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?

TODAY IS THE DAY TO REPENT!

The most important experience you can have in this life is repentance. Repentance means to”turn from sin (and) turn to God”. This act requiring God’s grace (Acts 11:18) is two fold as has been stated. You cannot just turn from sin thereby becoming a good person which many people believe is enough.You must also turn to God. That requires we change from self-seeking ambitious people following numerous types of ‘isms’ to someone who seeks God found through Christ alone (John 14:6).

Today our news is distracting and disturbing on so many levels. The reason being that it allows people to get caught up in the blame game where we see the sins of others rather than looking within our own hearts. Unless we change ourselves and the world one heart at a time nothing will ever be different no matter how many laws you might pass. For example repentance and forgiveness go hand in hand. If you have truly repented there is no room for anger, hate or even blame.

That being said, it is unfortunate but there are some that will never repent. Saying no to God to often God will one day harden and seal their heart as He did the pharaoh’s in Exodus 14:4. It is for that reason we must continue to denounce sin (which is to truly love the sinner) so that they might one day open their eyes to their wrongdoing.

We must hold before all who sin that unless we repent God will give us over to physical sin (Romans 1:24), emotional sin (Romans 1:26) and ultimately mental sin (Romans 1:28). TODAY IS THE DAY TO REPENT.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: A world can change one heart at a time.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Exodus 14:4 “a hardened heart if repentance is ignored”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I repent of all my sins and turn to You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What ism’s do people get caught up in (ex. humanism)?
  2. Why is it important to understand repentance is a 2-fold act?
  3. Why do people in desiring to solve problems not look first at healing the heart?
  4. How should people with a hardened heart be dealt with?

GUILTY OF PERVERSION

When we hear the word ‘pervert’ many if not most automatically associate it with sexual sin. In reality it is much more than that and sadly sweeps up into its definition much of the world.

The word pervert means to change something from its right use. It can be brought on by drink (Proverbs 31:5) or perhaps by worldly wisdom (Isaiah 47:10) imagining God does not take note of our actions. In fact many ‘perverts’ are so bold as to say God’s Word is the vehicle for their self-exultation. These people have turned God’s grace into license for debauchery (acting in an impure or unrighteous manner). They forget that their are ethical or moral components of faith. In a very real sense they have become spiritually blind.

The evil of those who are quick to pervert something from its rightful use will come under judgment. Both man’s and God’s (Job 8:3). We need to be aware that time of judgment may rapidly be coming upon us. We now live in a time where esteem for one another is perverted into animosity. People no  longer respect one another. The words of Paul to Elymas in Acts 13:10 should ring in our ears as we turn what God has given as good into something which serves evil. Look carefully into your life that you are not GUILTY OF PERVERSION.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: A pervert persuades people into partaking in acts that are displeasing to God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Isaiah 47:10 “worldly wisdom perverts”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord keep me in Your way.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Have you perverted anything?
  2. What are most common acts of perversion?
  3. How does drink/worldly wisdom change things?
  4. How is the division in society an act of perversion?

WHERE IS YOUR NAME WRITTEN?

I suspect most people in some fashion or another like to see their names in print. Some more than others. Those records are then recorded for life as one knows it on earth. Sadly what few think about is how our name will be recorded by God for all eternity.

This record is called the Book of Life and is a place I believe we are all listed from infancy (Hebrews 12:23) until what some call the age of accountability when we can fall from grace by making a conscious decision not to accept the Holy Spirit into our lives. Christ’s words address this in Revelation 3:1-6.

The question to ask then is what is contained in the record books God keeps? The answer is the two elements of judgment (Revelation 20:12-13). Those who are saved (vs. 5) and those who sadly fall into damnation (Revelation 20:15). A reality many sadly choose to ignore. Perhaps that is why so many fear or choose not to study or open the Bible for the truth it contains.

The degree of reward is also recorded. Paul mentions this in 1 Corinthians 3:8 for those after being saved continuing in good works (Malachi 3:16-18). I also believe all our deeds and innermost thoughts will be revealed at that time (Daniel 7:9-10).

The good news is that if we come in faith to Jesus we will be forgiven. Jewish history has acknowledged this as well using Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) on the first day to offer prayers seeking forgiveness and Yom Kipper nine days later when the forgiveness is sealed. I believe the cross seals that forgiveness immediately. The key is the emphasis on our penitence seeking to be forgiven. When doing that we can boldly proclaim Heaven when asked WHERE IS YOUR NAME WRITTEN?

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The Book of Life is our blessing if we are among the body of Christ seeking forgiveness.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Luke 10:20 “our names written in Heaven”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord forgive my sins as I grow in my continued love for You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Is your name written in the Book of Life?
  2. How is the age of accountability determined?
  3. As Christians why are each thought, word and deed critical?
  4. Do you confess your sins regularly?

RELATED BLOG: I saw your name written in…

 

PURE AS WIND DRIVEN SNOW

At this time of year those of us who live in the north often become well acquainted with snow. Great to watch if you don’t have to go out into it for indeed it has a pure white color having fallen from the heavens yet untouched by the ways of earth.

Today I want to share some thoughts on atonement. The process by which the guilty are purified by divine sacrifice. That process is called atonement which is necessary because of sin. Unfortunately we live in an age when people do not know what sin is. Satan and his minions have convinced many if not most that ‘tolerance’ should exist for most every human action and in addition to tolerance sin now desires affirmation.

Truth is sin as made evident in Scripture needs to be confessed as David did in Psalm 51:3. Confession goes hand in hand with baptism (Matthew 3:6) but forgiveness has to go one step further. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22). Everything is purified with blood.

Hebrews 9 speaks at length of the blood sacrifice that Christ took upon Himself where our guilt was transferred to Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Not only was it transferred but it was also removed (1 Corinthians 6:11) on the cross.

We need to be spiritually cleansed irregardless of what the world around us says. Our presentation before God one day must show that we are without spot and blameless (2 Peter 3:14).

James Talmage once said “man can not measure the bounds nor fathom the depths of divine forgiveness”. How true that is which can come to each of  us through the atonement of Christ. We can become PURE AS WIND DRIVEN SNOW.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The atonement of Christ is astonishing in its assurance of salvation.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 6:11 “guilt removed through atonement”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for Your sacrifice for my sins.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is necessary for you to receive the atonement of Christ?
  2. Why is purification important to our Triune God?
  3. What is the danger of a mind set of acceptance and affirmation?
  4. What is the Judeo-Christian history of blood sacrifice?

 

 

HOW HIGH CAN YOU CLIMB?

I have recently become aware that a combination of factors such as aging, lack of exercise and eating improperly can cause a person to get terribly out of shape. Walking up mountains or hillsides that I used to run up now require frequent pauses. The deeper I mire myself in this abyss the more difficult to recover.

The example also applies to a person’s spiritual life. The more we allow ourselves to sin the harder it is to recover. Truth be told we can’t do it on our own. David recognized this when in Psalm 86:13 he writes: “You (God) have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol (the abode of the dead)”. God ALONE can bring us out of whatever sin(s) plague us.

The Bible clearly points out where death exists often without our even realizing it. Ephesians 2:1 tells us of those who are unregenerate. Dead to God because of their sins and choosing to remain in them despite God’s free gift of grace.

Also dead are those who have an unreal faith (James 2:17-19). They walk around saying they have faith yet their actions do not prove it to be so. It is they who perhaps do more damage to the Christian faith than non-believers. The most susceptible see their hypocrisy and stay away from God. Many of our church’s fill their pews with these people yet Christ in Revelations 3:1 would call them dead such as the church at Sardis.

Though we show our faith by our works we have to be careful not to believe our works can save us. Works are dead without faith in God (Hebrews 9:14). This was the message of the Reformation. A message that faith frees us from sin’s power and makes us alive in God (Romans 6:11). When we have that freedom our soul cries out “all the way to Heaven” when asked the question HOW HIGH CAN YOU CLIMB.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Eternal death is no danger once we are delivered by the Divine nature of our Triune God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 86:13 “God delivers our soul”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for Your deliverance.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is the answer to being spiritually out of shape?
  2. Are you “letting go and letting God” (take over)?
  3. Why do people readily accept some free gifts and not others?
  4. How high can you  climb?

 

WARNING: THE DANGER OF NEGLECT!

Each day of our lives we are confronted by various warning signs. It could be anything from how we care for our bodies to how we observe signs installed along roadways for our well-being. Disobedience in regard to any of these warnings brings judgment upon us in some form.

Across this land those who break what society considers it’s most crucial warnings put people before court justices. When they pass judgment of deliverance from a guilty charge or condemnation for breaking a law the accused often react with strong emotion.

Imagine for a moment then how you (or someone you fail to warn) would react if you neglected to respond to your duties as a Christian. Material neglect is one matter but spiritual neglect is an entirely different matter.

If for example we neglect the Gospel which Christ speaks of in Matthew 22:1-14 through the example of a wedding invitation we face “being cast into outer darkness (vs. 13)”. These are not my words but Christ Himself who spoke them. Judgment in a courtroom on earth is minuscule in comparison to standing before God’s White Throne Judgment.

Today every living soul on earth can receive their salvation and avoid the judgment before God other than for rewards that will be given to those saved. Simply believe in Christ (Acts 4:12) and by your faith through God’s grace your salvation is assured (Hebrews 2:1-3). Ignore and WARNING THE DANGER OF NEGLECT is yours to face.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Neglect the opportunity to be near to God and expect to spend eternity in the neighborhood of darkness.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Hebrews 2:3 “Neglect salvation and face the consequences”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for showing me the path to salvation.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are the various types of warning signs we face in life?
  2. What judgments go with the breaking of the various signs?
  3. What is spiritual neglect?
  4. How does society today show spiritual neglect?

BEGINNING AGAIN!

A fresh start is a wonderful feeling. It happens when we first wake up in the morning; when we return from a restful vacation; or the start of a new year or day. When all things are new and all things forgiven what a wonderful feeling. This is God’s plan for us.

The cornerstone of a new start is confession. Most especially to God for our wrongdoings, but to others as well if necessary. Confession in the Greek understanding is to agree with what God says is a sin. It is a five step process that begins with godly sorrow (Psalm 38:8). Complete healing for individuals begins with brokenness. God cannot enter where self still rules.

Once broken and ready to return to God we follow the example of David in Psalm 51:1-9 by confessing our sin, repenting of them and receiving God’s forgiveness. This done full refreshment still has a few additional considerations.

I believe it is also necessary to share with any suffering from wrong doing on our part to know we are right with God but we desire to be right with them as well. That will require self-abasement. Apologizing and desiring to make things right in the fullest understanding of the terms.

This means that a person will turn away from their sin (Proverbs 28:13) and through God’s strength never return their again. It is here where a person of character truly shines. The concept of restitution all the way around comes from the time of Moses as recorded in Numbers 5:6-7. It is at this point we can truly BEGIN AGAIN.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Confession of sin leads to a clear conscience and communion with Christ.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 38:18 “brokenness must precede confession”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I am a sinner in need of Your forgiveness.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are different ways we ‘begin again’?
  2. What are the keys to full confession?
  3. Is self ruling over God in your life?
  4. Do you desire to be right with God and others?

RELATED BLOG: A new beginning!

 

WHEN GOD STOPPED BEING ANGRY!

Those who know me best know I don’t like getting angry or raising my voice. In those times when loud voices and angry words seem imminent I grow silent and often just walk away. In studying the ‘wrath of God’ I believe the way I react is appropriate.

To understand this we need to look at what God’s Word tells us on being delivered from God’s wrath and how that can be applied to our lives and it begins in Numbers 16:46 where in the day of Moses there was atonement or sacrifice often made through a lamb’s blood.

In addition to this there was no anger from God when promises (oath) made in His name according to His Word were upheld (Joshua 9:19-20). It may well be the basis for our swearing an oath in court on the Bible. Truth should be paramount when you back it with God’s name for God is truth.

As this is written a Decision America tour is being conducted by the Billy Graham Association to bring to light 2 Chronicles 7:14 which is a call to humble ourselves before God to hold back his walking away from or turning His back on our nation. There is evidence throughout history where nations fell after turning their backs on God after having been blessed earlier in their history for calling on and remaining faithful to Him. What the Billy Graham Association is doing is to ask each of us to stand “in the breech” for our nation (Psalm 106:23) as Moses did for his people. This nation truly is in need of a little humility before God.

A wonderful event happened approximately 2000 years ago that delivered us from the ultimate wrath which is to suffer and die for our sins eternally. That event occurred on Mt. Calvary in Christ dying for our sins. This truly was WHEN GOD STOPPED BEING ANGRY. As Horatio Spafford once said “my sin is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more”. Recently I visited the Grand Canyon and was amazed at how wide and deep it was but the width and depth of God’s love is so much greater.

Romans 5:9 shares with us this wonderful knowledge which is recorded 1 of 21 times in the New Testament when what is referred to as ‘a fortiore’ reasoning is used where when a greater statement is true (justification by Christ’s death) then subsequent lesser statements are also true (we are saved from God’s wrath). This indeed is God’s intent pointed out in 1 Thessalonians 5:9. God wants to love us even unto our salvation. Our response should be simple. Receive it and love God and others.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The wonders of God’s mercy are seen in the willingness of His foregoing His wrath at the cross.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 5:9 “Christ delivers us from God’s wrath”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for forgoing your wrath through the sacrifice of Your Son for our sins.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is your view on taking an oath on the Bible?
  2. What would cause God to turn His back on our nation?
  3. What is necessary for our salvation?
  4. To what has God appointed you?

RELATED BLOG: Let’s get together!

HAVE YOU MET YOUR MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS?

At one time or another many of us have had a notion to become a member of a certain exclusive club but the membership requirements were difficult to meet. That was part of what made it special. THE most prestigious club any of us should desire is the one we refer to as “The Redeemed in Christ”. Truth is there is no way you can buy your way into this group by means of your own choosing such as with money or good works for we see in Romans 3:20 that no one is justified (able to join) by their deeds.

Joining is actually quite simple. Romans 10:9 tells us we must make public confession our heartfelt belief that through Jesus Christ ALONE (John 14:6) we are saved. That alone will keep from our “club” the majority of the world including many who claim to be Christian but speak of their being multiple ways to salvation.

For those meeting the membership requirements we will be meeting in the most beautiful place ever which is Heaven. Now that we are in so to speak their are expectations of us. It is no different from any membership you hold that you need to and should desire to do whatever is necessary to be a member in good standing. For the redeemed David lays out for us in Psalm 24:4 the rules of conduct which include living a life of clean hands (do not become involved in that which is wrong); have a pure heart; trust God alone and not some false gods that pull you away from the one true God and ALWAYS speak truth based on God’s Word.

I believe once redeemed we need to make every effort to lead blameless lives always doing what is right in the eyes of the Almighty. For me to get to this point I (and I believe all of us) need to be broken. Born with a sinful nature like a wild stallion that must be broken. I had to come face to face with my sinful nature, confess it, repent of it and in faith pray for healing and the Lord to come in to heal my broken-hearted spirit (Isaiah 61:1). Having done so and now living by God’s grace I, as all of us can, have MET THE MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Spiritual maturity comes with and develops as we fulfill our membership in our Master’s list of mankind’s redeemed.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 24:4 “Rules of conduct for the redeemed”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord continue to guide me as one of Your own.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. Are you a member of the ‘Redeemed in Christ’?

2. How does one have a pure heart?

3. Do you believe that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone?

4. Have you experienced brokenness?

RELATED BLOG: Assured of salvation