Maranatha Devotionals
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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Moving to Wordpress

I am making the move to Wordpress. For those of you who have subscribed, please make the necessary changes! I hope you will join me at the new location!

Thank you for your faithfulness! God bless you and see you there!


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Word of God - Day 6 - The Shepherd

In yesterday's devotional, we saw how God uses the medium of speech for His Word to be communicated to His people. Is it any wonder then that the Lord would compare Himself to a shepherd? Many years ago, I did a study on the job of a shepherd in biblical times. This comparison of the shepherd to our Lord is an absolute blessing! I pray you will receive a blessing today.

Did you know that the shepherd speaks to his sheep? The sheep actually recognize their own shepherd's voice and won't respond to another shepherd's voice. (Joh 10:27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: I don't know about you, but this brings me great comfort. A good part of Christ's earthly ministry was spent teaching His disciples. They sat at His feet listening to His lessons and parables. He spoke to them and shared with them His Father's will. (Mar 6:34) And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. Jesus knew they were without a shepherd and He became their Shepherd and taught them. He taught them from the Scriptures. How can the Christian hear Jesus' voice today? Christ is known as the Word of God, therefore, it is through God's Word that we can hear His voice! In fact, without the Word in our lives, we will make mistakes. (Mat 22:29) Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. The Word is God's power in our lives. (Joh 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

The shepherd not only speaks to his sheep, he leads his sheep and he knows each one of them, watching over them day and night. He knows each one of sheep personally - he knows each one of their markings. In fact, shepherds would name their sheep to pass the time. (Joh 10:3) To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. Does this not bring you comfort, dear Christian? Your Shepherd, Jesus Christ, calls you by name! When I was being wooed by the Holy Spirit to be saved, Jesus was saying, "Kate, come to Me"! Praise His Holy Name! After salvation, I instantly heard my Shepherd's voice as I read the Word! The Word of God lit up like a neon sign and the Shepherd's message was loud and clear to me. The pages of my Bible were no longer dry reading but they were alive!

Being a shepherd was was a very responsible job. The shepherd had to keep count of his sheep and give an account for any that were lost. The owner would demand to be paid for each one that was lost. (Mat 18:12) How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? In today's mind set, one wonders why so much time would be spent looking for one lost sheep. But when a price is attached to that sheep, one can clearly understand because that lost sheep is of value to the shepherd. Christ paid for each of us with a great price, my friend - with His own life. Our Shepherd gave up His life for each one of us. As the shepherd would bring his sheep in at night, he would count them as they passed by under his hand. Each one was touched by him. Christ touches each one of us through His Word.

The shepherd also anointed his sheep's heads with oil. The Shepherd in Psalm 23:5 anoints His sheep's head with oil. (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. The oil symbolizes receiving God's anointing - receiving God's grace to live the Christian life. The oil was used for medicinal purposes - being placed on a sheep's head kept the sheep from getting sun stroke. It would also heal the bramble scratches. As Moses anointed the tabernacle (Lev. 8:10-12) and sanctified it, so should the Christian anoint himself (2 Pet. 1:14) to sanctify himself daily to serve the Lord. As we read the Word, we hear God speaking to us. As we apply what we have been taught by the Word, we become more and more set apart from the world.

As the shepherd spoke, he would lead his sheep daily to rest at noon in a quiet pasture and to a safe drinking place in the evening. Our Shepherd leads us to quiet pastures in His Word - we need to make time to graze there and be fed spiritually. We also are led to a safe drinking place in the Word of God. It is in our Bibles that we find everlasting water - we do not thirst when we live by the Word. The Bible is a living Book - bringing conviction and direction for the believer. (Joh 4:14) But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Not only does salvation come from the blessed pages of our Bible but when we hear the Shepherd's voice, we follow and receive eternal life.

At dusk, when the shepherd can no longer be easily seen by his sheep, he taps the rocks with his staff to assure them he is near. This brought a whole new meaning to me as to why David said that God's rod and staff comforted him. (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. The shepherd's staff guides the sheep and his rod, or club, protects them from attacks of wild beasts. The sheep are comforted by the sound of the staff on the rocks - they know the shepherd is near and ready to protect them. When we are in the Word, we are being guided by our Shepherd, the Word of God, Jesus Christ. We can hear His staff hitting the rock because we recognize Him throughout the Bible. When we are in the Word, we are protected from the enemy. We recognize false doctrine when we read it and hear it because we have seen and heard the true Shepherd. It is said that bank tellers are trained to catch counterfeit money by having them handle and touch real money. We will recognize false doctrine because we are hearing and reading true doctrine. The more we are in the Word of God, the easier it will be for us to recognize false gospels and heresy.

The job of a shepherd was considered to be an abomination to Egyptians. (Gen 46:34) That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians. Since Egypt is considered to be a type of the world, the world will consider Christ to be an abomination. (Joh 1:10) He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. Why? Jesus is an abomination to the world because He exposes their sin. (Joh 7:7) The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Our Shepherd will expose our sin so that we can remove it from our lives.

What a blessed comparison this has been indeed! Our Shepherd speaks to us in His Word. His words guide us, feed us and anoint us to do His work. How beautiful are the words of our Saviour as we read the Bible each day! How can we survive without them?

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Word of God - Day 5 - The Word of God

(1 John 5:7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. There is no way one could misinterpret this verse. The Trinity is clearly depicted here. Therefore, the only way the devil could cause doubt and division over this verse would be to either change the words or remove it altogether.

Except for the King James Bible, none of the 20 different versions I checked contained this verse in its entirety. They say something like "For there are three that testify" and then they jump into verse 8. Why would the devil attack this particular verse, do you think? The devil's primary goal is to exalt himself to be God. He hates Christ and everything about Him. Therefore, the only way he can discredit Christ and His redemptive work is to remove key verses depicting Him and His work of the cross.

It is interesting that the only verse in the Bible that actually comes out and defines the Trinity refers to Jesus Christ as the Word! The Word is of vital importance to God's nature. The Father provides us salvation through His Word (through Christ) and teaches and moves us spiritually through the Spirit (His Holy Spirit). All three Persons of the Trinity are essential to draw us to salvation and all Three are essential to the Christian's growth. Is it any wonder that the devil would attack the very word of God? It began in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1) with "Yea, hath God said," and it has continued to this day. I found it interesting that his words are documented in chapter 3 verse 1. The number three symbolizes "the Trinity and Godhead" and the number one symbolizes "the beginning and one God." The Trinity is One God. If Satan can successfully remove credibility from God's Word, then he can cause people to doubt salvation through Christ.

How can Satan do this? The one source that points man to salvation through Christ is the Word of God, the Bible. (Rom 10:17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The phrase, "the Word of God" can be found 45 times in the Bible. Three times in the Old Testament and 42 times in the New Testament.

1. God's Word can be shown:

(1Sa 9:27) And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.

2. God's Word can be heard:

(1Ki 12:22) But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,

(1Ch 17:3) And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,

(Luk 3:2) Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

(Luk 5:1) And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

(Luk 8:21) And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

(Luk 11:28) But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

(Act 11:1) And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.

(Rom 10:17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

3. God's Word can be minimized by tradition:

(Mar 7:13) Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

4. God's Word is considered a seed:

(Luk 8:11) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

(1 Pe 1:23) Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

5. God's Word cannot be broken:

(Joh 10:35) If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

6. God's Word is spoken:

(Act 4:31) And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

(Act 6:2) Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

(Act 13:5) And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

(Act 13:7) Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.

(Act 13:44) And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

(Act 13:46) Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

(Act 17:13) But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.

(Heb 13:7) Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

7. God's Word saves:

(Act 6:7) And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

(Act 8:14) Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

(Act 12:24) But the word of God grew and multiplied.

(Rom 9:6) Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

8. God's Word must be taught:

(Act 18:11) And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

(Act 19:20) So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

9. God's Word is not confined to a certain few:

(1Co 14:36) What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

10. God's Word can be corrupted by the unsaved:

(2Co 2:17) For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

(2Co 4:2) But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

11. God's Word convicts:

(Eph 6:17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

(Heb 4:12) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

12. God's Word is to be taught/preached by the Man of God:

(Col 1:25) Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

13. God's Word is Truth:

(1 Th 2:13) For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

14. God's Word sanctifies the believer:
(1 Ti 4:5) For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

15. God's Word is not bound:

(2Ti 2:9) Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

16. God's Word is blasphemed when we disobey it:

(Tit 2:5) To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

17. God's Word framed the worlds:

(Heb 11:3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

18. God's Word holds the unbeliever accountable:

(2Pe 3:5) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

19. God's Word abides in us and makes us strong:

(1Jn 2:14) I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

20. God's Word was confirmed by men of God:

(Rev 1:2) Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

21. God's Word causes enmity with the world:

(Rev 1:9) I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

(Rev 6:9) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

(Rev 20:4) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

22. God's Word is Jesus Christ:

(Rev 19:13) And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

(1 John 5:7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

The devil can try to remove Christ from the Bible but he won't be able to. The Son of God - the Lamb of God - the Word of God has spoken through the Bible. To trivialize the Bible or to change it is a very dangerous thing. Is it any wonder that the devil would be busy trying to discredit the Word of God?

(Psa 119:89) LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

(Psa 119:160) Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
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