80)

How many Christians go through the day without the Word of God as part of it? How many Christians can say that when situations arise, a Bible verse comes to mind to cover that situation? If one does not read the Bible, one cannot be prepared to tackle the day's challenges. It is like going to a meeting unprepared and you are the presenter! Can you imagine how foolish you would look - how you would feel?

Dear brethren, if you do not make the Bible part of your every day life, you will look and feel as foolish when you stand before God. 2 Tim. 2:15 says that you are to study so that you can become a workman that doesn't need to be ashamed. Noah Webster defines ashamed as:
1. Affected by shame; abashed or confused by guilt or a conviction of some criminal action or indecorous conduct, or by the exposure of some gross errors or misconduct, which the person is conscious must be wrong, and which tends to impair his honor or reputation. It is followed by of.

Thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed. Exo 16.

Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel. Hosea 10.

2. Confused by a consciousness of guilt or of inferiority; by the mortification of pride; by failure or disappointment.

They shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in images.

Isa 42
If you are guilty of neglecting your Bible, do you feel this shame Noah speaks of? A speaker at a meeting is only as good as the knowledge he has on the subject he's covering. If he is unprepared, it is evident. He hums and hahs, he stumbles and stutters. However, when a speaker is totally prepared, he belts out a presentation like nobody's business and has confidence in his knowledge. Are you struggling with winning the lost to Christ? You're not prepared! You have not spent the time you need to memorize the verses.

Today's sports fanatics have player stats memorized. They can tell you who threw the longest pass at the last Super Bowl. They can quote you how many home runs and runs batted in that their favorite baseball player has. However, ask them to share Bible verses with you that would be significant in leading someone to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and they look at you as if you have two heads! Oh dear Christian, if this is you - you will stand ashamed before the Lord Jesus Christ. My heart aches for you.

As if this isn't bad enough, what do you do when a trial comes your way and you don't have the Word hidden in your heart to turn to for rescue and encouragement? You don't have to know the address and verse by heart but at least you know it enough to be able to say, oh yes, Psalm 121 tells me to look unto the hills from whence cometh my help! So I will turn to the Lord to help me with this situation. Instead, you run to your best friend or a church member and plead for prayer. What if your doctor had to run to his co-workers for help in decisions about your health? Wouldn't that disturb you? Can you imagine how the Lord feels when we run to others when He is the One true source of all healing and encouragement?

I believe that when believers stand before Christ when their works are tried by fire to see if they are wood and stubble or silver and gold, that they will be hanging their heads in shame - tears welling up in their eyes, wishing they could do it all over again. My friend, when our time is up, there is no going back. The signs of the times are all around us. Christ's return for us is imminent - any minute we'll be called Home! Are you ready or will you be ashamed?

Dear God...
My heart aches for those who fail
To spend time in Your Holy Word
How can they manage the daily trials
Without having their Shield and Sword

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 8 - Fruitfulness

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Pet 1:8)

When we buy our fruit in the grocery store, we don't stop to think about where the fruit came from or the work it took the fruit farmer to get that fruit to us. A tree can only produce plenty of fruit - good fruit - when it is properly cared for and has all the right "ingredients." It needs the right amount of sunshine, rain, fertilizer and pruning. A healthy tree produces a good crop of fruit.

It is the same with our Christian lives. Without the Son-shine in our lives, we cannot bear fruit. Without Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we cannot possibly be fruitful nor can we make it without Him. Without getting to know Him better through the Word of God, we cannot grow. 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. (Joh 15:5) At times we need pruning so we can be more fruitful. Pruning comes in various ways - through trials, through the Word, and even through the preaching. A tree doesn't have much choice but to be pruned. But we do! We don't have to allow the Lord to prune us. However, when we don't, we can be sure we will not grow properly. We won't produce the fruit we could produce.

Psalm 1:2-3, But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (2) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (3)

Notice that verse 3 says that his leaf shall not wither. If I water my plants regularly, they stay looking nice. If I miss a week, however, the leaves start to droop and they "scream" for water. So should Christians scream for the living water of the Word. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (Joh 7:38)

Dear God...
As I start my day with You
And feed my hungry soul
You water my thirsty heart
And make my spirit whole

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 7 - Thankfulness

Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. (Isa 12:5) The world publishes beautiful graphics of God's creation - they give intricate details of migration, feeding, flight, etc. But is God given thanks by these same people? They are busy thinking it is due to the process of evolution.

This is where we Christians fail every day. Isaiah tells us to sing unto God and thank Him. Even better, let the earth hear you! We have so much for which to be thankful! Not only has the Lord given us His beautiful creation to look at, but He has given us countless blessings in our lives. Sometimes we must look for the blessings but they are there. It is God's will for us to be thankful. The average Christian does not think along these lines but the Word of God says so. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thess 5:18) (Emphasis mine.)

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving... Psalm 95:2a There is no better way to start off your devotional time with the Lord than with giving thanks for everything. I just love this piece - I've never found out who actually wrote it, but it shows you just how you don't have to look far to find God's blessings in your life. If any of you happen to know who the Author of this wonderful piece is, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

Thank You Lord!

Lord, thank you for this sink of dirty dishes; we have plenty of food to eat.

Thank you for this pile of dirty, stinky laundry; we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.

And I would like to thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds; they were so warm and comfortable last night. I know that many have no bed.

My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom, complete with all the splattered mirrors, soggy, grimy towels and dirty lavatory; they are so convenient.

Thank you for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs cleaning. It has served us faithfully for many years. It is full of cold drinks and enough leftovers for two or three meals.

Thank you, Lord, for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today; It has baked so many things over the years.

The whole family is grateful for that tall grass that we all enjoy in the yard. My kids are healthy and able to run and play.

Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says You have richly blessed my family. I shall do them cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully.

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings, thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising, thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned and tempers are short, my children are so loud, thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times not balanced, thank you Lord, there are many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous, thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for life.

I can't help but think that God smiles from ear-to-ear when He hears this woman's words in the mornings! She has learned the art of being thankful and finding God's blessings at every turn in her life. What are you thankful for today?

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Eph. 5:20

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 6 - The Human Heart

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jer. 17:9

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Matt. 23:28

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. Tit. 1:16

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Rom. 8:6

An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin. Prov. 21:4

...there is none good but one, that is, God. (Mar 10:18b)

No matter how hard we try, none of us are good. Since Adam and Eve's fall, not one human being has been without sin. What is sin? According to Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary,
1. The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not action only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God's commands or law. 1 John 3. Mat 15. James 4. Sinner neither enjoy the pleasures of nor the peace of piety. Among divines, sin is original or actual. Actual sin, above defined, is the act of a moral agent in violating a known rule of duty. Original sin, as generally understood, is native depravity of heart to the divine will, that corruption of nature of deterioration of the moral character of man, which is supposed to be the effect of Adam's apostasy; and which manifests itself in moral agents by positive act of disobedience to the divine will, or by the voluntary neglect to comply with the express commands of God, which require that we should love God with all the heart and soul and strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. This native depravity or alienation of affections from God and his law, is supposed to be what the apostle calls the carnal mind or mindedness, which is enmity against God, and is therefore denominated sin or sinfulness. Unpardonable sin, or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is supposed to be a malicious and obstinate rejection of Christ and the gospel plan of salvation, or a contemptuous resistance made to the influences and convictions of the Holy Spirit. Mat 12.

SIN, v.i.

1. To depart voluntarily from the path of duty prescribed by God man; to violate the divine law in any particular, by actual transgression or by the neglect or non-observance of its injunctions; to violate any known rule of duty. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Rom 3. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned. Psa 51.

2. To offend against right, against men or society; to trespass. I an a man more sinn'd against than sinning. And who but wishes to invert the laws of order, sins against the' eternal cause.
This definition is totally different from today's definition of sin. Merriam Webster's on-line dictionary defines sin as:
1 a : an offense against religious or moral law b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible [it's]c : an often serious shortcoming : FAULT
2 a : transgression of the law of God b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God
Pretty dilluted, isn't it? Man's heart is desperately wicked so of course he would prefer today's definition of Merriam Webster's.

So what is considered sin? We can start at the beginning with the Ten Commandments. This is God's law to mankind. Have you broken one of these? Have you lied - even just once? Then by admission, you are a liar. Have you ever stolen - even a pen from work? Then by admission, you are a thief. Breaking any of these commandments makes us a sinner. Because of this fallen nature, it is impossible to keep all the commandments. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (Jam 2:10) Therefore, we must be punished for breaking God's laws. It does not matter if you do good things like help the poor. It doesn't matter if you give lots of money to the church. Although it's nice that you did these things, the fact of the matter is that punishment is still needed for breaking God's commandments. They weren't put there just so a movie could be made. The Ten Commandments were given as the Law by God. They are our "teacher" and are there to show us that we are sinners.

Let's say that you were sentenced to pay a penalty of $50,000 by a judge because you were caught stealing. You tell the judge that you do not have $50,000 and that you are really sorry for your crime but could he let you go this one time. The judge replies that he is a good judge but someone has to pay the penalty for this crime. A friend of yours shows up and says he'll pay the $50,000 for you. Someone already in prison could not pay this penalty for you but this friend was free to do so. The judge accepts his payment and lets you go.
This is exactly what Jesus Christ did for us. Because God is a Good and Righteous Judge, He demands that the penalty for breaking His Laws be paid. Because God's love for us is so great, Jesus Christ chose to take on the form of man so He could take the punishment for our sins and pay that penalty. Jesus said, "Father, I'll pay their debt for them! I'll become that sacrifice You require of shed blood and I will shed My own blood for them. Only Jesus Christ could do this because He did not sin once while He lived on earth. He was the only one qualified to pay this penalty. No man could do it because all men have sinned. Now that's love, my friend!

The born-again believer no longer has to pay the penalty because our debt has been paid by Jesus Christ Himself. Will we continue to sin? Yes, but we will sin less. The believer has been given the Holy Spirit of God and He resides in us to teach us and guide us in how to live a more righteous life. Every day is a challenge for the believer to live a godly life. But it is a joyous challenge because we no longer have to fear spending eternity in hell! What joy!

When you look at the lost today, remember that his heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. He is serving his father, the devil. Have pity on the lost and share with them the reason for your joy. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Pet. 3:15)

Dear God...
Your Laws showed me my sin
Impossible to obey
Then Jesus paid my debt
He is the only Way.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 5 - Praise

Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely. Psa. 147:1 David tells us that praising our Heavenly Father is good, pleasant and comely for the Christian. Have you ever known a Christian who is full of praise? This person does not suffer from discouragement or self-pity. Why? Because the Christian is busy praising God for all the blessings God has bestowed upon him. How many sunrises and sunsets have you seen in your lifetime? How many of them have been identical? Each one is painted by the Master for our good pleasure! Our God, the Creator of all, is deserving of praise. [To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.] The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. (Psa. 19:1) I praise You, Lord. [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. (Psa. 8:1)

One does not have to look far to see God's Hand in their life. God's Hand is seen in every aspect of our lives, dear Christian. Open your eyes and look around you. We're having a snow storm here today. Instead of griping, praise God for the intricacies of each snowflake. No two snowflakes are alike. Can you imagine all the snow that has fallen from the beginning of time through today all over this earth? Yet, each flake is different! Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, (Job 38:22) I praise You, Lord. [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. (Psa. 8:1)

All of God's creation has something unique about it. There are many differences even within each species. The Angel fish is such a beautiful fish. But our God didn't just create one for our pleasure, but He created many different kinds with various colors. He didn't stop with one or even a few, but He created at least 20 that I know of - and I'm sure there are more I haven't seen pictures of. ...they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. (Eze 47:10b) I praise You, Lord. [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. (Psa. 8:1)

Looking to the skies, one can see so much to praise God about. The Northern Lights are probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen for myself, other than a rainbow. Again, not only does the Lord give us a light show, but He changes each one making them different. Some look like blankets unfolding in the sky while others look like beautiful ripples of cream, varying in color. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: (Psa. 104:2)I praise You, Lord. [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. (Psa. 8:1)

Each human being that has been created by the Master's hand is different - unique - with different DNA, fingerprints, even amongst identical twins! They are like the snowflakes, each one special in God's eyes. God knows each part of each human being He has created. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Luk 12:7) Can you say that about your own children? I praise You, Lord. [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. (Psa. 8:1)

Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely. Psa.. 147:1 Join me today and enjoy singing praises to God! Show Him how much you appreciate what He has done for you! When you come out of your praise time with Him, you will be hard pressed to remember your troubles. After all, this same God who provided you with all things beautiful will care for you and your troubles!

Dear God...
How majestic is Your name in all the earth
There is none other like the Lord our God
May your praises be on my lips each day
Declaring Your wonderful works with awe

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Are You Searching for God?

I'm excited to be able to share with you a 30-day devotional which will help you on your journey as you search for God. Many have searched to find God and have, unfortunately, been led astray by various cults. Won't you take the time to read each day and then come to your own conclusion? My prayer is that you will find the peace which the One true God awaits to give you while you visit this blog.

Your Search for the One True God


Morning Manna - Day 4 - Contentment

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Phi 4:11) How is your "contentment reader" reading today? Is working on contentment in your spiritual walk at a snail's pace or are you zooming toward the mark? Practicing contentment should be a way of life.

Paul said that he "had learned" in whatever situation he was in, to be content. I would say that Paul had reached his mark in this area, wouldn't you? Paul was not just content with part of his life but with all of his life. How does one learn to be content? We become discontent when we look at others. When we dwell on our circumstances long enough we find that we are not content with what we have. If we look around at the house we live in, we'll see that our neighbor's house is so much better. If we look at our friend's car, we'll see the bucket 'o bolts we're driving. If we look at someone else's position at work, we'll notice that we do not have the salary he has. When we "look" at our own circumstances and dwell on them, James says that it will develop into lust and this lust will turn into sin. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: (Jam 1:15a) Therefore, our thought life is what we have to bring under control. Some people are naturally pessimistic - their cup is always half empty - their future seems to always to hold the worse possible scenario. The pessimistic Christian sees the worse - this Christian needs a lot of work at controlling his thoughts. This Christian needs to spend some quality time meditating on what God has provided rather than what he does not have.

Paul had the remedy for negative and stinky thinking. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phi 4:8) He controlled his thought life by thinking on good things. So should we. The pessimistic Christian needs to remember that he has a home in eternity awaiting him; he had food to eat today; he awoke in a warm bed; he has a job to support his family, just to name a few. Doing this will keep him focused and on track.

God gives us exactly what we need, when we need it. He only provides us with good things in our lives. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (Jam 1:17) When we focus on the good things, which are of the Lord, we are walking in His Spirit. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Gal 5:16) In so doing, we are not so quick to be discontent, which is sin.

Paul taught about contentment in several churches. It must be a pretty important teaching if he taught it in Hebrews, 1 Timothy, Philippians and Galatians.

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Heb 13:5)

But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Ti 6:6)

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (1 Ti 6:8)

When we meditate on our salvation, we will not be so quick to notice what we are lacking in this life because we will see that we have gained so much for all eternity!

Dear God...
May my heart always be grateful
For what You have given me
May I not dwell on what I lack
But I pray to see things clearly

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 3 - Loneliness

Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. (Isa 58:9a)

Despite the hustle and bustle of the world around us, miles of traffic jams, and crowded malls, it is amazing how many people in this world suffer from loneliness. Man was not created to be alone. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Gen 2:18) No matter how much of a loner one is, that person has a need for human contact at some point or another. Most are not loners, however, so human contact is a vital ingredient for healthy emotions. Loneliness left unchecked leads to despair.

As a born-again believer, I am encouraged by God's Holy Word because He deals with this very subject over and over. God knew from the beginning that man could not be alone and that he would suffer from loneliness. So much so, He included the beautiful Book of Psalms for encouragement and countless other verses throughout His Word. Our Father knows our needs because He created us. He knows everything about us. We cannot hide anything from Him, including our loneliness. [To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.] O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. (Psa 139:1) I stand amazed that our God knows all of us in this intimate way. God has searched each one of us and knows us!

Even when we are at our lowest, the Lord is right there to lift us up through His Word. I think of David when he made this statement in Psa 27:10, When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. David knew that his God would never forsake him. The Lord reassures His children over and over throughout His Word that He is faithful. ... for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Heb 13:5b) Again, He assures us in Is. 42:16, ...These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

When we need comfort and reassurance, He promises to be there for us. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:18 Our Heavenly Father is there every moment of the way in our Christian walk. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. (Gen 28:15)

We may fall asleep at night and forget the day's trials and burdens but our God never sleeps and is ever watching out for us. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. (Psa 121:4) Does that not bring you comfort? You are not alone, my friend. No matter how empty your house is, you are not alone. No matter if there is no one sitting with you in your car, you are not alone. Your Heavenly Father has placed in you His Precious Holy Spirit. He comforts you, teaches you and points you to Christ through His Holy Word. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (Joh 14:16) (Emphasis mine).

How can you overcome your loneliness? Get in the Word, oh Christian. The Holy Spirit is waiting to bring that precious comfort to you. His comfort resides within the pages of your Bible but you must open it to receive it. 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) We get refreshment and encouragement within the pages of our Bible as we are drawn and taught by the Holy Spirit. How full of mercy is our Father! He knows every fiber of our being and provides living water for us to walk away refreshed. Our loneliness dissipates as we soak up His Word and see once again the light of day.

Once we are refreshed, we are commanded to go out and be a friend to someone. A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: (Pro 18:24a) No one can feel alone when they are focused on helping others. There are people out there in need, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. God can use a believer who has overcome loneliness to minister to a lonely world. So many are lonely out there - won't you let the Friend of all friends be your example? and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Pro 18:24b Do you feel friendless? When you are born again, oh Christian, God calls you His friend.Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13) Jesus paid the ultimate price to be your friend. You are never alone.

Treat your loneliness today with a good dose of refreshing time in the Word then put feet to your refreshing time and spend time with someone who is lonely. God will use your trials to minister to another and bring glory to His Name.

Dear God...
At times I am so lonely
Leading me to feel despair
But then my Morning Manna
Shows me just how much You care.

I love You, Lord!!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 2 - Temptation

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Pet 5:8) As I was meditating on this verse this morning, I thought of ways I could be sober and vigilant to avoid temptation. Truly, the only way to be able to do this is if I stay in God's Word. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11) The more we are in His Word, the more we will be able to be sober and vigilant. We'll have Scripture fresh in our minds and available to meet our spiritual need of the moment. We'll have filled our mind with spiritual vitamins to strengthen ourselves.

James says that it is our own lusts that entice us to sin. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (Jam 1:14) If a believer has been in the Word and is drawing nigh to God, he will be able to be sober and vigilant when the devil comes as a roaring lion. But even when our defenses are down, our Heavenly Father pities us and knows what we are going through and He promises to help us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. (Psa 103:13) God knows what we need and is able to deliver us. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations... (2 Pet 2:9a) Because He knows and is able to deliver us, He goes to great lengths to help us. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13) (Emphasis mine)

Oh Christian, we don't need to wallow in sin like the world. We have the ability to ward off temptation. Each time we are in the Word drawing nigh to God, we are building up our defenses. Each day we should start by asking the Lord to protect us against the day's temptations. Christ taught us this in His model prayer. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Mat 6:13)

As I am being sober and vigilant, I find that I am not so easily led astray. I'm aware of my surroundings and I do not place myself in situations where I know I will be tempted. I will not be quick to go out with unsaved acquaintances because I know that they will not have my spiritual interests at heart. Instead, I will ward off temptation and steer clear. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Pet 3:17)

My Morning Manna from God's Word prepares me to be spiritually fueled for the day. I feel like I have armor on and am ready for battle. My thoughts are filled with the Word and what I have gleaned. My thoughts are not on my troubles of the day because I've already shared those with the Lord and left them with Him. I also find that when my thoughts are not on myself, I am not easily tempted. There is nothing like a good pity party to get one focused on self and everything we lack in life. The lust of the flesh is aroused and bang! The roaring lion pounces and we are tempted to sin. But do not be discouraged, my friend, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) What lovely words those are! Thank You, Lord!

Dear God...
Please make my Morning Manna
Spiritually filling for today
Protect me from fleshly lusts
As I walk along the way

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Morning Manna - Day 1 - Meekness

Am I the only one out there that stands amazed at how the meaning of words become diluted through time? This morning, I was curious to see what today's definition was compared to what the Bible's definition would be. And so let us begin this next series of devotionals entitled "Morning Manna" and feast upon God's Holy Word.

The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary describes meek as:
1 : enduring injury with patience and without resentment : mild
2 : deficient in spirit and courage : submissive
3 : not violent or strong : moderate
I was particularly drawn to the second definition. This states that if you are meek, you are submissive and you are deficient in spirit and courage! Is it any wonder that the world does not respect a meek person or even desire to be meek? If the world does not desire to be meek, then they desire to be the opposite. The antonyms for meek are "proud, stubborn and domineering." Ah yes, this does sound like the world - yes, it sounds like worldly Christians, too.

When you read your Bible using today's definitions, you get a skewed vision of what God is communicating to us. Merriam-Webster says that the meek person is deficient in courage! The One who was Chief in meekness went to die on Calvary's cross for our sins. That does not sound like someone who is deficient in courage, does it? Christ tells us to learn meekness from Him. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Mat 11:29)

I could hardly wait to read what Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary would have to say about this word. I love to use his dictionary because it defines words used in the King James Bible and allows us to glean more from God's Word. Oh what a blessing!! Let's see what Noah has to say about meekness:
1. Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries.

Now the man Moses was very meek, above all men. Num 12.

2. Appropriately,humble, in an evangelical sense; submissive to the divine will; not proud, self-sufficient or refractory; not peevish and apt to complain of divine dispensations. Christ says, "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls." Mat 11.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Mat 5.
The Lord sure does portray a different picture of a meek person in the mind's eye, doesn't He? This definition portrays a man of great self control and a heart for submission to the will of God. As I meditate on this, I can't help but think of the dear saints who were martyred for the cause of Christ. I think Jesus Christ, who epitomized meekness to the point of death on the cross for our sins so we can have eternal life through Him. Thank You Lord for not being proud or stubborn when Your Father left our souls in Your very hands!

It took great courage for our Saviour to go to the cross despite knowing what awaited Him! I absolutely love my children! I also believe that I would die for them if I had to. If I could choose the way I die, I would definitely not pick burning or drowning. I think either of these would be a horrible and painful death. I began to wonder if I would die for my children if I knew ahead of time that I had to burn to death in order to save them! Would I still do it? Christ knew and yet He still died for us! Oh what love! Oh what meekness! I can't even begin to imagine the pain He suffered on the cross. If you want to see a good article on this very topic, please read: Medical Aspects of The Crucifixion Knowing ahead of time that this was His mission, He was meek and submitted to the Father's will despite of this knowledge!

Practicing meekness as Christ did draws us closer to the Father and increases our joy in the Lord. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. (Psa 22:26) For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. (Psa 149:4) The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. (Isa 29:19)

The Lord loves the meek so much that He picks them up in time of need and brings them comfort. The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground. (Psa 147:6) He feeds them through His Word and guides them in their daily lives. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. (Psa 25:9) He teaches us, comforts us and gives us peace. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Mat 11:29) The meek are satisfied with what God provides and they praise Him. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. (Psa 22:26)

How does God regard a meek Christian?

1. They are blessed - Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Mat 5:5)

2. They are protected from the Judgment - Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger. (Zep 2:3)

3. They will inherit the earth - But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psa 37:11)

4. He takes pleasure in His children and gives them salvation - For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. (Psa 149:4)

5. They are of great value to Him - But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Pet 3:4)

Oh Lord, help us to draw nigh to You so we can learn from You in this area of meekness. Help us to practice daily self control and to be gentle with others. May our feelings not be easily hurt but may we be forgiving and longsuffering toward those who hurt us. And finally, Lord, may we be submissive to Your will in all areas of our Christian walk. Remove from us our sinful pride and create in us a right spirit.

Dear God...
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psa 51:10)

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Morning Manna - Table of Contents

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Divorced and Remarried?

And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: (1 Cor 7:10) But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. (1 Cor 7:11)

I read more "off-line" comments from people who were upset with my blog yesterday than I had read in all the blog comments to date! It not only showed me that it's a sore subject but it showed me that this is an area that needs to be addressed in the Christian's life. I must share with you that when I was first saved, there was nothing more that I wanted than to divorce my unsaved husband and marry a Christian man. Surely God in His infinite wisdom and mercy would not allow me to stay married to this unsaved man and suffer the day-to-day battles I was experiencing. I searched and searched for Scriptural ways to be removed from this marriage. I thank the Lord that He loved me and was patient with me in my search. He took a studious woman who was hungering for the truth and patiently taught me and showed me in His Word. I thank the Lord for revealing His truths through His Word so that I could make the decision for myself.

I challenge you who are reading this and are totally against what I am saying. Don't do it for me - do it for you! Don't use one Bible verse or two and build a belief. Study the whole matter out. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecc 12:13) (Emphasis mine) The Seventh Commandment in Ex. 20:14 is "Thou shalt not commit adultery." This isn't deciding if it's right or wrong to smoke, right or wrong to drink, or right or wrong to go to the movies. This is an area that was clearly outlined in the Ten Commandments from the beginning so there would be no questions, no excuses, no "wondering" whether these things be so.

Fornication and adultery are sin and have serious consequences. The Old Testament outlined clearly what happened to the adulterer. And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (Lev 20:10) They weren't put in prison - they weren't given a stiff fine - nor were they even slapped on the hand. They were put to death!

But you say, "That's the Old Testament, we're not under the law!" Paul states in 1 Corinthians the offense for these sins: But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. (1 Cor 7:9) (Emphasis mine.) He goes on further to say: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (1Co 6:9) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:10) (Emphasis mine.) If you are in this boat, all hope is not lost, my friend. Please bear with me and let's seek out the matter together.

Those who have contacted me on this subject quoted from some famous preachers' books; some said, "I've studied this matter out extensively" but did not give specific Bible verses to back up their findings; and some even said that we would just have to "agree to disagree" in this matter. Reader, it is not what man says. It is what GOD says, my friend. Not me! Not a prominent preacher! Not authors! Man is sinful. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer 17:9) How can we depend on someone else's findings to interpret God's Word for us when the Word says that the heart of man is desperately wicked? Only God's Word has the truth and is perfect. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. (Psa 19:7)

We are commanded to study for ourselves, not swallow someone else's study. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15) (Emphasis mine) Notice this verse says to study to show ourselves approved unto GOD so that we do not need to be ashamed. We are further exhorted to rightly divide the word of truth, not man's words. Go to the Author who wrote the Bible. The blessed Holy Spirit will guide and direct you just as He did me through His Word.

What does the Word say? Our text verses reveal that Paul said to let the departed remain unmarried or be reconciled. This is a clear and precise instruction. Paul was a Pharisee and knew the law inside out. If this were no longer applicable to his day, he would have said so. Fornication and adultery were punishable in the Old Testament by being put to death. In 1 Corinthians, Paul refers to punishment in hell. The sin from the Old Testament is still as serious in the New Testament. Remarrying is committing adultery and it is a sin. Paul stated in 1 Cor. 7:10-11 that you were to remain unmarried or be reconciled to your spouse.

It's not me who is saying these things, oh Christian. It's God's Word. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psa 119:165) I know what this is hard to swallow. No one likes to be told they have sinned and are need of repentance. However, when one loves the Lord more than one's own self, the desire for spiritual growth outweighs the desire for fulfilling those of the flesh. If you have seen your sin before a Holy God who commands "Thou shalt not commit adultery," then confess it and repent before Him. You're remarried and this is your spouse now. God does forgive our sins and He will continue to use us for His glory. There is always hope with the Lord. We know that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jo 1:9) Praise God for His mercy in our lives!

I know this is a hard teaching and it is one that is difficult to accept. Even fundamental churches are divided in this area of divorce and remarriage. But we cannot just take a couple of verses and base our doctrine on this. This is not "rightly dividing the word of truth"! God does not change. We must take the whole counsel of God and search the matters out for ourselves. That is our responsibility - God has given us His Word - we cannot take man's word above His, no matter how well known the preacher is.

Now for those of you who have grown from this and have studied the matter out for yourselves, be encouraged and go help others who are in the same boat as you - help them to understand what God's Word says about this topic of divorce and remarriage.

Dear God...
Thank you for your Word so true
And It's spiritual bread each day
No matter how convicting It is
Help us to repent, I pray.

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Monday, February 05, 2007


It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: (Mat 5:31) But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. (Mat 5:32) They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? (Mat 19:7) He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. (Mat 19:8) And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. (Mar 10:4) And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. (Mar 10:5)

Are you a divorced Christian man or woman? If there's any topic which brings much dissention in the church today, it is this one. Jesus had clear instructions in the Bible on this, but it seems that man has managed to put his own twist into it in order to allow divorce for other reasons than what Jesus specified. Jewish laws and customs in the day of Christ are different from what the Jewish people practice today. No longer do they practice the one-year betrothal period which required a contract but it existed none-the-less.

A good example of this betrothal period is given in the very account of Mary and Joseph. Before a couple were to consummate their marriage, it was Jewish custom to have a marriage contract where they were committed to marry each other for one year. After that one year was over, a wedding feast would occur and then, and only then, was the marriage consummated. If one of the parties committed fornication during this one year prior to the wedding feast, a bill of divorcement could be granted and only for this reason, according to Jesus. The punishment for a woman was to be made a public example and punished. A good example, again, is in the account of Mary and Joseph. When Joseph found out from an angel in a dream that Mary was with child, he did not want to expose her and was going to put her away privately. But instead, the angel revealed to him that she conceived from the Holy Ghost and that Jesus, the Saviour, would be born. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. (Mat 1:18) Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. (Mat 1:19) So Joseph married her at this point. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: (Mat 1:24) If they were already married, why does the Word say that Joseph obeyed the angel of the Lord and took Mary unto him if she were already his? All he had to do was be quiet. No one would have suspected anything about her pregnancy because she was already married! Think about it - why would it have been such a big deal?

Jesus is clear in Matthew 19:8 and Mark 10:5 that divorce was allowed by Moses because of the hardening of the hearts of the people. Jesus went further in saying that from the beginning it was not so. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mar 10:9) Scripture never contradicts Scripture. Ever! When a marriage union is formed, God has joined these two people and the Word says that no man can separate it! Jesus said this. God Himself!

The one-year contract period (like that of Mary and Joseph), is the only time that this bill of divorcement was to be granted so the contract could be legally broken. Notice that Jesus says in Matt. 5:32 that it was only to be granted in the case of fornication. Jesus went on to say that if this woman married another, she would be committing adultery. If they were already married when she was unfaithful, Jesus would not have used the two words fornication and adultery in the same verse. Many today use the two words interchangeably but that is not the way it is written. Fornication refers to unfaithfulness before marriage - or in this case, during the one-year engagement (betrothal period). Adultery refers to unfaithfulness after a marriage has been consummated.

The Gentiles did not have this custom in that day. That is why it is addressed to the Jews. We do not have that custom today, neither do the Jews of today. However, the custom of divorce sure has permeated all cultures today. Are any of the reasons given today in line with what Jesus taught? No. Are any following the marriage contract and betrothal period of the Jewish customs from the time of Christ? No.

The Apostle Paul went at lengths to teach us in this area. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. (1 Cor. 7:2) Paul states that unfaithfulness before marriage is called fornication in this verse. He goes on to say that if a person is separated or divorced, they are not to remarry. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. (1 Cor. 7:27) (Emphasis mine) The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. (1 Cor. 7:39)

Paul emphasizes in this next verse that God says that they are to remain unmarried. And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: (1 Cor. 7:10) But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. (1 Cor. 7:11) (Emphasis mine) Notice how Paul stresses that it isn't his words but the Lord's? Take heed, Christian.

Next, Paul speaks to the people in his own words and not from the Lord and it deals with being married to an unbeliever. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. (1 Cor. 7:12) And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. (1 Cor. 7:13) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. (1 Cor. 7:14) But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. (1 Cor. 7:15) (Emphasis mine) Paul is not stating here that it's OK for the believer to go ahead and marry another. Remember what Jesus said in (Mar 10:9)What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. God's Word never changes. Paul would not insert anything that would be a direct contradiction to what God says in His Word. We cannot add to the Word or take away from it just so we can soothe our consciences. But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. (1 Cor. 7:11) (Emphasis mine)

It is clear that divorce and remarriage today are viewed quite differently from what I have shared with you in this devotional. However, when you look at it in the light of the Word of God, there is never any reason to allow re-marriage. The Word says to stay unmarried until your spouse dies. Plain and simple. I know there are many out there who will be disturbed with me after reading this. But I ask that you prayerfully consider reading God's Word and studying the matter out. Let the Holy Spirit of God speak to your heart.

If you are divorced and remarried or you have remained unmarried, you're probably wondering what to do next. Repent, acknowledge your sin before God and ask His forgiveness. Then go on to serve Him and help those in need that are in the same boat as you are and teach them what God has taught you in His Word. God can and will use you to meet the needs of another. You would not abandon your own child because that child made a mistake, would you? Neither will God abandon you. ...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Heb 13:5b)

Dear God...
I know this will be a hard thing to swallow
For those who are living in this boat
Holy Spirit I pray you would use this
In their hearts all these things that I wrote

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Married to an Unbeliever - Day 4

1 Peter 3:6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Let's take a look at verse 6 today. Do you look at submission to your husband as a curse instead of a blessing? It is only by being in submission that a woman is under her husband's spiritual covering and protection, whether he is saved or not. Remember, these verses were written by Peter to women whose husbands were disobedient to the Word. When you submit to your husband, the burden of responsibility rests upon your husband, not you. He is the head of your household and he will be held accountable for the way he leads his household. A good analogy is to look at our military. Each leader is held accountable for his men. Whether it is the General, a Captain, a Major, Sergeant or Corporal. If his men fail, he is held accountable. Throughout history, leadership was held accountable for the well-being of the people serving under them. God designed leadership and it began with the home in the Garden of Eden. From the beginning, man was created to rule over his wife and his home. God stated, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. (Gen 3:16b)

Peter not only says to submit, but he also says to honor your husband just as Sara did. "Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord." Calling her husband "lord" was the custom of the day. But the Word of God is LIVING and I believe that it is meant for us women today. John 4:10 refers to Jesus as the Living Water. His Word lives and cleanses us. I don't believe God means for us to call our husbands "lord," but I do believe we should speak to and about our husbands with honor and with respect! She called him lord not out of fear, or requirement, but out of honor. Your husband may be a nasty man, but his office of husband deserves respect and honor. You may not agree with the President of the United States 100% of the time, but you respect the office, don't you? You were never called to be a helpmeet to the President but you have been called to be a helpmeet to your husband. You were called to reverence your husband in Eph. 5:33.

What ways can you honor your husband? When you are with other women, are you quick to point out his deficiencies? Or do only good things come out of your mouth about your dear husband. Even if you can't think of a thing good about your unsaved husband, surely there was a reason you fell in love with him in the first place. Think on these things. Encourage yourself. Follow the principles in Phil. 4:8. How do you greet your husband when he walks through the door at the end of the day? Are you pleasant toward him or are you busy complaining about how your day went?

Do you nag him about those little jobs that need to be done around the house? My husband and I came up with a "job jar" (many call it the "honey-do" list). Every time I had a chore that needed attention, I would write it on a slip of paper and put it in the job jar. My husband would go into his job jar when he had some free time and pull out a task. Some times he would put it back because it would take more time than he had available just then. If he didn't pick anything from the job jar, the pieces of paper were constantly a reminder to him that chores needed to be done. I never had to nag him or remind him. He had eyes and could see for himself. Those little pieces of paper were doing the job for me :-)

Dear lady, you can make or break your husband and your marriage. If you tear down your husband, you tear down your home. Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: (Pro 24:3) A wise woman will learn what God's Word says about being a helpmeet to the man God has given to her, whether saved or not - the Word has no stipulations. She will search the Scriptures to learn how she can be the kind of wife that Sarah was to Abraham. Peter said that we do well to be like Sarah because we are her daughters.

Learn from Sarah. She honored Abraham. She recognized that he was the head of her house and she submitted to her husband. How else could he have asked her to pack what she had and move to an undisclosed location for an undisclosed period of time? Would you be so willing? What a loving and submissive wife. She placed her future and care into the hands of her husband. She trusted God so much that she knew in her heart that she would be O.K. This means that she loved her God and walked with Him. We are to do the same just as we submit to the Lord, Jesus Christ. Just because your husband is not saved or is disobedient to the Word, does not mean that you are exempt from this verse. There are no "but's or however's or except's" in this verse.

When a man receives honor from his chaste and submissive wife, it is a perfect testimony to him of Jesus Christ. The backslidden man won't need a word said to him - he will see his wife's "living testimony" and will be convicted by the Holy Spirit. These actions by you prepares your husband's heart to accept the Holy Spirit's work. If you go against the will of God, your husband's heart will harden. However, if you obey God's Word and learn to submit to your husband, his heart will become tender. The unsaved man will be drawn by his wife's testimony. It will speak to his heart and challenge him toward seeking salvation. Remember, he is in a much better position to hear and see the Gospel of Jesus Christ at work than the unsaved man whose wife is not saved either. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. (1Co 7:14) What kind of testimony are you portraying?

I remember being worried about what I would do if my husband commanded me to sin. I did not want to sin against God but I also didn't want to be placed in a situation where it was me against my husband. I prayed and prayed over this and the Lord never allowed me to go through this without giving me a godly way out - in fact, the Lord provided the perfect solution each time which did not offend my husband or throw "religion" in his face. I believe that God provides every wife of an unsaved man with extra grace so she can be a testimony to her God without dishonoring her husband. God never let me down in this area and I believe this is what Peter is speaking about. I did not need to be afraid of what my unsaved husband would ask me to do because my faith in my Heavenly Father was such that I could trust my husband in His care and He would guide and direct me.

Granted there may be some of you out there whose husbands are abusive. You cannot be a submissive wife if you are a dead wife. You must leave with full knowledge that the separation is temporary, until he has sought counselling and will no longer be abusive. Seek counselling from your Pastor and work toward reconciliation with your husband. Once your husband has done so and the doors are opened for you to reunite, go back and be the helpmeet God created you to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. (1Co 7:27) This pertains to the wife as well. Always seek to reconcile. After all, Christ came to reconcile all of us to the Father. Will you remember those bad days? More than likely. Should you hold it against your husband? No. Forgive him and let it go. The devil will want to use that against you and will work hard at stirring your anger. A close walk with the Lord is crucial every time your thoughts go astray. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: (Mat 6:14) But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Mat 6:15)

Instead of asking all those "what if" questions, dear lady, pray and give those questions to the Lord. Rest in His care. I can remember reading Psalm 121 over and over when I had fears. My wonderful Shepherd gave me much comfort in those verses and I would walk away refreshed yet again. Won't you let your fears rest at the Saviour's feet and just love and submit to your unsaved husband as God would have you to do? There can be peace for the wife of an unbelieving or disobedient husband. Ours is an easy task - we're called to be submissive whether or not they are saved. There are no qualifiers and no exceptions. All women are to be submissive to their own husband. The key is to be obedient to that calling and to learn all you can about it through the Word of God.

Even during my worst trial as the wife of an unbelieving husband, I had hope because my Heavenly Father gave me hugs through His Word. Yes, there was also a good friend and good preaching to glean from. But God's Word is what heals and God's Word is what refreshes, my friend. When you feel downhearted and need encouragement, get that help from the Lord. Read Psalm 121 today and you will see why I exhort you in this way.

Dear God...
Help me to be in the Word
Where all Your truth is revealed
Let my heart be close to You, Lord
I beg You my marriage to heal

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