Weekly Devotional June 12, 2021

The Wheat Field Murder!

Genesis 4:1-8 (NKJV)

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

This was the first case of sibling rivalry. Each wanting to do better than the other. In doing so they could claim superiority over the other. If you look at it closely, sibling rivalry is silly and impossible. Both came from the same seed. How could either one be superior? They may be different, but neither is better than the other.

The envy Cain had for Abel was the cause of his anger. The envy and anger themselves are not a sin (James 1:20), however as you can see, they will often lead to sin. Anger while not a sin, certainly is not an example of righteousness.

The act of killing someone is not a sin. If it were, God would have sinned when He told the Children of Israel to go into the land of Caanan and kill every man, woman, and child in the land. Had the Children of Israel followed the command of God they would not have sinned. However, they disobeyed God because of the doubts and desires of their hearts. Sin can only come from the heart, not the action. Sin is an attitude, not an action.

Cain also experienced the first instance of jealousy. Again, while jealousy is not really a sin, it did lead to a sin and often does. What jealousy is, must be considered a useless and time-wasting act. In this case Cain was jealous because God chose Abel’s gift over his. It was the gift God chose, God didn’t say Abel was better than Cain. Cain’s jealousy was a vain act.

In Jude 1:11, God inspired Jude to use this as a warning to those who seek to make a profit off Christianity. We have many who preach and teach who are not called to do so. These people are not representing God, they are teaching false teachings to profit from the people.

God doesn’t charge people for coming to or being members of the church. Churches need money to pay for the things needed to run the church, but God has never put a price on anything He does in the church, neither should we. The gift of money in the offering should come from the heart of the individual, not the mandate of the pastor.

When trying to find a new church, always talk to the preacher and your teacher away from other people. Ask them why they started preaching or teaching. If their answer is not, “God called me to do so” then always challenge anything they do that involves the receiving of money.

There are wolves in sheep’s clothing in the church now. Ask God for guidance and be careful.

By the way, “God called me to teach/preach His word.”

Weekly Devotional – June 5, 2021

Honor Your Mother and Father

Mark 10:19 (NKJV)

You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ “

The man Jesus was talking to here came running down the road where Jesus walked and knelt down before Jesus. This was a rich young man who (in the eyes of those around him) was living a life of luxury. The young man had heard Jesus as He taught, and the young man wanted to inherit eternal life.

Many people would be skeptical about what the young man thought eternal life was. Jesus didn’t care what the young man’s motives were, so Jesus began to explain.

Jesus’ first statement was “You Know the Commandments.” Then Jesus began telling the young man what he couldn’t do. Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud. These are the things Jesus told the young man he couldn’t do. But Jesus also told the young man one thing that he must do.

Did you know that not honoring your father and mother could keep you from going to Heaven? In fact, there is more. Look at Mark 7:10. Now think back at all those times you were mad at your father or mother because they would not let you do what you wanted to do.

Why should there be such a discussion concerning my opinion of my father and mother? The idea of God looking at my treatment of my father and mother is daunting.

Your father and mother are your first line of authority in your life. How you treat their authority is an example of how you will treat all future authority. If you disobey their authority, then you will be reluctant to obey all other authority.

If you won’t listen to your parents, all others can expect the same. You may listen to them and obey them, but they will always be waiting for you to disobey.

Paul further explains the difference in this statement as a commandment. Paul tells us that it is the first commandment with promise. All the other commandments Jesus quoted were negative statements. “Honor Your Father and Mother is a positive statement. Positive statements give hope and promise to the world.

God has given the world a way to gain His favor.

If you have always honored your parents, you are certainly on the right road to eternity. However, if you are at odds with your parents, there is still time to make amends so there is hope for you after all. Provided you don’t wait.

Weekly Word Definition – Atonement

The definition of Atonement is as follows:

 The English word for atonement originally meant “at one-ment” or “at one with” like being in harmony with someone and in this case it means to be at one with God through the atonement that was made possible by the substitutionary death of Christ on our behalf.  The Hebrew Word for atonement is “kipur” with the verb form being “kaphar” and means “to cover, purge, make reconciliation” and “to cover with or coat with pitch.”  That last definition is remarkably interesting because the same Hebrew word used for pitch is “kaphar” and that is what the Ark was covered with.  When God commanded Noah to build an Ark to save him, his family, and many of the animals from the coming judgment of the flood, he was commanded to cover the Ark with pitch or “kaphar” which is to cover, make reconciliation with, or to purge.  Since the floodwaters were indicative of the judgment of God on fallen, sinful mankind, it is not ironic that God used the word “kaphar” in telling Noah to cover the Ark with pitch. Thus, the Ark is seen as symbolic of God’s salvation and the atonement or covering from God’s judgment (of the floodwaters) as seen in the pitch that Noah applied to the outside of the Ark whereby God sparred Noah and his family from the judgment of sin by an atoning, reconciling covering or cover that the pitch was known for.  This is indicative of salvation being fully a work of God and not of man (Eph. 2:8-9).

And you shall offer a bull every day as a sin offering for atonement. You shall cleanse the altar when you make atonement for it, and you shall anoint it to sanctify it.

Exodus 29:36 (NKJV)

But this shall be the obligation of the prince regarding the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the festivals, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, all the appointed festivals of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, the burnt offerings, and the offerings of well-being, to make atonement for the house of Israel.

Ezekiel 45:17 (NRSV)

Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD evil is avoided.

Proverbs 16:6 (NIV2011)

Notice the word atonement is only in the Old Testament. Atonement will only cover your sin and they are still there to remind you year after year of the sins in your life.

In the New Testament, through the giving of the blood of Christ, our sins are not covered. Our sins are removed and forgotten by God.

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?