2019-07-29 – Revelation 22:13
Verse of the Day Devotion: Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
Revelation is the last book in the Bible, God’s Word. Chapter 21 through 22:5 describe the future abode of the redeemed, starting from the revealing of the new heavens and earth through the declaration that this life will endure forever with no end. Then we read the following. “And he said to me, These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place. And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:6-7. Jesus speaking through the angel, declares that He is coming soon. And blessed are those who believe the words of this book and keep them, living the life that shows they truly believe.
Then He declares the words of our focus verse. Before we start, something needs to be clarified. Any time a word is repeated three times, this denotes something very important, absolute and complete, something that needs to be emphasized. For example, “And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” Revelation 4:8. Holy declared three times denotes His holiness is absolute and complete. It will remain for He cannot be less then holy.
Ok, now back to the focus verse. Note the three parts. He says He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. For those not familiar with the Greek alphabet, Alpha is the first letter and Omega is the last letter. This is the same as the Holy, Holy, Holy in that it is the same idea expressed three times: “First letter” to “Last Letter”, “First” to “Last”, and “Beginning” to “End”. These denote His eternality is absolute and complete, and it will remain that way because He cannot be less then eternal.
Only an eternal being can declare what is our everlasting future with complete accuracy. Therefore, let us rejoice. No matter how difficult things get here, or the trials we go through, or the persecution we endure, there is a beautiful life in store for us. One that is wonderful beyond words, and endless beyond our comprehension. So stand strong and uncompromising.
2019-07-30 – Matthew 7:23
Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 7:23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
This is a verse that can be hard to hear. For it deals with a false idea that too may people have fallen into. Let’s look at this from the beginning, starting in verse 21.
He starts by saying that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven. We can say the word Lord all we want, but if we are saying it and do not believe He is Lord, then we are liars. Paul put it this way. “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9. To confess it with our mouth is to confess it no matter what and in any dire situation. And we can only do this if we truly believe it. Again, we can call Him Lord all we want, but if there is no belief behind it, we are just lying to ourselves and ultimately to Him.
He says in verse 22 that on the day, meaning the day of judgement, many will claim Him to be Lord, even though they did not believe it. They will say they did miracles in His name, as well as taught and prophesied. However, He truly was not their Lord. And they will claim they did them in His name. However, as we see in our focus verse, He will declare He never knew them. Many may ask, if He knows everything, how can He not know them? Simple, the idea of ‘knew’ means there was an intimate relationship with Him. They may have known about Him, but they never knew Him intimately. Many people know of God and Jesus, but they do not know Him personally.
Remember what Paul said in his letter to the Romans. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;” Romans 8:29. God knows the end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10) He knows who will be saved, who will declare Him lord and believe it, and believes Christ was raised from the dead. And He knew this from the beginning.
If we do not have an intimate relationship with Him, where we spend time with Him and obey His commands, and other things indicative of an intimate relationship, then we need to examine ourselves and ask God to forgive us, then make the adjustments. The Christian walk is a serious one. I would never declare to anyone they are not there, only we as individuals with God’s help can do that. But it is something we need to be serious about.
2019-07-31- Psalm 46:10
Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
The idea in the first part, where it says ‘Be Still’ is to Cease Striving. In the beginning of this chapter we see the following, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;” Psalm 46:1-2. The author of this Psalm starts off by declaring that God is our refuge. He is where we can flee when we find ourselves in trouble. He goes on to say that we shall not fear, no matter what happens. Though there be catastrophic world calamities or major army attacks, we can trust God. And why? “The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.” Psalm 46:7.
We need to think this way. We need to remember that the Lord of Hosts is with us. “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” Hebrews 13:5. God’s promise is that no matter what happens, we will be OK. For He will be with us. However, in looking at Paul and the disciples, He may take us home, but we will be OK.
When we get into any type of trouble, no matter how extreme, we must cease our striving against it, do what we can but remember that God is always with us. Our God is almighty, all knowing, and fills our universe, both known and unknown. He can deliver us from any trial, tribulation or persecution we may run into. It may be taking the situation away or bringing us safely through by giving us the strength to endure. I have read many stories of Christians who were persecuted beyond belief. People like Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand who suffered greatly at the hand of Russian controlled Romania, and eventually founded Voice of the Martyrs. Or Aida Mikhailovna Skripnikova who was sentenced to three years in a Soviet prison camp because she witnessed to the Russians, but also because she told the Judge in her trial the following, “The Christian can’t be anything but confrontational. Once you know the truth, this means following it, and if necessary, suffering for it.” Or He may deliver us by taking us home, like Stephen in Acts 6-7, where Luke writes, “But being full of the Holy Spirit, he (Stephen) gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56. And after this, they stoned him to death
We have no idea how God will bring us through our trials. However, what we do know is that He will. So, as God spoke to the writer of Psalm 46:10, He also speaks to us, as our focus verse says. “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
2019-08-01 – Psalm 106:1
Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 106:1 Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
This is a very powerful verse. In fact, this same wording is found in several other places. For instance, let’s look at the next chapter in Psalms. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 107:1. Now, compare this with a verse in 1 Chronicles. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” 1 Chronicles 16:34. In comparing Psalm 107:1 and 1 Chronicles 16:34, they are word for word the same. Then when you look at our focus verse, the wording is also identical after the first three words, ‘Praise the Lord’’. You will also find the same wording in 2 Chronicles 20:21, Psalm 118:1, Psalm 118:29 and, Psalm 136:1. There are many other verses that are very close, with slight word changes. However, the meaning is clear.
These words are found in enough places in the scriptures that I would venture to say this was a phrase well known to the Israelites. And they must become very familiar to us as well. Our God is great, greater than anyone or anything. For without Him, nothing else would exist. He is all powerful, there is nothing that can stop Him or His will from being accomplished. He is all knowing, knowing every minutia of everything and everybody in every moment of time. And He is everywhere all the time, “Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill the heavens and the earth? declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:24. He is an incredible God we serve. And He loves us beyond our comprehension. God spoke these words to Jeremiah, but they are applicable to us today. “The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” Jeremiah 31:3. There will never be a need He will not meet. “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. And most important of all, He died that we might live. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.
How can we not praise Him with our whole being? How can we not worship Him from the very depth of our heart? How can we not thank Him for His goodness He has poured out on us? And how can we not love Him with everything we are, for our God’s love, from Him who does not change, is an everlasting love, from eternity to eternity.
“Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
2019-08-02 – Romans 6:23
Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul wrote this in order to finalize a section where he was writing about the difference of being slaves to sin and slaves of righteousness. Before we are saved, we are slaves to sin. This word translated slave is the Greek word doulos, meaning slave or bondservant. We obey our sinful desires which is counter to obeying God.
When we accept Christ as savior, accepting the work Christ did on the cross, then our old man who was a bondservant to sin dies, which then releases us from our bondage to sin, and because of the resurrection we are a new creation, being a new man who has no ties to sin, and we now are slaves to righteousness.
Now, there are two ultimate endings based on our decision. Let’s look first at our former life. We read in a couple verses up, “Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.” Romans 6:21. This is simple, if we remain in in our former life, not accepting Christ as our Savior, the “final result” is death. There can be no other. For we have nothing we can do to be declared righteous before God. Only the work of Christ provides it.
Now, let’s look at our new life in Christ. Paul said in the next verse, “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.” Romans 6:22. The “final result” of accepting Christ is first, a new life focused on holiness since the old is gone. However, even better, this life will be eternal, everlasting, never ending. I would say this is infinitely better then if we remained separated from Him.
Now, to the focus verse. Look at what is said. “Wages of Sin” and “Gift of God”. Wages are defined as something we earn by the works we do. Therefore, if we do not accept Christ, the old man will get what he earned, what he deserves. That being death. However, if we do accept Christ, we earn / deserve nothing. However, we get a “free gift” from God. And that is eternal life in Him.
So, we either get what we earn, which is death, or what we do not earn, which is eternal life. I’ll take what I did not earn.