2019-10-28 – Colossians 1:23
Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
This is a very interesting verse in that it is essentially saying salvation is not a one-time event. It is actually a continuous one. Yes, there is a time when we accept the work Jesus did on the cross for our benefit, that being the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. This is where our journey starts. However, many believe this is where it ends as well, that once we do this we cannot lose our salvation. However, we can wonder away which this verse explains explicitly.
First, Paul introduces this idea in four verses preceding. “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him (Jesus), and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—” Colossians 1:19-22. When the Father sent the Son here, it pleased Him because it was the way to reconcile us to Himself. We were enemies of God, hostile to His ways. We walked according to the ways of this world and our unrighteous desires. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Ephesians 2:1-3. However, when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are reconciled to God. We have the privilege of calling Him our Father and Christ our Lord.
But this is only the beginning. Not only must we accept Him and the new life we are to live, but we must persevere to the end. We must not turn around and say, ‘This isn’t working, I want to go back to the way things were.’ We do not have to explicitly say these words but turning away from Christ and walking away is basically the same thing. And one more thing regarding this, it could be a gradual turning away. We may start by simply going back to a few of our old ways. But, if they are contrary to the Christian walk, have we not in essence turned away? We must always obey what He has commanded us. Recall the words of Jesus. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.
Jesus in His messages to the seven churches in Asia Minor said the same. He said those who overcome and keeps My deeds until the end will be blessed as follows:
- To the Church of Ephesus – I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.
- To the Church of Smyrna – will not be hurt by the second death
- To the Church of Pergamum – I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.
- To the Church of Thyatira – To him I will give authority over the nations, and shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I have received authority from my Father.
- To the Church of Sardis – They will be clothes in white garments, and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father and before the angels.
- To the Church of Philadelphia – I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
- To the Church of Laodicea – I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Salvation is not a one and done event. It is first giving our lives over to Christ and His Lordship. Then it is continuing to live this life until the end of the age and He returns. We cannot lose our salvation, but we can walk away. Remember the words of James regarding this idea. “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 2:17. I encourage us all to show our salvation by our works, remain steadfast and a true follower no matter the cost until He returns. We can then rejoice for all things will be made new.
2019-10-29 – Psalm 119:105
Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
How do you see the Word of God? It is so powerful and deep in the knowledge of God we will never be able to thoroughly see all that is in it. We will never be able to exhaust the riches that are waiting to be discovered by us. However, many look at it as just a book that we must read simply because we are Christians. If that is how we see it, we will miss are the beauty and wisdom that is found inside it.
God gave us the scriptures to aid us in every aspect of our lives. He loves us and desires that we live a life that is not only pleasing to Him, but also the best for us. It shows us what His perfect will is. It shows us what is right and good, and what is wrong and evil. It tells us such things as we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and all our might. (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Luke 10:27). It says that we must love our enemies as we love ourselves. (Proverbs 25:21 and Matthew 5:44 ). We are to be humble and not arrogant. (2 Chronicles 7:14 and James 4:10). And lastly, we are to rely on God when things get difficult. (Psalm 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:7). Note that I included an Old Testament and a New Testament verse. God has not changed and everything He promised and expected in the Old are also promised and expected in the New.
Not only does He show us how to live a life pleasing to Him, He will also guide our lives so that we will not fall or wonder away. He shows us what the way of righteousness is, for He is our guide. One of the most famous passages of scripture shows us beautifully what this means. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23. He is our loving shepherd and He will only guide us to the places that are good while supplying everything we need. When are spirit is weary, exhausted or troubled, He will lift us up and encourage us. And He will never lead us to a place of doom but will take us a straight way to Himself. And though we walk in difficult and dangerous places, we have no need to be afraid for He goes before us providing protection which gives us much comfort. And He will prepare a table for us to feast at, and though our enemies see us, and are with us, we still have what we need, for God ensures we are provided for. Moreover, we can be assured that His goodness and love will always be with us, and we will reside with Him forever. Is not this a wonderful picture of His perfect guidance and leading?
And while we are on this journey, He lights our way so that so that we need not stumble over things the enemy puts in our way, and He lights the way so that we will not leave the path He has chosen for us. He will not guide us blindly, but will show us clearly that path, ensuring us that as long as we stay on the path, we are safe and will be brought through. Now, there is always the possibility that we may need to give our lives in His work. This is illustrated by Paul when the prophet Agabus told Him he would be arrested by the Jews and handed over to Rome. “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 21:13
God’s Word is more than just a list of commandments, although there are things we are commanded to do to show our true love for Him. It is also a guide as to how we should live this life and the type of service we are called to. It is also a source of encouragement and peace that whatever He calls us to do, we will never be alone. “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” Joshua 1:5and “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 Word is used to teach us, lead us, guide us, protect us and show us the great and eternal love of God. You do not need anything but His Word. “For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death.” Psalm 48:14
2019-10-30 – Psalm 150:6
Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
We serve an incredible God. He is all powerful, all loving and all caring. He watches over us, each one of us at all times, never taking His eyes off of us. He has promised to never leave or forsake us. There is nothing He does not know, there is no place where He is not, for He fills all there is. And He is all powerful, there is nothing He cannot do.
Now, everyone at some point in their lives have sinned against Him. Because of this, we were alienated from Him, and there was nothing we could do to make it right, and thereby restore the relationship we had with Him. However, He still loved us. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16. And because of this love, He gave His Son to come down to live the life we could not and thereby pay for the sins we could not rectify. This provided for us the salvation we needed.
What is amazing is that God had this plan already laid out prior to the creation of the universe and everything in it. God loves us so much that, knowing we would sin and break our relationship with Him, He created us anyway. How many times has someone done us wrong and we hold a grudge? I wish I could say never, but that would be a lie. But think about this. If we knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a good friend would betray us in some way, would we still have the same affection for them? This is what God did. No matter what we did, He still pursued us. No matter how many times we disappoint Him, He never leaves us. He takes care of us, loves us and draws us to Himself. He desires to be with us, to fellowship with us.
When we think back on our lives and see all the good things He has done for us, the many times He has protected us, bringing us through all the difficulties we have faced. I have placed myself, before accepting the justification given to us by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, into situations I was not sure I would have been able to escape. But I am here, safe and sound, serving Him in any way He commands. My life could have been so much worse, but here I am, so very thankful for His goodness and grace. And this is the reason for the writing of Psalm 150. Its writer knew that it was only because of God’s mercy that He was able to get to that point in his life.
“Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.” Psalm 150:1-2. He calls for us to praise Him anywhere He is to be found. We are to praise Him with the greatness He showed us in His grace and mercy. We are to praise Him with everything we have. It can be a great spectacle, shouting out our love and thankfulness to Him. Or, and intimate time of quiet praise and worship. We should bare our whole heart to Him, not holding back our feelings. He is more than worthy of this. “O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You; I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Isaiah 25:1.
Let us always set aside time to show Him our love and thankfulness. As our focus verse says, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD! “ Psalm 15:6.
2019-10-31 – Genesis 45:7
Verse of the Day Devotion: Genesis 45:7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.
This verse is part of the story of Joseph and the path God took him in order to save his family. Things turned out really well, however the journey was very difficult.
If you remember, Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob, for He was borne through Rachel whom Jacob loved more than Leah. Joseph had two prophetic dreams showing in essence him ruling over his family. This favoritism by the father, as well as these ‘dreams’ angered Joseph’s brothers who eventually sold him to some Midianite traders who subsequently sold him to Potiphar in Egypt. After a time, Potiphar put him in charge of all his affairs and he prospered greatly because of Joseph. However, Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of coming on to her. He was then put into the royal prison where the head of the prison put Him charge of all the prisoners. And again, Joseph ran it well and prospered.
Ultimately, Pharaoh had two dreams which he nor his wise men could interpret. Joseph was called up out of the prison because Pharaoh had been told he was able to interpret dreams. Pharaoh then told Joseph the dreams and he prayed and told Pharaoh that these dreams meant there would be seven years of amazing prosperity followed by seven years of severe famine. Pharaoh then put Joseph in the position of second in command of Egypt, putting him in control of storing up food during the first seven years, then dispensing it during the next seven years. When the famine occurs, Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to get food and they meet Joseph but do not recognize him. Joseph then makes things difficult for them, but eventually brings his family to Egypt where they lived and were taken care of in all ways.
Now, I give you this brief summary to explain how Joseph suffered much, even though he was close to God and was serious about trusting and following God in all his ways. He was hated by his brothers, thrown into a pit to be killed, however they chose to sell him into slavery where he served Potiphar for several years. He was falsely accused of trying to lie with his master’s wife which resulted with years in prison. This was a very long series of events, but eventually he was placed in a high position of authority. He then revealed himself to his brothers and relayed to them our focus verse, “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.” Genesis 45:7
I say all this because many times God puts us into difficult positions just as he did Joseph. After a time of sorrow, he accepted his situation and trusted God. And we must do the same. God would not allow us to go through trials if He did not have a good reason to do so. In Joseph’s situation it was to save his family who would eventually become the Jewish nation; God’s chosen people. And if He allows us to suffer trials and tribulations, He as a good reason to as well. We must trust God and allow Him to work through us for the greater good. In trusting Him this way, we shall find things easier to deal with.
Paul said it like this, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how-to live-in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13. We must be content in any situation God places us in, for He knows the end from the beginning and however He uses us, it will be good. “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.
2019-11-01 – Psalm 19:7
Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
This particular verse is from David, and he is speaking of what God has revealed in God’s law. First, the Hebrew word translated law here is Torah, a reference to the Law of God given in the first five books of the Old Testament commonly called the Pentateuch. The idea of Torah is that it is instructions, precepts that are given to us as a guide to how we are to live our lives.
He calls the law perfect in that it lacks nothing in its completeness; nothing that makes it what it should be. In other words, it is complete as a revelation of divine truth and as a rule of conduct. And following this law turns us from the ways of sin to holiness. Now, I am not saying the law saves us, but what it does is help us live as we should. We see this idea in the first psalm. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2. We are to delight or find pleasing His law, for by following it we can please God. “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua 1:8
He follows this with the phrase, ‘ the testimony of the Lord is sure.’ This word ‘testimony’ refers to God’s revealed truth. Whatever God reveals to us is sure. It is not uncertain but is established. It can be relied on, if presented as God intended. And it trains people who are ignorant of what God requires of them.
We are saved through the shed blood of Jesus. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. Again, works has nothing to do with our salvation, except it is proof that we are already saved. James put it this way, “But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” However, Jesus did say the following, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15. And how can we keep His commandments? By knowing them, studying them so that we will do what they say; meditating on them so that we instinctively do what they demand.
It is important that we spend time in His Word every day. And not simply read it but think about what is says and how we can implement it in our own lives. Our desire must be to eliminate what is unpleasing to God and replace them with what truly pleases Him. By taking the time every day we can replace doing with becoming. We are new creatures in Christ. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. And the ways of this new life are found in His word, His sure and complete word revealed to us by God Himself.