GO AND PREACH THE GOSPEL!

When you  die what will be your final instructions to your family? He Who should be most important in each of our lives, Christ Jesus, said this prior to His Resurrection: “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19). From that moment on the entire world, Jew and Gentile alike, were to hear God’s Word.

Jesus mission was to the Jews only (Matthew 15:24) until the Holy Spirit was given to us and then we Gentiles were grafted into the Jewish plan of salvation. This through the power of the Holy Spirit even unto “the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). When God’s Word has reached all people in some manner then we will see Christ return.

Today we, also prompted by the love of our Lord and Savior and mankind’s great need, should be willing to do whatever is necessary to carry out the Great Commission. Like Paul we should be bringing God’s Word to Jew and Gentile alike. In our own ways we like groups such as the American Bible Society, Gideon’s and Wycliffe should be getting the message out. Not in a deceptive or enticing sort of way but speaking truth in love without fear.

So as we undertake this commission how are we to equip ourselves? First is the Word of God which must be preached (Matthew 10:14-15). This preaching must come from one filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). All this preceded by time spent in fasting and prayer (Acts 13:1-4). Now our mission should we choose to accept it is simple. GO AND PREACH THE GOSPEL.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The motive for our mission in life is to share God’s message to the many in need.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 28:19 “The Great Commission”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord set me on a path to carry out Your mission.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. In what ways can we carry out the Great Commission today?
  2. What successful mission organizations are there?
  3. What barriers exist to being effective missionaries?
  4. What will be your mission today?

COMFORT IN ALL MATTERS

Having just noted the omniscience and omnipotent character of our Triune God we still have God’s Word revealing to us His omni or all present character. In modern times we have 24/7 prayer and helplines to call in on year round but that ever present service has been ours since the moment of creation. God seeks our friendship and expressions of concern at all times.

Since the time of Abraham there has always existed among God’s people this feeling of God being ever present. It is seen in we who follow Him through our holding firmly to the principles of truth and love and the other gifts recorded in Galatians 5:22-23. It is when we, in our efforts to further His Kingdom, allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with these blessings that we being born anew can most feel the Divine Trinity’s presence.

God’s Word tells us that “He fills Heaven and earth” (Jeremiah 23:24). Every thought, word and deed by us and all others is captive to His observation. Some may cover their heads with hoods or meet in places with boarded up windows but that will not hide them from the eyes of God.

Christ, in His own words, assures of His presence no matter how few gather in His name. A family holding a Bible study, a gathering of a few couples in a home church or in a small country parish has Christ’s ear as much as a mega church does.

When we know that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Psalm 139:7) are with us at every breath it should change our very nature. Their omnipresence should provide COMFORT IN ALL MATTERS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  The universal presence of our Triune God eliminates uncertainty and brings union with God into greater urgency.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Jeremiah 23:23 “Universal presence of God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord continue to reveal Your presence to me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What eternal desires do you know of?
  2. What attributes are eternal (truth, love, etc.)?
  3. Why do people want to remove God from daily life?
  4. Does knowing God’s omnipresence change how you live?

INFINITE KNOWLEDGE!

Omniscience or infinite knowledge lies alone in the Trinitarian nature of God the Father (Isaiah 40:12-14), God the Son (Colossians 2:2-3) and God the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-13). If we are of God and have received the Holy Spirit we also can know what is required to be in obedience to God. To gain knowledge, wisdom and most importantly understanding.

It is my opinion that when this happens we receive divinely inspired interpretation abilities to be able to see what God had originally intended. Each word of Scripture is like a little seed that contains within wonderful fruit. For that fruit to appear the seed must first be planted , nourished and one day harvested by God.

When this happens, unless those to whom we speak have a similar experience, others may likely not understand. Their efforts in acquiring knowledge has no foundation. Sad to say by their removing God from the equation and inserting their own secular nature loose all possibility of achieving true understanding. For them life and death is simply a foregone conclusion. For the true believer death, having received redemption through Christ, is an act of obedience. Obedience to He Who has shared with us His INFINITE KNOWLEDGE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Omniscience is only understood when mankind desires oneness with God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 “the Gospel is Heavenly wisdom”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord speak to me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Are you seeking Heavenly wisdom?
  2. Did Christ give up His omniscient nature when He toke on the form of man?
  3. Why is our being born of the Spirit so critical?
  4. What fruit lies within you?

INFINITE POWER!

Our God is certainly all powerful. He created all that is and has allowed us to experience a part of that in how He has (Romans 4:17-24) and will continue to fulfill His promises. These are recorded in Scripture both written in a clear manner and also in hidden thoughts and truths intended to reach people’s hearts and minds yet requiring extra effort on our part. In fact since God is omnipotent He is able to do what He pleases (Psalm 115:3) without ever growing weary (Isaiah 40:28). This is why understanding our relationship to Him is so important.

God had intended the perfect relationship with mankind in the Garden of Eden. Sin occurred breaking this relationship and so Christ’s redemption became necessary for us to one day again have opportunity to experience this perfect relationship with an omnipotent God. In the meantime I believe God wants us to deal with an adversary (Job 40-41). Why remains somewhat of a mystery but perhaps it is a desire by God to see our faithfulness. This requiring our being born again of the Holy Spirit and putting on the full armor of God. What we can take comfort in is that God alone can deal with these forces of evil (Job 38-41) which He does daily on our behalf and will one day do for all time. Indeed God has INFINITE POWER.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The omnipotence of God can help us overcome all odds.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 4:21 “omnipotence of God expressed by His infinite power”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I bow before Your omnipotence.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are the promises God will yet fulfill?
  2. How does one find the hidden truths of the Bible?
  3. How does God today show His infinite power?
  4. How will God bring us back into relationship with Him?

THE TIME MAY BE NEAR!

There is an old saying that “to whom much has been given much is expected”. No greater gift exists than eternal life and so for us God has great expectations. Certainly when He witnesses our breaking of His laws (sins of commission) that would disappoint or even anger Him. Equally so would be sins of omission.

Such sins included the neglect of circumcision most especially for the Jewish newborn. This act abolished by the Gospel still was and is in many locations carried out for expected health reasons and the spiritual significance of regeneration.

More importantly was the sin of our omitting to tithe. To this day by our not giving at least a tenth of our income (money, growth in possessions such as livestock, etc.) we are in effect robbing God as shared in Malachi 3:6-12. Today that continues as we often give (if at all) from what we have left over and almost never from the value of our estates we build up by God’s grace.

A final sin of omission to note is Christians neglecting to come together to worship (Hebrews 10:25). At times of worship creative excuses for why we are absent are many yet if Christ were present (which He is) the church’s would be full.

These sins of omission as are those of commission, must be carefully monitored in our lives. As Christians it is our moral duty to live a righteous life. If we do not we would be well advised to heed the words of the prophet Jeremiah recorded in Jeremiah 42:1-22. In our time we have been witness to events that have warned us. May we not be caught sleeping like the disciples at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46) but be ever watchful as Christ’s own words tell us in Matthew 24:42. THE TIME MAY BE NEAR!

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Whether by omission or commission sins are always obstacles to our growing in righteousness.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Hebrews 10:25 “A sin of omission is not gathering to worship”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me to obey Thy will.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are additional sins by omission?
  2. How much do you tithe?
  3. What excuses do we make for not worshiping?
  4. Are you striving toward a righteous life?

IMPORTANT IN OUR LIVES!

Occasionally we hear that certain food is a gift from God and one of them most certainly is virgin olive oil (Psalm 104:14-15). It is for that reason we will look at olive oil and its many uses and meanings.

One use was for anointing (Psalm 23:5) those whom you deemed special. Our Messiah was anointed numerous times and ways. In fact the act itself was synonymous with brotherly love as in the words of Psalm 133. A message that should speak loudly to the disunity in our day. In fact olive oil for anointing purposes was used in the time of Moses for purification purposes as well (Exodus 40:9-10). Today it still carries that importance.

It is interesting to note that Gethsemane where Jesus prayed comes from the word for oil press and to this day there are gnarled old olive trees there that may have been present at the time of Jesus or so I am told. Likewise we know that the Mount of Olives was a place of retreat for Jesus. Certainly olive trees and oil hold a special place for Christ.

Additional uses of olive oil were for medicine along with wine (Luke 10:34). Its healing value was well known. In James 5:14-15 it was specifically used for someone extremely ill.

The importance of anointing oil is ultimately equated with our being Born Again of the Holy Spirit. It is as 1 John 2:20 and 27 tells us. Purified by the Holy Spirit our eyes will be opened in an almost unbelievable fashion. This to help us understand the Second Coming and the role olive oil will play at that time (Revelations 6:6). Indeed olive oil is IMPORTANT IN OUR LIVES.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Using olive oil as an ointment or otherwise shows obedience to our Lord.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Psalm 104:14-15 “Olive oil is given by God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord give me understanding of Your many blessings.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What food or plant items does Scripture consider special gifts from God?
  2. What Scriptural references are there to Christ being anointed?
  3. How do we bestow blessing on our special guests today?
  4. How do you use olive oil?

HOW WE COME BEFORE HIM

One topic I have yet to address that is very evident throughout Scripture and evident in so many ways in our society is that of nakedness. As Christians that which causes us discomfort or unease we like to ignore yet it (nudity) affects us in so many ways. Daily we read stories of incest, adultery, pornography and more. We observe nudity on the street, television, theater and art museums. It is even a part of the necessity for care and healing in a medical setting. So what should we think?

God cannot by His nature create that which is sinful. I believe all God’s creation is beautiful including our very physical presence. Adam and Eve understood this (Genesis 2:25) when living in a righteous state. The problem as it is with everything is when sin came into the picture. Nakedness is a natural state until we fall into sin (Genesis 3:10-11). We are born as a special creation of God without clothing, yet original sin requires that our life in all its aspects (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) must come to God fully clothed in righteousness (Isaiah 61:10-11 and Revelations 19:8). What God cares about is HOW WE COME BEFORE HIM.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Nakedness was natural until sin found a necessity for clothing.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Genesis 2:25 “the original state of mankind”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I fully understand Your plan for me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What sinful acts make clothing necessary?
  2. Is seeing the unclothed human frame acceptable in any situation (ex. museums, hospitals, care facilities, etc.)?
  3. Is there any spiritual significance to our being born naked?
  4. What is necessary to grow in righteousness?

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?