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 Word Definition – Civilized

1. cultured, educated, sophisticated, enlightened, humane All truly civilized countries must deplore torture.

2. polite, mannerly, tolerant, gracious, courteous, affable, well-behaved, well-mannered Our divorce was conducted in a very civilized manner. www.thefreedictionary.com

What makes a person civilized?

To my mind, civilized people ought to satisfy the following conditions:

(a)They respect the individual and are therefore always indulgent, gentle, polite, and compliant.

(b)They do not throw a tantrum over a hammer or a lost eraser.

(c)Their compassion extends beyond beggars and cats.

(d) They are hurt even by things the naked eye can’t see.

(e)They respect the property of others and therefore pay their debts.

What is the opposite of civilized?

The Opposite of Civilization is Human Nature.

Occasionally, regrettably, human nature finds a way to break through the behavioral, cultural, social, and even religious boundaries constructed around it.

Romans 6:11-14 (NKJV)

Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin but present ourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

2 Peter 1:2-4 (NKJV)

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

What makes up a civilization?

A civilization is a complex society with many elements present such are government, religion, art, architecture, educational and writing systems, different occupations, advanced agriculture, and large settlements. A civilized person follows all the laws of society.

What are the 6 basic characteristics of civilization?

  1. cities
  2. organized governments
  3. art
  4. religion
  5. class divisions
  6. and a writing system.

Also.

  1. Stable food supply
  2. government
  3. highly developed culture
  4. Jobs
  5. Social Classes
Look at your heart. Are you civilized?

Weekly Word Definition – Judgement

Judgement (or US spelling judgment) is also known as adjudication which means the evaluation of evidence to make a decision. Judgement is also the ability to make considered decisions. The term has at least five distinct uses. Aristotle suggested we think of the opposite of different uses of a term, if one exists, to help determine if the uses are really different. Some opposites will be included here to help demonstrate their uses are really distinct.       Wikipedia

What is the difference between Judgement and Verdict?

In context terms, the difference between judgment and verdict is that judgment is the legal act of determining, as in courts of law, what is conformable to law and justice; also, the determination, decision, or sentence of a court, or of a judge, while verdict is the legal decision on an issue of fact in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.  Wikidiff

What does a judgement mean?

The act of judging. Judgment (Noun) The power or faculty of performing such operations; especially, when unqualified, the faculty of judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely; as, a man of judgment; a politician without judgment.

It has been my observation that most politicians are short on morals but are abundant in their need to judge others.

True Christians on the other hand are quick to use moral thoughts when confronting or advising other Christians as well as the world.

Judgement is not a tool given to Christians; we are given eternal life instead. (John 3:16)

Why are there two spellings?

Many think that the difference between judgement and judgment is that the longer version is the British spelling, whereas the shorter one is the US convention. While some claim that Noah Webster first recorded the spelling of judgment in his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, both sides of the pond have used the spelling judgment since the late 1600s.

Though judgement (with an e) has risen and fallen in popularity in British English, judgment remains the preferred spelling in British legal proceedings and appears more frequently in written work. Today, judgement is an accepted spelling in British English. But, if you stick to judgment, you will not be judged in the UK or the US.

Romans 6:1-6 (NKJV)

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 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.  Our sin nature no longer exists. We are dead to sin!! There are those who spend their lives twisting the word of God and fighting for their right to sin. What will their judgment from God be?

2 Peter 1:2-4 (NKJV)

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Those who surrender completely to God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead their lives daily will remain free of sin. The True Christian can have only one verdict from God’s Judgment. “Not Guilty.”

What will your verdict be?

Love Never Fails

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

1 Corinthians 13:8 (NKJV)

During World War 2, we had some great Generals leading fighting men to keep our freedom in this country. General Eisenhower became President of this country soon after he retired. This country will never forget Generals Patton and MacArthur.

There were two men they tried to get rid of at the start of the war. One was an Air Force Pilot. They turned him down for the Navy because he was too tall. When he went to the Air Force, he was turned down for being underweight. After he gained the weight, they finally waived his height and allowed him to fly. You can see the rest of James Stewart’s story in a movie called “Strategic Air Command.” What he has done for his country was not contained in the service. Jimmy Stewart dedicated his life to entertaining America.

The second man they didn’t want was a man who was too short and too weak. He was constantly sick and had only a fifth-grade education. This man was constantly risking his life for his friends. By the end of the war this man had more and higher decorations than any other man during World War 2. He then went on to dedicate his life to entertaining America. His name was Audie Murphy. You can see his story in the movie, “To Hell and Back.”

There was another man over 2000 years ago who was ridiculed and rejected by His own people. He came preaching salvation and they laughed at Him; His own people turned against Him. This man gave the ultimate sacrifice so undeserving people like you and I could be saved.

Jesus Christ came to this earth to demonstrate a love stronger than that shown by any other man ever. That love is still demonstrated every day.

Jesus died on the cross of Calvary to demonstrate that love, He paid the ultimate price for OUR sins and demonstrated the ultimate love.

These two men continued to show their love for their country through their acting. But in the end that acting came to a stop when they were old.

Christ, however, not only carried His love for all Christians to the grave with him; he also brought that love from the grave when he was resurrected. God’s (Christ’s) love continues today and will continue beyond the end of time. God’s love can never fail.

Without Love, I Am Nothing

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2 (NKJV)

Before I started this blog, I wrote a book called “Forgiveness, the prelude to love.” While I studied the scripture for answers, I found out that all things lead us to love. Although there is nothing to pay to get love, there is a definite set of paths that you must take to get to the point of loving.

Just think of all the different loves we have in our lifetime. As a child we love our parents, we love our siblings, we love other relatives that we may have.

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?” 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.

        Paul makes it truly clear in Hebrew 10:11, 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.

 We must follow the example set by God. We must also forget what that person did.

As we grow into teens, we have other classmates that we learn to love. If we are well liked, there will be teachers, preachers, and bible students at church we become fond of. Yet if we combined all that love together, it would be no more than a speck on a wall in comparison to God’s love just for us. Why?

God’s love has no conditions. God was willing to die for each one of us. Which one of those whom you love are you ready to die for?

Christian Word Definition: Patience

Patience is a Virtue: The ability to wait for something without frustration is a useful skill and a good aspect of one’s personality. The origin of “Patience is a Virtue” goes as far back as the fifth century.

The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

The Bible definition of patience.

The quality or virtue of patience is presented as either forbearance or endurance. In the former sense it is a quality of self-restraint or of not giving way to anger, even in the face of provocation; it is attributed to both God and man and is closely related to mercy and compassion.

The Bible says that hope is needed to be patience. For Christians it is our hope in Jesus Christ that brings patience. If we have no hope, we have no need for patience. Patience is also closely aligned with love as well as hope. Love is full of patience and hope.

The word translated “patience” in this verse means “endurance.” A Christian runs the race patiently by persevering through difficulties. In the Bible, patience is persevering towards a goal, enduring trials, or expectantly waiting for a promise to be fulfilled. Patience does not develop overnight.

The Bible calls patience a “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22), which means that patience adorns our bodies like a beautiful apple on a tree that is fed by living water. Because of the Holy Spirit, we can choose to use patience (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Bible Verses About Patience – Scripture Quotes on Being Patient. We all face moments where our patience wears thin – either with others, with ourselves, or to be honest, with God’s plan. According to Scripture, patience is a virtue and a fruit of the Spirit, a sign of someone who trusts in God. According to 1 Samuel “lack of patience can cause you to miss blessings.”

When my wife and I talk to people about our marriage, I always tell people that I have had some fun and my wife has had an abundance of patience. Patience can make your life more fun and it can also bring joy to others.

Christian Word Definition: Humility

A prominent Christian grace (Rom 12:3; Rom 15:17, 18; 1Co 3:5-7; 2Co 3:5; Php 4:11-13). It is a state of mind well-pleasing to God (1Pe 3:4); it preserves the soul in tranquility (Ps 69:32, 33), and makes us patient under trials (Job 1:22).

Christ has set us an example of humility (Php 2:6-8). We should be led thereto by a remembrance of our sins (Lam 3:39), and by the thought that it is the way to honor (Prov 16:18), and that the greatest promises are made to the humble (Ps 147:6; Isa 57:15; Isa 66:2; 1Pe 5:5). It is a “great paradox in Christianity that it makes humility the avenue to glory.”

Illustrated Bible Dictionary: And Treasury of Biblical History

Humility is the quality of being humble. Dictionary definitions accentuate humility as a low self-regard and sense of unworthiness. In a religious context, humility can mean a recognition of self in relation to a deity or deities, and subsequent submission to said deity as a member of that religion. Outside of a religious context, humility is defined as being “unselfish”, a liberation from the consciousness of self, a form of temperance that is neither having pride nor indulging in self-deprecation. Wikipedia

Definition of humility: freedom from pride or arrogance: the quality or state of being humble accepted the honor with humility, the ordeal taught her humility: the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people: the quality or state of being humble: the quality of being humble She accepted the award with humility.

www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humility

How to Practice Humility

Mother Theresa once said, “Humility is the mother of all virtues, purity, charity, and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent.” These words ring true, but you don’t have to be Mother Theresa, or even religious at all, to make an effort to practice humility in your everyday life. Being humble means accepting your limitations and making an effort to make the world a better place without wanting to take all the credit.

Developing a More Humble Mindset

Don’t think you’re too good for everything you do. People who have big egos tend to think that they deserve to be working at a better place, to be dating someone better, or even to be hanging out with people who are interesting and cooler. But your life is your life, and if you want better things, then you have to work to reach for them, instead of assuming the attitude that you’re not getting treated fairly. To practice humility, work to accept the life you have while striving for more without complaining.

 If you adopt the attitude that you’re too cool for school, people will become allergic to you. Instead, work to be grateful for what you have and work to earn more if that’s what you want.

The One Who Loves Me will be Loved by My Father

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

John 14:21 (NIV2011)

Do you own a bible? If you do, then you have the commands of God and Christ. They are all written in the bible.

Are you automatically responsible for the commands, just because they are in the bible? No! You are responsible for the commands only after you have repented of your sin and have accepted Christ as your savior.

When a person repents of their sin, that sin is lifted and room is made for the salvation of Jesus Christ, the new convert is given a gift bible by the church. This action represents two different parts of that person’s salvation.

  1. The church has just fulfilled the first part of this verse of scripture and they have helped the person being converted get and hopefully keep the first part of the scripture represented here. The church gave them the commands of God.
  2. Which of the commands are we, as Christians, responsible for? We are responsible for every command given by God from the 10 commandments given on Mt. Sinai to the birth of Jesus.
  3. Although Christ never gave many commands for us to follow, He did give a few. The commands given by Christ are just as important as those given by God. We are responsible for both.

Just because we have the commands in the bible doesn’t mean that we know them enough to follow them. This is where the work comes in. Now we must study that bible to find out what those commands are and how they apply to us.

Most of the good churches will assign someone to disciple the new convert to teach them “how” to study the bible. This usually takes 2-3 weeks. Once the disciple releases the new convert, they are on their own.

The study given by the disciple, in no way prepares the convert to be a Christian. That preparation takes a lifetime.

God’s first command (Exodus 20:1) states that we shall have no other God’s before Him. That is not a command that can only be done on Sunday morning. To honor that command, you must make sure (on a daily basis) that you have not allowed any other thing, including money, to come before God.

That new position you were offered in the firm will come with a big promotion, a raise in salary, and more responsibility. If you accept a new position that keeps you from going to church, then you have broken the command and the love God has been giving you is in vain.

You have allowed money, pride, and self-conceit to come before God. That breaks the command, and you can’t allow that to happen.

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

John 15:12 (NKJV)

Christ said we must love one another. We must do this every minute of every day. If something happens to make us angry at someone, we must stop, forgive that person of whatever they did and love them. Notice that forgiveness comes first. Unforgiveness can block love and keep it from getting to the person it is directed toward.

If we follow the commands of God and Christ daily, then it makes being a Christian easy.

The most satisfying compliment I have ever gotten was when a man looked at me and said, “I see Christ in you.”

People are supposed to see Christ in you. Why? Because you, as a Christian, have the Holy Spirit in you (John 14:17).

Remember, Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a way of life. You must walk beside God all day every day.

And I Will Pray the Father

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever

John 14:15-16 (NKJV)

Tom Brewster was in his mid-20’s when he surrendered to God. It happened at a Sunday night service one summer. The pastor immediately assigned someone to disciple Tom and help him on his path to being a good Christian.

There are many who believe that a person who surrenders to God is automatically a self-sufficient Christian and can go out in the community and preach to the multitudes. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

There are also some church congregations that believe a person receives the Holy Spirit when they are saved. The bible proves all this wrong and teaches us a vastly different truth. It is a lot of hard work and spiritual expectation to become a Christian.

When the pastor assigned one of the deacons to tutor Tom about the bible, he made a very profound statement, he said, “Becoming a Christian is not automatic. Becoming a Christian is hard work and patience. It’s not about how much you know about the bible; it is more about how much you show concerning your walk with God.”

Tom was confused. When the pastor saw his confusion, he changed his method of teaching. The pastor looked at Tom and stated, “In versed 15-16, there are 5 statements of things you as a believer must do to achieve just the firs level of belief.”

The pastor then broke down the verses in this manner.

  1. If you love me:  What does it mean to love Crist? To love Christ is to have the same love He had for us. We must remember that Christ loved us so much; He was willing to be hanged on a cross because he loved us. That type of love must be returned in kind.
  2. Keep My Commandments: God has given us a set of commandments that we must follow. These commandments are for our benefit and are non-negotiable.
  3. And I Will Pray the Father. Christ took it upon Himself to ask the Father to help us. Christ asked for nothing for Himself, He asked for help for the Believers that have turned their lives over to Him. Not physical help, but spiritual help.
  4. And He will give you another helper. Just think about how much God loves us.
    1. He Created us to be our friend
    2. He gave us a physical helper (a wife)
    3. He gave his only son to die for us
    4. Then He gave us another helper (The Holy Spirit our spiritual helper). The Spirit lives in us and is there whenever we need him.
    5. And through all this, He gave us each other to love.

There are many people who promote the idea that God has a magic wand that he uses when we need something. Nothing could not be farther from the truth.

When God gave us the church, it wasn’t to get together each Sunday and sing songs. He gave us a meeting place that we could gather and praise God for loving us enough to give us the opportunity to help each other.

When Christ was feeding the multitudes, He furnished the fish and bread, but it did not rain down from above, it was handed out by the disciples.

When we need it, God will always give us money or physical things through the church. God doesn’t use a magic wand, He uses His disciples

If you want to become a Christian, you must love God with all your heart. You must walk with God, work for God, and give your testimony by the way you live your life.

A Christian is Christ like; therefore, everyone must see Christ in you. AMEN!!