SEEK THAT WHICH IS PURE IN ALL THINGS

Some years ago I met a Jewish rabbi on his way to Bridgewater, SD where he was involved in making kosher (clean) the killing of buffalo if my memory serves me correct. At that time the concept of ‘uncleanness’ was not on my mind as it is this morning.

Throughout history of Jewish and Gentile people we have attributed uncleanness to demonic forces which cause illness, mental issues such as depression and moral temptation plus so much more. As a body humanity desires purity in all its many aspects. In fact we live in a world of contrasts with the demonic side representing death, illness, sin and hell while God in all His purity represents life, health, freedom from sin and Heaven.

The laws of purity are many and good for us to be aware of and follow. We should all seek purification such as spoken of in Isaiah 6:5-7. That involves a knowledge of God’s Word (Bible) and prayer (1 Timothy 4:5).

This process of purification (in a sense being made kosher) is necessary because we are all unclean (Ecclesiastes 7:20) even if righteous. That includes our entire body, soul and spirit (Isaiah 1:5). If we wish to be found blameless we must repent crying out the words of Psalm 51:4 “against You (God) have I sinned…” With this renewed faith (belief) we then should desire to be baptized (Ezekiel 36:25) with the cleansing water of forgiveness. Take captive every thought, word and deed and SEEK THAT WHICH IS PURE IN ALL THINGS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Uncleanness is brought about by a lack of understanding and unbelief.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Ezekiel 36:25 “cleansing by water”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire all that which is pure in Your Kingdom.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are the laws of purity?
  2. What contrasts exist in life between pure and evil?
  3. How does the devil play on our human nature causing us evil?
  4. What steps are you taking to purify your life?

A LIFE THAT IS ETERNAL

What is sin? Very simply it is a violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Sin defiles every part of our body, soul and spirit and so it should be only natural that we would want to understand it better. By understanding we will no long desire to live in sin which is in our own best interest and certainly is also pleasing to God.

In more recent times sin has become more evident coming out of a movement called moral relativism. Moral relativism tells us there is no sin only sickness. Once that slippery slope was in place it was easy to say there is really no sickness only lifestyle choices. The problem of course is lifestyle choices have consequences and in the case of sin they are eternal. A cost many choose not to acknowledge.

It should be mentioned that the Jewish Torah lists some sin or transgressions as worse than others. Thirty six to be exact which relate to sexual unions, blasphemy, idolatry, robbery, bloodshed and profaning the Sabbath in addition to others. Most especially so if committed intentionally.

The punishment for sin is 3 deaths. Spiritual which is to be no longer in communion with God, physical when our final breath is taken, and eternal separation in what we call hell if forgiveness is never sought. Truth though is God desires to forgive us for His Own sake (Isaiah 43:25). He does not desire to condemn us to eternal death.

Today we need to take responsibility for our own sinful nature (spirit). We need to stop allowing sin to destroy our body, soul and spirit, but rather take on a new nature. A nature or Spirit that gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). A LIFE THAT IS ETERNAL.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Transgressions are earthly trials that cause great tribulation.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Hebrews 9:15 “Christ died for our transgressions”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I am in need of Your forgiveness?

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. What is sin to you?

2. How does sin defile us?

3. Explain moral relativism?

4. Do you ever consider the eternal consequences of your actions?

 

 

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?

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?

THE MIND OF THE MESSIAH

As believers we are to have the mind of the Messiah. That demands of each of us that we have no evil desire. One such desire is lust which has its origin in satan (1 John 3:8) and desires to take root in every heart (Matthew 15:19). It is for that reason Christ warns us regarding lust in Matthew 5:8.

Sin lies in wait at each and every one of our door steps (Genesis 4:7). It will attempt by any means available to deceive us and entice us into its trap (James 1:14-15) and when enticed will “bring forth death”. What is sad is that so many live and walk in sin and will in the last days prevail (2 Peter 3:3). Sounds ominously all to familiar looking at today’s society.

For Christians we (if no longer) may well have lived in lustful behavior (Ephesians 2:3) yet if we repent we can stop it dead in its’ tracks (Colossions 3:5). We have the strength through Christ to flee from it (2 Timothy 2:22) and with the presence of the Holy Spirit never again desire to fulfill any lustful behavior (Galatians 5:16). That is when we have THE MIND OF THE MESSIAH.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Lusts loyalty is to lucifer.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Galatians 5:16 “Among Christians we are not to carry out lustful behavior”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord keep my eyes on You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  How is lust showing itself today?
  2.  Is lustful behavior increasing?
  3.  When are individuals most susceptible to lustful behavior?
  4.  What is necessary to put satan in his place?

FREEDOM FROM SIN AND GUILT AWAITS US

We often look at the smallest of children as symbols of innocence. Free from any sin or guilt yet it isn’t long before that innocence goes away and human nature appears through acts of disobedience and defiance. As Christians we believe this is innate in all of us through the original sin of Adam and Eve (Romans 5;12). Only Christ can save us from this (vs. 16) and return us to a right relationship with God.

The Word of God speaks of 4 kinds of innocence toward which we should strive. The first is the absolute innocence just mentioned which comes through our relationship with Christ alone (2 Corinthians 5:21). Second our lives should be conducted in a manner in which Christ’s was which is to assure ourselves of legal innocence much like Pilate proclaimed of Christ in Luke 23:4. Making every effort to follow in Christ’s footsteps will help keep us on the right path.

Their are two remaining kinds of innocence. The first is moral innocence. This requires we conduct ourselves in a manner where our conscience remains clean based on our being obedient to God’s law. The last is spiritual innocence. We should be as 2 Peter 3:14 tells us found by our Lord and Savior “in peace, without spot and blameless”. As I have shared often before this requires we live lives displaying the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). A life of innocence in union with our Lord and Savior can be ours. FREEDOM FROM SIN AND GUILT AWAITS US.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Innocence often comes through instruction and influence.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 5:12 “innocence lost by disobedience”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord make me clean.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  Why is Christian parenting so important in the life of children?
  2.  Why does evolution (macro) conflict with original sin and need for Christ?
  3. What is necessary to remain morally innocent?
  4. What is necessary to remain spiritually innocent?

DOCTORS ONE AND ALL

To follow in the footsteps of Christ would ask of each of us to be a part of the healing community which was one of Christ’s 3 main ministries. We are able to do that each time we hear the cry of someone like David in Psalm 41:4 where he uses the words: “Lord…heal my soul for I have sinned against You”. When we cause someone to turn away from sin (James 5:19-20) we are performing the greatest form of healing which is to save someone from spiritual death. Christ Himself emphasized this in His own words noted in Luke 13:5. The gift of healing is one of the gifts of the Spirit given to the body of Christ as Paul shared in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12:27-28).

Nevertheless we must understand that all spiritual healing to be complete lies only in God as the prophet Jeremiah understood (Jeremiah 17:14) and through Christ (Isaiah 53:5). A Lord and Savior that can be known through God’s Word.

Today it is important we open our hearts to that Word and repent of  our sins as Solomon did (2 Chronicles 7:14). Then and only then will spiritual healing begin. Assisting in this procedure we can be DOCTORS ONE AND ALL.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Spiritual healing is necessary for those with a heart for Heaven.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 2 Chronicles 7:14 “Spiritual healing begins with repentance”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I repent of all my sins.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What were and are Christ’s 3 main ministries?
  2. How can we help make people aware of their sin?
  3. How do you pray when asking for healing for yourself or others?
  4. What are the steps to recovery in spiritual healing?

ALL INFIRMITIES CAN BE OVERCOME

Every one is different is a fairly obvious statement. Some are blessed with longevity here on earth with hardly any illness to face while others know their medical practitioners on a close and personal basis.

Scripture addresses our infirmities which are the weakness of our human nature first of all by assuring us that Christ is at our side and has taken our sickness upon Himself (Matthew 8:17). All matters of healing whether physical or spiritual are to be brought to Him.

The key in life is how we respond to them. In a sense each ailment satan puts before us in our human nature is like a battle plan we turn over to our Lord and Savior. Our response is never to show defeat but rather to “take pleasure in infirmities” (2 Corinthians 12:10) for Christ has assured us He is our strength which is made perfect in our weakness (vs. 9).

In a very real sense I believe God’s Word looks  at not only physical ailments but spiritual ailments as infirmities. All sins, which are clearly listed in Scripture, are to be removed so that we are restored to Christ. In fact it is our responsibility to help others caught in sin (Galatians 6:1). The best way of course is for a person sick in nature to find Christ but when we take this on be prepared to be attacked with the full force of satan as they caught in sin (infirmity) will attack your spirit and your body by their words and deeds. What they do not understand is the ultimate victory is ours.

The important thing regarding our battle with infirmities (both  within and without) is that all must understand that what is said or done is carried out in love. Hatred and anger are tools of the devil. With this understanding ALL INFIRMITIES CAN BE OVERCOME.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Infirmities are opportunities to increase in faith.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 2 Corinthians 12:10 “rejoice in infirmities”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me to battle all infirmity.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Factors that influence our well being?
  2. How can we be of help to others caught in sin?
  3. What words and deeds does satan and those caught in sin use against spiritual restoration?
  4. Do you have a battle plan for your infirmities?

SET IN THEIR WAY

I suspect most all of us know someone who won’t change their mind especially when it comes to learning about God. In Scriptural terms that is referred to as being impenitent. A form of stubbornness that has dire consequences.

First it is important to find these individuals. Those who willfully disobey. An example in Jeremiah 44:15-19 shows such a group of women and wives who heard the word of the Lord but continued in their sinful ways. Today many hear God’s Word yet continue to intentionally sin. For some who continue to defy the teachings of God He may well blind their hearts (1 John 12:40) to the point of eternal punishment. For these individuals even the witnessing of the resurrection would not persuade them as Christ tells us in Luke 16:31. Sadly we see today the next step taken by the impenitent. It is outright rebellion against any who hold to or speak the truth (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16).

These actions by the impenitent and of hardened hearts will have consequences as mentioned earlier. Though they may think themselves free they are in truth in spiritual bondage. Christ referred to this as ‘spiritual slavery’ (John 8:34). Sadly they and the world remain blind to their sin and will only understand when they face eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). That is the danger of being SET IN OUR WAYS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Impenitence is an impediment that has eternal implications.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 12:40 “Impenitence seen in hardness of heart”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may my heart always remain open to You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Who are those today who hear God’s Word yet continue to knowingly sin?
  2. How are impenitent showing rebellion against Christians today?
  3. Do you know anyone in spiritual bondage?
  4. Why is eternal punishment of little concern to so many?

HOW SIN STARTED!

Sin began as a 3 step process. In God’s creation we have Lucifer who wanting to be like God is banished to earth where as satan he personifies all evil in his temptation of mankind (Genesis 3:1-5). Second we have God creating a perfect world for man and woman yet the first woman Eve is deceived by the purveyor of sin (2 Corinthians 11:3) and finally Adam in his disobedience of God’s command sinned and through his sin the universality of sin came upon all mankind (Romans 5:12).

The consequences of Adam’s sin are also 3-fold. First is being driven out of paradise (Genesis 3:24). We will have labor for any comforts we desire and finally we will have to face death (Genesis 3:19). This was not God’s plan but the result of original sin. Sadly, much of mankind by their own free will out of ignorance has chosen to alienate ourselves from God (Ephesians 4:18). We can continue to walk in spiritual blindness as the majority of the world does or we can be changed by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Only then will we have the understanding that faith alone saves through grace (Hebrews 11:3). Only then will we return to the way that leads to the narrow gate that leads to salvation and living according to God’s plan (Matthew 7:13-14). This is God’s desire for man’s response to HOW SIN STARTED.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The fall of man comes from failure to remain obedient to God’s Word.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 3:16 “only God can change the consequences of man’s fall into sin”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord increase my understanding.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Who are the purveyors of sin in this world?
  2. How are women deceived today?
  3. How do deceived women bring men into sinful action by their own choosing?
  4. How does God view man who claims belief in Jesus yet who live lives otherwise?