Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 7
“And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz.” 1 Kings 7:21
Solomon’s Temple was an amazing structure. To understand the complexity of the building read 1 Kings 6-8. While the edifice itself was not as important as what it represented, that being the presence of God with His people and their worship and adoration of Him, it did testify to all the commitment of God’s people to Him and His commitment to them.
The porch of the Temple ran across the entire length of the eastern facing wall, standing before the massive doors made of olive wood and overlaid with gold. Supporting the roof were two massive ornate columns cast of solid brass that were eighteen cubits high, or approximately twenty- seven feet tall. Including the bases of the pillars, and the “chapiters” that sat atop of each, the total height was about 36 cubits, or 54 feet. When these pillars were placed on the Temple porch, they were named “Jachin” and “Boaz.”
Everything in the Temple, its construction, the priests and all that appertained to the priesthood, the sacrifices and offerings that would be presented, all represented the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the “Father’s house,” that was to be a “house of prayer,” (Matthew 21:13; John 2:16) and everything about it pointed to the One that would fulfill all the law and every aspect of Temple worship.
“Jachin” and “Boaz,” the two brazen pillars, along with bearing the load of the porch, also bore testimony of the One upon which all of the work of God’s redemption would rest. The name “Jachin” meant “He will establish.” The name “Boaz” meant strength. You will recall that Boaz was the man of Bethlehem-Judah that took to himself the Moabite Ruth to wife, and redeemed back all that Elimelech had lost when he left Canaan for Moab in the time of famine. He became an important character in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus. Together these two pillars, Jachin and Boaz, testified ever before the door of the Temple that the One Who would come, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Strength of the Lord, (See Psalms 110:2) would establish the work of redemption for all mankind, bringing salvation to all who would place faith in Him as Lord and Savior. Have you? Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 12
1 Kings 12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
Can one decision made from a lack of faith and motivated by fear have a devastating effect on the person making that decision, on his family or even on a extended number of people? Yes, and it did with Jeroboam. He had been chosen by God to be the king of the ten northern tribes of Israel after the division of the country following the death of Solomon. The Lord had promised him prosperity and success, with the understanding that Jeroboam would be expected to be obedient to God’s law and faithful to Israel’s true King, the Lord God Jehovah. Once he found himself as king of the northern tribes, Jeroboam feared that if the people continued returning to Jerusalem for worship, they would eventually want to reunite the tribes, and he would thus lose his kingdom. For this reason, he made a terrible decision. He would have two golden calves erected, and these would become the centers of worship for the people of his kingdom. Of course this was in direct disobedience to God’s law, and through this action Jeroboam was from that time forward referred to as the king “who made Israel to sin.” (1 Kings 14:16; 15:26, 30, 34; 2 Kings 3:3) So the original question was, can one decision have a devastating effect on the person making that decision, and on many around that one person? Yes!
Some decisions have the potential of a greater impact than others. Admittedly it could seem daunting and lead to simply being indecisive. I’m sure that there are some things in which indecision would have little or no impact at all, but then there are other decisions that must be made and indecision is not an option. For those, there is counsel in the Word of God.
All important decisions must be faced in prayer. There are ample illustrations of this fact throughout the Bible. Moses prayed when decisions needed to be made. David sought the Lord often before making decisions that would effect those under his care. Even the Lord Jesus spent the night in prayer before choosing His apostles. Seek God’s face, follow the counsel of His Word, and make your decisions accordingly.
Scripture Reading: Luke 10
Luke 10:3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
In this chapter, the Lord “appointed” seventy of His faithful followers and sent them ahead of Him into the cities that He was going to travel to and present His message. They were going to prepare the way before Him, that those villages and cities would be ready for His coming and for His message. He acknowledged the shortage of laborers and the need for His followers to commit that to prayer, something that is still most assuredly needed today. In His charge and instructions to them, the Lord made sure that they understood the difficulties they would be facing, and the fact that some would simply not accept their message.
One of His warnings is very familiar to us, informing them that as “lambs” they were being sent forth among those He described as “wolves.” In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” A “ravening wolf” is one that is vicious, hungry and aggressive. He is bent on the destruction of the helpless lambs, and he is tremendously dangerous. This kind of person would relish the thought of doing one of God’s own irreparable harm, and the world is filled with such “wolves.”
This should be clearly understood by the child of God. Read Peter’s warning handed down to all followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, “Be sober, be vigilant’ because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour….” (1 Peter 5:8) You might respond, “But this is spoken concerning that supernatural adversary of God’s people, the devil.” And, that is true. However, notice what Jesus said in John 8:44 concerning those that were so opposed to Him and determined to destroy Him; “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” (John 8:44) These adversaries of the Lord were fulfilling the lusts and desires of the devil. They were seeking those that they might devour just as was the adversary himself. In fact, it was he that was inspiring them and directing them in their vicious attacks. Remember child of God, you find yourself today as a lamb among wolves. Walk prayerfully.
Scripture Reading: Psalms 139
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
A law that was passed in this country in 1940 makes it illegal to “pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, destroy molest or disturb” any golden or bald eagle in the United States. This includes the “possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export, or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit.” So, if you found an eagle’s nest with eggs, and disturbed that nest or destroyed those eggs, you would be in violation of that law. The current penalty is $5,000.00 per violation.
The same government that passed that protective law, and continues to enforce that law today, has allowed the murder of 63 million innocent babies since the passing of Roe Vs. Wade in 1963. That law passed by the Supreme Court in 1963 is currently being challenged, and many believe that the Supreme Court will soon overrule that law that legalized abortion on a federal level.
I read an article recently that was written by a Baptist pastor back in the early 70’s in which he stated that most Christians were of the opinion that life begins at “breath.” He was wrong. Admittedly, Adam’s life began when God breathed in his nostrils the breath of life. (Genesis 2:7) His was a unique beginning, as was Eve’s. (See Genesis 2:21-25) They were the first human lives, but all life after that would begin by the union of the life of the father and the life of the mother. The Psalmist was right when he said, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made….” It is unthinkable that any could deny that the unborn child in its mother’s womb is a living being, and certainly should deserve and demand more protection that an eagle’s egg. Unfortunately, in the minds of the spiritually blinded, abortion is a “right” rather than a crime against God and against humanity. The debate on abortion will continue even if the Supreme Court reverses Roe Vs. Wade, but the debate will be ended when humanity stands before God in judgment. Pray that our leaders will fall on the right side of that debate.
Scripture Reading: Luke 11
“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
Prayer is an amazing resource that has been granted to the child of God. The Bible is filled with thrilling illustrations of God’s people seeking His face in prayer and seeing amazing results through their praying. Elijah prayed over the sacrifices that had been prepared on altars that had been flooded with water, and fire fell from heaven devouring the sacrifices, the altar and “licked up the water that was in the trench” around the altar. He prayed and it did not rain for three years in the land, and then he prayed and the Lord sent the rain. Moses prayed and the Lord parted the Red Sea, enabling the Children of Israel to cross that sea on the dry bottom of that body of water, with walls of water standing on either side. In the history of God’s dealings with redeemed humanity, one of the outstanding factors evident is that of the prayer of faith and God’s answer to that kind of prayer.
There are several prerequisites that must be met for prayer to be answered. First, prayer must be prayed from the lips of one that knows the Lord. Jesus’ teaching was, “When ye pray, say Our Father which art in heaven….” There is the prerequisite of a right relationship with God before payer can be answered. Then it must be noted that prayer must be according to the will of God. John wrote, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us….” (1 John 5:14) Answered prayer also requires that the praying are living lives that are pleasing to the Lord. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 John 3:22) Those requirements for answered prayer are basic and easily understood, but for those who are saved and are genuinely seeking to meet the other prerequisites, the potential of prayer is almost limitless. Be it a personal matter or a matter concerning the Church of the Lord Jesus, God;s people should ever “Take it to the Lord in prayer.” In reality, prayer is one of the most important things we can do as the people of the Lord. May He ever stir our hearts with the possibilities of an obedient prayer life.
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 6
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Contentment is something that is rather rare in our society today. Thayer defines the word as meaning, “a perfect condition of life in which no aid or support is needed. Having a sufficiency of the necessities of life, and therefore, having a mind contented with its lot.” Paul’s logic for that state is to refuse the idea that “gain is godliness” and for one to come to the reality that “we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” Paul seems to have mastered that, for in Philippians he wrote, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” His secret? “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
Contentment when it comes to material things is not the only goal here. Look at the verse again, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” “Godliness,” that is the important thing here. Some people have found great contentment in a satisfaction with little when it comes to worldly goods. The thought for the child of God is that when we have contentment through godliness, then we can find much gain. That is not to say that godliness will automatically lead to having little when it comes to this world’s goods. There are many in this world that are godly in their lives walking with Christ and yet are blessed with much. O, to be as Paul described, that in “whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
The word “godliness” means holiness, piety toward God. “Piety” has been defined as the quality or state of being pious, or devoted to religious beliefs. One who is pious is one that is devout in his or her faith, devoted to God and the things of God. It is one who seeks to please God in life, in all aspects of life. And, beloved, “godliness with contentment is great gain.” May this ever be our goal as followers of Jesus Christ; piety toward Him, and trusting in Him for all of the needs of this life. Amen!
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you….”
Twice in the writing of the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, the Apostle wrote of his prayer for the believers in the Church. He was a praying man, believing much in the power of prayer, and relying much on the inner strength that prayer brought to him in his work for Christ. It would seem that much of his time was spent in prayer for the people he had personally led to Christ, and for the churches that the Lord Jesus had established through his ministry. (See Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 11:28)
In the prayers that Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus, there was an emphasis on their spiritual perception and understanding. He prayed that the Lord would give them the “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him….” It should ever be a life-long desire of God’s people to know more about their Lord, to have an understanding of His Person and power, and to understand that power that has worked in their lives. It is His power that brought the saved into oneness with Himself in redeeming them from sin and regenerating them through the power of the Holy Spirit. (See Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:18-21) That “power” that brought the saved to Christ and redeemed them through His blood, also keeps and secures. Peter wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5) These are things that the child of God should know and be assured of.
There is a point that must be made concerning this prayer of Paul for the Ephesian believers: these words were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and were recorded and kept for twenty-first century Christians. These prayers are of the Holy Spirit for you, child of God. His desire is clearly expressed for you, that you might grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord.
Scripture Reading: Ephesian 5 and 6
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
You don’t have to read far into God’s Word to see that He forever placed a great deal of emphasis on family and the importance of that institution He created in the beginning. There have been attacks on this institution from the beginning, perhaps never more than has been witnessed in recent years, but the Lord’s feelings about family have never changed. He still loves and cherishes the institution of family, and still has the very best plan for it in His Word.
God loves the family, and He knows how important family is in the world. He created humanity with the need for the warmth, love and security that the family that is patterned after the Biblical model brings. Children need that organism created by God. They need the sense of belonging, of importance and acceptance that comes in the family. Children need the love that according to Biblical principle should permeate the home. The Lord made them that way. The internal combustion engine was designed to operate on some type of combustible gas that will result in an explosion within that engine at the right time. The electric engine was designed differently. They each have their particular needs in order to function properly. So it is with humanity, and especially with children.
Government can never do for children what home and family can do. No matter how loving and caring day care workers or teachers are, they can never be an adequate substitute for what children need and should receive through the family unit. No baby can be loved like the love received from a godly mother; one like the Proverbs 31 mother. No young person can be taught male distinctives like can be taught by a godly father, one who, although not perfect, is endeavoring to be a Biblical dad. No young girl can learn what godly femininity is without the influence of a godly mother. Perhaps much of the gender confusion that is rampant in our world today comes from the fact that humanity is drifting further and further away from Biblical principles of life, morality and godliness. The Biblical mandate is still in effect today that teaches, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Obviously there has been a departure from this type of Biblical training.
Believer, this places a most serious responsibility on the redeemed. God’s people must not allow the twisted philosophy of the world to infiltrate their thinking. We must return and remain faithful to Biblical principles of life, especially when it comes to family and home. May the Lord help us to do just that! Amen!
Scripture Reading: Matthew 19
“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
There are some things that are simply impossible. There is no other way to put it, just impossible! For instance, if you threw a piece of iron into the water, what would happen? That’s easy. It would sink like a rock. Actually, that’s not necessarily so. I was reading my devotions today and was reminded of just such an incident in God’s Word. During the days of the prophet Elisha, some of the “sons of the prophets,” which were like Bible college students, were cutting down trees to make a dwelling place. One of the young men was using an axe, when the axe head fell off and dropped into the water. And, of course, it sank. He ran to Elisha and expressed his concern because he had borrowed the axe. Isn’t that the way it always happens; you borrow something and it breaks. Elisha said, “Where fell it.” When the young man showed him the place in the water where the axe head sank, Elisha cast a stick into the water and the axe head came floating up to the surface. You may be thinking, “That is totally impossible. That could never happen.” You would be right in that. “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
That truth spoken by the Lord Jesus came after He made the statement, “Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23-24) Jesus had just presented the gospel to a young rich man that had turned away unsaved, and unwilling to face the sin in his life of making his riches his god. (See Matthew 19:16-27) The disciples were accustomed to the accepted philosophy of the day which believed if you loved God and served Him you would prosper. When the Lord revealed that it was difficult for a “rich man to enter into heaven,” the disciples incredulously inquired, “Who then can be saved.” That’s when Jesus said, “…with God all things are possible.” Praise God for that truth, for if that truth was not a reality, none of us could be saved. But, praise the Lord, with God all things are possible. That truth was revealed all the way back in the Old Testament, in the Book of Genesis, when God spoke to Sarah asking this question, “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” The answer was implied in the question, there is nothing too hard for God!
Beloved, we must continually remind ourselves of that truth. Many of the things we face look impossible to overcome. And, in reality, some of them are impossible to overcome. But, praise the Lord, our God is in the business of doing the impossible. Our responsibility is believing and trusting in that truth. That’s what Jesus was saying to the disciples when He said, “With God all things are possible.” Let’s be encouraged today to take our impossible challenges to the Lord in prayer. Amen!
Scripture Reading: Acts 24
“For we have found this man a pestilent fellow….”
Haven’t you hated the COVID 19 pandemic? I know that I have. I have despised what it has done to our nation, to our world. The fact of the matter is that I don’t really trust much of what has been said about the virus, it’s treatments or vaccines. It has truly been confusing. This dread pandemic has resulted in a spirit of distrust among people. There is this underlying attitude of feeling that everyone is unclean. Thank goodness we can wear a mask as thin as a handkerchief and be completely secure and safe. Ha!
The Jews that came presenting their case to Felix against the Apostle Paul felt that way about him. They saw him as a “pestilent fellow.” The word “pestilent” means diseased or plagued. They accused Paul of carrying around this dread “plague” of Christianity, and that his “disease” was contagious and spreading uncontrollably. This “plague” was a threat to their hypocritical version of Biblical Judaism. Their lifeless religion, a complete departure from what God had ordained for the Jews in His infallible Word, had left the people of Israel thirsting for truth. Christ’s “plague” was just what many had been looking for; hope, and a right relationship with the True God of Israel.
This one word that was used to describe the Apostle Paul has challenged my soul. It has caused me to ask myself some questions. Am I a carrier? Do I have enough of the love of Christ in me to cause me to be contagious? Are folks around me in danger of becoming contaminated with the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? If I were being brought before Felix to be charged with some “crime,” would that “crime” be that I was guilty of spreading the dread plague of true Biblical Christianity? Would I be charged with spreading faith in the Lord Jesus to others?
Lynn and I were talking the other day about how crowded the grocery store can be on certain days. We will say something like, “Wow, did we ever pick a bad day to come here?” I figured out a way to clear the isle if your having trouble getting to the items you need for your shopping cart. Just start coughing uncontrollably. Folks will clear the way quickly, thinking you have it; the dread COVID.
Please know I am not minimizing COVID, but I am using it to illustrate a point. We need to be “pestilent fellows” when it come to our faith in the Lord Jesus. Let’s pray that the Lord will cause us to be contagious, infectious and ready at all times to let the Lord Jesus Christ shine in our lives. Wouldn’t it be nice if the worse thing anyone could say about you is that you are a “pestilent fellow” about Jesus?
Scripture Reading: Psalms 50
“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.”
The Lord’s intention for Jerusalem, and especially for the Temple that stood in the “City of God,” was that it be “the perfection of beauty.” From that sacred place, the beauty of God was to shine forth His love, care and provisions for His own, and to make the Holy City and its Temple a testimony to all the earth. God’s “beauty” was to shine forth from there. Unfortunately, that was not the case. By the time of the Lord Jesus, Zion was hardly recognizable when compared to the original intention God had as revealed in His Word.
In the Book of Hebrews, Paul wrote, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:22-24) What Israel failed in doing, in shining forth the “perfection of beauty,” the Church has been commissioned to fulfill. It is equally unfortunate that, as a general rule, the professing Church of the Lord Jesus has also failed in allowing the world to see the beauty of our Savior. Instead of being the “perfection of beauty,” much of professing Christianity’s testimony to the world has been less than “perfect,” and certainly less than “beautiful.”
The “beauty” of the Lord did not need a walled city or a magnificent Temple to shine forth. That “beauty” shined forth from a tent in the midst of a barren desert when the people of God were in right relationship with their Lord. So it is with the Church of the Lord Jesus. Marvelous edifices and the latest technologically advanced equipment is not necessary for a church to be the “perfection of beauty” shining for the Savior. That beauty has radiated from bamboo huts with dirt floors, or from damp caves where God’s people have gathered for worship. It has beautified whole regions surrounding places of martyrdom where some of God’s choicest servants have paid the supreme price for their faith.
A prayer for God’s people should be, “Lord Jesus, make our church and our lives the perfection of beauty. Shine through us to a sin-darkened world the beauty of Your grace and love for all mankind. In this ugly world of sin and hate, of greed and dishonesty, and of hypocrisy and jealousy, may Your beauty shine forth. We have no beauty in ourselves, so it must be Your beauty radiating from us.” Let’s pray this prayer, and seek to be the “perfection of beauty” that will outshine all of the ugliness around us. Amen!
Scripture Reading: Psalms 50
“I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”
“Dashing hopes inflation was starting to level off, the Labor Department reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in May grew by its highest level since 1981.” Forbes Magazine
“Last year, businesses around the world started raising prices at a pace not seen in decades. Among major economies, one country was hit the worst - the United States. Prices jumped at an annual rate of 4.7% last year - faster than any other country in the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In the UK, for example, inflation was just 2.5%. Last month, inflation in the US hit 8.6%, one of the highest rates in the world.” BBC News.
“U.S. only days away until an ‘absolute explosion’ on inflation, says pollster Frank Luntz” CNBC News.
How are we ever going to make it, child of God? Really? The Lord we serve owns “the cattle upon a thousand hills….” Have you checked cattle prices lately? We will make it because our God will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) He always has, and He always will. Our job is to just keep trusting Him. O, we may need to cut back, cut down and cut out some things, but using common sense and our Christian faith will suffice to get us through these troublesome times. Do not allow the naysayers and the doomsday news reporters cause you to question our gracious Lord. Keep looking up!
July 13 Scripture Reading: John 5
“…because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”
We believe and readily affirm that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, very God Incarnate. Paul wrote, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh….” (1 Timothy 3:16) The Deity of the Lord Jesus was proven over and over again. All of His healings, His raising of the dead back to life again and His power over the natural elements proved beyond question the fact of His Deity. The most unquestionable proof of the Person of the Lord Jesus was His resurrection from the dead. He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:8-21) And, He did just that. Paul wrote, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead….” (Romans 1:1-4)
The Jews knew well the claims of our Lord Jesus through His teachings. Once, after some of His teachings, the Jews took up stones to stone Him, intending to kill our Lord. “Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:32-33) Jesus is God; God the Son, very God in the flesh. Paul wrote, “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9) In John 14:9, Jesus told Philip, “…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” In Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming Christ, God revealed through the prophet the undeniable declaration of His Deity; “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Let us ever worship our Lord Jesus Christ, very God Incarnate, our risen Lord!
July 14 Scripture Reading: Proverbs 16
“Better is a little with righteousness that great revenues without right.”
The high price of gasoline may take away some of our scurrying about, and may even take away some of our vacation plans. Soaring food prices may make us curb some of our expenditures on those food items we would be better without anyway. The cost of utilities may entice us to turn the air down, or else to turn it off completely. Well, maybe not.
Inflation and the prospects of full blown recession (who knows the difference) will admittedly hurt some more than others. One told me that their fuel bill just traveling back and forth to work had risen to over one hundred dollars per week. Four hundred dollars per month for transportation to work and that’s not counting the payments on the vehicle. I doubt if the high-ups in the petroleum industry will be suffering much. And probably not the politicians that are barely making ends meet, but most of us are getting stung by these high prices.
Right about now we could use a little wisdom and guidance from the Word of God. Where better to go than to the book of wisdom, the Book of Proverbs. “Better is a little with righteousness…;” a little extra food, a little bit of conveniences like air conditioning and those extra sweets we just can’t live without, and enough petro to get out and loaf around some. Its so hard when you can’t go by the bistro for that specialty cup of extravagant coffee that just seems to start the day.
Seriously, let’s try to major on the majors and minor on the minors. We are getting pinched a bit now, and it could get worse. In the Book of Revelation we read of a future time when it will take a day’s pay to purchase a day’s worth of food. We are not there yet. What we really need to emphasize in our lives is that “Better is a little with righteousness….” A right relationship with God and a consistent walk with Him is far better than anything that any amount of wealth can buy. If it get’s so bad we have to park our vehicles and walk, God forbid, we can still enter into the throne room of heaven to spend time with our Blessed Lord. Amen!
July 15 Scripture Reading: Titus 3
“…to be ready to every good work….”
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”. Titus 3:9
“And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” Titus 3:14
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works….” Hebrews 10:24
“…that…they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:12
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Of course you know this, good works come as a result of salvation, and not in order to attain salvation. The fact is, however, our Lord desires that all the saved be careful to maintain good works, for it is only in the observation of the good works of the saved that the unsaved can see the Lord working on the world. He works through His own to accomplish His will, and we read in the Word that He went about constantly doing good. (Acts 10:38) His will for us is that He be able to continue to go “about doing good” through us, the redeemed.
Good works take on many forms, and the Holy Spirit will lead you in the path of good works for you if you will follow Him. Let’s endeavor through our lives to allow the Lord Jesus to be seen in us. And, along with that, pray that in seeing Him they will come to trust Him as Savior. Amen!
July 16 Scripture Reading: Psalms 119
“It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.”
“…they have made void thy law.” Could not this be said of our very day? The thought expressed in the phrase “they have made void” carries the idea of breaking up, violating, casting off and disanulling. You and I have lived to see God’s Word being made void in our world, and in our country. God’s Word deals with subjects of righteousness, and of what is acceptable to God. It also deals with those things that are considered vile, unlawful and wicked. In my personal devotions this morning I read 2 Kings 17. In that chapter, the fall of the ten northern tribes of Israel is given, and along with the record of their fall, it specifies the reasons that the Lord sent that severe judgment upon them. We are told that the norther tribes “sinned against the Lord their God,” walking in the statutes of the heathen around them and worshipping their false gods. They served idols and committed atrocities that are difficult to image in their idolatry. For this cause God allowed the Assyrians to bring bitter defeat, so much so that the people were removed from the land and foreigners repopulated the region. What a sad day, and a sad testimony!
In the Psalm, the psalmist breaths a prayer because of the making void of God’s law by his contemporaries. His prayer was simple, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work….” He had in mind in this prayer that only God could possibly turn those around that had made void His law. It was only the Lord working in their midst that could turn those people around to truth and right. Perhaps we should be praying the same prayer as found in Psalms 119:126, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work….”
He has worked in this country in days gone by. There have been many great movements of God’s Spirit in which many were moved to faith and repentance. O, beloved, would it not be wonderful to see that happen again? Would it not be a blessings to see that happen again, and to see it happen now? Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit would send forth a mighty revival, and that through His working in our midst many souls will come to faith in Christ. And, let’s pray that happens before the Lord has to rain down judgment on this rebellious nation. Amen!
July 17 Scripture Reading: Galatians 5
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Paul instructed the Ephesian believers to “be filled with the Spirit….” (Ephesians 5:18) To be filled by the Holy Ghost is to be yielded to His control, empowered by Him for service and to be purified in thought and in deed in order to be a vessel fit for the master’s use. It is to be in communion and oneness with Him, with nothing hampering and hindering His working in our lives.
When we are thus “filled with the Spirit,” the evidence of that filling is manifest in our lives. It is seen as the “fruit of the Spirit.” Instead of bitterness and anger there will be love. Discouragement and hatred will be replaced by joy, and worry will be overcome by the peace of God that passes understanding. Impatience will be exchanged for longsuffering, and harshness with gentleness. Goodness will be exemplified in the lives of the Spirit filled as they walk in faith meekly guided by the Holy Spirit. Excesses will be controlled by temperance, and in the lives of those “filled with the Spirit,” God’s law will not be forever condemning. O, to be ever filled with the Holy Spirit.
It should be noted that when Paul instructed the Ephesians to be “filled with the Spirit,” it was more than just a challenge and possibility. It was a command given. The believer is commanded by God to be filled with the Holy Spirit. So, if we are obedient to that command, it will clearly be seen in our lives because of the evidence of our being filled with the Spirit. The “fruit,” or the outgrowth of the inner workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives will be seen by all. Not only will it be evident to others, it will be evident to ourselves. The Spirit-filled experience a life of joy and peace, of spiritual productivity and of all the inner blessings that His presence and power can bring. Beloved, this is His will for us as His children. It is His will that we experience to the fullest all that He has intended for us in His great plan. Part of that is that inner blessing given to those who are yielded to our Lord’s Control, and experiencing His presence and power in their lives. May His fruit abound in our lives, His “fruit of the Spirit.” Amen!
July 18 Scripture Reading: Acts 27
“And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.”
This was a tremendous storm at sea that the Apostle Paul had to endure on his way to Rome. By the way, just in passing let us note that he was in the perfect will of God for his life, and still he had to endure this terrible storm. So it is with all of God’s children. There are storms in this life the we are called upon to endure. We may not always understand why, but we must trust our Lord during those storms.
How bad was this storm? Well, Luke wrote the following words, “And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.” They had pretty much resolved that they were going to perish at sea. But the Lord appeared to Paul and gave the promise, “Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.” He believed the message from heaven, shared that with the men on board the ship and then trusted that the Lord would keep His promise. And, He did! There were 276 men on board that ship, and every last one of them survived to share the horrors of that storm for the rest of their lives. Of course, as they shared that story, they told of a preacher that stood on the deck of that storm tossed vessel and proclaimed the message of hope in a most hopeless situation. That would be a testimony that those men would never forget, and who knows but what many of those men ended up giving their hearts to Jesus Christ because of their miraculous deliverance.
The Lord. allows us to endure the storms of this life for many reasons. Often the storms teach us patience and faith, teaching us to trust in our Lord in those situations that are beyond us. Perhaps there are storms that we have to endure so that others around us can see God working in our lives, and can receive the testimony that our Lord is in control of all situations. We will never know until we get to heaven the souls around us that have been influenced to trust in Christ through the trials that they have watched us endure in faith. So, beloved, the next time you find yourself in the midst of a tossing vessel riding out a storm, just keep trusting in God and share your faith with all around you. In this He will be honored!
July 19 Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 19
“And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekaih went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.”
The enemy’s army was just too great. There was no way that the army of Hezekiah could win this battle. There was no battle strategy, no secret weapon and no elite forces that the king could summons to save the day. It was pretty much set in stone. They were in trouble and there was no way out.
O, wait, there was a secret weapon; one that the enemy had not considered. It wasn’t some previously unknown weapon of mass destruction. It wasn’t some supernaturally strong man like Samson. The secret weapon was a king on his face before His God, with the letter of reproach laid out upon the altar of faith. Hezekiah bowed before God and sought His face in the time of need. And, the secret weapon prevailed over the enemy, bringing a great deliverance.
The Lord had promised Israel that no enemy could defeat them as long as they were walking in faith and obedience. He had said, “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14) Isaiah, a close friend and associate of Hezekiah, wrote the following, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper….” (Isaiah 54:17) That was especially true when the weapon was wielded in the hands of a blasphemous heathen.
The simple prayer of a man on bended knee accomplished the unthinkable. He was right in thinking that there was no way they could escape this army of wicked unbelievers. So his prayer was very sincere, and was uttered in desperation and in faith. The Lord answered that prayer in a remarkable way. The angel of the Lord went out among the vast army, and “smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold they were all dead corpses.” Remember beloved, one faithful follower of Jesus Christ, armed with faith and prayer, is an unstoppable champion. Amen!
July 20 Scripture Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you….”
Paul longed for his friends to pray for him. Writing the Epistle of Romans, he earnestly sought for this by saying, “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me….” (Romans 15:30) In his first epistle to the Church of Thessalonica he wrote, “Brethren, pray for us.” He needed prayer. He needed the prayers of those he loved and had confidence in, so he did not hesitate to seek their intercession on his behalf.
Why was Paul so insistent that God’s people remember him in prayer? In his first letter to the Corinthian Church, Paul wrote, “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Corinthians 16:9) The work God had given him was a great work, and the Lord had opened doors for that work to be accomplished, but it was forever an up hill climb because of the “many adversaries” that endeavored to stop him from presenting the Gospel to lost souls. Some of those adversaries were his own countrymen, Jews that hated him and the Gospel that he preached. There were supernatural enemies, those “principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world.” (Ephesians 6:12) Then, there was his own flesh that had to be contended with on a regular basis. These “adversaries” could only be overcome with the help of the Almighty, so Paul asked his associates to be in prayer for him.
We all need the prayers of others. That’s why we are instructed to “pray one for another.” (James 5:16) None of us have the power within ourselves to “stand, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13) None have the wherewithal to defeat that supernatural enemy that constantly wars against us, but through the ministry and power of the Holy Spirit we can do all things. Consequently, we need that extra spiritual stamina that can only come through the Holy Spirit, and through the united prayers of our friends around us. As a. pastor, I covet the prayers of those that I trust and love. So, my beloved brethren, remember me when you pray. Amen!
July 21 Scripture Reading: John 10
“I and my Father are one.”
In the Gospel of John, the Lord Jesus is seen as the Son of God. While all of the Gospels depict Jesus as the Son of God, that is John’s primary focus. For the past two thousand years this has been a controversial doctrine; the deity of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Was Jesus making the claim of equality with God the Father? Absolutely! The Jews with whom He was speaking understood that instantly. See John 10:31. They were prepared to stone the Lord for His claim, for they considered it blasphemous. And, had His claim been false, it certainly would have been. It was not a false claim. All through John’s Gospel Jesus proved Himself to be far more than a mortal man. He did so in Chapter 2 by the miracle in Cana of Galilee. He did so in Chapter 5 when he healed the paralytic, and again in Chapter 9 when He healed the man that had been born blind. Through the Book of John the deity of Jesus is proven beyond question, with the greatest proof being His resurrection from the dead. The message of John’s Gospel is the deity of Jesus Christ our Lord, the very Son of God.
Is it essential to believe this doctrine? It is! “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:8-9) They who reject the doctrine of Christ’s deity are not and cannot be saved. It is most assuredly an essential doctrine of Scripture.
Romans 1:4 tells us that Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead….” We serve a risen Savior! This is such an important doctrine. If the Lord Jesus was not God Incarnate, He would be incapable of being our Savior. But, praise His holy Name, He is the Son of God, very God manifest in the flesh, our risen Lord Jesus Christ.
July 22 Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2
“…the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
The Word of God is a wonderful book. Actually, it is far more than wonderful and far more than just a book. Written over a period of over 1,400 years by over 40 human authors, it’s perfection, beauty and power declares clearly that it is indeed the very Word of God.
It was His blessed Word that brought you to the understanding of your lost condition, and that brought you to saving faith in the Lord Jesus. Through the Word our Lord gives assurance of salvation. Think about this child of God, you would never have known that you needed salvation apart from the Blessed Word of God. Without the Word you would never have known the truth about Jesus Christ, or the truth about how to be saved. In the very same way, you cannot have the assurance of salvation apart from the Scripture. When doubts arise, return to the Bible for assurance. In fact, read it regularly, for in so doing you will build up your faith, and at the same time you will reassure yourself of your relationship with Christ. Remember, God’s Word declares, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
Peter commands us as followers of Christ to, “…desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby….” (1 Peter 2:2) One way that the Word of God is working effectually in you is that it is maturing you in your relationship with Christ. You are growing in grace proportionately with the time your are spending in His Word. So, beloved, feed regularly on God’s Word for spiritual growth.
The Bible works effectually in you to direct your path, to show you the will of God for your life. It directs your path in life. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalms 119:105) It lights up the way before you, for “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” (Psalms 119:130) We are surrounded by darkness in this world, but God’s Word works to give us light. It is working effectually in you today. Allow God’s Word to do its work in you! Amen!
July 23 Scripture Reading: Daniel 3
“But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
Don’t you just love that? These men were saying, “God is able to deliver us. But, whether or not He delivers us it doesn’t matter. We are not going to bow down before you or your image. We are not going to compromise our faith or our obedience to our God. Consequently, we are ready, willing and able to be thrown into your furnace.” Now we know that God did deliver them, but they did not know that before the fact. They were willing to suffer and die for their faith rather than to deny their God by bowing down to Nebuchadnezzar’s image. That is genuine faith.
The Christian Church has been blessed down through the centuries with many that possessed that kind of faith. It started with Stephen, then it was James that paid the supreme price of martyrdom rather than to deny the Lord Jesus. It is that kind of faith that has “turned the world upside down” for Christ. (See Acts 17:8) No Christian wants to suffer for Christ, but all should be willing and ready to do so if the will of God leads in that direction.
There are times, beloved, that faith must be stubborn. It must ever be resolved, resolute and determined. Faith must at all times be prepared to go to the limit, to run the extra mile and to do what is necessary. The three Hebrew men had that kind of faith, as did Stephen and James. However, as Christians we may never be called upon to suffer that severely for our faith, but we are all called upon to live for that faith. That can actually be the greater challenge. The Christian martyr faces an immediate challenge, knowing that within minutes he or she will be in the very presence of their risen Lord. That believer that is called upon to live an entire life faithfully knows that their’s is a marathon race, a long distance run for Christ. The lifelong challenge of faith may just be greater than that of the Christian martyr. This poses a question: are you in this faith for the long haul?” May the Lord help us to be as resolved to live for our Lord as the three Hebrew friends were prepared to die for Him. Amen!
July 24 Scripture Reading: 1 Samual 3
“Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.”
This would prove to be the first of many times in Samuel’s life when he would repeat these words, either audibly or quietly; “Speak, for thy servant heareth.” For the rest of his life, Samuel was faithful to hear God’s direction for his life, and then to endeavor to follow those directions.
This is an ongoing challenge for God’s people. We should ever be quick to hear the commands and directions of our Lord given to us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, or through the pages of His Word, and then be ready to respond accordingly. Throughout the Bible, men and women heard the directions God gave them through various means of revelation, and then responded to those accordingly. It was as though they were saying, “Speak, for thy servant heareth.”
James instructs us to, “…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,” (James 1:19) and we might add, “ and be ready and swift to respond.” Paul was one that was ever listening for Christ’s commands in his life. We read of the Macedonian Vision in which the Lord was directing Paul’s missionary campaign, and Luke wrote, “And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.” (Acts 16:10) It was as though Paul was ever saying, “Speak; for thy servant heareth.”
The Lord will speak to you from the pages of His Word. He will direct you in the general path for your life; the path of purity and righteousness, of holiness and godliness. He will direct you through His Word of those things to avoid, and of Satan’s ploys to deceive and defeat you. You should ever have a ready hear when the Lord speaks to you from His Word. He will also speak to your heart though the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He will whisper often, “This is the way. Walk ye in it.” His communion with your heart will guide you into all truth, warning you of the dangers and pitfalls you must avoid. For that reason, we should ever like Samuel be saying, “Speak; for thy servant heareth.” May the Lord give us hearing ears to follow Him!
July 25 Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 2
“So I prayed to the God of heaven.”
Nehemiah needed courage, wisdom and direction; and he needed this quickly. He didn’t have time to bow on his face and agonize before God’s throne. He was standing before a mighty king, a king that could have him slain at the slightest whim. What was he to do? “So I prayed to the God of heaven.”
Now, as you can imagine, Nehemiah didn’t excuse himself from the presence of the king in order to have time to pray. Nor did he say, “Excuse me king while I kneel down here and pray.” Obviously his prayer was silent, in his heart, and was made while standing in the presence of the king, probably looking him right in the eye. “Lord, help me just know. Give me wisdom, and boldness seasoned with grace.” That may not have been his prayer, but its was likely something of that nature. The fact is that, standing before one of the mightiest men on earth, a man that was an infidel, Nehemiah sought God’s face for wisdom and direction. And, his prayer was answered.
Such a prayer implies some things to me. First, it implies to me that Nehemiah was on talking terms with the Lord. This was a normal thing for this man, talking with God that is. The Divine throne room was a place frequented by Nehemiah. Another thing implied in this act is that all things were at peace with God in his heart. Nehemiah did not have a lot of unconfessed sins that needed to be dealt with before he could come into God’s presence. O, beloved, we must deal daily with our faults, failures and outright sins if we are to maintain a close fellowship with our Lord. It also implies to me that Nehemiah was a man of strong faith. He prayed in faith believing that God would honor and answer his prayer. He did! That is really amazing if you think about it; that a man on earth could call upon God in heaven and receive an instant answer to his prayer. Now it does not always happen that way, but it does happen at times when the Lord sees its necessary. You may be in a situation that demands an instant audience with the Lord. It surely pays to be ready, and to be on talking terms with Christ. Are you on talking terms with our Lord?
July 26 Scripture Reading: Obadiah
“For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.”
Once the prophet Jeremiah grew discouraged when he saw great wickedness about him, and the wicked seemed to be doing so well. They seemed to be prospering and enjoying life to the full. He was perplexed, and poured out his complaint to God saying, “Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? Wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously.” (Jeremiah 12:1) Have you ever sort of felt that way? Many of God’s choicest servants have felt that very same way. The message the Lord gave to Obadiah answers that clearly.
Beloved, there is a day on the horizon that the mighty, the prosperous and the worldly successful will give account of themselves before God. Now, there are those who are mighty, prosperous and successful in the eyes of the world that truly love and serve God. But, Obadiah’s warning is to those who are “wicked,” who know not the Lord and care nothing for Him or His Word. Unfortunately, some of the world’s most famous and wealthy people are unbelievers, and not just unbelievers, they are exceedingly vile and wicked. They have wealth and power, fame and prestige, and all of the comforts that vast wealth can obtain, but they have no desire to know the Lord or to live by His principles. Like Jeremiah, we can observe these and wonder why God seems so silent and permissive, while others that profess faith in Christ suffer want.
Obadiah provided an answer to this dilemma. The Lord has promised, “…thy reward shall return upon thine own head.” Paul wrote, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Herod proved that to be true in Acts 12:23. Moses said it this way, “…be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23) Beloved, we wish none ill, and certainly wish that all could be saved and be spared Divine judgment for sin, but it is simply not a reality. The day of reckoning is on the horizon, and the Lord will be judge. Amen!
July 27 Scripture Reading: Colossians 1
“…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
A Bible mystery is a truth that was previously unknown, but which has been revealed. There are many Bible mysteries. Let’s look at this one today.
The subject in question concerning this mystery has to do with the Gentiles. To appreciate this mystery, we need to remind ourselves of the “Gentiles,” The Gentiles are the non-Jewish people of the world. The Lord only recognizes three groups of people in our world; the Jew, the Gentile and the Church of God.” (See 1 Corinthians 10:32) In Paul’s day, the Gentiles of the world were steeped in idolatry and immorality. Their idolatrous practices did not curtail their immorality, it only encouraged it and took them further and further away from the Lord and His truth. Paul wrote the following to the Church of Ephesus, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:11-13) This is the mystery he wrote of in Colossians, “…which is Christ in you the hope of glory.”
Old Testaments prophets were given a small glimpse of this mystery. Isaiah wrote, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles….” (Isaiah 42:6) “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” (Isaiah 60:3) Such visions were given to the prophets, but they could not understand the mystery fully. Thank God for the truth of this mystery, that we Gentiles could be made fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ by the gospel….” (Ephesians 3:6) What a blessed truth! What wondrous grace, that we Gentiles could be made part of the body of Christ, the Church, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
July 28 Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 3
“…the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
The Church, the body of true born again followers of Jesus Christ, is referred to as various things in the Bible. Note the following references:
“And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:17-18
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Revelation 19:7-8
In 1 Timothy, we read that the Church is the “pillar and ground of the truth.” This is extremely important. Truth, Biblical truth, is essential in order that sinners might be brought to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is essential in the sanctification of the saved. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) Without truth, none could be made to understand the reality of sin and its consequences. Without truth, none could be brought to an understanding of the person of the Lord Jesus, and without Him there is no salvation at all. Consequently, Biblical truth is of the utmost importance.
This past week, our nation’s Supreme Court overturned the flawed court ruling of 1973 that made abortion legal nationwide. The reasoning behind their ruling was based on the Constitution of the United States. That document is the foundation upon which our republic was built, and upon which its laws are forever to be based. So it is with the Bible and the truth it presents. The Church is the “pillar and ground of the truth,” and is charged with the guarding and the presentation of that truth to the world. The importance of that responsibility cannot be overstated. May the Lord ever help us to be the “pillar and ground for the truth” that our Lord intends for us to be. Amen!
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 2
“For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.”
Our Lord suffered temptation, but did so without sin. Paul wrote, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) One of the reasons He allowed Himself to be tempted was that He might be able to “succour” His own when tempted.
The word “succour” is a special word. It literally means, “to run to the aid of those who cry for help.” The image is clearly understood. Someone who is in need stands and cries for help. One standing within range of that cry responds, comes running and offers the help that is so desperately needed. That picture provides an illustration of just what the Lord Jesus does for His children when they are suffering temptation. The temptation comes to quit, to give up or turn back, and the weakened child cries out to the Savior, “Please help me. Give me strength.” And the Lord Jesus runs quickly to the aid of His hurting child. What a gracious Savior!
Once our family was in an automobile accident. The Highway Patrol was called and it took nearly an hour for them to arrive. Now, it wasn’t the patrolman’s fault. He was the only officer for many miles, and was occupied with another accident before ours. But, praise the Lord, we will never have that problem when calling upon our Great High Priest. He is never off the clock, preoccupied or unconcerned with our needs. He is ever listening for our cry and His caring eye is ever upon us. When we do call, He is there to “suucour,” to quickly run to our aid. Praise the Lord for this, child of God, for you may just be crying out for that help before you know it. Just cry out in faith believing. He will come quickly.
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6
“…and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
This is a precious thought. Jesus referred to the Almighty and eternal God as our “Father.” He becomes the Father in heaven of all who place faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. John wrote, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God….” (1 John 3:1) We receive that title and position through the New Birth. We read the following words in John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Blessed position!
“…which seeth in secret….”
Here is another precious thought. Almighty and eternal God is concerned with us, and His eye his upon us. He “seeth.” In the context we find that He “seeth in secret” when we call upon Him in prayer. What grace is that! God in heaven sees us, and hears us, when we call upon Him in prayer. “When thou prayest enter into thy closet…” and from the closet God will see and hear.
“…shall reward thee openly.”
Then there is this precious thought, not only does He see and hear, He rewards. He sees us, hears us and answers our prayer. The Lord is pleased when His own bow before Him in faith and pray. So pleased in fact that He rewards openly all such prayers. The challenge to you and I is to find that “secret place” where we can spend time with our Father in heaven, calling upon Him in faith. We have the assurance that if we do that, our “Father which seeth in secret, will reward” us openly.
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 7
“…write them upon the table of thine heart.”
God gave holy men of old His Word, and they penned it down for the generations that would follow. When He gave His commandments, God wrote them with His finger on the tables of stone that Moses had prepared. God’s Word has been written on stones, on scrolls, on monuments, and, of course, on paper. The favorite place, however, where God likes to see His Word written is on the tables of His children’s hearts.
If God’s Word has the heart, the rest of one’s being will be in line with its principles and precepts. When writing to the followers of Christ in Rome, Paul said, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” (Romans 6:17) We read in 2 Corinthians 3:3, “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God: not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” The Psalmist revealed the importance of God’s Word in the heart when He wrote, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalms 119:11)
Beloved, God is much more interested in your heart than He is in your head. He wants you to “love him with all of your heart,” (Deuteronomy 6:5) He wants you to hide His Word in your heart, and He longs for you to do His will from your heart. (Ephesians 6:6) What all of this means is that the Lord wants your heart, your affections and love to be focused upon Him. He is not interested in mechanical devotion that is done strictly from a sense of guilt, duty or fear. May He ever help us to always get to the heart of the matter, for the heart is what really matters to Him.