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Weekly Word Definition – Bondage

Bondage

the state of being a slave

the tenure or service of a villain, serf, or slave

:  a state of being bound usually by compulsion (as of law or mastery): such as

  1. captivity, serfdom
  2. servitude or subjugation to a controlling person or force young people in bondage to drugs

            Merriam-Webster

Used in two senses in Scripture, a literal and a metaphorical sense.

(1) In the former sense, it refers

  • (a) to the condition of the Hebrews (ăbhōdhāh) in Egypt (Exodus 1:14; 2:23) which is frequently called “the house of bondage,” Exodus 13:3, 14; 20:2; Deut. 5:6. It also refers to the condition of the Hebrews in Babylonia (Isaiah 14:3) and in Persia (Ezra 9:8), where a slightly different form of the same root (abhedhūth) is used in the original. In both these cases the bondage was not so much personal as national. As a rule, individuals were not subject to individuals, but the whole Hebrew people were subject to the Egyptian, Babylonian and the Persian states. They were forced to labor on public works, and otherwise, and were denied their own freedom when the exigencies of state seemed to demand it. The former word ʿăbhōdāh is also used in Neh. 5:18 as descriptive of the subject and depressed conditions of the Hebrews in Palestine during the earlier years after their return from captivity, when they were still living under Persian suzerainty.
  • (b) The word bondage ʿăbhādhīm is also used to describe the slavery into which the poor Jews were being forced by their more prosperous brethren in the earlier years under the Persians in Palestine (Neh. 5:5). Here true personal, though temporary, slavery is meant.
  • (c) Marriage is once referred to as a bondage (1 Cor. 7:15). It wasn’t the marriage that Paul was referring to, it was the obligations concerned with marriage.

(2) It is used in the metaphorical sense only in New Testament.

 “Bondage,” is the power of physical corruption as against the freedom of life (Romans 8:21), the power of fear as over against the confidence of Christian faith (Romans 8:15; Hebrews 2:15), and especially is it the bondage of the letter, of the elements, of a ceremonial and institutional salvation which must be scrupulously and painfully observed, as contrasted with the freedom of the sons of God, emancipated by faith in Jesus Christ. This bondage is a peculiarly Pauline idea since he was fighting for Christian freedom (Galatians 2:4; Galatians 4:3, 9, 24-25; Galatians 5:1). In 2 Peter 2:19 the idea is essentially different. Libertinism, masquerading under the name of freedom, is branded as bondage, in contrast with the true freedom of righteous living.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Bondage to sin is not necessary. Those who are true Christians have nothing to do with bondage to sin.

Romans 6:4-6 (NKJV)

Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Through our faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will guide us in a life free from sin if we will let Him. Don’t get caught up in bondage, it’s not worth it. Instead, listen to the Holy Spirit and live the bible every day. If you are living the bible, there will be no room for bondage in your life.

Weekly Devotional – The Prayer of Faith

James 5:13-20

In this section of James, we are going to talk about the most important and most powerful tool we have other than God’s Word. This tool is used in accordance with our relationship with God. How well we know God’s word, and how often we use this tool will determine how effective it is. Of course, we are talking about prayer. We are not talking about just any prayer; we are talking about the “Prayer of Faith.”

James used a series of questions followed by commands as an effective way of exhorting the congregation to prayer and worship. A fitting climax to James’ letter is his emphasis on prayer. The greatest assistance any believer can offer another is faithful prayer. Prayer is clear evidence of care. Prayer is the “hotline” to the One who can provide for any need no matter how complex or impossible it may seem. To share in prayer, a believer must have a sensitivity to someone’s needs, engage in diligent supplication for those needs, and recognize the significance of those needs.

  • James asked if anyone was suffering. James wasn’t talking about suffering pain due to illness. We know this because of his next question. What James was referring to was a type of suffering caused by a bad decision concerning our spiritual life.

Jesus Christ bore the grief and sorrows of humanity as the culmination of the “sufferings,” which is “pathēma” in Greek, begun by Adam’s sin (1 Pet. 2:24).

Throughout the centuries Christians have referred to Jesus’ sufferings as His Passion. Before Jesus experienced His “passion,” He told His disciples that they would encounter many trials and sorrows for His sake (John 16:33). Paul taught that entrance to the kingdom of God comes with many tribulations (Acts 14:22), which must not shake a Christian’s faith (1 Thess. 3:3). They are to be understood rather as a finishing up of the remainder of Christ’s suffering for His body, the church (2 Cor. 4:10-11; Col. 1:24).

The Bible says affliction will grow more intense as “the end” approaches (Matt. 24:9-14; 2 Tim. 3:13). Don’t allow these sufferings and troubles to turn you away from God. I know several who hate God because of losing a loved one, they want to know why God killed their baby, He didn’t. They want to know why God allowed their spouse to die, He didn’t.

Many preachers who are not well versed in the bible, and teachers also, have given them this impression of God. God does not steal, kill or test anyone. We are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27) and God passed on to us His free will. As such, God cannot interfere with that free will. It is the wrong decisions we make that cause these things.

  • Is anyone sick? Call the Elders. Elders, who functioned in various capacities in the early church, should anoint any sick person with olive oil and pray over him. Olive oil was considered a cure-all ointment in the ancient world, but for James, the real healing power is in prayer.

The prayer of faith echoes James 1:5-8. The word save refers to physical healing (Mark5:23,28,34; 10:52; John 11:12). The Lord will restore the person to health does not indicate that death is at hand, but that once healed by the power of God the sick person could get up and walk (Mt 9:5-7; Mk 1:31; 2:9-12; 9:27; Ac 3:7).

He will be forgiven indicates that perhaps the illness was connected with sin, such as drunk driving, and the prayers of the elders could bring spiritual healing as well. If the person confesses their trespasses as James indicates in verse 16 and repents of them, God will welcome them into the church.

Weekly Word Definition – Perfect

Perfect

  1. In the Old Testament:

“Perfect” in the Old Testament is the translation of shālēm, “finished,” “whole,” “complete,” used (except in Deut. 25:15, “perfect weight”) of persons, e.g. a “perfect heart,” i.e. wholly or completely devoted to Yahweh (1 Kings 8:61, etc.; 1 Chron. 12:38; Isaiah 38:3, etc.); tāmīm, “complete,” “perfect,” “sound or unblemished,” is also used of persons and of God, His way, and law (“Noah was a just man and perfect,” the Revised Version margin “blameless” (Genesis 6:9); “As for God, his way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30); “The law of Yahweh is perfect” (Psalm 19:7), etc.); tām, with the same, meaning, occurs only in Job, except twice in Psalms (Job 1:1, 8; Job 2:3, etc.; Psalm 37:37; Psalm 64:4); kālīl, “complete,” and various other words are translated “perfect.”

Perfection is the translation of various words so translated once only: kālīl (Lament. 2:15); mikhlāl, “completeness” (Psalm 50:2); minleh, “possession” (Job 15:29, the King James Version “neither shall the prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth,” the American Standard Revised Version “neither shall their possessions be extended on the earth,” margin “their produce bend to the earth”; the English Revised Version reverses this text and margin); tikhlāh, “completeness,” or “perfection (Psalm 119:96); takhlīth (twice), “end,” “completeness” (Job 11:7, “Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” Job 28:3, “searcheth out all the Revised Version (British and American) the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) “to the furthest bound”; compare Job 26:10, “unto the confines of light and darkness”); tōm, “perfect,” “completeness” (Isaiah 47:9, the King James Version “They shall come upon thee in their perfection,” the Revised Version (British and American) “in their full measure”). The Revised Version margin gives the meaning of “the Urim and the Thummim” (Exodus 28:30, etc.) as “the Lights and the Perfections.”

2. In the New Testament:

In the New Testament “perfect” is usually the tr of teleios, primarily, “having reached the end,” “term,” “limit,” hence, “complete,” “full,” “perfect” (Matthew 5:48, “Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”; Matthew 19:21, “if thou wouldst be perfect; Ephes. 4:13, the King James Version “till we all come …. unto a perfect man,” the Revised Version (British and American) “full-grown”; Phil. 3:15, “as many as are perfect,” the American Revised Version margin “full-grown”; 1 Cor. 2:6; Col. 1:28, “perfect in Christ”; 4:12; James 3:2 margin, etc.).

Other words are teleióō. “to perfect,” “to end,” “complete” (Luke 13:32, “The third day I am perfected,” the Revised Version margin “end my course”; John 17:23, “perfected into one”; 2 Cor. 12:9; Phil. 3:12, the Revised Version (British and American) “made perfect”; Hebrews 2:10, etc.); also epiteléō, “to bring through to an end” (2 Cor. 7:1, “perfecting holiness in the fear of God”; Galatians 3:3, “Are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) “perfected in the flesh,” margin “Do ye now make an end in the flesh?”); katartízō “to make quite ready,” “to make complete,” is translated “perfect,” “to perfect” (Matthew 21:16, “perfected praise”; Luke 6:40, “Every one when he is perfected shall be as his teacher”; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11, “be perfected”; 1 Thes. 3:10; 1 Peter 5:10, the Revised Version margin “restore”); akribṓs, “accurately,” “diligently,” is translated “perfect” (Luke 1:3, “having had perfect understanding,” the Revised Version (British and American) “having traced …. accurately”; Acts 18:26 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) “more accurately”). We have also ártios, “fitted,” “perfected” (2 Tim. 3:7, the Revised Version (British and American) “complete”); plēróō, “to fill,” “to make full” (Rev. 3:2, the American Standard Revised Version “perfected,” the English Revised Version “fulfilled”); katartismós, “complete adjustment,” “perfecting” (Ephes. 4:12, “for the perfecting of the saints”).

Perfection is the translation of katártisis “thorough adjustment,” “fitness” (2 Cor. 13:9, the Revised Version (British and American) “perfecting”); of teleíōsis (Hebrews 7:11); of teleiótēs (Hebrews 6:1, the Revised Version margin “full growth”); it is translated “perfectness” (Col. 3:14); “perfection” in Luke 8:14 is the translation of telesphoréō, “to bear on to completion or perfection.” In Apocrypha “perfect,” “perfection,” etc., are for the most part the translation of words from télos, “the end,” e.g. Wisdom 4:13; Sirach 34:8; Sirach 44:17; Sirach 45:8, suntéleia “full end”; Sirach 24:28; Sirach 50:11.

The Revised Version (British and American) has “perfect” for “upright” (2 Samuel 22:24, 26 twice); for “sound” (Psalm 119:80); for “perform” (Phil. 1:16); for “undefiled” (Psalm 119:1, margin “upright in way”); for “perfect peace, and at such a time” (Ezra 7:12), “perfect and so forth”; for “He makes my way perfect” (2 Samuel 22:33), “He guided the perfect in his way,” margin “or, `sets free.’ According to another reading, `guided my way in perfectness'”; “shall himself perfect,” margin “restore,” for, “make you perfect” (1 Peter 5:10); “perfecter” for “finisher” (Hebrews 12:2); “perfectly” is omitted in the Revised Version (British and American) (Matthew 14:36); “set your hope perfectly on” for the King James Version “hope to the end for” (1 Peter 1:13).

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Weekly Devotional – 4 Sept 2021

Listening and Doing

James 1:19-27

In verses 19-21 we deal with a subject that is so wrongfully taught in our churches, anger. There are many church denominations that teach the sin of anger. Naturally, they don’t give scripture references because there aren’t any to be found.

James didn’t say that anger was a sin, he simply stated that anger would not lead to the righteousness God wants us to have. The sin is in the action taken because of the anger. People who have problems with anger usually let the anger linger and it turns to malice and sometimes vengeance.

Paul told the people at Ephesus. “be angry, but do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26) Paul went on to say that we should not allow this anger to linger through the night. We should resolve the anger before the sun goes down. If you do as Paul tells you, the problem will go away. Your anger won’t turn to anything that is a sin.

Did you know that most people who get angry are expressing their disappointment with themselves? Don’t take that anger out on someone else. Listen to the other person, if they make you angry, simply excuse yourself and walk away. Anger without actions only leads to ulcers and never affects the other person.

Herein lies my problem. I don’t wait. I usually start saying things that offend. I never use vulgar language or anything of that sort. God took that type of language from me years ago. But I do have to apologize to that person and make it right. Behavior of this sort is not a sin, but it does not lead to the righteousness that God wants Christians to display at all times. Don’t allow the world to make you look bad to God.

In verses 22-27, James is talking about actions connected to our faith. Many churches teach that we are saved by faith alone and you don’t need anything else. While they are correct about you being saved and your sins were forgiven, they fail to mention the rest of the story.

Being saved is only the second of many steps that must be taken to attain salvation. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:21 that these people, who have only the faith, will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. The action Jesus mentions here is that you do the will of the Father. You can’t go to church on Sunday and listen to the preacher or teacher and hope to do the will of the Father. You must study the bible for yourself also.

When our pastor preaches, I follow his bible reading myself and then I listen to what he says and I know he is telling the truth. How do I know that? Because I have studied the bible for many years with God, with the pastor, and with different teachers. I have taken courses online that were recommended by those I know are truly called by God to teach or preach.

Not everyone who comes to church and professes to be a Christian are my brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of them are Believers, some of them are confused and have been deceived, some are just pretending to be Christians to impress their friends (Matthew 12:49-50).

People who live “in Christ” also live in the love of Christ. We must follow the commands of God and of Jesus in order to live “in Christ.” In John 15;9-17, Jesus tells us how we can accomplish this. If we are brothers and sisters in Christ, we must have the same love for God and for each other that Jesus had. Jesus said, “if you keep my Commands you will remain in my love.” Jesus went on to say that we should keep those commands as He had kept the Father’s commands. Jesus never sinned, because He lived as the Father had told Him to live. If we study the bible, prayerfully, we will learn both the Father’s commands and those of Christ.

James sums up this whole thing in today’s scripture reading. In verse 22 James tells us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” In other words, we must listen to the teachers and preachers but more importantly, we must study the word, then we must live what we have heard and what we have learned through studying the word. If we can’t live the word every day, we deceive ourselves and are not Christians

Don’t be deceived!!!

Weekly Word Definition – Bishop

Bishop

New Testament Use:

The word is once applied to Christ himself, “unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). It abounds in Pauline literature, and is used as an alternative for presbyters or elder (Titus 1:5, 7; 1 Tim. 3:1; Tim. 4:14; Tim. 5:17, 19). The earliest ecclesiastical offices instituted in the church were those of elders and deacons, or rather the reverse, since the latter office grew almost immediately out of the needs of the Christian community at Jerusalem (Acts 6:1-6). The presbyter constitution of Jerusalem must have been very old (Acts 11:30) and was distinct from the apostolate (Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22-23; Acts 16:4). As early as 50 AD Paul appointed “elders” in every church, with prayer and fasting (Acts 14:23), referring to the Asiatic churches before established. But in writing to the Philippians (Phil. 1:1) he speaks of “bishops” and “deacons.” In the Gentile Christian churches this title evidently had been adopted; and it is only in the Pastoral Epistles that we find the name “presbyters” applied. The name “presbyter” or “elder,” familiar to the Jews, signifies their age and place in the church; while the other term “bishop” refers rather to their office. But both evidently have reference to the same persons. Their office is defined as “ruling” (Romans 12:8), “overseeing” (Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:2), caring for the flock of God (Acts 20:28). But the word archeín, “to rule,” in the hierarchical sense, is never used. Moreover, each church had a college of presbyter-bishops (Acts 20:17, 28; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 4:14). During Paul’s lifetime, the church was evidently still unaware of the distinction between presbyters and bishops.

Of a formal ordination, in the later hierarchical sense, there is no trace as yet. The word “ordained” used in the King James Version (Acts 1:22) is an unwarrantable interpolation, rightly emended in the Revised Version (British and American). Neither the word “cheirotonésantes” (Acts 14:23, translated “appointed” the American Standard Revised Version) nor katastésēs (Titus 1:5, translated “appoint” the American Standard Revised Version) is capable of this translation. In rendering these words invariably by “ordain” the King James Version shows a “victium originis”. No one doubts that the idea of ordination is extremely old in the history of the church, but the laying on of hands, mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 13:3; 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6; compare Acts 14:26; Acts 15:40) points to the communication of a spiritual gift or to its invocation, rather than to the imparting of an official status.

Later Development of the Idea:

According to Rome, as finally expressed by the Council of Trent, and to the episcopal idea in general, the hierarchical organization, which originated in the 3rd century, existed from the beginning in the New Testament church. But besides the New Testament as above quoted, the early testimony of the church maintains the identity of “presbyters” and “bishops.” Thus, Clement of Rome (Epistle 1, chapters 42, 44, 57), the Didache, chapter 15; perhaps the Constitutions, II, 33, 34, in the use of the plural form; Ambrosiaster (on 1 Tim. 3:10; Ephes. 4:11), Chrysostom (Hom. 9 in Ep. ad Tim), in an unequivocal statement, the “presbyters of old were called bishops …. and the bishop’s presbyters,” equally unequivocally Jerome (Titus, 1, 7), “the same is the presbyter, who is also the bishop.” Augustine and other Fathers of the 4th and 5th centuries hold this view, and even Peter Lombard, who preceded Aquinas as the great teacher of the church of the Middle Ages. Hatch of Oxford and Harnack of Berlin, in the face of all this testimony, maintain a distinction between the presbyters, as having charge of the law and discipline of the church, and the bishops, as being charged with the pastoral care of the church, preaching and worship. This theory is built upon the argument of prevailing social conditions and institutions, as adopted and imitated by the church, rather than on sound textual proof. The distinction between presbyters and bishops can only be maintained by a forced exegesis of the Scriptures. The later and rapid growth of the hierarchical idea arose from the accession of the Ebionite Christian view of the church, as a necessary continuation of the Old Testament dispensation, which has so largely influenced the history of the inner development of the church in the first six centuries of her existence.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Weekly Devotional – The Holy Spirit Promised

I know we have talked about this before, but I believe this is a subject that can’t be talked about enough. The Holy Spirit is what makes us Christians.

You see I grew up going to a church that was, I believe, scared of the Holy Spirit. They very rarely mentioned the Holy Spirit. I don’t believe they knew how to explain it.

Jesus actually makes two promises in this scripture.
  1.  Jesus promises that He will pray to the Father and the Father will give us an Advocate to help us with our daily lives.
  2. Jesus promises He won’t leave us as orphans.

The first promise is not free. Jesus gave some strict rules for us to follow in order to receive the Holy Spirit. Just because we are Believers, doesn’t mean we get a free ride. Faith is an important part of salvation, but faith alone is not enough (James 2:14-17). Let us look for a moment at these steps we must take.

  1. We must have a pure heart. We must repent of all our sins and give them to Christ for the forgiveness He gave us by His blood shed on the Cross of Calvary.
  2. We must believe in Jesus as our Savior (John 3:16). This is the faith we must have to move those mountains. Until we become Christians and receive the Holy Spirit to help us, we must have that faith of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). Without that faith, we can’t keep our hearts pure for the Holy Spirit to enter.
  3. We must keep our Heart pure through the study of God’s Word. We can’t build a relationship with Christ without getting to know Him. We have the bible for that purpose. To know Christ is to love Him. Notice the first thing Jesus says. “If you Love Me.” Without that love, we will not receive the Holy Spirit.
  4. And finally, keep My commands. The commands Jesus talks of here have nothing to do with the law. The Ten Commandments were given by God. These Commandments are not the law, but the law was “based” on them. There are other commands given in the Old and New Testaments that we must follow. These commands are in addition to the law. Remember all scripture is given by God (2Timothy 3:16-17).

Jesus said He would ask the Father and the Father would send us an Advocate. Notice how Jesus is protecting us by not leaving us alone to fight the darkness without any protection. Since the moment we believed, we have had the blood of Christ to protect us. Now we have something more to ensure we can live in the spirit.

Jesus also promised that He would not leave us orphans. Jesus came to the world to save the world. We only have to read John 1:1-18 to understand what Jesus was talking about when He made that promise.

The word given by the Apostles was inspired by God. This word was Christ incarnate and the word continues to inspire the same belief today as it did in the beginning of the church. Christ is also one of the three members of the Godhead. Without any one part, the Godhead would not be complete.

We need only to look at the divisions of the Godhead to understand it.

  • God created us
  • Jesus saves us
  • The Holy Spirit guides and protects us

What an awesome God we have. Without God, we would still be moving around in darkness with no purpose in our lives. God is more than salvation to us, God is our reason for living, our reason for kindness, our reason for forgiveness.

Without God, we would be nothing “again.”  Put God in your life and I mean the whole God, not just the first part. You need all three to be a Christian, God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit!!

Weekly Word Definition – Communion

Communion

  1. The sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.
  2. The service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.
  3. A relationship of recognition and acceptance between Christian churches or denominations, or between individual Christians or Christian communities and a church (signified by a willingness to give or receive the Eucharist).
What is the meaning of Communion and why do it?

Communion is defined as “the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.” Communion is sometimes referred to as the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, or in some church denominations as Eucharist, or Sacrament.

Essentially, communion is a form of gratitude. While you are asking for guidance through prayer and forgiveness from your sins, communion also serves as a time to remember the blessings. Identifying the blessings, in your life, can serve as a launch pad for a better understanding and outlook for the future.

John 13:12-15 (NKJV)

So, when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

Those who have shown faith and humility know that Christ loves, and He loves them to the end. Nothing can separate a true believer from the love of Christ. Those who are true believers; demonstrate their love, faith, and devotion 24 hours a day.

We don’t know when our time will come, therefore what we have to do in constant preparation for it, should never be undone. You can’t be a Christian today and a sinner tomorrow and still be in the good graces of God. Make up your mind. You’re a Saint or a sinner.

There are churches that are advocating sin as an acceptable behavior. What is acceptable for us is totally inappropriate to God.

Jesus gave yet another example for us to follow and most of our churches choose to ignore it because they think mankind is too good to be that humble. Why would a bank president want to wash the feet of a homeless person? Why would a bank president, hotel owner, real-estate mogul or any other person of high status want to wash the feet of anyone other than those of their own status?

Why would the King of Kings want to shed His blood to save a sinner like you?

Weekly Devotional – 21 Aug, 2021

Only Begotten Son

Genesis 22:1-19

Every person who has ever gone to church has heard the story of Abraham and Isaac. It took a lot of faith to be willing, without question, to sacrifice your son as a burnt offering. Abram had the ultimate faith in God.

We see in verse 7 that Isaac questioned his father about the lamb for the offering. In Verse 8 Abraham told his son that God would provide the lamb. By his faith, Abraham knew that God would not allow him to sacrifice his son.

Sacrifices have been around since the beginning of time. Abel gave a sacrifice to God. He gave the firstborn of his flock. Cain also gave a portion of his grain (Genesis 4:3-4). The jealousy connected to this sacrifice was the reason for the first murder in the history of man.

How did these two know to sacrifice to God? At some point they had to have had an interaction with God and perhaps Adam or Eve told them the story of their beginning and the sin they caused. Either way, faith was born in that first sacrifice. Through the years after Cain and Abel, there have been many sacrifices.

Some scholars have questioned the amount of the sacrifice. However, if they had paid attention to the scripture, God told them the answer. The amount didn’t matter. The condition of the heart and the willingness to give to God the firstborn or first fruits of your labor. It was their willingness to take what was left after you give to God.

A strong plea has been made that: Since faith was what made the sacrifice acceptable to God, this faith must have been based upon a positive enactment of God in the past. Without this divine positive enactment to guarantee its truthfulness, faith, in Abel, would have been declared superstition. In other words, faith, in order to be truly based and properly directed, must have a revelation from God, a positive expression of the divine will.

The same is true today. You can go to church a hundred times for your own reasons, but the first time you go to church because you feel you should; that is when you are ready to have enough faith to be saved. God is working in your heart and that is a positive interaction with God.

The ultimate interaction with man was the giving of His son to free us from all the sins we had committed so our hearts could be pure, and our thoughts of God could be good.

There are many churches today that concentrate on the punishment of Israel from God. They tell their parishioners that this is what will happen to them if they are not saved. These same churches tell their people nothing about the love of God, the kindness of God, nor the patience of God. Without these, mankind could not exist.

Well, the things mentioned above are things God feels for Christians only. No! Read (John 3:16). The verse begins (For God so Loved the World). Not just the Christians, sinners, or the Jews, God so loved the world! That includes everyone from the beginning of time to the end. It also includes some names that we can’t seem to forgive such as Judas, Matthew, The Paster, the deacons, Hitler, Paul, Martin Luther King, Geronimo, You and Me. When God said the world, He was talking about everyone. God is willing to save them because He gave His only begotten Son for them.

There are many instances in the New Testament where Jesus talks about the arrogance of the tithe given by the Pharisees. It wasn’t that their gift wasn’t enough, it was their attitude. They gave out of obligation and they wanted everyone to know how rich they were giving (Luke 21:1-4). In this scripture the widow gave all she had, out of her love for God.

God was the one that gave all for the sins of man. God gave His Only Begotten Son for the sins of the world. That includes you and me, God gave the final lamb that had to be sacrificed because of the sins of man (John 1:29).

Sacrifices have been an important part of the worship of God, but today a different type of sacrifice is needed, it’s the same faith Abraham had. The humbleness of the soul, it’s the love we give to God, the devotion God shows to us through the Holy Spirit.

Search your heart. What is the reason you worship God? If you don’t go to church, why? If you don’t believe in God, why? If you love God, why?

Weekly Word Definition – Catholic

Catholic

  • a. Of or involving the Roman Catholic Church.
  • b. Of or relating to the universal Christian church.
  • c. Of or relating to the ancient undivided Christian church.
  • d. Of or relating to those churches that have claimed to be representatives of the ancient undivided church

Catholic: wide, general, liberal, global, varied, comprehensive, universal, world-wide, tolerant, eclectic, all-inclusive, ecumenical, all-embracing, broad-minded, unbigoted, unsectarian He was a man of catholic tastes, enjoying music and fine arts of all kinds.

The word catholic literally means “universal.” Catholic has its origins in Greek from kata meaning “concerning” and holou meaning “whole” thus “concerning the whole” or universal.

  1. What is the difference between Christianity and Catholicism?
    • Christianity is the religion having faith on Jesus Christ and his teachings. Catholicism is a branch of Christianity. The other divisions of Christianity are Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
    • The major difference is how you deal with sin. Churches that pretend to be Christian churches will tolerate living in sin daily as long as you ask forgiveness each night.
    • The Christian churches believe in living the bible every day and sin is no longer a consideration. Christians have no need to sin.
  2. What does it mean to be catholic?
    • To be Catholic means to be whole, one with community, rich in spiritual tradition. Catholicism is a lens or filter which provides a meaningful pattern to our experiences which otherwise would be lacking in life and interest. It is comprised up of faith, theologies, and many different doctrines, even ethical and spiritual orientations, and behaviors.
    • Christianity has a simpler way. Faith! Theologies and different doctrines do not exist. Christians live God’s Word. Ethical and spiritual orientations and behaviors all become one. Worshiping God. By simply living the bible every day, all the complications of salvation become our means to a new way of live.
  3. Where is the Catholic (universal) Church?

It is in your heart.

If you have been born again, have studied the bible, are living the bible, and you love your neighbor, you are a member of the Universal (Catholic) Church.

Weekly Devotional – Aug 14, 2021

The Misused Psalm.

Psalms 23:1-6

I have been hearing this Psalm since I can remember. The problem comes from where I have been hearing this Psalm used. Most of the time this Psalm is used for funerals. Although I do agree that the message is a good one to convince people to think about the hereafter, it is also a good Psalm to use other places.

If this Psalm is so good at inspiring people to think about their future, why not use it in a place where it will do some good for everyone. Many times, I have heard this scripture used when the person being buried was not a Christian, the scripture will not do that person any good.

I can only remember this scripture being preached one or two times in my lifetime in a church service. Why do preachers avoid this scripture so often? I personally think this scripture should be used at least twice per year. I would like to see Psalms 23 used where it would do the most good, with the live people.

The sheep owner frequently tends the flocks himself, but more often he delegates the work to his children (1 Samuel 16:19; 1 Samuel 17:15) or relatives. We know that Jesus is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22), but Jesus has so many flocks in the one congregation, He allows a family member (Romans 8:15) to lead the individual family unit, the husband (1 Cor. 11:3). In such cases, the sheep have good care because the keepers have a personal interest in the well-being of the family unit.

When I was young I longed for the spring when the pastures turned green and the meadows brought forth their wildflowers. I don’t think there is a more beautiful or relaxing place in the world. At least that was what I thought at the time. In my later years, I have found, not a place, but a book that gives me the same secure feeling and the same beauty I experienced in those green pastures. That book is the bible, God’s Word. After I became a Christian, I found that the bible should be used daily to comfort and encourage the family.

God created both the man and woman in His image (Gen. 1:27) and when they sinned, God set into motion a plan to return them to His image. Without hesitation, God gave His Only Son to die on the cross for our sins. The death of Jesus on the cross gave us the opportunity to “keep silence” in the world (Psalms 4:4) and not sin. The bible teaches us to “be still” (Psalms 46:10) so we can hear His word and learn to live for Him. What family household doesn’t need that in their lives these days?

This valley of the shadow of death we call live is the one thing that no one should have to fear. We fear our first years of school, we fear our graduation from college or high school, we fear marriage. Yes, there are many things in this life the world has taught us to fear. But God, tells us in His word not to fear any of these things (Matthew 6:25-34) for He will be our provider. God has never said anything about making us rich, but he will never let us need for anything essential.

I believe that Psalms 23 has more to do with the family than the dead. If we used it in the correct context, I believe it should be used to inspire the perfect “wedding vows.” These vows would be read by the husband and wife simultaneously. If I were to use it for the vows, they would read something like this.

  • God is the Shepherd of our household
  • He will lead us when we go to work and when we are together at home
  • We will have no need in our marriage, for God is our provider
  • We will study God’s Word and allow God to comfort us in the green pastures of life
  • We will still our hearts to allow God to guide us every step of the way
  • He has restored our souls to His image through the death Of Jesus on the cross
  • We will live the righteousness expected of someone in the Divine Nature of God
  • We will abstain from sin for His name sake
  • As we walk through this valley called life, we will fear no evil For God is with us
  • His word and His church they comfort us
  • You send me out before the lost of the world to spread your word
  • You anoint us with the oil of your faith and our hearts overflow with Your love
  •  With your help, our family will live in the goodness and mercy of Your love
  •  And we will live in the church with our brothers and sister in Christ forever. AMEN

Who is guiding your marriage?