LEAD THE WAY

Recently I wrote about womanhood so it is only appropriate to write what Scripture shares regarding masculinity and its characteristics. Society and academia have tried to convince us that we need to be more gender neutral. Not as God would have us be defined but as a few ‘elite’ believe a man and woman should be. When mankind removes God’s Word as the source of all truth and place themselves in the position of God this is what happens.

My truth is God’s Word and God defines for me what it means to be a man. First of which is self-control as recorded in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27. Sadly, many  men fail big time here loosing control seen in various levels of anger. Often doing harm to members of their own families.

A man is also someone with mature understanding (1 Corinthians 14:20). This requires getting rid of all childish ways and for me that only comes with a growing knowledge of God’s Word. Despite this we see fewer men bringing their families to Houses of Worship and staying for adult Sunday School or Bible classes.

Third men are to be the ones who show courage. Abisha addressed this when defeating the Ammonites as told in 2 Samuel 11:12. Courage in battle was once the sole purview of men, at least at the front lines of conflicts. Today social engineers are trying to redefine that Scriptural viewpoint. At least as they would understand life apart from God.

Finally we receive instruction in 2 Timothy 2:3-5. Here we see that mankind is meant to endure hardship. We are to live life by the rules and whatever hardships come along persevere for ourselves and as an example for our families. A great many men in the Bible showed us the way in these areas such as Joshua, Daniel and others. Now it is our turn to LEAD THE WAY.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Manliness manifests itself best in a marriage where the Lord is the Master.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 “Manliness begins with self control”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I be the man You want me to be.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are childish ways that prevent mature understanding?
  2. How is society trying to redefine manliness?
  3. What is the danger of the gender neutral movement?
  4. What additional masculine characteristics are there?

 

WHEN GOD MAKES A PROMISE!

As complicated as I occasionally make things there is one area I like to keep simple. The old Scriptural saying that we are to “let our yes be yes and our no be no” (Matthew 5:37) is a good principle by which to live. Today politicians by their actions and lawyers by their profession have over-defined what once were simple (and Biblical) understandings of such things as oaths, vows, promises and covenants.

It would seem in reading the words of Christ recorded in Matthew 5:33-37 that taking an oath or swearing on a Bible is not appropriate for Christian believers. The danger of course is in so doing you risk perjuring yourself unintentionally. For Christians life is much simpler. Speak the truth at all times.

There are times when oaths made are superseded by God’s need for our  expression of love or righteousness. In other words when the Holy Spirit is living within us our heart often needs to over weigh the mind.

There are numerous reasons why an oath may not be appropriate. Issues such as being urged toward falsehood, exaggeration resulting from being under duress, our mistaken notions and more all put perjury into the picture and it is for that reason Paul also expressed Christ’s sentiment in James 5:12. In fact this may be the basis for the 5th amendment to our Constitution.

What we can be certain of is our God who is truth fulfills His oaths or covenants with mankind. Indeed we can count on it WHEN GOD MAKES A PROMISE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Our oath should be one of obedience to our Lord.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Matthew 5:33-37 “prohibition concerning oaths”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may my yes be yes and my no be no.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is the difference between oaths, vows, promises and covenants?
  2. When does the heart overweight the mind?
  3. Why or why not should Christians swear an oath?
  4. What are God’s oaths or agreements with mankind?

BLOSSOM ABUNDANTLY

As humanity, under the influence of satan, increasingly sucks the beauty out of what God created, I return to the beauties of nature and nature’s God. In Psalm 19:1-6 we see the Psalmist David write in comforting language about the works and Words of God. Indeed the heavens reveal God’s glory and can also reveal God’s anger.

This beauty of the heavens is synonymous with the beauty that also exists upon the earth as was pointed out by Matthew in Matthew 6:28-31. The plants that adorn the earth are more beautiful than anything we can imagine clothing ourselves with yet the money we spend on clothing and jewelry is far in excess what would be the cost of a flower or packet of flower seeds. We forget the beauty God seeks lies within our hearts and not in the reflection from a mirror.

Within God’s creation is a message meant for each of us which is to give us a foretaste of the coming Kingdom. This description of Spiritual blessing seen in our earthly blessing is noted in Isaiah 35:1-2. Indeed nature can serve as our example. We also as God’s creation should BLOSSOM ABUNDANTLY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Natures beauty is a bountiful blessing for all to see.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Isaiah 35:1-2 “nature foretells the coming Kingdom”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for Your creation.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  What can you do to appreciate the beauties of the Heavens?
  2.  What can you do to appreciate the beauties of the earth?
  3.  In what ways does Creation point to God’s Kingdom?
  4.  Are you  blossoming abundantly?

THERE IS A NATURAL EXPLANATION FOR EVERYTHING!

I am a person who appreciates what is real or innate more so than what is man made or artificial. This, I believe, is the way God intended life to be and to which one day life will be restored (Romans 8:21-23). A foretaste of that time was when Christ journeyed on this earth and the rest we await as it will be revealed to us one day in Heaven.

During this time there is one thing we need to be aware of and that is that the natural way can only be overcome by a supernatural God. An example of this is Sarah’s giving birth at a late age in life.

The question then might be what is natural? If one is blessed with a special gift we say “they have a natural talent”. The shame being when that talent is not used for God’s purpose or developed into its full potential.

All have a natural talent for prayer the four steps of which are shown in Luke 11:1-13. Prayer simply is communicating with God not totally unlike you would when visiting with an acquaintance.

In all things there is a natural explanation. It is time we turn our thoughts back to God’s natural plan whether in how we care for ourselves or all which is around us. This can only come through understanding what is revealed in Scripture. Indeed THERE IS A NATURAL EXPLANATION FOR EVERYTHING.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Nearness to God comes from understanding the beauty of what is natural.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 15:44-46 “God’s plan for us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I seek Your natural plan for my life.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How is society returning back to its natural ways?
  2. Is the process of returning to our natural ways allow room for God?
  3. What is the essence of the meaning behind 1 Corinthians 15:46?
  4. How does God reveal Himself supernaturally?

MOTHERHOOD IS INDEED SPECIAL!

It is always awkward for a man to write or speak out on any matter related to women. Yet Scripture does not have a volume control depending on who is reading what verse. The Bible speaks loud and clear to all people at all times. This is especially so on the issue of motherhood.

Let me begin by saying that in the framework of faith there were women in leadership and valued beyond the boundaries of the home. Three of those were Lydia, Priscilla and Phoebe. That being said I believe the Bible is clear that God’s purpose for women is motherhood. In fact God’s plan was made perfectly clear in Genesis 1:28 telling mankind to “be fruitful and multiply”. When a woman brings forth and/or raises a child she is fulfilling divine law and no greater fulfillment exists than that no matter what present day society  asserts.

Two additional aspects of motherhood are first of all it should be joyful (Psalm 113:9). Joy being one of the graces of God that we are blessed with. Many  in society today have put under attack (motherhood) what God meant to be a blessing and sadly many wrapped up in themselves have fallen for what I believe is this demonic lie.

The second aspect of motherhood is that within this act of love lies salvation as 1 Timothy 2:15 tells us. Through the act of childbirth God sends us packages of love and in our love and trust of God we raise another precious soul for His Kingdom. MOTHERHOOD IS INDEED SPECIAL.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Motherhood is like unto divine music sung to our Master from the mountaintop.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Genesis 1:28 “motherhood fulfills divine law”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for mothers.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What were the roles of Lydia, Priscilla and Phoebe?
  2. How can a woman without a natural born child fulfill the role of motherhood?
  3. What does it mean to bring forth and/or raise a child?
  4. How has society put motherhood under attack?

YOU DO THE MATH!

It is accepted by many that the world seems to have been created and operates on somewhat of a numerical system. The complexity of that has been written about by minds that are light years above mine. Yet the Scriptures would have us understand some easily grasped items pertaining to addition, subtraction and multiplication as it regards spiritual mathematics.

For believers it is simple. We are to add God’s Word (Deuteronomy 4:2) to our lives which most especially near the end times will allow us to increase in knowledge (Daniel 12:4). With this increase in knowledge the righteous will also increase in years and peaceful living (Proverbs 3:1-2). A life that will be filled with the graces recorded in 2 Peter 1:5-7.

What we dare not subtract are any of the Words God has given us (nor add to them for that matter) in His law and Gospel (Deuteronomy 12:32). If we do so as righteous and non-righteous, I believe God may well put before us disease (Exodus 15:26) not unlike He did to the Egyptians in the time of Moses.

In terms of multiplication God wants us to increase our families (Genesis 1:28) for in doing so we will indeed prosper and in our prosperity we must never forget from whence it came (Deuteronomy 8:1, 11-13).

Scripture is filled with spiritual math. Obedience to the laws of mathematics will allow us a much fuller and blessed life. Disobedience will only lead to sin, sorrow and a shortened life. YOU DO THE MATH.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Spiritual mathematics allow the Master to share with mankind all the means of grace.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Deuteronomy 4:2 “The addition of God’s Word to our lives is critical”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord Your addition to my life has truly multiplied its richness.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is spiritual mathematics or Biblical numerology?
  2. How have we added or subtracted to God’s Word?
  3. In what way does God desire to add to our life through our journey in this life?
  4. How has spiritual math affected your life?

MEDICINES IN THE BIBLE

There is no greater healer than God. It would therefore seem reasonable to look to His Word for prescriptions on caring for an illness. In the world we live in today many run to the doctor at every little sneeze never letting the human body develop its own immune system properly. This was not always the case as oral tradition in the culture from which Jesus came (and lived in) taught that minor ailments be left alone although Jesus clarified this somewhat in how He approached His work as the Great Healer.

Today we want to look simply at medicine. What is used and for what purpose. Top of the list is olive oil and wine. Christ Himself shared their medicinal value when He spoke the words recorded in Luke 10:34. In fact wine in His time (as is often so today) was used to ease the pain in the final moments of life or to overcome debilitating grief.

Today natural healing is coming back perhaps more so than ever. Companies are sharing the essential oils from plants God has given us to not only heal but bring our senses into the full realization God intended for them. Ezekiel 47:12 tells us “their leaves will be used for medicine”. Thankfully natural healing is showing a revival.

Within this healing there is also the element of proper nutrition and the use of olive oil to heal wounds (Isaiah 1:6) and for general wellness. In fact the study of medicine AS GOD WOULD HAVE US UNDERSTAND is such a huge area that it bears each of us looking into it further. Today we simply touched on a few ideas relating to MEDICINES IN THE BIBLE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Scriptural medication for mankind are meant for more than nominal healing.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Luke 10:34 “medicinal value of oil and wine”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord show me Your plan for healing.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do you handle illness?
  2. What preventive care steps are you taking?
  3. Have you, or are you, interested in studying God’s healing plan through roots and leaves?
  4. What in olive oil and wine gives it a medicinal effect?

MAN’S TRADITIONS OR GOD’S WORD!

Martin Luther in April 1521 standing before representatives of the most traditional body of the time (Roman Catholic church) when asked to renounce his writings said the following: “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason…my conscience is captive to the Word of God…”. In Mark 7:1-23 Christ Jesus was confronted by  the Pharisees and asked to hold to tradition rather than God’s law and Word. Christ set the example for us when in Mark 7:9 we see recorded His words: “All too well you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your tradition”. Today those words still ring true as traditions in so many of our lives and most especially in church communities carry greater weight than what Scripture tells us.

For me there are many examples in Mark 7 that can provide spiritual insight including that we need to be careful on what traditions we place to much importance. If traditions are keeping us away from the true message that our Lord and Savior desires we receive then we need to set those aside and listen with open ears for the voice of God. Hebrews 9 tells us that traditions had a purpose which was to purify the heart until the coming of Christ and yet now we give them the weight of doctrine in far to many situations.

It is important that we heed the words recorded in Mark 7:14 that as believers we “hear God and understand”. We need to do more than simply sit in pews or claim a Christian faith. We need to understand the depth of what that means. We need not only to hear but to know the depth of meaning behind the words Scripture puts before us. We need to understand that it is not MAN’S TRADITIONS BUT GOD’S WORDS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Traditions can be a temptress taking us away from spending time in The Word.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Mark 7:9 “be careful how important traditions become for you”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord give me understanding on what traditions to maintain in my life.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How might faith communities be spending to much time on traditions versus furthering God’s Kingdom?
  2. What ceremonial law did Jesus not abandon?
  3. What traditions do we now have that carry the weight of doctrine?
  4. What traditions have you placed to much weight on if any?

PERFECT HARMONY!

When matters of life are arranged properly you have what is called symmetry or harmony. This in Scripture is noted for how worship is to be conducted, battles fought or even words spoken (Job 33:5). In the absence of this order you end up with chaos and confusion and success is far less likely if at all.

Christ’s priesthood came out of order (the line of David) which can be seen in life today. The passage to future generations of that which is important is far more successful when a structured plan is in place. One that allows for a continuation of that which is most important. Most especially as it regards faith and family.

In matters of such importance we need to be, through prayer, in touch with our Lord (1 Chronicles 15:13). I believe God has a prescription for all that which will honor Him and further His Kingdom. As with a prescription there are regulations and instructions to follow. The primary book of instruction quite naturally is the Bible to which all willingly or unwillingly are subject.

The last words of David tell us when we order things in this fashion we are in obedience to God’s Covenant and matters are secure (2 Samuel 23:5). It is then we can say our life is in order. A delight to God. A life of PERFECT HARMONY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Order organized around our Savior leads to an optimum life.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 37:23 “A believers life in order”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord keep my life in order.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Does your life have order?
  2. Where do you find harmony?
  3. Is there something you would like to organize that would honor God or further His Kingdom?
  4. Why is order necessary?

BEWARE OF DECEIVING SPIRITS !

The world of the occult seems to have a special fascination for many people. The danger in them is that they can be and often are the instrument by which satan leads people astray. Christ Jesus addresses this in Matthew 12:22-30 when the Pharisees blasphemed the Holy Spirit through Whom the miracle of healing occurred.

The danger in occultism of course is that it can lead people to follow satan rather than God costing them their eternal salvation. That today is a very present danger. This is made clear in 1 Timothy 4:1. When our words and deeds do not rest on the truth of God’s Word alone then we need to be cautious.

Where deceiving spirits lie are in the occultist practices of astrology (Isaiah 47:13-14), mediums (Deuteronomy 18:11-12), palm readers and fortune tellers (vs. 14), magicians (Genesis 41:8) or witch craft (Deuteronomy 18:10). These and more are who can lead anyone off of the narrow path to heaven and are to be avoided.

Sadly, much of this influence comes from our governments. Jezebel started this with her influence over King Ahab and today again we have political structures promoting misuse of mind altering drugs even for personal pleasure. These and all occultist practices since OT time have been forbidden, forsaken and even punishable by death. BEWARE OF DECEIVING SPIRITS!

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Occultism occurs when obedience to our Lord is under wrongful influence.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Jeremiah 27:9 “Occultism is forbidden”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me to resist all satanic forces.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Where do we find astrology and other occultist practices revealed to us?
  2. Where is the danger according to Scripture in each of these areas?
  3. Do you participate in any occultist practices?
  4. How should we respond to any mind altering experience outside the Christian faith?