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 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 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 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 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?

Weekly Devotional – August 7, 2021

The First Redeemer

Genesis 1:27

The name of the Divine Being. It is the rendering of the Hebrew ʾEl, from a word meaning to be strong; also of Eloah and its plural Elohim. The singular form, Eloah, is used only in poetry. The plural form is more commonly used in all parts of the Bible, The Hebrew word Jehovah, the only other word generally employed to denote the Supreme Being, is uniformly rendered as “Lord,” printed in small capitals. The existence of God is taken for granted in the Bible. The only argument to prove the existence of God is in the heart. He who disbelieves this truth is spoken of as one devoid of understanding (Psalms 14:1).

Man was made last of all the creatures: this was both an honour and a favour to him. Yet man was made the same day that the beasts were; his body was made of the same earth as theirs. While he is in the body, he inhabits the same earth with them. God forbid that by indulging the body, and the desires of it, we should make ourselves like the beasts that perish!

Man was to be a creature different from all that had been made. Flesh and spirit, heaven and earth, must be put together in him. God said, “Let us make man.” Man, when he was made, was to glorify the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Into that great name we are baptized, for to that great name we owe our being. It is the soul of man that especially bears God’s image. Man was made upright, Eccl 7:29. His understanding saw Divine things clearly and truly; there were no errors or mistakes in his knowledge; his will consented at once, and in all things, to the will of God.

His affections were all regular, and he had no bad appetites or passions. His thoughts were easily brought and fixed to the best subjects. Therefore man was holy, man was happy, Man was one with God. But how was this image of God defaced by man?

Here we find the “woman,” rather the female (gunē) in Greek, shares with the male the image of God, reflects God’s power and majesty on earth and is commanded to multiply and bring dominion to the earth. From Genesis 1:26-28 there is no suggestion of inferiority of the female to the male, nor is there any suggestion of her submission to his dominance. Rather, they are pictured together, the male and the female, as the representation of their Maker. A woman is a person in every respect as a man; she shares in the image of God and has the potential of varied ranges of response to culture, community, and life about her.

Another thing both man and woman shared in was “the fall.” We find the details of the fall in Genesis 3:1-13. Although both of them made excuses and tried to get out of punishment, they were both guilty. The first sin was not the eating of the fruit, it was the willful disobedience of God. Truthfully, that was true then and is also true now. We put many labels on sin, as God did in the Ten Commandments. Truthfully sin is the same. God said, “You shall not kill.” If we kill, it is not the act of killing that is the sin. The sin is the willful disobedience of God.

When God found that the man and woman had sinned, He could have just killed them and started over. Instead, God chose to redeem them, but with restrictions. Because the woman was easily deceived, God mad the man head of the household (1 Cor. 11:3). God changed childbearing from a pleasure to a burden. But man didn’t get off scot-free either. The man was to forever till the soil by the sweat of his brow.

In every situation of sin, there is a price that must be paid. God loved His creation of man so much, He foreordained that at a set time in the future, God would come and live among man so He could die on the cross for the sins of those who would believe in Him and turn back to Him forever (John 3:16). This makes God the first “Redeemer.”

Weekly Devotional – July 31, 2021

Risen

Luke 24:1-12

We don’t know at what time Jesus arose from the dead on the first day of the week, but it must have been very early. The earthquake and the angel (Matt. 28:2-4) opened the tomb, not to let Jesus out but to let the witnesses in.

Mary Magdalene had been especially helped by Jesus and was devoted to Him (Luke 8:2). She had lingered at the cross (Mark 15:47), and then she was first at the tomb. With her were Mary the mother of James; Joanna; and other devout women (Luke 24:10), hoping to finish preparing their Lord’s body for burial.

Because of the timing of the crucifixion, the body had not been completely prepared. The Sabbath started at 6 pm on Friday. Why? Because that is when the workday ended at sundown (Mark 1:32; Luke 4:40). We are not concerned with other places in the world, God was in the Garden of Eden. From the description of the Garden of Eden, we can assume that it was originally located in what we today call Iran. Sundown there is at about 6 pm.

There had been little time to preserve the body and get it to the tomb before sundown. What the ladies were doing was a sad labor of love that was transformed into gladness when they discovered that Jesus was alive.

“Who will roll the stone away?” was their main concern. The Roman soldiers would not break the Roman seal, especially for a group of mourning Jewish women. But God had solved the problem for them; the tomb was open and there was not a body to prepare!

At this point, two angels appeared on the scene. Matthew 28:2 and Mark 16:5 mention only one of the two, the one who gave the message to the women. There was a kind rebuke in his message as he reminded them of their bad memories! More than once, Jesus had told His followers that He would suffer and die and be raised from the dead (Matt. 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; Luke 9:22, 44; 18:31-34). How sad it is when God’s people forget His Word and live defeated lives. Today, the Spirit of God assists us to remember His Word (John 14:26).

The women ran to tell the disciples the good news, but the men did not believe them!

Unfortunately, there are still many churches and individuals today who still don’t believe it. I was raised in one of these churches. They only spoke of the Holy Spirit at baptisms. According to them, when you received the water baptism you automatically receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is there to help you. When doing bible studies, they always skipped over the 14th through the 16th chapters of John. I’m not sure whether they didn’t know how to explain them or they were afraid of them.

According to them, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are dead. Therefore there can be no more miracles. I guess they have never witnessed salvation, especially mine. I guess they have never witnessed the birth of a baby. I guess they have never witnessed a person being brought back to life. No, they are not dead. There are still miracles today just as there were in Jesus’ lifetime. In Mark 16:14, Jesus later rebuked them for their unbelief.

Mary Magdalene asked Peter and John to come to examine the tomb (John 20:1-10), and they too saw the proof that Jesus was not there. However, all that the evidence said was that the body was gone and apparently there had been no violence.

As Mary lingered by the tomb weeping, Jesus Himself appeared to her (John 20:11-18). It is one thing to see the empty tomb and the empty grave clothes, but quite something else to meet the risen Christ. We today cannot see the evidence in the tomb, but we do have the testimony of the witnesses found in the inspired Word of God.

As we live out our faith in Jesus Christ and know personally that He is alive in us (Gal. 2:20), we can see the miracles that are happening each day. We can recognize that the Holy Spirit is still waking people at 2 am singing a song of praise to God that they are to sing to the world. The Holy Spirit still inspires the words that God Called preachers and teachers are to speak, whether in a classroom or written. God still inspires men to write about God today just as he did Peter and Paul. A book doesn’t have to be cannoned to come from God.

Keep in mind that these women did not expect to see Jesus alive. They had forgotten His resurrection promises and went to the tomb only to finish anointing His body. They became excited witnesses, even to their leaders, that Jesus Christ is alive!

Has anyone ever walked up to you and said, “I see Christ in you?” If you are a Christian, then people should see Christ in you.

Weekly Devotional – July 24, 2021

The Word is Born

John 1:1-18

All four Gospels begin by placing Jesus within a historical setting, but the Gospel of John is unique in the way it opens. The Book of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus that connects Him to David and Abraham. Mark starts with the preaching of John the Baptist. Luke has a dedication of his work to Theophilus and follows that with a prediction of the birth of John the Baptist. But John begins with a theological insight.

It is almost as if John had said, “I want you to consider Jesus in His teaching and the good deeds He performed through His miracles. But you will not understand the good news of Jesus in its fullest sense unless you view Him from this point of view. Jesus is God manifest in the flesh of a man, and His words and deeds are those performed by the Holy Spirit who lived in Jesus” (Matthew 3:16-17).

The simple and earnest reason why the Son of God is called the Word seems to be, that as our words explain our minds to others, so was the Son of God sent to reveal his Father’s mind to the world.

What the Apostle John says of Christ proves that he is God. He asserts His existence in the beginning; His coexistence with the Father. The Word was with God. All things were spoken into existence by him, but not as an instrument. Without him, there was nothing made from the universe to the smallest mammal. This shows how well qualified he was for the work of our redemption and salvation. The light of reason, as well as the life of magnificence, is derived from him and depends on him. This eternal Word, this true Light shines, but the darkness, the world,  comprehends nothing. Let us pray without ceasing, that our eyes may be opened to behold this Light, that we may walk in it; and thus be made wise, from belief to salvation conceived by faith in Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist came to bear witness concerning Jesus. Nothing more fully shows the darkness of men’s minds, that when the Light appeared, there needed to be a witness to call attention to it. Christ was the true Light; that great Light which deserves to be called so.

 By his Spirit and grace he enlightens all that are enlightened to salvation; and those that are not enlightened by him, perish in darkness. Christ was in the world when he took the nature of man was upon him and He dwelt among us. The Son of the Highest was here in this lower world. He was in the world, but not of the world. He came to save a lost world because it was a world of his own making. Yet the world didn’t know Him.

When he comes as a Judge in the end times, for He is the Alpha and the Omega the beginning and the end (Rev. 1:8) the world will surely know him.

Many say that they are Christ’s own, yet they don’t receive him, because they won’t part with their sins, nor will they allow him to reign over them. All the children of God are born again. This new birth is because Jesus, the word of God, is the means (1Pe 1:23). and by the Holy Spirit of God as the Author.

By his Divine presence, Christ always was in the world. But now that the fulness of time had come, he was God in the flesh of a man.

Men disclose their weaknesses to those most familiar with them, but it was not so with Christ; those most intimate with him saw all of his glory

Though Jesus was in the form of man, He had the same Holy Spirit that is given to man through spiritual baptism. This same Holy Spirit will lead and guide the lives of all who allow Jesus to control their lives.

Do you have the Spirit of God in you? Are you part of the Divine Nature, thus a part of God? You should be!! Why Aren’t You?!

Weekly Devotional – July 17, 2021

Give God Your Best

Malachi 1:1-14

My dad was a poor man, our family raised most of what we ate, but my dad was faithful to God. The one thing my dad insisted on was that each of us had nice clothes to go to church. He and I had suits to wear and my mom and younger sister had a nice dress. There were times my mom had to borrow coffee for my dad to have a cup on Friday before going to work, but he insisted on our Sunday best.

After I was grown and out of the house, I asked my dad why he couldn’t buy me tennis shoes to play basketball, but we always got new Sunday clothes twice a year. At that point he reached for his bible and read me this scripture in Malachi. Then he looked at me and said, “God expects us to give Him our best, not the basketball couch.

After God gave His message to Malachi, no one heard from Him for 450 years. At the end of that time He gave His Son to try to salvage the people of Israel again, but they rejected Him again. Then He gave the gospel to the Gentiles. Now it appears the Gentiles are turning against Him also. The people of today would rather wear shorts and tee shirt to church and save our money for drugs or gambling. Since there is no other people to favor, the only thing left is for God to wipe the slate clean and start over. What a sad day.

I have heard many teachers and preachers say that the Old Testament doesn’t apply to us because we aren’t under the law. I agree with part of that statement, but not the rest. No, we aren’t under the law.

The message Malachi delivered from God was not a law, but a command (John 15:9-10) and we are supposed to follow the commands of God.

In this chapter God told His people what they had done. They cheated Him with their half dead sheep and their three legged lambs. They gave their unwanted sacrifices and saved the best for the market place.

Do we not do the same things today? The preachers are so busy trying to increase the numbers and the money in the church, they sit back and don’t teach and preach the things that would help people understand why the church can’t grow. There are only two things they need to do to increase the numbers and they are doing neither of them.

The first thing a church must do to grow is to be in one accord. The church must have the mind of Christ and to do so they must follow the commands of God. (Acts 2:46).

God commands in Malachi that we give Him out best. If our best is a pair of pants with holes in them and a tee shirt, then so be it. However, if we wear something “comfortable” to church and wear a suit or nice dress to work the next day, aren’t we cheating God in the same manner as the Children of Israel did? The pastors of the churches don’t even wear their best. They wear a shirt and pants on Sunday morning then wear a nice suit to preach a funeral later that week. Are they saying they will only honor God if He is dead? Heaven Forbid!!

The second thing the churches are doing wrong, is trying to do God’s job (Acts 2:47). The Apostles were told by Jesus to proclaim the Good News and make disciples of all men. They were never told to conduct membership drives.

The church I grew up in, never changed from their worship of God. They are misguided about some things, but not about who does what in the church. They all agree that if they follow the commands of God and do His will, God will give the increase. I first remember the church as having 17 members. Now when you pass that church on Sunday morning the church grounds are full of cars and sometimes they are parked along the highway. The one thing that stands out to me is, they all still wear their Sunday best.

Put God to the test. Follow all His commands and give Him your best when you worship and see what types of increases God will give you. You might even get that new baby the doctors tell you that you can never have.

Weekly Devotional – July 10, 2021

Are You Called By God?

Jeremiah 1:1-10

Jeremiah’s early call is documented and proclaimed to the world. The fact that Jeremiah was ordained before he was formed in his mother’s womb has two separate and distinct messages for us. These messages are spoken loud and clear by God through Jeremiah.

The first message is about abortion. The people who are for abortion say that if the fetus is aborted before the third month, it has not been formed and that is not murder. This scripture is proof they are wrong. If Jeremiah had been aborted before the third month, before he had been formed in his mother’s womb, the world would have lost a great prophet.

God doesn’t give children to people just so they will have children. Each child is born with certain talents to pursue. Some may become school teachers, some may become congressman, etc. The fact is that God has already equipped these people to do a job for Him. God wants us to thrive as a nation and satan wants to stop God. That is not going to happen.

Satan is trying, through abortion, to manipulate our nation and the other nations of the world to conform to his agenda. If he can stop at least some of the great people God has already given a mission, he will be able to dictate the outcome of wars and set many nations against their neighbors.

As Christians, we should study God’s word and listen to Him. Pay no attention to the world. Stand fast against any scientist, congressman, or any other person that tries to push abortion. This is our duty as Christians (John 14:15).

The second message is to not let the world dictate the education of this country. There have been many great preachers and Apostles who could not read or write.

When Jesus chose the Apostles, he didn’t choose those who were well educated, he chose those who would be faithful and follow Him. Some of the Apostles could neither read nor write. Yet they were chosen to carry God’s Word to the world. These men learned to read and write from each other

One of these fisherman who only knew how to catch fish and count money, became the “rock” of the foundation of the church and delivered the first sermon after the day of Pentecost. This man who could not write his name, was equipped by God and led the movement of the church to his very death.

Today if some of the preachers who are turned out of the “mind mill” we call a college were told they would have to stop preaching or die, we would have a lot more bus drivers. God doesn’t call anyone to His service that He is not willing to equip for that particular service. Yes, we need the colleges, but they need to be regulated. No one who has not been called by God should be allowed to attend a seminary. After a person is called, they should study on their own for at least two years. In this time God will help them study and teach them the things He wants them to preach. Not every preacher or teacher has the same message. After God has given them the message He wants them to preach or teach, then let them go to college to learn the administration of the church.

These ten verses of scripture, if we heed them, could bring our nation to serve God. Study them and listen to God. Tell the world to be quiet.