Monday, October 31, 2016

Devotion: God’s Word Is Settled

So many people, both believers and non-believers alike, try their best to discredit “the word of God.”  By discredit, we mean “to injure the credit or reputation of; to show to be undeserving of trust or belief; destroy confidence in; to give no credence to; to disbelieve; and/or to disrepute” this word.  When asked where “the word of God” can be found, the most popular answer was what is commonly known as “the Bible.”  Scripture tells us “The whole Bible, all scripture, was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right.  It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone” (II Timothy 3:16-17 TLB).  It is our instruction manual and our source for all things God.

Some believe that since “the Bible” was written by men, it is somehow flawed, containing many untruths or unproven things about God, the things of God, and about his instructions.  Others believe “the Bible” to be the infallible word of God, perfect in every sense of the word.  The truth is that “the Bible” contains “the words of God” along with the words of Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah, Enoch, Abraham and Sara, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Pharaoh, David, Rahab, Samuel, Job, numerous prophets, the disciples, Mary and Mary, Paul, Jesus, and even Satan, himself.  We think you get the idea.  “The Bible” contains the words from an array of people in addition to containing “the word of God.”

God tells us to “study to show thyself approved” so that we can “rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15), which is “the Bible.”  We are also told to “attend to his words and to incline our ears to his sayings” because “they are life unto those that find them” (Proverbs 4:20-22).  Therefore, when we study, we learn to rightly divide the word of truth and from this division, we find the “actual word of God,”  which are full, abundant life unto all who hunt for, look for, or seek those words.  Scripture tells us, “it is impossible for God to lie” (Titus 1:2), which means that he must always keep his word.  And because we know that he must always keep his word, then we know that “the word of God” is forever true.  And since we know that it is forever true, then we know that it can be forever trusted.

“…let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).  “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6).  “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried (proven): he is a buckler (shield) to all them that trust in him” (II Samuel 22:31).  “The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.  You, O Lord, will keep them; you will preserve him from this generation forever” (Psalm 12:6-7 NASB).  “Every word of God is pure (tried, found pure): he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).  “Thy word is very pure (refined or tired): therefore thy servant loveth it” (Psalm 119:140).

However, there is one thing that we want to really pay attention to more than anything else that is said about “the actual word of God.”  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Luke 21:33 NASB).  God tells us that heaven and earth will pass away, but his word will not pass away.  To “pass away” means “to die, to come to an end, to go out of existence, or to cease to exist.”  This means that no matter what, “God’s word will not pass.”  So don’t fret, for “the grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God shall stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8 TLB).  “But the word (spoken word) of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (I Peter 1:25).  “For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Psalm 33:4).  By this we know that “God’s word is forever settled.”

We again give thanks to God for this avenue that he has given us to share his word through our commentary.  We continually pray that God’s grace will be upon you and that these devotionals will be a blessing to you.  If you are blessed by them, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings - KW

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Devotion: You Are Not A Failure

Do you ever feel like you are a failure or think of yourself as a failure?  What if we were to tell you that you are not a failure, would you believe us?  Well, let us tell you just that, you are not a failure.  And you should believe us.  Just because you think your lifestyle may be less than what it should be or you think your past may be less than respectable or even unredeemable, you are not a failure.  Just because you think your family situation may be less than ideal or even if you have been through a divorce, you are not a failure.  Just because you think your financial situation is not be headed in the direction you think it should or even if you have filed for bankruptcy, you are not a failure.  Just because society may have deemed you a failure, God does not see you as a failure.

Failure is considered “to be a lack of success.”  We want you to know that “God want you to succeed and not fail.”  You were not created for failure, no matter what has happened to you in your past, what is happening to you right now, or what you expect to happen in the not too distant future.  God wants you to know that he loves you like no one else can.  And because of this love, God wants to you be successful in this life.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

God has a plan for you, a plan for good and not evil.  God has a plan to prosper you and not harm you.  God has a plan to give you hope and a future.  God has all of this planned for you but there is a part that you have to play in all of this.

“We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.  People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.  Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16 NLT).

Yes, we make plans all the time and think that what we are doing is always the right thing.  In our eyes, those things appear to be the right thing, but this is not the case when it comes to God.  God always looks at our motives.  If we want our plans to succeed, we have to commit our actions to the Lord.  And once committed, he will always give us the right answers for our plans to succeed.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).  “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works and to do good things.  God planned for us to walk in these good works and in good things as the way to live our lives.  When we commit our actions to God, we can be confident, that the one who began a good work in us will continue that good work until the day of Christ Jesus.  Because God sees our potential, he does not consider us a failure.  Now, we need to see our potential.  Now maybe you will believe us when we say, “you are not a failure.”  God does not see you as a failure and neither should you.

May today’s inspirational message abundantly bless you and greatly inform you.  We pray that you will be the better for having read this message.  If blessed by today’s message, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings - KW

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Devotion: Repentance

Many believe that in order for someone “to repent” meant for them “to turn from his or her sinful ways.”  This is not exactly what “to repent” means.  According to the Strong’s Concordance, “to repent” actually means, “to change one’s mind.”  It was John the Baptist who was in the wilderness preaching “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4).  He was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins” (CEB).

“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

John the Baptist was telling everyone that the kingdom of God was at hand; that it was near or soon to come, but now was the time for them to change their hearts, now was the time for them to change their minds.  He was telling them that now was the time for them to change their thinking and to believe in this gospel, the good news that he was preaching.  He was calling for them to change their minds about what they thought of God and turn back to him.

Paul, formally known as Saul, was explaining to King Agrippa, the son of King Herod, what had happened on his last mission.  On his way to Damascus, armed with the full authority and commission of the chief priests, to round up those who believed in Jesus Christ, Paul was blinded by a very bright light from heaven.  He heard the voice of the Lord, who told him that he had been appointed as the Lord’s servant and as a witness of what he had seen and what the Lord would later show him.  He was told that he was being sent to the very people he would be delivered from, his own people and the Gentiles, for one purpose.

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.  Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:  but showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:18-20).

Paul was being sent out to open the eyes of the people and to open their minds.  He was to change their way of thinking so that they would turn from the darkness and the power of Satan to the light and to the power of God.  He was to change their thinking about God.  As Paul explained his actions to King Agrippa, he said, “I wasn’t disobedient to that heavenly vision.  Instead, I proclaimed first to those in Damascus and Jerusalem, then to the whole region of Judea and to the Gentiles.  My message was that they should change their hearts and lives and turn to God, and that they should demonstrate this change in their behavior” (Acts 26:19-20 CEB).

We see that John the Baptist and Paul preached the same message of repentance.  Both were telling people to change their mind, to change their thinking about God and to turn back to God.  And while many will continue to believe that true repentance means “to turn from one’s sinful ways,” you now know the truth.  Repent means “to change one’s heart and one’s mind; to change the way one thinks.”  It is the actual act “of turning back to God” that actually causes people to change their sinful ways.  Think about it this way, if it was possible for us to change or turn from our sinful ways, there would be no need for us to turn back to God for his help.  It is because of God, through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ, that we have available to us the power to break from the darkness, to break from the power of sin, and to break from the power of Satan.  But first, we must change our heart towards God and change our thinking towards God.  True repentance will result in a change of actions, but it is “the change in our heart, the change in our thinking” that results in a change in our actions.

As a footnote to Paul’s story, when he was testifying before King Agrippa, we see the King making this statement to Paul; “You almost persuade me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28 NKJV).  Paul had almost changed the thinking of this King.  So, if you have not changed your heart toward God, changed your thinking towards God, and changed your thoughts toward the light, then you need to “repent” now, for the kingdom of God is near and at hand.  Turn to God and free yourself from the darkness, free yourself for the power of sin, and free yourself from the power of Satan.

We pray that today’s inspirational message will give you a new perspective on what it means “to repent and turn to God.”  We also pray that this message will bless you, inform you, and that you will be the better for having read it.  If blessed by this message, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings. - KW

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Devotion: Put God First

Most of us claim to love God and put him first in our heart, or at least this is what we believe to be true.

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:26-38).

Jesus tells us that loving God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind is the first and the greatest commandment.  But did you know that you could love God with all of these things, your heart, your soul, and your mind, and still not put God first in your heart?  Yes, it is truly possible to do both.  So many believers love God with all their heart, soul, and mind, yet God does not have first place in their life.  We find the reason for this explained in “The Parable Of The Sower.”

“And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, ‘Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: and it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.  And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.  And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some a hundred’” (Mark 4:2-8).

The sower sows seed, which according to scripture is “the word of God” (Mark 4:14), into the hearts of the believer, who faithfully receive it, but then they “allow the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things to enter in their heart” (Mark 4:19).  It is these things that believers tend to give first place to in their hearts instead of the things of God.  It happens day in and day out.  This does not mean that these people love God any less or are doing sinful things; it just means that they have focused their attention on other things and have no longer put God first in their hearts, so the word of God is choked from their hearts.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).  “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Instead of “keeping our mind stayed upon God, which will keep us in perfect peace,” as is stated in scripture, we keep our mind stayed upon the things of the world, the things that everyday living brings about.  We focus our attention on family, friends, and work, in no particular order and tend to put God “on the back burner or in the back seat.”  We tend to think about this situation and that situation going on in our life, we focus on this tragedy and that tragedy, and we get caught up in this daily struggle and that daily struggle, eventually meditating on these things day and night, which ultimately produces doubt, fear, discouragement, and unbelief.  These are the things that we now give first place and because we think on these things in our heart.  These are the things that we become because “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”  We become depressed become we think on depressing things.  We are fearful, because we think on fearful things.  We are discouraged because we think on discouraging things.  We have doubt and unbelief because we allow them to come into our hearts and then we think on them, “for out of the heart come the issues of life and it determines the course of your life.”

“And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right.  Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others.  Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about” (Philippians 4:8).  “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33 NLT).

Finally, we are to think on these things instead, those things that are true, honorable, right and just.  We should think on those things that are pure, lovely, admirable, and are of good report.  Think on those things of virtue, things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  And about all, think on those things that you can praise God for and give praise to God for them.  We are to seek first the kingdom of God, putting his work first, above all other things that we may do.  We are to live righteous, doing all that God wants us to do.  And when we have done these things, all of the other things will be ours as well, for God will give us everything else we need.  When we think on these things and seek first the kingdom of God, we put God first in our heart, we keep our mind stayed on him, and we guard our heart with all diligence, which keeps us in perfect peace.

We pray that today’s inspirational message will give you a new perspective on what it means to “put God first.”  We also pray that this message will bless you, inform you, and that you will be the better for having read it.  If blessed by this message, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings - KW