2020-01-20 – John 3:17
Verse of the Day Devotion: John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
This verse comes just after probably the most famous and well-known verse in all the Bible. “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. God loved the whole world. He loved us and gave us a way that we can be reunited with the Himself. And we know what that was, it was through the death, burial and resurrection of His only begotten Son. And it is because we believe in the Christ, that we are saved.
In Genesis we read the following, “The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:14-15. In the very beginning God told Adam and Eve that there would come a seed of Eve that would defeat the serpent, which is the enemy that rebelled before God created them. And this is what happened when Jesus came. Through His work on the cross, He defeated him and provided a way that man may be rectified with the Father. This is important, for there was no final condemnation for anyone here during His first coming.
And this is what our focus verse is saying. God did not send Him here to condemn the world. He was not sent here to judge or pronounce judgement on anyone. His whole purpose was to provide a means by which man may be saved. He was the sacrificial lamb presented as a sin offering for us, since our own sacrifices were insufficient to restore the relationship broken in Genesis 3. For, according to the Law, the lamb that is sacrificed must be perfect with no blemishes at all. We are far from perfect. Therefore, anything we would do, even in dying, would not be recognized. And this was why He had to come.
We now have the opportunity to be reconciled and have a very loving relationship with Him if we simply believe. When He comes the second time, it will not be to provide a means of salvation, but it will be to condemn those who did not believe and chose the worlds ways rather than God’s, and to take to our final home those of us who truly believe. There are many in this world who still have not believed, and many who have not heard. It is important that we show them the love of God through the sacrifice given. For now is the time for people to hear and believe. Sometime, and I believe soon, that time of reconciliation will be over. We must go out and tell the world. It is our calling down here.
2020-01-21 – Matthew 8:20
Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 8:20 Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.
Jesus was speaking to a crowd of followers. It was not just the twelve who walked with Him, there were many who heard what He was teaching, saw the many miracles He performed, and desired to know more about Jesus, who He was and what He taught. We read in Matthew the following, “Then a scribe came and said to Him, Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Matthew 8:19. The use of the word teacher tells us that He truly did not understand who Jesus was. Also, in the rabbinic culture, the scribes were held in high esteem. They normally were well taken care of and all their needs were met. I am sure he expected Jesus to say, “Sure, come along, that would be great.” However, Jesus knew this man’s heart and that he was no doubt expecting everything to be the same, and for him to be taken care of as he was being a Rabbi. However, the focus verse states His answer, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20. As we continue reading, we see no indication that he followed Jesus.
Notice that Jesus did not say to him that he was not welcome to follow Him. But what He did say was the truth of what it meant to follow Him. He did not paint a beautiful image of what it was like to be a follower. But what He did say showed that it was not as easy as he had thought. In essence He told the scribe that there were no guarantees. There was nothing that promised they would have a place to sleep that was comfortable and safe. The animals will have more assurance of a good night sleep then he would if He followed Him. As you see what happened throughout Jesus’ ministry, there were a lot of uncertainties. Food was not always available, and they were not always in places of safety.
And we need to be careful that we do not present a rosy picture of this life. Yes, God will never leave us or forsake us. Yes, He will give us joy and peace in all situations. And yes, He will always love us and take care of us. Too many times evangelists will use the technique of painting a picture to new believers and disciples that all is well, you can get what you want, and that you always will be safe. If we do, we are hiding what is going on in many countries where the governments are out to punish all those who worship Jesus. Also, we are telling them that everyone will listen to them, and not give them any trouble. Times can get tough. And Jesus did not hide this aspect of following Him. And if He did not hide this, then neither should we.
2020-01-22 – Psalm 37:4
Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
This is a psalm of David. The first three verses lead up to this verse. “Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” Psalm 37:1-3. David begins by saying that we are not to fret because of evil doers. The Hebrew word translated ‘fret’ denotes not to get angry or heated up. We are told not to get worried or envious because wrongdoers are prosperous and successful, and we are not. The will not last because of their wickedness, even though it looks as though they will.
In fact, going into verse three, we are to confide and rest in Him. Instead of being anxious and upset that you are doing good and not being as successful as those who do wrong, we are to trust in Him, continuing to do good. We are to continue to go forward in doing what is right, to continue doing the work of benevolence, helping those who are wronged by those who do wrong. Think about it, there is wickedness all around us. The world is full of those who treat people bad, prospering at the expense of others. This is more reason for us to endeavor to do good, if but to counter the evil being done. We are to live here and do good when needed,
How can we do this and not get discouraged? We will not find true happiness in a world filled with evil, nor in participating with them. We should always seek our happiness in God. We should seek it in His being, who He is, the Almighty God who loves us, who is perfect in all His ways, who are His friends. This is what He means by delighting ourselves in Him. If we live as God has called us to, and we trust completely in Him no matter what happens, then we can live a life of ease and contentment. We can live a life of bliss if we will just give Him all our cares.
And lastly, it says He will give us the desires of our heart. As we become closer and closer to God; growing more in our love for Him, as we continue to live completely to please Him, our desires will change to conform to what His desires are for us. We will only desire that which is good and honorable to God. When our delight is completely in Him, then we will delight in those things He delights to give us. And this is a great place to be.
Let us work to develop a heart that delights only in God and what He has provided to us and what He desires to give us and let us remove any desire that is not honoring to God. Let us delight in who He is, trusting completely whatever situation we find ourselves in. For in this, peace resides, and worries flee.
2020-01-23 – Psalm 111:10
Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.
Our focus verse, written by an unknown author, has incredible wisdom in the words it says. The writer starts with the truth that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Being that this was written to the Jewish nation, I will assume they know God exists. Fear in this context refers to honor and reverence. If we know that God is infinite in His power, His love and everything else, then honoring and reverencing Him is wise. If we believe He is who He says He is, then we should do all we can not to offend Him. To know He exists and not to fear Him as described above is not wise, but incredibly foolish. In fact, I would go as far as to say that not fearing and honoring the infinite God is the beginning of foolishness.
Many people who believe God exists will give the honor due their bosses, Pastors, government officials, friends and family, but not to the creator of all things who brought salvation to them through His death on the cross. They will do what their bosses say, because they want to get paid, but they will not do what God says. They will obey government authorities because they do not wish to be arrested, but they will not strive to obey God. After all He did for them, and having accepted His work on the cross, they do not consider it as important as all the other areas of their lives. This is incredibly sad for this is where wisdom starts. According to the writer of this verse, the foundation and origin of wisdom. There really is not true wisdom if we do not recognize the being, perfections and the claims of our Almighty God. Albert Barnes in his commentary on the Psalms puts it this way. “The highest wisdom – the most lofty endowment of man – is that he ‘May’ know and honor God. This, in capability, makes him wise above the brute creation; this, in exercise, makes a man more wise than another; this, when it springs up in the soul, makes a man more wise than he was before.’
The writer goes on to say that a person with good understanding will do and obey God’s commandments. The Hebrew phrase for this essentially says, ‘Do the things connected with the fear of the Lord, to obey God.’ If we really understand who God is, what He has done for us, what He does to help us in our lives here, and what He has prepared for us for all eternity, how can we not obey Him? And for the same reasons, how can we not praise Him? God never changes, so the foundation of our praise for all eternity is who He is, and that will never change either.
Let us always honor and reverence Him no matter what happens, for God knows all things and causes and allows things to happen for our 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. Let us trust Him and fear Him. For there is no greater wisdom than this.
2020-01-24 – James 1:13
Verse of the Day Devotion: James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
Trials come and trials go. It seems we all go through trials occasionally, some more than others. Sometimes we consider trials as times when things do not go the way we want them to. However, we should always remember two important verses and take them to heart. “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. Difficult times are often ways God can bring about a good that is best received in difficult situations. One example is helping us learn to trust Him. The second reason is so we can comfort others. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. There are times when we go through trials so that we can be comforted by Him and thus be able to comfort others in the same way. In both of these, we can be thankful to God for these trials because He will bring a good out of it for us, and possibly bring a good out of it for another because we will then be able to comfort them in the same way were comforted.
But one thing we should never do is believe we are being tempted by God in this trial. Now, we may never say we are tempted by God but our response to it can come across that way. Let’s use for example the trial of losing our job. This is not an easy thing to go through, especially if you really loved what you were doing. Many friends you made there that you may never interact with anymore. A good salary which was more than required to make it month to month is now gone. First of all, God does not tempt us to do evil, just as He cannot be tempted to do evil. We may get angry and say things we never should say to anyone. We may harbor hate in our hearts for those who caused, or we assume caused this setback to happen. He probably allowed this to occur for a good we, at this time, cannot see. However, it is imperative that we trust God that He knows everything and He means only good to come from it.
If we do not trust Him, then we may get carried away with our anger or hurt that we will tempt ourselves to sin. “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” James 1:14. We may hold anger against people which is wrong in and of itself, however, if we make assumptions about others which are false and are angry at others for essentially nothing, then we are sinning. We cannot say God caused these bad things to happen for any other purpose but to bring a good about. To think or say. “I am angry God because of what you did” is totally wrong. We are angry because we do not trust our good and loving God. Everything He does or allows is for good. We must see things this way. And if we do, then we can say instead ‘God, I trust you and look forward to what you have in store for me.’ No accusations, no temptation, no sin. And an added benefit, contentment that brings peace. Glory to God.