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Weekly Devotional – May 15, 2021

Rulers of Tens

Exodus 18:21 (NKJV)

Moreover, you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.

When I joined the Navy in 1976, the first place they sent me was “Boot Camp.” There was 6 weeks of intense learning. There were three things they were teaching you.

The first thing they taught me was to remain silent while the orders were being issued. There were many who learned this the hard way. But in the end, they did learn.

Many of the Psalm teach us the same thing, I especially like Psalm 62:5-8. Though I may only lead tens, my leadership is important. Not because I have man’s training, but because I was appointed and trained by God. It was not man’s training that put me in my position of authority, it was God’s standards and His knowledge leading me.

The second thing the military taught me was how to follow the orders of my superiors. This one, well, let’s just say it was a hard pill for me to swallow.

Before I joined the Navy I had been the boss for several years and their style of leadership was much different than I was used to using. When you are trying to make a deadline in the civilian world, everyone needs to keep working toward the goal in order to meet the deadline. However, if you are a little late no one gets hurt. In the military, if you don’t work hard someone could die.

God’s work is the same as the military, but worse. If you die in war, that is only the first death and the state of your eternal life has already been determined. The state of your eternal life is dependent on how well God’s army is doing its job. If God’s people fail to recruit you as the military recruiter did, the state of your eternal life is in jeopardy (Romans 6:23). God’s people must then teach you how to fight against evil and learn the truth that is in God’s word (Ephesians 6:10-20).

The third thing I learned from the military was leadership. They taught me that each promotion came with a different type and level of responsibility. When you reach the higher levels you take on a lot of responsibility. You only reach the higher levels when your superiors feel you are read to meet the task.

We have many leaders in our churches today that decided out of high school that being a preacher is an easy job. Because of this, many people who might have been saved are dying without knowing how to be saved.

Just as in the military, God is your senior officer and only He can decide whether or not you are ready to handle the responsibility. No College can teach what God already knows. Although I believe college can make a pastor a better administrator, only God can teach someone to be a preacher or teacher and only after they have been called to do so by God. Who knows, God may think you worthy to lead more than ten!!   

Weekly Word Definition – Betroth

To promise “by one’s truth.” Men and women were betrothed when they were engaged to be married. This usually took place a year or more before marriage. From the time of betrothal, the woman was regarded as the lawful wife of the man to whom she was betrothed (Deut 28:30; Jdg. 14:2, 8; Mat 1:18-21). The term is figuratively employed of the spiritual connection between God and his people (Hos 2:19, 20). Illustrated Bible Dictionary: And Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature.

To promise to marry, to give in marriage. Merriam-Webster

On betrothal as a social custom see MARRIAGE. Hosea, in his great parable of the prodigal wife, Of course we know of a greater Teacher’s parable of the Prodigal Son, uses betrothal as the symbol of Yahweh’s pledge of His love and favor to penitent Israel (Hosea 2:19-20). In Exodus 21:8-9 the Revised Version (British and American) renders “espouse” for the “betroth” of the King James Version, the context implying the actual marriage relation. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Betrothal (also called espousal) is a formal state of engagement to be married.

In Jewish weddings during Talmudic times, the two ceremonies of betrothal (erusin) and wedding usually took place up to a year apart; the bride lived with her parents until the actual marriage ceremony (nissuin), which would take place in a room or tent that the groom had set up for her. Since the Middle Ages the two ceremonies have taken place as a combined ceremony performed in public. The betrothal is now generally part of the Jewish wedding ceremony, accomplished when the groom gives the bride the ring or another object of at least nominal value. As mentioned above, betrothal in Judaism is separate from engagement; breaking a betrothal requires a formal divorce, and violation of betrothal is considered adultery.

Typical steps of a match were the following:

Negotiation of a match, usually done by the couple’s families with bride and groom having varying levels of input, from no input, to veto power, to a fuller voice in the selection of marriage partner.

This is not as widely practiced as it was historically, although it is still common in culturally conservative communities in Israel, India, Africa, and Persian Gulf countries, although most of these have a requirement that the bride be at least allowed veto power.

Negotiation of bride price or dowry

In most cultures evolved from Europe, bride prices or dowries have been reduced to the engagement ring accompanying the marriage contract, while in other cultures, such as those on the Arabian Peninsula, they are still part of negotiating a marriage contract.

Blessing by the parents and clergy. Exchange of Vows and Signing of Contracts Wikipedia

Weekly Devotional – May 8, 2021

The Perfect Garden!!

Genesis 1:11-12 (NKJV)

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Can you imagine a garden that you only have to plant each year and watch it grow? A garden that has no weeds, no insects eating the leaves, no mold, or anything else to damage the plants. This would be the perfect garden.

In the beginning this was the type of garden man was given to tend. The Garden of Eden contained nothing that would corrupt the plants in any way.

Believe it or not you, as a Christian, have experienced this twice. The first time was at birth. Even though we are born into a sinful world, children have not yet learned to sin. Small children live in their own little world and there is no sin in it.

The Christian experiences this situation a second time at the time they are saved. (Eph. 4:24) Because we are born again into God’s Righteousness and Holiness, we are again in a sin free state. It is not until we listen to others that we are tempted to sin again.

Some preachers like to take advantage of this state of the Christian and send them out to talk to the lost in the community. This is usually a good thing for the church, but bad for the Christian. Instead of using the baby Christian to talk to people, the preacher should be teaching the baby Christian how to resist temptation. How to live by the spirit, not by the flesh.

Once we grow as Christians, we should be able to achieve this state a third time. As we grow as Christians, we learn more about using the Holy Spirit to direct and improve our lives. When we do this, we are living by the spirit and we are living “in Christ.” If we live in Christ every day, then there is no sin in our lives, and we are living in righteousness and holiness and in that perfect state. This is what God intended for us from the beginning of the world.

Genesis 2:9 (NKJV)

And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

As you can see from the verse of scripture above, God gave man a choice between His way of life and the sinful live we now want to live.

Yes, God forbid man to eat from the tree of good and evil. However, God left the tree there for man to see.

God also left the tree of life there and allowed man to eat from its fruit. If man had chosen this tree, we would live forever in the presence of God.

We still have that choice. Like Adam and Eve, we have our choice of eternal life and the destruction of darkness.

What have you chosen for your life?

Weekly Word Definition – Sanctification

The definition of Sanctification:

The state of growing in divine grace because of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion (Merriam-Webster)

In the first instance, to sanctify is to regard or declare “Holy” by separating from common usage to the service of God. (Funk & Wagnall’s Bible dictionary)

Hebrews 13:12 (NKJV)

Therefore, Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.

Ephesians 5:26-27 (NRSV)

to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind, yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.

Ephesians 4:23-24 (NIV2011)

to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Sanctification is not some magic trick that God uses to keep us in line. It is the act of regeneration that leads to sanctification. Regeneration is the act of studying God’s word to the point of building a good relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.

We are not sanctified by the act of baptism, laying on of hands, or with some class that we attend. Only the Holy Spirit can help us achieve sanctification. Notice I did not say the Holy Spirit would give us sanctification. The Holy Spirit will only lead us and help us to achieve sanctification.

Why do we need sanctification? Without sanctification, we are just another person in the large pool of society. Just another person bound for the inevitable pool of sinners bound for the permanent punishment of the wicked.

To have sanctification is to be part of a small group of Christians that will live with God in Heaven.

Weekly Devotional – May 1, 2021

Did You Really Forgive?

And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Hebrews 10:11-18 (NKJV)

How many times have I heard someone who claim they are a Christian say, “I will forgive what they did, but I won’t forget.” If this is their attitude, they may as well not waste their time.

Forgiving is only half the process. We must follow the example set by God. We must also forget what that person did. If we keep the sin committed by another person in our hearts to use against them another time, then we are the sinners, not them.

Paul makes it very clear in the 11th verse above how the repeated reminder of a sin is fruitless. To truly forgive someone, we must also remove it from our heart so our mind can never remember it.

            No one ever said being a Christian was easy. God has never told us we would understand all His ways, He only wants us to trust Him.

            We can’t have salvation on our terms. Salvation is on God’s terms. Remember, we turned our lives over to Him.

How would we feel if God constantly reminded us of the sins we committed? Jesus paid for those sins and took them away.

In the 12th verse above, it states that after He had made one sacrifice for sin, He sat down at the Right Hand of the Father.

Jesus was the only one qualified to make that sacrifice. He is no longer in a position to make sacrifices, therefore, the sin must be forgotten and removed from existence. If there is no sin, there is no need for a sacrifice.

We must forgive and forget. If God can forget, if Christ can forget, who are we to think we can’t?

Weekly Word Definition – Effectual Prayer

Effectual Prayer

Occurs in Authorized Version, Jas 5:16. The Revised Version renders appropriately: “The supplication of a righteous man avails much in its working”, i.e., “it moves the hand of Him who moves the world.” Easton’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Effectual Calling From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Effectual calling (or effective calling) in Calvinist Christian soteriology is a stage in the ordo salutis in which God calls a person to himself. It relates to, but different from external calling, in which a person hears the gospel message.

Wayne Grudem suggests that it is a summons from the King of the universe that has “such power that it brings about the response that it asks for in people’s hearts.” Grudem appeals to the story of Lydia: according to Acts 16:14, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message” (NIV).

Effectual Adjective

(of something inanimate or abstract) successful in producing a desired or intended result; effective.

Synonyms:   effective · successful · efficacious · productive · constructive · fruitful · potent · powerful · worthwhile · helpful · of help · of assistance · beneficial · advantageous · valuable · useful · of use

Society and the Christian Churches all seem to get lost in the word effectual. However, there are two other word there that “we” Christians seem to overlook.

The first word is fervent. It is the next word in the sentence. The word means to be passionate about your prayer. You should want your prayer answered so badly, you are willing to do anything in return.

The second word is righteous. According to this verse of scripture, it is not the person you are praying for that needs to be righteous, it must be you that is righteous.

To be righteous, you must be virtuous and upright. You must be decent and principled.

When and only when you attain this “righteous” state in your heart, you can pray and effectual prayer for your brother or sister in Christ. James 5:16.

Are your prayers effectual? If not, why?

Weekly Word Definition – Commend

  1. praise formally or officially. synonyms: praise · compliment · congratulate · applaud · clap · cheer · toast · salute.
  2. present as suitable for approval or acceptance; recommend. synonyms: recommend · suggest · put forward · propose · advance · approve · indorse · advocate · vouch for · speak for · stand up for · champion · support · back · plug · push.
  3. entrust someone or something to. synonyms: entrust · trust · deliver · commit · hand over · give · give over · turn over · consign · assign.
  1. It was God that Created to Universe.
  2. It was God that Created Adam.
  3. It was God that gave us Christianity.
  4. It was God that formed you in your mother’s womb.
  5. It was God that called you to salvation.
  6. It was God that gave you the words to speak today.

Did you ever notice that every word of action above is a “second party word?” If you used all the synonyms above about yourself, people would laugh at you.

If you used the synonyms above about yourself constantly, people would begin to distrust you.

If you used the synonyms above about yourself, people would eventually begin to talk negative about you and your abilities.

The best part of this definition is that the result can be changed.

  • Learn how to do your job well.
  • Let God help you communicate with others.
  • Let God help tell others about your abilities.
  • Depend on God for your daily needs.
  • Praise God in your prayers.
  • Praise God in your communications.

Don’t get me wrong, a person can be financially successful and not be a Christian. However, they are never happy, joyful, or loving. The are cold, selective, and distrustful.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer a Christian who is all the things above. I would also prefer a Christian who could introduce men to their God and recommend a true method of believing in Him. A true method of getting to know Him. A true method of communicating with Him. Let God teach you how to get the money.

Remember this about God.

God is Love.

God gives us His love.

God expects our love.

God expects us to “love one another.”

Weekly Devotional April 24, 2021

Women and Marriage

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Ephesians 5:22-24 (NKJV)

For centuries the male population of society has tried to beat the woman into submission and put her barefoot and pregnant in the home. Many have used this scripture to say this is God’s will.

Many women have used this scripture as a rebellion toward men in society. Others have used this as a reason to simply live together and not get married.

It’s funny but I would venture to say that none of them have tried to find out, as Edward R Merle once said, the rest of the story.

No one bothered to study God’s word to learn what His motives were when He inspired Paul to write this in his letter to the people of Ephesus. (2 Tim 3:16)

I once heard Bob Hope tell a joke and say, “In my house I run everything. I run the vacuum, I run the dish washer, I run the washer and drier, I run everything.” Everyone laughed.

However if you study God’s word, that’s exactly what God is telling the man to do. (Gen 2:18) God created the woman to help man. If the dishes need washing, it’s the man’s responsibility to wash them. If the fields need to be plowed and sown, it’s the man’s responsibility to plow and sow them and the women is to be his helper. The woman was never intended to be barefoot and pregnant as a slave to a man. The woman was intended to submit to the man as his helper.

When the man submits to God, it is the wife’s responsibility to help the man worship God. You see if you study the scriptures in Genesis 1 and 2, you will find that woman is the only animal created using part of the male. Therefore, when the man and woman are married they are to work and worship God as one. (Gen 2:21-24)

Therefore men, lift up your wife in the eyes of society and cherish her above all you have, just as Christ lifts up and cherishes His church. The woman is your most prized possession, not your slave!!

Weekly Word Definition – Eden

Eden – Delight.

(1.) The garden in which our first parents dwelt (Gen 2:8-17). No geographical question has been so much discussed as that bearing on its site. It has been placed in Armenia, in the region west of the Caspian Sea, in Media, near Damascus, in Palestine, in Southern Arabia, and Babylonia. The site must undoubtedly be sought for somewhere along the course of the great streams the Tigris and the Euphrates of Western Asia, in “the land of Shinar” or Babylonia. The region from about lat. 33 degrees 30′ to lat. 31 degrees, which is a very rich and fertile tract, has been by the most competent authorities agreed on as the probable site of Eden. “It is a region where streams abound, where they divide and re-unite, where alone in the Mesopotamian tract can be found the phenomenon of a single river parting into four arms, each of which is or has been a river of consequence.”

Among almost all nations there are traditions of the primitive innocence of our race in the garden of Eden. This was the “golden age” to which the Greeks looked back. Men then lived a “life free from care, and without labour and sorrow. Old age was unknown; the body never lost its vigor; existence was a perpetual feast without a taint of evil. The earth brought forth spontaneously all things that were good in profuse abundance.”

(2.) One of the markets whence the merchants of Tyre obtained richly embroidered stuffs (Ezek 27:23); the same, probably, as that mentioned in (2Ki 19:12; Isa 37:12), as the name of a region conquered by the Assyrians.

(3.) Son of Joah, and one of the Levites who assisted in reforming the public worship of the sanctuary in the time of Hezekiah (2Ch 29:12).

Easton’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Definition of Eden

  1. paradise
  2. the garden where according to the account in Genesis Adam and Eve first lived
  3. a place of pristine or abundant natural beauty

Merriam Webster

Having studied all the places listed above, I can see where each of them could be where the “Garden of Eden” had originally been.

I would like you to look at one more idea. This is not based on some post graduate work of some doctoral candidate but on the knowledge of the human heart.

The heart is a fertile place where many loves and ideas are in abundance. The heart will take a subject that is rejected by society, such as marriage is being rejected today in favor of living together with no responsibilities. The heart, on the other hand, can make someone look at marriage as something that is not just full of responsibilities, but also as a place where beauty, feelings and an abundance of joy are also contained.

Living together has no love. You may think love exists until one of the two walks away and abandons the other without warning.

Marriage is built on real love. Everything else is just the gift wrapping. The only place you can get this type of love is from God through your heart.

Sounds like a form of Eden to me.

Weekly Devotional April 17, 2021

The Second Day of Creation

Genesis 1:6-8

There are millions of people around the world who are fascinated with the heavens or as we call it, the solar system. The solar system consists of stars and planets and lots of debris that we call meteors.

Prior to 2006, there were 9 Planets. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union established new criteria to determine the existence of a planet. Basically, these criteria were to determine whether Pluto was a planet or a dwarf planet. Of course, the word dwarf had never been used before, but it kept the scientist from having egg on their face.

In 1930 the planet of Pluto was discovered. The science books named it among the planets and children including the scientists that are doubting it now, were taught it was a planet. In the late 1990’s, there arose an argument over the authenticity of the discovery of Pluto. There were several scientists who denied the planet’s existence.

Have you ever heard such a truck load of double-talk in your life? Whether you call it the Universe or heavens or sky, God created it. If God wants us to understand it or to name it or to live on it, only God Himself had the power to tell us to do it. Who cares how many other planets there are? They don’t mean anything to us anyway.

All this double-talk is designed for only one purpose. Satan wants to draw our attention away from who created all this in the first place. Satan wants to take our focus off God as the creator. If he can turn our attention away from God and get us to believe some two-bit theory about an accident happening millions of years ago, he can convince us to believe in him not God. The scientist are his pawns, and he is playing a chess game with the believers.

We as Christians must believe, above all else, that God created the earth and its universe. If we don’t believe that, then mankind is doomed to an eternity of punishment. If we believe that God lied about creating the universe, then we can’t believe that He gave His Only Begotten Son to die for our sins. If we don’t believe that God created the universe, then why should we believe that God even exists?

Scientist would have us believe that there is no afterlife and that we are simply buried in a hole or sprinkled over the earth and that is that. Not True! To begin with, science can’t produce written records prior to the creation of the world. In the bible we have the written records that the scientist can’t produce. The best science can do is a bunch of guesses and innuendos, about how maybe the world was formed. But no one knows for sure because they can’t agree among themselves about any of it.

As true Christians, we know about God’s Creation. As Christians we know about salvation because we have experienced it. We can state for fact that God exists, we can state for fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Even the historians agree on the fact that Jesus lived and that He died on the Cross.

Don’t listen to the speculation of scientist, listen to the fact endorsed by God!!