2019-11-25 – Romans 10:3
Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 10:3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
Paul is writing here to the Church in Rome and he starts off here by declaring his love for the Jews. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” Romans 10:1-2 Paul very much desires that every Jew would be saved. This is not the first time he states this. “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,” Romans 9:1-3 Here, Paul shows how badly he wants this to happen. He states that if it was possible, he would wish himself cursed if that would bring them to salvation.
Paul states in verse 2 of chapter 10 that the Jews do have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. What does Paul mean by this? It most likely means that they had a passion for God, but they did not recognize Christ as the Messiah. They rejected Jesus as the promised one even though the Old Testament is full of prophesies regarding His coming. They studied and followed the Levitical law; however, they never really knew God nor Christ as they should have. They assumed that strictly following the law was what God desired. However, if they had truly understood, they would not have relied on the law but in the coming Messiah. “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5. Isaiah was speaking here of the coming Messiah. He did not say the law saved them, it was the Messiah suffering and dying that brought about their salvation.
Since they did not understand this they relied on their own righteousness. They endeavored to confirm or validate their own righteousness and make it the means by which they were justified; to make good their own claims to eternal life by their own merits. They did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah because He did not act as they believed this Messiah would act, even though He fulfilled every prophesy about Him. They thought they had perfect knowledge about God and this coming Messiah, but they really did not, and thus they took the path of the focus verse, “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” Romans 10:3
This is why it is so important that we read and study His word, so we know exactly what it is saying. I have seen many church goers who speak of doing what the Bible says when they really do not understand what it is actually saying. And it is even more important when we are teaching others. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. It is important that we read and be diligent, not haphazardly reading when we get a chance, but focusing on truly understanding. The Jewish leadership unfortunately did not get it, lets not follow in their footsteps.
2019-11-26 – Jeremiah 29:13
Verse of the Day Devotion: Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
There are two basic ways to seek after God. We either look for Him with all our heart, or we casually seek Him putting on a pretense. The method we use depends on what our purpose is in seeking Him.
If we are really serious in finding God; in love and humility presenting ourselves to Him, He will definitely show Himself. “I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me.” Proverbs 8:17. This is a very great promise He has declared. If we call upon Him with all our heart, not just with words but with a true desire to find Him, to connect with Him and fellowship with Him, He will make Himself known to us.
God is always hearing our prayers. And He knows our hearts regarding our prayers. If our prayers are truly from our heart, He will hear and answer. However, if we simply throw up a prayer so that we can say we prayed, then He may not be there for us. Prayer is a very serious thing. This is communication between us and the Almighty God, the all-powerful creator of all that is. And when we seek Him in prayer, our focus needs to be Him and His will, not me and my will. We must trust Him completely that what we ask for will be given to us if it is what is best for us. We should not expect Him to hear us if we ask for something and expect Him to deliver as we desire.
God loves us. He wants to be there for us. He wants us to spend time with Him, giving Him the praise and worship He deserves. He wants to speak into our lives and help us to become the man or woman of God He desires. However, we must want it; with all our heart, soul mind and strength. And we must want it on His terms and not our own. Case in point, the rich young ruler. “A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Luke 18:22. Jesus answered this man’s question. This young man was asking about eternal life with God. But note his response. “But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.” He was searching for God and an eternal relationship, but on his terms, not God’s. Jesus said to give up all his wealth, but the man wanted to keep it, showing where his focus was.
Remember our focus verse, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” If our focus is on wealth, fame, or having our own way, then are we truly seeking Him with all our heart? We must be willing to humble ourselves before God and make Him Lord of our lives, which means His way is the only way. And we must love and trust Him, knowing that He desires the best for us. He must be our focus. Then we will find Him.
2019-11-27 – 1 Chronicles 16:34
Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
We have so much to be thankful for. God has provided so much that we cannot even begin to list them. He guides every part of our lives, protects us and keeps us safe from the enemy. He provides all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. He has forgiven us our sins and justified us through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. And He has promised us an eternal life with Him in heaven. There will be no more tears, sorrow, pain or death.
A good thing to do is to look back on our lives, both the good times and the difficult ones. Realize that God has provided everything we have and every experience we have had. Take some time to sit quietly and just give Him the praise He so richly deserves. And remember, when a difficult time comes to mind, remember what Paul said. “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. Everything God has allowed in our lives is meant for our good, and possibly the good of another.
So, here are some verses to focus on and I pray your Thanksgiving is a wonderful time with friends and family, and also with God whom we have everything to be thankful for.
“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. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:12-14
“in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” Ephesians 5:21
“Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” Psalm 107:8-9
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5
I know you have many verses you know to ponder on as well. Read those also and remember that He is our everything and because of Him, we have life everlasting since we have accepted the great gift of His son who died to take our sins from us.
2019-11-28 – Proverbs 19:17
Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 19:17 One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.
Today is Thanksgiving and marks the beginning of the Christmas Season. This time of year is a favorite to many who enjoy the decorations, songs and movies that are popular during this period. This is also a great time to enjoy shopping with family and friends and giving clues as to what you would want to open on Christmas morning. It is truly a blessed time for many.
However, there is an important segment of society that we need to remember as well, that being the truly poor around us. There are many people who do not have enough money to pay for food, clothing and shelter; our three basic needs laid out by Jesus in Matthew 6:31. That makes celebrating Christmas with gifts and a feast definitely out of the question. They would love the opportunity to give a gift to others, however it would take away from providing for the basic needs as listed above. Furthermore, they would love to give their children a great gift, but many times have to either find something that was thrown away or not give a gift at all.
What if this was our situation. Would we want help? Would we want someone to bless us with the ability not to see Christmas as just another day? Think about this and remember what Jesus said, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12. Also note when He used the phrase regarding the law and prophets another time. “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. Helping in this manner will show your love for both God and our fellow man. We no doubt will be unable to help everyone in this situation. But if we can help at least one person or family, it will make a great difference in their lives and help them to celebrate just as we are able to.
And notice the second part of our focus verse. “… and He will repay him for his good deed.” Proverbs 19:17b. This repayment will either occur in this life, in things that are temporal and/or spiritual, or in the life to come. We may not know what and how this repayment will be, however we can feel comfortable that it will be wonderful and something only God could give. However, we must remember to give out of love and not in search of repayment. This is important for this is how God gave His Son for us to provide the salvation we need.
In closing, I want to encourage everyone to look for ways to provide a special blessing to those who are poor and suffering during this time. If you would like some ideas, feel free to email me at [email protected]. I have several areas that we are assisting in and I know would love the support and assistance you can offer.
2019-11-29 – Matthew 18:22
Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 18:22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Jesus here is laying out a principle which is important for us to follow. Before our focus verse, Jesus had just been teaching about the sins of a brother, regarding what to do in the event a brother does sin. Jesus replies by saying, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17. He was laying out the idea that we should do what we can to restore a brother if possible so that they will remain a follower.
“Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Matthew 18:21. Peter here is making this a more personal issue. He is not asking about if a brother sins, but if a brother should sin against him. Peter was using the tradition of the Jews regarding forgiveness. The Jews taught that a man was to forgive another three times, but not the fourth. Peter here is extending the number to seven, basically saying should forgiveness be exercised to this extent.
However, Jesus throws him a curve in our focus verse. He doesn’t say seven, or even an extravagant number such as fourteen or even twenty-one times. He says we are to forgive our brother seventy times seven, which calculates to four hundred and ninety times. This goes well beyond the tradition of the Jews. What Jesus is basically saying is that no matter how many times he sins against us and asks for forgiveness, we are to forgive him.
Now it is the duty of someone who sins against us to ask for forgiveness. “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” Luke 17:3. However, we have a duty if our brother repents and asks us for forgiveness, and that is to forgive. As many times as he sins against us and asks forgiveness. And why is this? Because this is what Christ does with us. No matter what we do and however many times, He will forgive us. “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9. There are no limits noted here, therefore we should have no limits if we are to be like Christ.
This can be a very difficult thing to do. If someone does the same thing over and over again to us and then repents and asks for forgiveness, we are obligated to forgive. If they do this, there is obviously an issue with that person, and in that, we leave it in God’s hands. But we must forgive them. I believe we should pray and ask God to change them so that they do not persist, and we should admonish them so that they are aware of what they are doing. But we cannot withhold forgiveness.
I want to encourage us if we are in that place where repeated sins are done against us, we should heartily pray for them and work with them where they allow us to. This is a loving act, to repeatedly forgive the same thing from the same person. But as stated above, this is what God does for us. Therefore, we are to go and do likewise.