2019-08-19 – Proverbs 27:19
Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 27:19 As in water face reflects face, So the heart of man reflects man.
When a man looks in the water or a mirror, he sees his image reflected back at him. Whether good or bad, the reflection is a true picture of what we look like. We do not see our true appearance until such time as we take the time to view it. Sometimes we see certain things we do not like, so we adjust our appearance such that we will see ourselves more like we want. However, the most important thing to remember is that how we appear in our reflection is how others see us.
Now, a mirror reflects our outward appearance. But what reflects who we are inside? The answer to this question is our heart. What is important to us? How do we feel about things? And per Jeremiah, what do we do? “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 Notice the idea here that our ways and deeds are seen in our heart and mind. The real man is reflected by his heart. Peter put it this way, “Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4. These two verses speak of women; however, it does speak of men and woman in the idea it presents.
So, this begs the question. When the world looks at us, our ways and deeds (as Jeremiah put it), what do they see? Do they see a heart truly committed to God? Do they see a heart that is full of love for God and mankind? When you honestly and with no bias look inside yourself, what do you see? Remember, what you see is very likely what others see. If, perchance, we do not like what we see, we must ask God to help us in changing our hearts to the one God desires of us. We must be open to this change and submissive to Him as the changes are made. There is a song done by Vineyard that speaks clearly of this. “Change my heart oh God, make it ever true. Change my heart oh God, may I be like you.”
2019-08-20 – Psalm 37:31
Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.
Before we go into our focus verse, let’s determine who ‘His’ is. If we go a few verses back, we read the following, “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.“ Psalm 37:20-30 Our focus verse therefore is speaking of the righteous, those who follow after Him, following His ways, and who love Him above all things. Jesus put it this way when asked what the greatest commandment is. “And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40. Adding on to this, Jesus also said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.
So, putting these verses together, we see that the righteous are those who love God with everything they have; that loves their fellow man as he loves himself. And because of the love he has for God, obeys His commandments.
If we are righteous as defined above, then we shall not slip. In other words, our course will be firm and steadfast. Everything He has promised us will come to pass. We will trust Him and because we are righteous, our desires will be good and fulfilled. “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” Psalm 37:4-5. We will be content in what we have, no matter how little it is. For we are content with His provision here for He is with us. “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8.
I want to encourage everyone to seek His righteousness. May it be the greatest desire of our heart. The righteous will be taken care of. Every need will be met. “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:31-34.
God loves us with an everlasting love. and He shows it to us with everything He does. He takes care of us, stays with us, protects us and fills us with His Spirit. He gives us joy and peace, and our every need. Let us show our love to Him; giving Him glory and honor and praise and thankfulness. What an incredible relationship we have with our God.
2019-08-21 – Matthew 19:26
Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 19:26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
A rich young ruler came to Christ and asked Him what good He needed to do to attain eternal life. Jesus answered him saying, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.“. Matthew 19:17. He was not telling him that salvation is attained by works, but He answered him based on what the Law said. He has not, at this time, died and paid the penalty, thus the reason as I understand it for His answer. He then listed a subset of the laws to follow. The young man then replies, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Matthew 19:20b. Jesus then responds with this, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Matthew 19:21.
What Jesus was saying was that nothing can take precedence over Him. Salvation comes through giving up everything to follow Him. When the young ruler heard these words, he walked away because He could not place Jesus above his belongings. Then we read the following, “And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24.
So, what was Jesus saying referring to camel through the eye of a needle? There are several thoughts on this, however, the most likely explanation is that it is a hyperbole. The Persians expressed the idea of impossibility by declaring that it would be easier for an elephant to go through the eye of a needle. The use of camel was a Jewish form of this phrase, using the largest animal in Israel, that being the camel. So, what Jesus was saying was simply it is seemingly impossible for a rich man to be saved because their riches mean so much to them. Few if any would be willing to give up everything for Him.
“When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, ‘Then who can be saved?” Matthew 19:25. Then we come to our focus verse. “And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.
Man cannot save himself because it is impossible to be perfect. Jews believed that through sacrificing an animal to God, their sins would be removed. However, it is really through giving everything to God and following His Word and obeying His commands. “but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17b. However, we cannot keep them perfectly, Jesus, the Son of God, came here and lived that perfect life for us. And by doing so, and us accepting His work on the cross, we are justified, declared righteous. He said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17. He came to do what we could not and applied it to our situation if we believe in our hearts, mind, and lives. What a mighty and loving God we serve.
2019-08-22 – Esther 4:14
Verse of the Day Devotion: Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
During the reign of King Ahasuerus in Persia, Haman was promoted to the chief minister of the king. This gave him a very elevated position within Persia. In this position, he was given much homage. “All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage.” Esther 3:2. Mordecai was promoted to an office in the court of Ahasuerus, and thus was required to bow to Haman. But, as you can see, he refused to, which made Haman furious to the point He wanted to kill all the Jews within his control.
So, Haman went to the king. “Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of all other people and they do not observe the king’s laws, so it is not in the king’s interest to let them remain. If it is pleasing to the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry on the king’s business, to put into the king’s treasuries. Then the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. The king said to Haman, “The silver is yours, and the people also, to do with them as you please.” Esther 3:8-11. Haman set a date and sent this edict out to all the provinces alerting them to be ready. Mordecai then sent a letter to Esther asking her to go before the king and plead with him for the Jews to be protected. Esther sends a reply to Mordecai denoting a dangerous rule regarding approaching the king. “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.” Esther 4:11. Mordecai responds, telling her why she, a Jew, would be saved on that day. He ends with, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
Many of us find ourselves in positions, like Esther, which we never imagined would happen, and then a difficult trial occurs, and we do not wish to continue. We have no idea why God put us there and may even question if it was Him. However, does anything happen without God allowing it? He guides us in the way He desires of us. “Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory.” Psalm 73:23-24. He may lead us into difficult circumstances, however, remember that in the end He will brings us into glory with Himself.
Back to the story of Esther, she did end up going to the inner court of the king’s palace and was granted entrance to see the king. She eventually tells him that Haman has plotted to kill her and the Jews. When the king hears this, he calls for Haman to be hung on the gallows at Haman’s home where he would have killed Mordecai. God ordained both Esther and Mordecai to be lifted to their positions so that the Jews in Persia would be saved.
God will put us where He wants us for His will to be done. Paul put it this way. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. In the tough times, or during periods of peace, He has a good purpose for us to accomplish. And who’s to say we are not in that position for that purpose to be fulfilled?
2019-08-23 – Romans 12:21
Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This verse lays out one of the more important attributes of Christianity; that being love. And not just love in return for love, but love for all, no matter what. There are many times when people will attack us, both physically and verbally. Paul said a couple verses up, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.” Romans 12:17. We must always do what is right in the sight of God and not simply acceptable in the eyes of men. We must never take into our own hands any recompense for evil.
Paul goes on to say, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Roman 12:18. Our goal throughout our lives should be peace with all. No matter what people do to us, we should show love for them. Our positive reaction to attacks may be the very light that brings our attacker to Christ. Remember, Jesus said the following, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
Furthermore, it is not our place to give recompense. “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19. We must stand aside and let God handle it. Moreover, we are to go to the opposite extreme. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap hot coals on his head.” We are to return kindness for evil. Jesus once said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” Matthew 5:38-39 He also said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:43-44
Now with this foundation laid, let’s go back to the focus verse. We must never let the evil of another cause us to return evil to them. We must never let evil take control of us but on the contrary, we must overcome evil with good. We must let our good deeds vanquish the evil in another. Many times, by simply showing someone love, they will stop the evil they are doing to us. They normally expect you to respond with hatred, which will only feed their anger and make it stronger. We must not let their actions win the battle. We must strive to be a witness of the love of God to them.
I know firsthand this is not easy. However, we have a God that walks with us, who never leaves or forsakes us, and works through us to do His good pleasure. We just need to submit fully and let Him give us the strength. I have been amazed by how good does overcome evil. Who knows what impact we can have on another, simply by submitting to God and humbling ourselves.