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?

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?

 

MARRIAGE MODELS THE MANIFESTATION OF ETERNAL BLISS

Marriage though not commanded by Scripture is certainly encouraged. The key as with all matters of life is to understand it properly. The cornerstone of marriage is for one man and one woman to unite themselves in the holy bonds of matrimony and create the integrity of one flesh. This to be emblematic of Christ, the Lamb of God, and His bride the church (Revelation 19:7).

In this marriage the husband must love the wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). That requires an understanding that all things have order (1 Corinthians 11:3) and that in that order submission comes out of the love already in place and not demanded before the love is given.

Important in marriage is that we know any form of sexual immorality is considered an abomination to God (Hebrews 13:4). Numerous passages throughout the Old and New Testament affirm this and list these abominations. If caught up in one of these practices we must turn from the sin and what is necessary for it to no longer be a problem. Christ shares His Words with us on that as one example in Matthew 5:27-30. There is forgiveness but repentance and correction is necessary.

There is a great deal more that can be said about matters such as the physical relationship aspect of marriage and how marriage should be handled between a believer and non-believer which should be avoided. For today it is important to understand that MARRIAGE MODELS THE MANIFESTATION OF ETERNAL BLISS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Marriage manifests the Master’s Eternal plan.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Genesis 2:18-24 “God’s design for marriage”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always honor Your gift of marriage.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is sexual immorality?
  2. How does God want us to understand the physical relationship in marriage?
  3. How does a believer and non-believer marriage need to be handled?
  4. What is the message the church needs to convey to the world today?

THE DANGER OF IMMORALITY!

In a post modern world such as we live in absolute standards are thrown out the window. At least those which we once considered pillars of lifestyle. Watching those who control the message we receive (news media, movies, television, etc.) it is far different than what the Bible would tell us. Our free will here has to make a choice. Obedience to God or obedience to man.

So the question is: what is immoral (a wrongful act). First we must consider the sanctity of the body God has given us. Our body is a temple of God not meant for fornication (sexual relations between unmarrieds) as 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 points out. In verse 18 we are directed to flee from it and flee we must without excuse.

The answer to sexual immorality is in the traditional marriage between one man and one woman (1 Corinthians 7:2). No other combination or arrangement is acceptable according to the teaching of God’s Word. In the process of our sanctification which is to grow in the image of God abstaining from sexual immorality is a must (1 Thessalonians 4:3). In fact it should not even be as much as talked about (Ephesians 5:3) other than that it is forbidden.

One day when Christ returns it will be judged (Revelation 19:2) for the evil it is and the great damage to millions of souls it has done. That is THE DANGER OF IMMORALITY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Immorality removes the image of God from our identity.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 7:2 “traditional marriage is one answer to immorality”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord open our eyes.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is fornication by God’s definition?
  2. How is fornication seen in our world today?
  3. Why is immorality seemingly growing so rapidly?
  4. What is Biblical marriage?

DON’T BE SO IMPATIENT

Living in a world of instant gratification has led many to become ever more impatient. For many we want what we want now or as quickly as possible. Technology has led us to this point and futurists are now looking at implants that will allow people to communicate through thought and that is just the beginning. If or when that happens it will fit right into what Revelations tells us about the time of Christ’s return.

Until then we as Christians need to understand the danger of impatience. In Scripture we see it come out of lust such as Sodom showed in Genesis 19:4-9. An example being played out in the LGBT community now growing ever more vocal and ‘in our face’. Impatience also is seen in acts of revenge such as Genesis 34:25-27 shows. When someone feels hurt the first reaction is often violent making the situation often worse. Numerous examples of that happen every day.

These and more causes of impatience have obvious consequences. One of the best examples in Scripture being the people of Israel building a false god while waiting for Moses as told in Exodus 32. This impatient nature would later keep them from the promised land (Numbers 20:10-12) as our impatience today may also keep our souls from Heaven. What God desires of each of us is that we DON’T BE SO IMPATIENT.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The more we identify with Christ the less we show impatience.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Numbers 20:10 “irritability causes impatience”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord keep me in control of my actions.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What causes impatience?
  2. What are some violent reactions brought on by impatience?
  3. What is the relationship between sin and impatience?
  4. How can impatience keep us from Heaven?

ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE OR SIN?

What God desires of mankind is for each of us to acquire spiritual discernment (1 Corinthians 2:14-16). In effect to have the mind of God. With that being said those with such a mindset will often find ourselves at odds with the world around us

One example is the homosexual lifestyle. As Christians we are not to nurture or cherish in anyway  improper feelings, desires, urges, lusts or wrongful behavior one of which is clearly homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27). Since the time of Leviticus (Chapter 18) it has been considered a Judaic abomination and continued to be so after Christ.

The battle for those who desire to stay true to our faith is that many in society want us to loose control and give this matter on the 3 fronts of physical, emotional and mental over to their way of thinking. Doing so even at the smallest level means we are not willing to accept God’s judgments on what is and is not sin.

There will always be with us those who are sexually bent in this manner. They will be our neighbors, business associates, family and yes even friends. For me the greatest act of love is to denounce the sin so the doer can be opened to repentance and forgiveness. Regarding homosexuality the answer for me is sin (with prayer for healing) when the question presented is ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE OR SIN?

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Homosexuality hinders becoming spiritual heirs of Heaven.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 1:27 “results of sin”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord open my heart to speaking to those living in the sin of homosexuality.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Who do you know living a homosexual lifestyle?
  2. How would you share Scripture with this person?
  3. What is your view of homosexuality?
  4. Do you have strength to stay true to God’s Word?

THE DANGER OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!

As Christians we claim the Bible as God’s Word or for many those parts that are comfortable for us. That being said imagine that Scripture tells us in the beginning God made us male or female each with distinct roles and personalities recorded from Genesis to Revelations. In fact the Bible is clear that it is wrong to give over to your effeminate side if you are a man (1 Corinthians 6:9).

Today that statement based on Scripture labels me or other like minded as hateful, phobic and more. If expressed in Academia or the business/political world I would be sent for retraining. Today in campuses across our land classes are taught ‘to de-masculinate’ the male species.

The prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 19:16 showed the effeminate nature to be the curse of Egypt placed upon it by the hand of the Lord. A danger our society is and has rapidly fallen into when a country allows it’s defense to act in such a manner then it is subject to being taken over as Nahum 3:13 expressed. No one wants war but when evil attacks a nation needs to be properly prepared. Imagine a world under the rule of Nazism or today’s evil of Islamic radicalism.

Today if we believe in the entirety of Scripture and not rewrite or edit it so it fits ‘out time’ or viewpoint then we need to heed the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:13 and “stand fast in the faith”. Our very existence and eternal future depends on it. This is THE DANGER OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: An effeminate nature is strengthened by misguided education and personal ego.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 16:13 “stand fast on God’s Word”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord keep our nation strong.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How is our society becoming more effeminate including in key areas like the military?
  2. How relevant are the words of Nahum 3:13 to the safety of the United States of America?
  3. Why is society having a difficult time understanding the roles of male and female?
  4. Are you able to stand fast in the faith?

 

RULES OF ATTIRE

Those who know me would agree that I am not a ‘fashion plate’. I will never walk down a red carpet adorned like a male peacock. Clothes for me are a matter of practicality. Yet despite whatever personal feelings we have regarding adornment there are regulations concerning clothing in Scripture.

The first is clearly stated in Deuteronomy 22:5. At the risk of alienating many who read this God speaks that a man should wear what pertains to a man and a woman that which befits women. I do not find anywhere in Scripture where God’s law has changed yet our societies have totally blown apart that rule and now with cross dressing and the transgender movement want it destroyed completely. There will be and is a price to pay for God will not be mocked.

We are also told not to dress in a ‘gaudy’ fashion in Isaiah 3:16-23. That takes in every one from the fashion elite to a fast food restaurant server. For me beauty lies in simplicity. Our adornment lies in our being created in God’s image. The attention of others should be drawn to that and that alone. Doing anything else especially in a worship setting ( 1 Timothy 2:9) is ostentatious and frowned upon by Christ Himself as He shared in the parable of the rich and poor man in Luke 16:19-23.

Scripture it seems to me indicates that in our choice of clothing we should be modest (1 Peter 3:3-4) dressing ourselves practically. If we do anything else we jeopardize our relationship with God and His RULES OF ATTIRE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Choice of clothing for a Christian should display our Christian nature.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Deuteronomy 22:5 “who wears what”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord help me make the right choices in how I dress.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. React to Deuteronomy 22:5 on who should wear what kind of clothing?
  2. What does God consider ‘gaudy’ adornment (see Isaiah 3:16-24)?
  3. How does your wardrobe fit into God’s plan?
  4. Does your wardrobe reflect God’s image?

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL BRIDE!

I would hope that for most if not all married men one of the greatest moments in their life would be their wedding day. In this regard God’s Word has a great deal to say but sadly much of what is written is contrary to the choice many are making in our current day and age.

Genesis 24 speaks of some of the accepted ways of weddings regarding receiving gifts and having a bridesmaid or maids as Rebekah did. Where we get into the critical areas is the expectation that the bride (and groom as well) are to be of good reputation. That means virginity intact (2 Corinthians 11:2) modeled after Mary a virgin whom God chose to introduce our Savior Jesus Christ to the world (Matthew 1:23). Christ was not introduced to the world via a harlot and that lesson remains for us today.

The wedding imagery most especially for Christians is important as it is to foreshadow Christ’s return to earth for His bride (Revelations 21:2,9). As there is no room for impurity in eternity so there should be no room for it in marriage or in the church. These are harsh words but expectations I believe God has for us nonetheless.

This topic can not be left without looking at how sinful man has redefined marriage for those who stray from God and are given over to their physical, emotional, and mental desires. A punishment in and of itself. In Romans 1:24-28 we have a snapshot of our world today of men and women “committing what is shameful” (vs. 27).

Before Christians get on their ‘high horse’ so to speak we must acknowledge our sin as well. All sin whether that of homosexuality, greed, lust or whatever is genetic from the moment of original sin. The only cure for genetic based sin is regeneration. It all starts in our genetic makeup where only the presence of the Holy Spirit can heal and renew us. Doing so we can one day return to Him as A BEAUTIFUL BRIDE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: A beautiful bride is one born again by the breath of God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Revelations 21:2 “the bride is figurative of the church”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I seek regeneration.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Contrast a harlot versus a virgin bride?
  2. How is marriage, the life of the church on earth and Christ’s return inter-twined?
  3. Why are society and Christians at large not fighting more than we are against our giving in to our sinful nature?
  4. Where is forgiveness in the message of the virgin bride?

 

MARRIAGE IS NOT A BUSINESS DEAL!

The Bible tells us the two greatest commands for we who are Christian believers are first to love God and then our fellow man. We are in the midst of a Christmas season where we celebrate love in all its many forms. The verse that may best help us to understand this is Ephesians 5:25 where we see marital love between a man and a woman (the only type of marriage Scripture talks about) is like Christ’s union with the church. Marriage is not a business deal but unconditional love.

It is true that within Christ’s unconditional love for the church there were some rules but only such that built on the relationship. When understanding these rules, their purpose and the importance of love from the husband as Christ has for the church. It is then easier to understand Ephesians 5:22 where it speaks of a submissive wife.

Marriage where both husband and wife do not understand this Biblical relationship is why we often have breakdown in marriage today. When both the husband and wife are believers it makes for an easier understanding.

To understand marriage the Bible not only speaks of Christ in relationship with the church noted above but also God’s union with Israel (Isaiah 54:4-8). It is why I believe and have often spoken of our need not to promote a divided Israel or Jerusalem as politicians are so quick to do. The love of our Lord for Israel, the church and a proper marriage is undeniable. We must with that context in mind always remember that MARRIAGE IS NOT A BUSINESS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Marriage is a  primary means by which God shows the meaning of love.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Ephesians 5:25 “marriage is like Christ’s union with the church”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for Your gift of marriage.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are the different ways we celebrate love during the Christmas season?
  2. How do you explain the need for rules within unconditional love?
  3. What is the relationship between a lack of Biblical understanding of marriage and the increase in societies divorce rate?
  4. How does Israel, the church and marriage all fit together?

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