Sin Hurts

ROMANS 6:23 ICB
23 When someone sins, he earns what sin pays–death. But God
gives us a free gift–life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sin is a teacher whose lessons are hard and painful.

You can’t keep your hand in fire without being burned. And you
can’t sin without hurting people.

Sin harms humans. That’s why God classifies it as sin. All sin
hurts someone. The reason God is against sin is because He is
for people.

Because sin has consequences, it eventually will convince you
of the error of sinning — if you live long enough. But why
ruin your life finding out what you can know now just by
reading the Bible?

God is not a killjoy. His purpose is not to keep the human race
from enjoying life.

All that God has written in the Bible is for our benefit. God
already knows everything. He gave us the Bible so we could know
the truth.

The truth is: sin is bad. Sin hurts.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off

Don’t Talk Too Much

PROVERBS 10:19 ICB
19 If you talk a lot, you are sure to sin. If you are wise, you
will keep quiet.

1 PETER 3:10 LB
10 If you want a happy, good life, keep control of your tongue,
and guard your lips from telling lies.

JAMES 1:19 NLT
19 My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to
speak, and slow to get angry.

PROVERBS 17:27-28 ICB
27 The person who has knowledge says very little. And a person
with understanding stays calm.
28 Even a foolish person seems to be wise if he keeps quiet. He
appears to have understanding if he doesn’t speak.

ECCLESIASTES 5:3 NLT
3 Just as being too busy gives you nightmares, being a fool
makes you a blabbermouth.

TITUS 3:2 NKJ
2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all
humility to all men.

2 TIMOTHY 2:16 NKJ
16 But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase
to more ungodliness.

1 TIMOTHY 1:6 NIV
6 Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless
talk.

1 TIMOTHY 5:13 NKJ
13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from
house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and
busybodies, saying things which they ought not.

MATTHEW 12:36-37 NKJ
36 “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak,
they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
37 “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words
you will be condemned.”

Lord, please help me to control my tongue and only
say what is acceptable to you.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

MARK 12:31 NKJ
31 “And the second, like it, is this: `You shall love your
neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater
than these.”

Eight times the Bible tells us to love our neighbor as we love
our self.

Clearly, God considers this important. But what does it mean?

It means we should not just look out for our own interests, but
also for those around us.

PHILIPPIANS 2:4 NKJ
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but
also for the interests of others.

Who is our neighbor?

Anyone — and everyone — who is near-by. If they are near us
they are, at that moment, our neighbor. And according to God’s
Word, we have an obligation to love them.

What does this word “love” mean in the original Greek language
of the New Testament.

It is “agapao,” the word used of the kind of love God has for
us. It gives and asks for nothing in return. It gives without
waiting for the other person to love first. It is not a selfish
love, but cares about the welfare and happiness of the person
being loved.

To truly love your neighbor as yourself, you need to be a born
again child of God. Love is of God, and to show this kind of
love you need to be born of God (1 John 4:7). Without His love
continually flowing out of your heart, it will not be possible.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off

Guard What You Say About Leaders

ACTS 23:5 NLT
5 “I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high
priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not
speak evil of any of your rulers.'”

A major, yet often unrecognized, problem is members of the Body
of Christ using their words to curse leaders. (It is not
necessary to use profanity to curse. Any time anyone speaks
badly of someone the Bible calls it a curse. Jesus cursed the
fig tree by simply saying no one would ever eat fruit from it.)

Don’t fall into the devil’s trap. Christians have been
delegated authority on Earth by Jesus Christ. When we speak bad
things about people we are abusing that authority which was
given to us to bless, and not to curse.

ROMANS 12:14 NLT
14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that
God will bless them.

The world tries to get us to focus on the shortcomings,
weaknesses, and failures of our leaders. Admittedly, all
leaders are human. Not one of them can be expected to be
perfect. This is why it’s important for us to pray for them,
and not to joke about them, or say anything bad about them.

1 TIMOTHY 2:1-2 NLT
1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to
help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that
we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and
dignity.

Think about this: you cannot pray in faith for a leader and
also talk badly about them. Such negative speaking would negate
your prayer.

The leaders when the New Testament was written were certainly
not perfect. Yet the New Testament never encourages any
disrespect to those in positions of authority.

ROMANS 13:1 ESV
1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For
there is no authority except from God, and those that exist
have been instituted by God.

The spirit of the age is to mock, belittle, and criticize
everyone, but especially those in authority. We must guard
against this trap of our enemy.

We can discuss issues without condemning people. We can
disagree with policies, but that does not mean we should speak
badly of a leader as a person. Should we curse someone Jesus
died for?

Our job is not to condemn people but to offer them a way of
deliverance through the love of Jesus.

You don’t have to lie and say anything good about a leader. You
don’t have to vote for them. You can just keep quiet.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off

The Rich Man’s Problem

JOHN 21:16a NLT
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love
me?”

Every one desires to be loved.

We all want to be loved and accepted for who we are. We all
want to be wanted.

Possibly the greatest human desire is to have a suitable
companion who thinks you are wonderful.

The rich man’s problem is determining whether someone loves him
as a person, or whether they only pretend to love him in order
to receive the benefits he can provide.

I once knew a wealthy man who discovered in his wife’s diary
her whole plan to deceive him into thinking she loved him, so
she could marry him just for the purpose of getting his money.
What a blow!

The rich man has a huge problem. How can he know that someone
loves him instead of his money? How can he be certain that he
is not just being used for what he can provide because of his
wealth and power?

God faces the same difficulty as the rich man.

If God were to openly reveal Himself in all His power, riches,
and splendor — the owner of the entire universe — how could
anyone resist?

Yet, by hiding or concealing Himself, even to the point that
some people think God does not even exist, God is able to
determine who really wants to know Him — not just for what
they can get out of it, but because they love Him.

Yes, God is our provider and source. Without Him we can do
nothing, and we would have nothing. But, on some level, God
desires to be pursued and loved for who He is, not just what He
does for us.

JOHN 4:23 ESV
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true
worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the
Father is seeking such people to worship him.

God is on a mission to redeem the world and make everything
right. But He is also on a hunt for those who love Him. For
those who will worship Him in truth. Worship has to do with our
idea of someone’s worth — how valuable we think they are. It
can be thought of as worth-ship.

JOHN 14:23 ESV
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my
word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and
make our home with him.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off

Jesus Will Not Forsake You

DEUTERONOMY 31:8 NASB
8 “And the LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be
with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or
be dismayed.”

Here is my favorite translation of Hebrews 13:5, done by a
professor of Greek, who indicated that to understand what the
verse says in the Greek, it would have to be translated like
this:

HEBREWS 13:5 WUEST
5 Let your manner of life be without love of money, being
satisfied with your present circumstances. For He himself has
said, and the statement is on record, I will not, I will not
cease to sustain and uphold you. I will not, I will not, I will
not let you down.

God’s promise is He will never leave us or forsake us. Yet we
may sometimes feel hopeless and helpless — like we are facing
life all alone. What is the truth?

Regardless of the circumstances, or how you feel, remember that
God cannot lie. He is there to help you — and He always will
be.

Feelings are fickle. Just because you feel a certain way does
not make it the truth. Yet we are all tempted at times to put
our feelings above what God has said.

Of course the devil will tell you that God has forgotten you,
or that you have committed the unpardonable sin, or anything to
get you to doubt the Word of God, and give up on your faith.
The devil is a liar and deceiver, but God is true to His Word
and will never fail you.

You just need to cooperate with God so He can help you and
bless you as fully as He desires. The key to this is learning
the Word of God, so you will know how to cooperate and receive
from God.

God’s track record is perfect. He has never failed anyone. And
He will never fail you.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off

The Happy God

1 TIMOTHY 1:11 NKJ
11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which
was committed to my trust.

I knew that one meaning of “blessed” was happy. The Greek word
is “makarios” (Strong’s #3107) and 5 times the KJV translates
it as “happy.”

But I had never thought about how this word is used in First
Timothy 1:11 to describe God.

A few translations even call Him “the Happy God.”

(Concordant Literal Version) in accord with the evangel of the
glory of the happy God, with which I was entrusted.”

(Rotherham) According to the glad-message of the glory of the
happy God, with which entrusted am, I.

I had usually thought of God being serious and somber, not
being happy and laughing.

After all, there are a lot of problems in the world. It seemed
reasonable for a God who knows every problem — even when a
sparrow falls, or a hair is lost from a head — to be quite
serious.

So I have not pictured God as someone who would have much joy
or laugh much.

Certainly God is not uncaring, or not touched by our problems.
Yet it seems that He walks in faith and rejoices because He
knows He will eventually solve every problem and make
everything right. Therefore He is not burdened down with
sadness and woe, but instead is able to laugh and rejoice.

I don’t think God would tell us to do what He does not do
Himself. And Scripture repeatedly tells us to rejoice.

Romans 14:17 says God’s Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and
joy. For joy to describe God’s Kingdom, it must be a happy
place.

PSALM 16:11 NKJ
11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is
fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

If there is fullness of joy in God’s presence, it must be a
happy place. If being in God’s presence is a happy place, then
He must be a happy God.

We are His people and we are to become more and more like Him.
It is God’s plan that we be conformed to the exact image of
Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). So we should become more happy as
we grow spiritually. God’s people should be happy people!

Circumstances will not always be favorable. But we can walk by
faith and laugh and rejoice with God, knowing He is working
things out.

We do find a glimpse of the Happy God in the Psalms where three
times it mentions Him laughing.

PSALM 2:4 NKJ
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold
them in derision.

PSALM 37:13 NKJ
13 The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming.

PSALM 59:8 NKJ
8 But You, O LORD, shall laugh at them; You shall have all the
nations in derision.

ZEPHANIAH 3:17 NKJ
17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with
His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah tells us God rejoices over His people with joy and
gladness, even rejoicing with singing!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Remember Me

LUKE 22:19 NLT
19 He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he
broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This
is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.”

Not only were these some of the last words of our Lord Jesus on
earth, but they are the heart cry of every human: remember me.
We all have a desire to be of value, to be significant, to be
judged as someone important — at least to someone.

Remember me!

Jesus — in addition to everything else He is — is also human.

As Jesus faced the enormity of the task ahead of Him, He told
His little band of followers: Remember me! Don’t let my life
and my sacrifices be in vain. Don’t forget about me!

Do you remember? Or, have you forgotten?

Is Jesus at the forefront of your thoughts each day? Or, do you
forget about Him — most of the time.

Do you walk and talk with Jesus? Or, does your life give no
testimony to your belief in Him?

Do you live as if Jesus did not redeem you? Are your days lived
just as if Jesus never existed? Do you neglect to remember
Jesus except on Sunday, or Christmas?

Probably all of us have fallen short in this area. But the Lord
is gracious and it is never too late to change.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off

Why?

REVELATION 19:7-8 NKJ
7 “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the
marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself
ready.”
8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean
and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the
saints.

These verses hold an answer to the question often asked by
humans facing difficulties and troubles: “Why?”

Since Jesus has already defeated the devil and gained for us
all the blessings the Bible tells us about, why is the devil
allowed to continue to attack us and steal those blessings?

Does any bridegroom desire to marry a bride he cannot
communicate with? Certainly not!

Surely, no highly educated person would prefer marrying a
spouse who cannot even read or write. No one would prefer
marrying someone unable to speak their language.

Jesus is no different in this regard. His desire is also to
have companionship with those who understand Him.

So you are being prepared to be a fit companion for the Lord
Jesus Christ for eternity. This means you need to have
opportunity to overcome and to walk in love in the midst of
difficulty. Otherwise, you would never be able to truly
appreciate all Jesus has done.

Does this mean Jesus will throw out those who do not perfectly
overcome in this life? Absolutely not! Jesus promised that
anyone who came to Him would never be rejected or cast out
(John 6:37). But the richest fellowship will be enjoyed with
those who overcome as He overcame.

Jesus does not play favorites. He freely loves us all. But we
are the ones who choose how close to the Lord we desire to be.

Revelation 19:8 says the fine linen adorning the Lamb’s
companion is righteous acts. What makes her so beautiful to
Jesus is not that she is clothed in His righteousness, which
was a gift, but in her own righteousness.

No, we are not saved by our righteous acts, but when we allow
Jesus to live and love through us, our acts of loving sacrifice
are very beautiful to the Lord.

Verse 7 says His wife has made herself ready. She was not born
ready. She was born righteous, but not ready. She had to grow
up and learn to walk as Jesus walked in order to become ready
to be His most intimate companion. She received right standing
with God as a free gift. But the righteous acts she is wearing
are her own.

This is why the devil has not been incarcerated yet. God
believes every one of His children can overcome, so we are
being allowed the opportunity to do so.

The wife of the Lamb is meant to have the opportunity to
overcome evil with good — just as Jesus did — so she can
fellowship with Him on a level of understanding that would not
be possible otherwise.

Our wonderful Lord Jesus is worthy of companions who understand
(at least somewhat) the difficulties He suffered, because of
His love for us.

So let us ask Him to continue His work in us, making us what He
desires us to be — similar to Him. And let us persevere in
faith, even when we face things we don’t fully understand.

Then we will be ready for that wonderful, privileged position
of intimate fellowship with Jesus.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

God Encourages

2 CORINTHIANS 7:6 NLT
6 But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged
us by the arrival of Titus.

God usually works through people.

The encouragement and love you receive through others, actually
has its source in God.

So as we show love and offer encouragement, we can be God’s
mouth and hands extended to those around us.

2 TIMOTHY 4:2 GWN
2 Be ready to spread the word whether or not the time is right.
Point out errors, warn people, and encourage them. Be very
patient when you teach.

As you can see from this Scripture, one of the main purposes of
the Word is to encourage us.

HEBREWS 10:25 NLT
25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people
do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of
his return is drawing near.

A main purpose of Christian believers meeting together is for
encouragement. We are to encourage one another.

Scripture tells us that Jesus does not give up on people just
because they are weak.

MATTHEW 12:20 NLT
20 He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering
candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.

Many are weak and need our input to give them strength to
continue. Many more would overcome in life if they had more
encouragement.

Jesus desires to help people. If you are a member of His Body
on earth, His plan is to work through you today.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off