2019-09-23 – Galatians 6:9
Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Adam Clarke, a British Methodist theologian and Biblical scholar said the following in His commentary on this passage in Galatians. “Well-doing is easier in itself than ill-doing; and the danger of growing weary in the former arises only from the opposition to good in our own nature, or the outward hinderances we may meet with from a gainsaying and persecuting world.” I have found this to be very true in my own life. First of all, I do not desire to do what is wrong. Unfortunately, I at times do things I really do not want to do; things I need to ask forgiveness for, and these are the things that I find hard to accept in myself. Doing good is my heart’s desire, that being spreading the gospel, teaching the Word of God, encouraging someone who is down, discipling Christians, helping the poor and needy, and other things. These good acts themselves, as Adam Clarke says, is easier to do. However, it is the enemy which makes me weary in these things, both from tempting me to do something rather than serving God by serving His people, and by the negativity and harsh rhetoric against the truth of God.
However, we must never back down from doing good simply because others do not like, and actually hate what we do and who we are. Paul did more good for the cause of Christ than the vast majority of Christians, even though he suffered for it. Let’s look at a few verses. “Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. This is a huge list; however, Paul was willing to go beyond this. “And coming to us, he (Agabus) took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:11-13. Paul was not going to stop doing good simply because Rome and the Religious leaders persecuted, tortured and worked to kill him. He was probably physically tired, but He never wearied of doing the Lord’s work.
And why? Let’s look at the second part of our focus verse. “for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9b. In the end, no matter what happens to us here, if we do not grow weary of doing good, we will receive our reward, which will be infinitely greater than our sufferings. That does not mean we do it for the reward, but we do it because we love the Lord. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24. We are to do all we do in service to the Lord. And what is the promised reward, our inheritance. “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:16-17.
So, in conclusion, do not weary in doing good, no matter what that good is. He has called all of us who are Christians to do His work, not necessarily the same work, but His work, nonetheless. Do not tire of doing this work and end up stopping. When you begin to feel this way, remember that God will reward us for all the work we do according to His calling. When comparing the weight of His work and the coming reward, there is no comparison.
2019-09-24 – Psalm 51:10
Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
This psalm, chapter 51, was written by David and deals with his heart when Nathan the prophet came to Him after he had gone in to Bathsheba. This is written from a penitent heart, asking God to remove his sins from him. “Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” Psalm 51:1-3 David has incredibly strong feelings of remorse for what he had done. In fact, he knows the depth of his iniquity. “Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge.” Psalm 51:4.
Of course, we know that David sinned against Bathsheba in lusting after her from the rooftop. And he sinned against Uriah in that he not only took his wife and committed adultery with her after which he took her for his wife, but he also put Uriah into a position where the only outcome was his death. David’s heart was broken by what he had done, and he recognized that this sin had overtaken him. We know this because when Nathan made known to David what he had attempted to keep secret, he did not try to cover it up, but said “…I have sinned against the Lord…” 2 Samuel 12:13. It was not that he denied that he sinned against Bathsheba, Uriah and others. It was that he saw sinning against God was the worst and hardest to deal with.
He continues his prayer “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.” Psalm 51:7-8. His sin is so heavy upon him that he alludes to broken bones to describe how great the weight is on him. He then asks God to look not upon his sins but remove them from him. “Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.” Psalm 51:9.
Up to this point, he has asked God to forgive him, remove his iniquity, wash him so that he shall be whiter than snow. He has prayed here for sanctifying grace and forgiveness. However, in our focus verse he takes this to another level. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. This is a very powerful verse, for here David is asking God not to just cleanse his heart but to completely remake it. His great request here was that his corrupt heart should be done away with and a new, clean heart replace it. The Hebrew word translated ‘create’ in verse 10 is the same word translated ‘created’ in Genesis 1:1 where the idea is a new thing, an actual act of creation where something begins to exist where there was nothing there before. David felt that cleansing his heart was not enough, it needed to be replaced with one not corrupted by the lust and sin which he succumbed to. And with this, he prayed that this new heart would be strong and steadfast so that he would never succumb to the lusts and sins he had in regard to Bathsheba and Uriah.
I can say that I have felt this way, where my remorse over sins committed has caused me much heartfelt sorrow. However, what we must remember is that God knows our hearts, and if we are truly saddened by transgressions He will know and forgive us. He will not hold them against us but will totally absolve us of our guilt. However, we must desire with all we are to never succumb again to these sins. We must, as David did, cry out that our corrupt heart and nature be removed from us and be replaced with one free of the desires of the flesh. This should be our heart in this matter.
2019-09-25 – James 4:7
Verse of the Day Devotion: James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
This is a very familiar verse to most, and one that is incredibly wise. It definitely deals with our Christian walk and what we find important. I say that because that which we give our attention to is that which we find important to us.
So, the first part of our focus verse tells us to submit to God. This is not a partial submission that James is speaking of. It does not mean we submit to those things we agree with only. This means we are to submit to God in everything. He calls us to a humble life before Him. “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10. God knows better than anyone else what is best for us. Sometimes He will call us to a time of rest and peace. Other times, He will call us to a place of difficulty, where there is persecution and humiliation. It is easy to submit to Him when times are easy. However, we must also submit to Him in the hard times. Saul is an excellent example of a hard calling but also total submission. When God told Ananias to go to Saul, we read “But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” Acts 9:13-14. “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.’” Acts 9:15-16. Saul, later known as Paul, knowing that this would be a hard life, one filled with suffering, submitted completely to God, knowing that what He allowed was the best for himself and anyone he ministers to and with.
While we yield to God in all things at all times, we are never to yield to the enemy in anything. In whatever way he comes to us, we must resist and oppose him. There is nothing good he has to offer us. Whatever he says will always be in opposition to the plan of God. He is destined for eternal torment and he will do whatever he can to take as many as possible with him. He will offer things that sound so good. His ways are deceitful, for he promises good and delivers death. We must not argue with him, but with strength and conviction, resist him. And the best tool to resist him is to know God and His voice. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;” Study His word, pray without ceasing. Become so close to Him that there is no way we can mistake the enemy’s voice for God’s. We must resist the devil through our submission to God. His Spirit will guide us into all truth. And when we do resist him, he will flee from us. This is a promise of God. For true resistance of the devil comes through submission to God. He cannot defeat true believers who have committed their lives to God.
Therefore, live a life of total submission to God. It is the only way to live.
2019-09-26 – Proverbs 15:1
Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Very few of us, if any, agree with anyone else on everything. This is natural. Based on our background and history, we will see some things differently. However, no discussion on these differences should descend to intense arguing. Solomon states in this verse that a harsh word stirs up anger.
Let’s say I am having a discussion with someone regarding the type of music to be used in the church. I am not critical of any kind of music, as long as it is doctrinally correct and gives true praise and worship to our loving God, however, there are music styles I do not particularly care for. And I am discussing with someone regarding this topic who only believes hymns should be sung, for all others are unorthodox and sinful. If, in trying to change their mind, I was to speak harsh words to this person regarding their belief, they would probably shut down, return even harsher words and eventually walk away. What have I accomplished? No doubt I lost the ability to speak into their life. Aldo, they have become much stauncher in their belief. Now, this topic is not an essential, but my approach has likely killed any chance in the near future of another discussion with them.
Now let’s look at an essential. You meet someone who has been convinced that truth lies inside a cult which believes that Jesus is just one way to heaven, and they have chosen a works-based approach. You get into a discussion with them, and you ask something like, “How can you be that stupid?” In this example you have probably made them mad, but worse, they are probably more intrenched in their cult then they were prior to your comment. It will be much more difficult in the future for their beliefs to be changed. Note: The question above may not have been said in a harsh way, but no-one can deny the question itself was harsh. Harshness can be in the words, our tone or both. We need to watch what we say and how we say it.
It is much better to speak gentle words in these situations. First of all, it will, in most cases, prevent the discussion from descending into an angry argument. Second, we can continue the discussion and hopefully change their mind. In the case of the song types, this is not as critical. However, in the case of the cult member, you may have an opportunity to change his/her view of the truth and actually become saved. Everything we do must be done in love. This includes discussions as well. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. This is how we are to approach all things. When, in our discussions with others regarding differing views, approach the matter in the light of 1 Corinthians 13. I believe our impact will be much greater and we will bring many to God and strengthen the hearts of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
In closing, let us remember what Paul wrote to the Ephesians regarding this subject. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32. This is our calling in Christ. Let’s all work toward this being the modus operandi of everything we do. Not only will we be more effective, we will also be pleasing God with our love and patience toward others.
2019-09-27 – Colossians 3:15
Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
One of the great benefits we have as a Christian is the peace that is received from Him. This world is a difficult place. There is so much turmoil and strife. It seems like everywhere we look we see fighting, arguing and agitation. This is, of course, the work of the enemy, he is constantly looking around for someone to deceive and torment. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.
When we accept the work that Christ did on the cross, namely His death, burial and resurrection, we are justified, declared righteous because He paid the price for our sins. And because of this, we have peace with God. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:1. We have been reconciled with God, and we now have access to Him. And this relationship we have with Him, having truly given our lives to Him, is the source of this peace. “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4. Why are we at peace. Because we steadfastly trust Him. If we keep our minds focused firmly on Him and not ourselves or our situation, and we trust Him no matter what, He will keep us in perfect peace. He will be our protector and our source.
Now, I am not going to say this is always easy. There will be hard times. I think we can all attest to that. This is the way of the world. The enemy is always looking for ways to get our eyes off God’s faithfulness and on our trials. But Jesus said that we must be courageous, keep focused and remember Him. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. In the world we will experience trials and tribulation. However, since we are in Christ, He provides us with the peace we need. How can He do this, because He has overcome the world. We can trust this and take courage in it. For Christ is known as the Prince and Lord of peace. Paul prays for God’s people, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” 2 Thessalonians 3:16.
I will close with this last verse that has encouraged me more times than I can count. I pray that it encourages you greatly as well. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. Be at peace. He is victorious and He will be with us.