Be Careful Where You Look


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In Luke 4:22b, we find the following words, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”  In chapter 4, the Lord Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted three times by the devil.  After the third temptation we read in verse 12, “And Jesus answering said unto him, it is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”  Jesus as God knew He was God.

After Christ had resisted the temptation of the devil, he entered the synagogue to teach. The Bible tells us that Jesus stood to teach. In verses 18 and 19 he spoke these words,” The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering the sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”  Jesus was reading from the book of Isaiah 61:8. Jesus told his listeners that day that this prophecy was fulfilled before them. His listeners then ask the question quoted above, Is not this Joseph’s son?

The world in which we live is still having trouble trying to figure out who Christ is. Unfortunately some still seem to see him as a carpenter’s son, others see him as a good man, and there are even those who would admit that he is a prophet.  The truth of the matter is, He is God.  He is the creator of the world (John1:3). In 2 Timothy 1:10, Christ is called our Savior; and in Titus 2:13, he is called our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. In 2 Peter 1:11, He is referred to as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The highly educated world of the 21st century seems to be unable to define who this person is called Christ. The answer is very clear when one goes to Scripture. I would like you today, dear reader, to go to the Scriptures and find Christ.

I believe today there are those in even greater number who try to define Christ outside the Scriptures. They will not arrive with the biblical answer by avoiding the Scripture. We are reminded in Colossians 2: 8-9, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of man, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”  Verse nine is there as a wonderful reminder.  It says, “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

If you are a seeker today, I trust you are seeking Christ in the pages of the Bible. Someone said that the saving blood of Christ is a theme that runs through every page of the Bible. If you are a believer, and  the philosophies of the world and the ways of modern man have caused you to lose sight of who Christ is, I would take you to Ephesians 2:10. “ For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” I challenge you, and I challenge myself to focus on the Christ of the Bible. Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Philippians 2:10 says “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father.” If you seek Him, I promise you will find Him, and you will know He is God.

Blessed Be the Fountain


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Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he is become my salvation (Isaiah 12:2).

Blessed be the fountain of blood,

To a world of sinners revealed;

Blessed be the dear Son of God;

Only by His stripes we are healed.

Tho’ I’ve wandered far from the fold,

Bringing to my heart pain and woe,

Wash me in the blood of the Lamb,

And I shall be whiter than snow.

Whiter than snow, Whiter than snow,

Wash me in the blood of the Lamb,

And I shall be whiter than snow.

From Blessed Be The Fountain by Eden R. Larra, 1881.

When We REALLY Have To


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Many times we say that “We have faith” or “We trust God in all things.”  Then other times, we are quick to give that same advice to others about things they are going through in their own lives.  I’m hesitant to even write this because of the fear that the Lord may try me in this area.  See, we can give advice and say all we want to when things are going well for us, but when something unexpected comes into our lives, a lot of times things change.  The thing about it is the “Thing” that broad sided us was known by God since before time began, and He REALLY does have the answer and knows the outcome; and all we REALLY have to do is have faith and trust Him…but it isn’t easy.  Here are a few verses to help us keep focused on not just God in the Bible but the God of the Bible.

Isaiah gives us a great promise from the Lord that He is there for us to protect us:

– Isaiah 43:2; When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; Neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

See, God never says we will not have hard times, but He does promise to be with us.  Listen to what the psalmist tells us in Psalm 61:3:

For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

We have a protector in God through His word, and He is watching out for us when we are being attacked.  Romans 8:38-39 are great verses when you have to come to grips with a hard situation and feel like you’ve been forgotten of the Lord.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

See, God never has and never will stop loving us and just because we go through a trial doesn’t mean he doesn’t love us.  If we accepted God’s plan of salvation by faith and his son, then why can’t we have the faith to go through a seemingly bad situation?  Romans 5:1 says,

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

The peace is only through Him so we have to stop trying to do it ourselves.  Stop worrying about what we cannot control and take a piece of our own advice when we REALLY have to and prove to others that He is the great almighty Prince of Peace in whom we can put our complete trust—no matter what.

 

 

 

 

Our Flag


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The flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the American flag, is the national flag of the United States of America. It consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the “union”) bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and became the first states in the US.[1] Nicknames for the flag include The Stars and Stripes,[2] Old Glory,[3] and The Star-Spangled Banner.

Oh say can you see,
By the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed,
At the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched,
Were so gallantly streaming.

And thy rocket’s red glare,
Thy bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through thee night,
That our flag was still there.

Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

From Wikepedia

What Does It Mean to be a Real Man?


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There are many different ideas of what people think about what it means to be a real man.  The world has a particular viewpoint, and Christians do not even agree on the matter.  We hear that real men do not do this or that or that real men have certain actions and have masculinity by a certain set of standards.  When it comes right down to the facts, it does not matter what people think about what it means to be a real man.  What really matters is what God, the Creator, says is a real man.

From God’s perspective real men come to God His way and have a personal close relationship with God through the Person and Work of Christ.  Real men are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who manifests qualities and actions that are pleasing to God.

A real man cares about what God thinks first of all and then what his testimony is before others.  He needs to be above reproach, well-spoken of by his other believers, and noted for his honesty, fidelity, sincerity, and genuineness.

A real man is a good husband to his wife and a good father to his children.  He sees to it that he fulfills his role as an example, leader, provider, protector, organizer, teacher, and gentle in his dealings with each of them.

A real man is in touch with reality, alert to his own problems, weaknesses, condition of the world, his church, God’s will, and what God is doing.  He is accurate in his evaluations of himself, his family, his relationships in life, and what life is supposed to be from God’s perspective.

A real man keeps his heart with all diligence before God and others.  He is alert to other’s spiritual needs and is willing to witness to them and minister to them as God gives him opportunity.  He will be of sound mind and judgment.  He is capable of making wise decisions, not impulsive or impetuous.  He knows what he is doing, why, and how to accomplish tasks.  He is willing to listen to and learn from others.

A real man is concerned that his house, automobile, speech, work, social, devotional life, and actions manifest a certain good order and balance.   He has a genuine concern for people, meeting the needs of others, is not standoffish, snobbish, or insensitive in greeting and helping and speaking to others.

A real man is able to communicate the Truths from the Word of God to others in a clear and understandable manner.  He has a teachable spirit and is willing to learn from others as well as study on his own.  He desires spiritual growth for himself and others as God gives him the opportunity to minister to others.  He is a workman that is not ashamed because he can accurately minister the Scriptures.

A real man is not easily angered and is controlled in his responses to other’s actions.  He rules his spirit and is not easily provoked or provoking.  He is hesitant to engage in combat and delights in living above being offended (Psalm 119:165).

Only God can produce a real man with His working in and through each individual with all the challenges which are normal in life as God has given them.  He is a growing productive individual giving God all the credit for any successes he may have.

How Does Your Garden Grow?


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In previous devotionals I have used the question – “Have you ever wondered?” – to cause us to ponder on God’s creative genius. In this devotional, I’m adding the question – “How does your garden grow?” – to help us see an aspect of God’s intelligent design in the plant world. Genesis 3:11-12 tell us plants were created on the third day, and God saw that it was good. Before we get to “Have you ever wondered?” – first, let’s look at “How does your garden grow?”. In science, you learned that plants are different from any other living organism in the fact that they could produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis. God created them with certain cellular machinery that uses light energy to combine carbon dioxide and water which produces glucose. Plants are so efficient in making glucose that many of them store the glucose in the form of fruits and vegetables that we eat. One important part of the cell is the light absorbing green pigment called chlorophyll. So, that leads us to our other question – “Have you ever wondered?” Have you ever wondered why the top of a leaf is greener that the bottom? The cells in the top of the leaf have a greater concentration of chlorophyll in them. Chlorophyll is the light absorbing pigment that stores energy to fuel photosynthesis, and the top of the leaf is what gets the most contact to light. So, whether you are a flower gardener, a vegetable gardener, or a reluctant gardener that just mows the lawn and pulls weeds, look at your leaves and think of God’s great creation – it is good!

How Do You Worship?


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Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.

I have been challenged recently concerning my attitude in worship.  Ecclesiastes isn’t the place in the Bible that I would except to find such a challenge, but I believe there are some vital truths to consider about worship and prayer from this passage.

First, worship is something that God takes seriously!  Solomon here is admonishing the Israelites about the sin of making empty vows to the Lord, vows they never intended to fulfill.  I believe the application can be made that when we come to the house of God to worship Him, He expects us to enter into that worship with a sincerity of heart and willing heart to listen to His Word.  Warren Wiersbe makes the following comment about this passage in his commentary on Ecclesiastes entitled Be Satisfied: “The worship of God is the highest ministry of the church and must come from devoted hearts and yielded wills.”

Second, prayer to the Almighty God and Creator of all is serious business!  The following thoughts concerning the matter of prayer addressed here in Ecclesiastes 5 are also from Wiersbe’s book: “If you and I were privileged to bring our needs and requests to the White House or to Buckingham Palace, we would prepare our words carefully and exhibit proper behavior.  How much more important it is when we come to the throne of Almighty God?  Yet, there is so much flippant praying done by people who seem to know nothing about the fear of the Lord.”  Eloquence in public prayer does not indicate a profound prayer life.  Prayer is my communication line to God.  It should be an avenue that I am familiar enough with that I don’t feel like I have to say something impressive for those who hear me pray publically.  My public prayer is still communication with God not with those listening.  When I approach God’s throne in prayer, it should be done with a broken spirit of humility and with a realization of exactly Who I am talking to.  Spurgeon put it this way, “It is not the length of our prayers, but the strength of our prayers, that makes the difference.”

Those two observations from this passage lead me to the last four words in Ecclesiastes 5:7 – but fear thou God.  When I approach God with the right attitude in worship and prayer, I will understand the true fear of the Lord.  It will not cause me to be afraid of Him, but rather to have the proper respect for Him when I come to His house for worship and when I approach His throne of grace in prayer.  God wants us to worship Him.  It is why He left us here after He redeemed us.  How do YOU worship?

Missions


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Missions is a foreign subject to so many—who goes, where do they go, why do they go, what do they do, who pays for them to go . . . the list of questions goes on and on.  If you do not understand missions, you are missing a great blessing!

On a recent Sunday night in our church, a missionary, Dr. Billy Dudley, who serves in Puerto Rico, gave a report on the work there.  He and his wife Annette have served there for eighteen years.  My heart was blessed as his report was truly fruit to our account!  Dr. Dudley went to our Bible college and seminary, Tabernacle Baptist Bible College and Seminary, in the 80s and 90s.  He graduated with several degrees and went to Puerto Rico where he is the Academic Dean of Calvary Baptist Bible College & Theological Seminary.  Their mission is to train nationals to go back to their homelands and preach the gospel and train men and women to do the same.  It was encouraging to see pictures of so many who have done just that!

It is a complete circle of learning.  The many pictures of students from the Caribbean Islands who have gone to CBBC&TS, trained, (sometimes married,) and returned to their homeland to continue to do what they were taught to do reinforced the true circle of missions.  Many are in places we cannot go, but these men and women are indeed carrying out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

If you have not been called to go to a foreign land, you can do mission work here.  Get involved in your local church, give monetarily to missions, tell those you work and play with about the LORD of the Great Commission.  There is still much work to be done!

Luke 10:2, Therefore he said unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.

Whom having not seen, ye love


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     We walk by faith, not by sight. –We love him, because he first loved us.– And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. –In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.– God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. –Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

(1 Pe. 1.8; 2 Co. 5.7; 1 Jn. 4.19; 1 Jn. 4.16; Eph. 1.13; Col. 1.27 § 1 Jn. 4.20 § Jn. 20.29; Ps. 2.12)

From Daily Light, 2007 Trinitarian Bible Society, pg. 78.

Stay Focused!


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As the school year finishes, we see young people closing one chapter of their lives and beginning another.  It’s important to stay focused as not to get distracted or sidetracked.  Proverbs 4:25-27 says, “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”   The devil rejoices when we “almost” do what God wants for us because almost is not God’s will.  The world and life have so many distractions for young people—and really all people.  No wonder God tells us to focus on what is before us—to have our ways established in Him—to not deviate from what He has shown us to do—to get away from evil.  God is so loving and protective of His children.  Oh, that we would heed His guidelines for us.  So, get out there and graduate.  Go forth and boldly do what God has called you to do—but stay focused!