A FULLY SENSORY FILLED LIFE

Living life fully is to experience all the sensory pleasures God would have us experience. The sense of taste is recorded in Psalm 34:8. We are to “taste and see the Lord is good”. Taste or consumption of our Lord happens when we take in or consume the Word of God. Doing so opens our senses beyond even what virtual reality claims to be able to do.

A second spiritual sense that can be ours is sight. It is as Ephesians 1:18 tells us that the “eyes of understanding will be enlightened”. We will see what most of the world does not. We will see from the heart guided by the Holy Spirit. It will be as though we are adults watching children playing in the playground of humanity.

Finally we will experience the sense of hearing which comes only through the Word of God and leads us to that saving faith we should all desire (Romans 10:17). Any action by any individual, group or government that would hinder God’s Word from being heard must be resisted to our fullest capability. For indeed God desires we live A FULLY SENSORY FILLED LIFE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Spiritual sense separate Christian believers from selfish scoffers of faith.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 10:17 “importance of hearing”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for bringing my faith alive.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How are your spiritual senses?
  2. Have you resisted anyone’s desire to remove God’s Word from your life?
  3. How much of God’s Word do you consume each day?
  4. Is the Holy Spirit guiding your heart?

TRUST IN GOD!

There seems to be a great deal of confusion on the topic of science and its relationship to Christian faith. For me science is a current description of how God is currently running the universe. Nothing more and nothing less.

Where science gets into trouble is in the realm of metaphysics. Where the desire is to get in contact with the beyond but do not want Jesus to be part of the equation. Scientific inquiry is okay but what is left out and key in all inquiry is that which is critical to Christians. Trust in our Triune God and living a holy life.

There is that in life from which we can get exact knowledge. For example the genetic transference of disease and other traits. Matters of the soul do not fall under this scientific inquiry as it is a creation of God. It is why scientists and abortionists as a specific example feel emotionally and spiritually empty. They deal with theories and limited realities.

Ultimate meaning does not come through wisdom as the Greeks believed and still hold influence through Gnosticism. Ultimate meaning comes from knowing that science manifests God’s existence (Psalm 19:1-6) and is used in this life to illustrate heaven’s glory (Revelations 21:9-23). Science serves a purpose but only when we add to it TRUST IN GOD.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Science satisfies only  when understood through Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 19:1 “nature manifests God’s existence”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I trust in You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is the purpose of science?
  2. Why is understanding body and soul key to life?
  3. What is metaphysics?
  4. Why does science often leave one emotionally and spiritually empty?

TIME TO LOOK UP!

Epidemics and catastrophes have been around for sometime. They fall under the heading plagues and can be attributed to divine judgment on occasion (Exodus 9:14) as in the case of the 10 plagues of Egypt. I believe that both our Lord and Savior do not desire to send these judgments upon us but when mankind hardens their hearts, close their minds and try to trap God and Christ (for example agnostics and atheists) then it seems inevitable.

In Exodus chapters 7-12 we read of the ten Egyptian plagues used by God to free the Jews from Egyptian slavery. God turned against the Egyptians what they worshiped (River Nile, beetles, frogs, and weather). A message for we today who seem to be more about worshiping nature than nature’s God.

The message behind the Egyptians plagues seems clear. When the Israelite’s were told to slaughter a lamb and place the blood over their door posts to avoid the angel of death. We today are also only saved by our taking on the blood of the Lamb of God (Christ Jesus). Indeed it is as the words of one famous hymn which states “nothing but the blood of Jesus”. We all need to gaze toward heaven with spiritual  eyes on our raised Messiah from where our help comes.

The final judgment one day will again bring plagues upon the earth (Revelation 8:6 through chapter 9), Today we read of asteroids coming dangerously close to earth and so much more. For all of us I believe it is TIME TO LOOK UP.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Plagues are a plight that should bring us to prayer and confession.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Exodus 9:14 “plagues are divine judgment”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord my faith is always and only in You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is the fine line between worshiping nature versus appreciating nature?
  2. What does it mean to see with spiritual eyes?
  3. What are the final plagues or judgments recorded in Revelations chapters 8 and 9?
  4. What end time signs seem to be stirring as a possible warning?

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH

The one thing we desperately need in our world is the spirit of truth (Holy Spirit) to combat satan the father of lies. The problem is, as Christ shared with His Disciples, that many in the world would not receive The Spirit (John 14:17).

In the Old Testament only a few had the Holy Spirit that either came upon them (ex. Moses, Gideon, Samson and David) or that came into them (ex. Joseph and Bezdiel). Today as with the time of the Disciples (John 16:13-15) we can also have the Holy Spirit upon and within us. We also can be guided by all truth apart from a world of lies. We also can receive the supernatural gifts of The Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 not unlike our brothers and sisters in Christ whose time has already passed.

To have the presence of the Holy Spirit is a wondrous thing. He gives us words and emotions that comfort and instruct. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to create, renew and place conviction upon the hearts of mankind. Indeed His indwelling within each of us (Romans 8:11) empowers us (Micah 3:8) in an amazing fashion. Today we should all seek THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The Spirit of Truth satisfies all seeking salvation.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 8:11 “The Holy Spirit can dwell within us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire Your presence within me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are the gifts of the Spirit that can be ours?
  2. Why are satan’s lies gaining such a foothold in our world?
  3. When a lie confronts you how do you respond?
  4. Do you have the Spirit of Truth?

WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT

God places in our trust resources that are first and foremost to be used to further His Kingdom in addition to provide for the well being of our families and ourselves. All other expenditures are peripheral in nature. In that regard there are some basic principles that we need to keep in mind.

First we need to know that one day all our actions will be held accountable by God and as we read in Romans 14:12-13 nothing, including the way money is used, should be a stumbling block to our Christian journey. How we manage our business and handle financial resources can be for either good or bad.

In several places throughout Scripture we read that finances and spirituality are inseparable. How we manage what God has given us shows the condition of our relationship to our Lord and Savior. When we place all our trust in God we can be assured God will take care of us. Christ assured us of this in His own words in Matthew 6:25-34.

What we need to understand is that we are to avoid debt (Romans 13:8) and that requires that we put everything in proper priority always putting God’s Kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). Doing so and setting some aside for emergency or future need will, I believe, have God say about His placing resources in our trust WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Steadfast in our stewardship will strengthen us in our spiritual journey.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 6:33 “Proper priority is putting God’s Kingdom first”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always manage properly what You have placed in my trust.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. In what ways can money be a stumbling block?
  2. Are you managing your resources for God?
  3. Are there times when Scripture supports the concept of debt?
  4. What does Scripture tell us about ‘rainy day’ funds?

PUNISHMENT FOR ALL ETERNITY!

Are you a sinner? The obvious answer is yes. It is why we need to pray daily for God’s continuing forgiveness. The difference is their are sinners and their are sinners. In fact Christ called the righteous sinners if they were not teachable. To truly grow in righteousness a person would want to learn from God’s Word each day.

In Luke 15 we see God loves the sinner who repents and greater love goes to those repenting of greater sin. In this example lies our message for forgiveness. We also need to forgive, as God has, those guilty of great sin if TRULY repentant.

The problem is some sinners are not repentant and so God gives them over to their sin which is a punishment in and of itself. Every aspect of a sinners life including physical, emotional and mental becomes subject to sin. A sinner then is hostile to God (Jude 15) always scheming something wicked (Psalm 26:9-10).

Like the tax collector Christ mentions in Luke 18:13 most sinners are conscious of their sin but rather than repent want to pull others into their sinful ways. The end result to be PUNISHMENT FOR ALL ETERNITY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: All sinners should seek salvation through our Savior.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Luke 5:32 “Christ came to redeem sinners”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I seek Your forgiveness.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is involved in being truly righteous?
  2. How can your sin also be your punishment?
  3. How are sinners hostile to God?
  4. What is eternal punishment?

EVERY GOOD BLESSING FROM ABOVE

It starts out “once upon a time a man with a speech impediment was healed”. Not an uncommon scenario in the life events of Christ but one that has special meaning when we look at it from the standpoint of Mark 7:31-37. The healing took place in Sidon, a far off place, not in the normal travel path of Christ and therefore I believe bears special consideration. Sidon not only was a great distance away from normal travel but was also pagan in make up and therefore not where you would expect Christ to be.

For me it is interesting the process that brought the healing about and the method used. The process, as it would be for us, began with a desire that someone has to be cured of their illness. No one is truly healed unless they want to be whether of their own accord or convinced and aided by someone else’s assistance. The examination as it did in today’s text requires questions such as: why do you choose the person to heal you that you do and do you truly believe in their skills? These for a Christian when it relates to our sins are repentance questions that test the sincerity of our action.

Once it is established that a person truly wants healing, be it from sin or illness, then the method is to be considered. In the example in Mark 7 we see that it is somewhat unusual having Christ use His spittle on the tongue and plugging his ears with his fingers. That divine touch that becomes very personal is not unlike spiritual healing that we may seek where without Christ’s presence within our heart (Holy Spirit) healing cannot begin. Once that is in place then as Christ did with the hearing impaired individual so we need to look at our Father in Heaven and build that line of communication that brings the healing to bear and allows for us to have 0ngoing communication for other needs or communication as time passes by. For indeed EVERY GOOD BLESSING COMES FROM ABOVE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Healing happens when we look toward Heaven with the Holy Spirit in our heart.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Mark 7:31-37 ” the process of healing through Christ”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for healing.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are some ways that we can send a message without words?
  2. What vehicles did Christ use that carried healing power (ex. oils)?
  3. What emotions did Christ show during his time on earth?
  4. What was the process and method Christ used in His healing others?

THE PROPER ATTITUDE TOWARD ONESELF

It is important for mankind to have a right understanding of self and to have a proper attitude toward self. For that to happen we need first to understand how special each of us are when we grow according to God’s plan. He has a plan for each of us even before we are conceived not unlike someone designing a blueprint before putting up a building. Every element of our personal construction is being overseen by God from the moment of conception (Psalm 139:13-16). Indeed we are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).

With time just as buildings need oversight so do we in terms of our relationship to our Creator. God desires that from our earliest moments we be in union with Him. That requires that we die to sin and no longer live in it (Romans 6:2).

The problem is that God gave us free will and many if they have sorrow for their sin are insincere and after forgiveness continue sinning. God’s plan is that we put on the “new man (and woman)” or new self.

For some time many if not most in our world have had a problem of self pre-occupation. Someone once wrote a book titled: Looking out for #1 and it compounded the problem of mankind’s focus on self rather than God. The result when we abandon God and get caught up in our own sinful life is we are less successful on many fronts. Simon Peter learned this lesson when leaving Christ to go fishing and came back with nothing (John 21:3).

There are those who have left our Lord and Savior and seem successful yet in reality they are not for they will be and are caught up in their own sins. For we who call ourself Christian remember the importance of having THE PROPER ATTITUDE TOWARD ONESELF.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Proper self image is seeing oneself as subject to our Savior.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Psalm 139:13-16 “self plan of God for each of us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always be subject to You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do you view yourself?
  2. What do you believe is God’s blueprint for your life?
  3. Have you died to all your sins?
  4. How has mankind shown its focus on self?

 

AWAKE THE TIME IS DRAWING NEAR

Most of us get up each day for a purpose. We have a goal or goals we want to accomplish with a desirable end. As Christian believers our life should be arranged likewise. Each day we should live a life of faith with salvation on the horizon. This being available to each of us is seen in the first prophecy of a coming Messiah in the Adamic Covenant given us by God and recorded in Matthew 3:15.

Salvation was announced and revealed throughout Biblical times and it certainly was longed for as recorded by the Psalmist (Psalm 119:81). Salvation is in fact promised to all, Jew and Gentile alike (Isaiah 45:22), who repent of their sin and believe in Jesus Christ. This promise was accomplished on the cross by Christ and attested to by His own words written in John 3:15. Not knowing the day of Christ’s return nor the day we take our final breath in this life we would be well advised to heed the words of Paul in Romans 13:11. AWAKE THE TIME IS DRAWING NEAR.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The salvation of saints comes through the sacrifice of our Savior.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 13:11 “Final salvation draws nearer each day”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for saving us from our sinful ways.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Why do you get up each day?
  2. What does God deliver us from?
  3. What keeps some people from a true longing for salvation?
  4. Are you ready for Christ’s return if He came today?

THE DAY MAY BE DRAWING CLOSER!

Theologians and others with a great deal more wisdom than I have, have discussed a subject that bears mentioning in this column. It is the  matter of ‘rapture’. When believers will be taken to return to Jesus (living and deceased).

A great many discussion points are involved here that for most believers are quite confusing. Matters such as the role of Israel in these events (Romans 11:16-24), the Scriptures discussion of a 1000 year reign of Christ (Revelations 20:2-7) and a period of time many believe to be 7 years when the anti-Christ will rule and play havoc with this world.

Of one thing I am certain. When I saw my father on his death bed after his passing, I became convinced his soul and spirit were no longer before me. What I saw before me was simply the human frame God gives each of us to travel through this life with. For me when we accept the Holy Spirit (being born again) into our life we are already starting our journey to that moment when we will meet Christ in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17) and one day be a part of His Kingdom. As one person said: “it is like going to the airport to meet the arrival of the King of Kings”.

Until then what is  important to know about the rapture is that there will be one in some form so prepare yourself now. THE DAY MAY BE DRAWING CLOSER.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The real importance of the rapture is our being received by  our Redeemer.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY:  1 Thessalonians 4:17 “saints caught up in the rapture”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always be ready for Your coming.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is dispensationalism and its role in end times theology?
  2. How will Christians be protected if at all during the time of tribulation?
  3. Will Christians face the time of tribulation or are we in that period of  time now?
  4. Are you prepared to be taken up with the Lord?