A MEMBER OF THE HEAVENLY CHOIR

People have an innate need to worship or hold in reverence something in their life. As with all aspects of life there is good and bad involved and unfortunately many choose to go the wrong direction. Included among the many are Christians who are given over to a ‘fleshly mind’ (Colossions 2:18) placing matters of this world above that of God’s Kingdom.

Wrong objects of human worship include worship of other gods (small g) rather than the One True God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Exodus 34:14). This can include any number of demons (Deuteronomy 32:17) and creatures (Romans 1:25) that roam the world in search of souls to destroy. Some of those are images such as Daniel addresses in Daniel 3:5-18 and that people fall down to or set on various types of alters. Examples include non Christian beliefs such as budhist or figures seen in mayan temples. Finally in the area of wrongful worship we see many who worship their fellow man as Peter experienced and corrected in Acts 10:25-26. We see this every day in what we call hero worship or ‘buttering up’ someone who can help us improve our position in this life. Sadly this maya well lead many into final judgment (Revelation 13:4-13) as they will be easily led to the anti-christ in the end days.

Worship done correctly is to be of Christ done by men (John 9:30-38) and women as seen in the example recorded in Matthew 15:25. If we as believers do truly desire to be obedient to God’s Word and become His Disciples in this day and age we need to commit now to join the Angels of Heaven (Hebrews 1:6) and become now and forever more A MEMBER OF THE HEAVENLY CHOIR.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Worship of our Wonderful Lord and Savior is to be the work of a Christian life.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 28:17 “the Disciples worship Christ as we should today”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I worship You and You alone.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  Do you worship the Lord only?
  2.  What images of false gods do people make?
  3.  What creatures and demons roam the world?
  4.  How does one distinguish between ‘other gods’ and the One True God?

THE NARROW WAY

We are warned in 1 Timothy 4:1 that in the latter times (which I believe began with Christ’s birth) we are to watch out for ‘deceiving spirits’. One area that they will attack Christians on is the understanding of the Trinity.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob consists of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.The evidence for this Trinitarian belief lies in Paul’s words of blessing (2 Corinthians 13:14) and Christ’s own final commission recorded in Matthew 28:19 that we are to baptize in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Christ spoke of the narrow way for Christians to journey on to Heaven. Some, I believe, have taken the wrong path here not believing God’s Word as written. There are a group of sub-Christian cults who call themselves Christian but do not fully exalt Jesus. Who question Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s divinity. Jesus is simply a prophet, teacher or  good human being in their way of thinking. A true believer believes that in Christ is the fullness of the Godhead (Colossions 2:9). These cults once were if not yet Jehovah Witness, Christian Scientists, Mormon (Latter Day Saints) and Unitarian and many more.

Throughout Scripture there are numerous verses that bear evidence that Christ is divine (ex. John 1:1-18). Today it is important we understand this less we also stray from THE NARROW WAY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Always remain true to the divine nature of the Trinity.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 28:19 “Christ speaks of the Trinity”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord guide me in correct understanding of Your Word.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Have you ever been approached by a sub-Christian cult?
  2. Were you prepared to witness the complete truth of God’s Word to them?
  3. What is your understanding of the Trinity?
  4. What is involved in remaining on the ‘narrow way’?

WHAT WILL NEVER CHANGE?

There is a saying often used that carries a great deal of truth. The saying is that “somethings never change”. In today’s devotional thought that applies perfectly to mankind’s notion that you can find God through Knowledge rather than faith. That heresy has been around since the time of the Greeks and has always been known as Gnosticism or what today is referred to as New Age thinking.

Truth is knowledge is this world’s wisdom and our intellect melts when brought into obedience with God. Ultimate wisdom and forgiveness of sin comes only through faith and understanding through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today what New Age thought has done has introduced into society and even into church life teachings that are beyond the Bible an example of which is yoga meditation. Exercise and relaxation in and of themselves are not dangerous but new age teaching goes far beyond these simple concepts. At some point these ideas meet up with Paul’s words of 2 Corinthians 11:13-14. Those we consider spiritual leaders who advocate these and other ideas may actually be adversaries in their deceitfulness.

We are warned against New Age thinking as clearly written in Colossians 2:8,18. Indeed our desire should be the fullness of God but that comes only with “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19). That is WHAT WILL NEVER CHANGE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: New Age will never nourish a true Christian.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Ephesians 3:19 “Gnosticism (New Age) surpassed only by Christ”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord only through You do I find all answers.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How is New Age shown in today’s world?
  2. Have you adopted into your life any New Age practices?
  3. Where is the danger in knowledge?
  4. With this understanding how should we place oversight on education?

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE!

At the moment I cannot tell you how many religions and belief systems there are. Looking at each and everyone it can be confusing on what to believe. The answer of course is to find the truth and stand strong on it.

In the realm of Christianity on its fringe there are such groups such as Christian Science, Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Unitarian, Jehovah Witness and some others. The danger in these as well as our own journey of faith are falling prey to deceiving spirits leading us away from the truth.

Using Jehovah Witness as I have been given to understand here are a few examples. First is a lesser issue which centers on the cross that for many Christians is a symbol of their faith. Jehovah Witness believe the crucifixion was on a stake (no crossbeam) though historical evidence and Scripture would suggest otherwise.

A second major misunderstanding is the nature of Christ. Perhaps I am wrong, but Jehovah Witness among many others do not understand that Christ was both fully human and fully divine (John 1:1-18) attested to by Christ Himself in John 17:5.

Jehovah Witness and others often make bold predictions (ex. one time they felt they were the 144,000 chosen in Revelations 7:4 until their membership grew to large) only later to recant for various reasons. The important thing on this issue and all others is that Christian theology as truly expressed in Scripture cannot be revised. Absolute truth is just that…absolute. Therefore it is important as you journey through your faith and many try to persuade you that you KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Demons desire to destroy what is divinely intended.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR: 1 Timothy 1:4 “deceptive demons”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord ground me in Your truth.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How many religions, denominations and belief systems are there?
  2. Why do you follow the faith that you do?
  3. Have you ever discussed your beliefs with a Jehovah Witness or Latter Day Saint individual?
  4. What makes the Bible absolute truth?

IS YOUR HEAD AND HEART CONNECTED?

Mankind has 4 great powers: intellectual, emotional, spiritual and financial. When they are connected and functioning properly then life is good and God is pleased. Unfortunately that is seldom the case.

From the time of the Greeks intellectual activity has been valued highly but academicians and others have done injustice to God’s plan for the mind and created Gnostic and New Age movements looking at God’s existence from purely a philosophical stand point. God never meant for the intellect to be at odds with faith. In fact we are to have the mind of the Messiah (1 Corinthians 2:16). For many what is needed is a stint placed in the vein that connects the heart and the mind. In fact the greatest commandment (Mark 12:30) is to love God 100% with all that we are.

This is not to diminish intellectual challenges. Christ Himself as a young boy/man (Luke 2:46-47) toke on all comers and had answers for questions posed Him just as we do today. I do not believe science and faith are separate but rather that each day science continues to prove the truth of Scripture.

The real problem are those of us who acknowledge there is a God and perhaps even that Jesus is the Messiah but we keep our faith to ourselves such as occurred in John 12:42-43. The big question is can faith alone save and James 2:14-26 tackles that head on concluding in vs. 26 that “faith without works is dead”. God asks full submission from us and that includes all that encompasses our being. Today ask yourself IS YOUR HEAD AND HEART CONNECTED.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Intellectual influence is greatest when our inner nature is wrapped in our Savior.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Mark 12:30 “what God desires”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I am all in.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How does science prove the truth of Scripture?
  2. Do you believe faith alone saves?
  3. How do you react to intellectual challenges?
  4. Are you ‘all in’ for our  Lord and Savior?

THE REAL INTELLECTUALS!

As I grow in my faith evermore seeking God’s truth, I am amused at the intellectuals of our world. Those who flash academic credentials and degrees before us like a drivers license that will allow them entrance to places where others are not invited or welcome.

The ancient Greeks would often desire to gain control over their surroundings by acquiring knowledge. Though knowledge certainly has helped advance western civilization when it is looked upon as a means to achieve ultimate meaning it falls far short. It then becomes nothing more than the failed ‘religion’ of Gnosticism which today is known as the New Age movement. It seems true that all things that go around come around.

Gnosticism is an enemy of the Gospel as is pointed out in 1 Corinthians 1:20. As someone once shared knowledge or what Scripture calls this world’s wisdom is not the key to everything as so many believe. What is key is understanding (for me common sense) that brings oneself to trust in God and our Messiah.

For those who enjoy intellectual challenges I would offer the challenge of finding some of what the Hebrews saw as God’s hidden meanings in Scripture one example of which is Scriptural numerology. There is much that an omniscient (all knowing) God can put before us to help us grow in knowledge and understanding, but it all begins with our belief in Him and accepting the words of John 14:6. It is then, apart from credentials and degrees, we become one of THE REAL INTELLECTUALS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Intellect increases most through correct inspiration.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY:  1 Corinthians 1:20 “inadequacy of this world’s wisdom”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I seek Your understanding.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How would you define a Christian intellectual?
  2. How has Gnosticism returned to academia?
  3. Where does Gnosticism fall short in answering life’s key questions?
  4. What efforts are you making in seeking understanding?

 

GETTING IN TOUCH WITH GOD

Today there are almost as many ways to get in touch with God as there are fish in the lake or so people think. Human nature leads us to believe drugs, yoga, and numerous other New Age teachings will help us find that right relationship that will bring us a little of ‘heavenly bliss’. These folks stake their eternity on those man made notions while I choose the inspired Word of God. Here I turn to Christ’s own words in John 14:6 saying: “I am the way…No one comes to the Father except through Me”. A statement each of us can take or leave but for me the evidence points to Christ and His Triune nature alone. This access is there for each of us through the blood Christ shed on the cross (Ephesians 2:13).

The Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18) lifts us up by our faith in God (Romans 5:2) and God receives and forgives by His manifold grace. When we have need or simply take some time we can converse with Him through prayer (Matthew 6:6). Those conversations are always special. It should also be noted that we are to come boldly before Him (Hebrews 4:16) not with pride but yet not afraid of our Father.

For those who feel their life of sin is too grievous to forgive they need to reflect on the prophet Isaiah’s words (56:7) knowing God is abundant in His forgiveness.

What I know for certain is that as King David proclaims in Psalm 27:4 we who are God’s people eagerly seek to dwell in God’s House. What a blessing that will be as we continue in this life GETTING IN TOUCH WITH GOD.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: With access to God we receive acceptance and realize His great abundance through repentance and forgiveness.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 14:6 “one way”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for Your many blessings.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How are you finding access to God?
  2. Why do so many choose a way they think God can be found other than through Christ?
  3. What other ways do people use to seek God?
  4. What is the Holy Spirit’s role in this?

WHAT IS YOUR VIEWPOINT?

People have many viewpoints. Many seem to change at ‘the drop of a hat’. Everyone is interested in these viewpoints as it determines how we do commerce, elect leaders and much more.

The problem with viewpoints is unless they are based on sound principles they are of little or no value. This most especially in the eyes of God. Without principle deception can control a person’s view and some form of disaster is the likely consequence.

For me life is simple. I live my life and look at the world through glasses that tell me there are only two world views. The one is a Biblical view which is based on God’s Word according to the the teachings of the Christian Bible. The second falls under the category ‘all else’.

God has given us each free will. It is ours to choose who and what to follow and then reap the reward or suffer the consequence accordingly. In making our decision we should carefully consider the advice of Colossians 2:8 to be aware lest we be cheated by deceptive philosophy based on principles and traditions of this world and not according to Christ.

Sadly, the greater portion of our world do not follow Christ or if they do they often lack the backbone to stay true to His teaching. Today each of us need to answer the question: WHAT IS OUR VIEWPOINT?

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The only philosophy that does not divide and deceive lies in the principles of God’s Word.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Colossians 2:8 “deception of philosophy”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen my backbone to stand on Your truth always.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Are you subject to societies deceptions?
  2. Why is it so difficult to stand on principle?
  3. What is the contrast between a Biblical Worldview and all other?
  4. What is your viewpoint?

 

A WEAPON THAT WINS EVERY TIME!

Recently I read words from Rev. David Jeremiah that were spot on. He said our world today to a large extent believes that all paths can lead to heaven and that most if not all our actions have no eternal consequences.  For me in my way of thinking at best those who feel this way are weak minded subject to satan’s captivity.

I believe we live in a world where we have to be careful what we read, watch and listen to or we also will fall prey to this insanity. The only way to do battle in today’s world is to carry the sword of God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17). A sword not in a physical sense but spiritual where Scripture penetrates into hearts so deeply that all inner reflections and attitudes come under Scriptural judgment.

The sword in Scripture is powerful and will be wielded in divine retribution for those who are God’s enemies (Deuteronomy 32:41) as evidenced by their thoughts, words and deeds. For those on the side of God’s Word as Joshua chapter 5 shows their will be divine victory.

The sword of God’s Word is not easy. It will anguish the soul as Mary the mother of Christ Jesus would find out according to the words of Simeon in Luke 2:35. So it is not easy for us living under its conviction. It was not only meant to be ‘sugar and spice and everything nice” but as Romans 13:4 tells us it was also meant to execute wrath on those who practice evil.

For true believers we have nothing to fear for we carry A WEAPON THAT WINS EVERY TIME! For those who do not carry the Word of God in their hearts it is time to begin the search.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The sword of the Spirit strives to reach the spiritual soul.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Ephesians 6:17 “God’s Word is our sword”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord pierce me deeply with Your Word.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is the weapon that wins every time?
  2. What changed that many now view all paths lead to heaven and there are no eternal consequences?
  3. Are you careful what you read, watch and listen to?
  4. How deep has the sword of the Spirit cut you?

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ARE YOU A FOOL?

My personal devotional this morning minced no words in describing people that the Bible refers to as fools. In examining my own heart and most especially looking around me I see a foolish world that truly is made up of fools. No other way to say it. Accept it or not.

Moses in Deuteronomy 32:6 called the people of Israel foolish having been created and freed by God yet turning from Him. What makes one foolish is having knowledge about God and His salvation and yet turning away from His Word.

Examples of fools are those first of all who say there is no God (Psalm 53:1). The foolish in our country have taken over. Despite a minority they continue to win battles to remove 10 Commandment monuments and crosses while recently in one major city a statue of satan was erected and celebrated. Truly what has happened is what God is allowing for a people, and I believe very possibly a nation, whose heart has been darkened (Romans 1:21-22). In what they consider to be wisdom they have shown themselves to be the fool before an omniscient God.

What has happened is these individuals and all like them have chosen to follow their own hearts or spirit and as with the foolish prophets in Ezekiel 13:3 will receive judgement.

The Bible gives other examples of foolish people such as the women spoken of in Proverb 9:13 who “sweet talk”men into sinful acts and all of us can attest to the harm that comes from prostitution and the sex trade industry.

In Matthew 7:26 Christ calls foolish anyone who does not follow His teachings. Your life will be like a house of sand in a heavy rainfall. Foolish are also those not prepared for the coming of the Lord as exemplified in the parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). That time may be coming close so don’t be caught unprepared.

Finally in Titus 3:3 we see a further description of a foolish person but the hope lies in our regeneration (vs. 5). Many when asked ARE YOU A FOOL would have to answer yes but there is hope if we only open our eyes and our heart to Christ.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Foolish are all who forsake spiritual food.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Deuteronomy 32:6 “foolish people”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord help me turn away from all that is foolish.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. The big question is “are you a fool”?

2. What are ways mankind is showing their foolishness?

3. What causes people to follow their own heart when it is not of God?

4. Are you prepared if Christ returned today?

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