I’ve never seen, I’ve never been

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we reside in God and he in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4.12-13

How is it possible to believe in something that I have never seen? I believe what I have been told. I have never been to Europe, but I know that it exists. I have never seen God, but I know that he exists. I know because he has given me of his Spirit. John tells us in verse 16 of this same chapter that God is love. We see his love demonstrated through the sacrifice of Jesus for the sins of mankind. That same love is perfected, completed, matured in us. When does this happen? This love is matured in me and in you when we love one another. Not the mushy emotion of love that the world cares about. It is a love that is sacrificial and willing to put others first. It is a love that wants what is best for the other person. When we love one another, John writes that God lives in us. When God lives in us, we will love each other.

#risingjoy #1-John #love

Mar. 29. Jesus Heals Deaf Man and Feeds Four Thousand Men

Mt. 15:29-39; Mk. 7:31-8:10

After leaving the region of Tyre and Sidon, Jesus and the apostles went to the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. There, they went up on a mountain in the area of Decapolis, which was inhabited mostly by Gentiles.

Great multitudes came and brought the lame, blind, mute, maimed and many others to be healed. When these Gentiles saw the power of Jesus as He healed them, they “glorified the God of Israel.”

Since the multitude had been with Jesus three days, they had run out of food. Jesus did not want to send them away hungry because some were very far from home. Again, He asked the disciples about the amount of food on hand and found only seven loaves and a few fish.

Jesus commanded everyone to sit and after He had given thanks for the loaves and fish, the disciples distributed them to the multitude. Everyone ate until filled and seven large baskets full of scraps were picked up. About four thousand men, besides women and children participated in this feast.


God gives his Spirit

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

And the person who keeps his commandments resides in God, and God in him. Now by this we know that God resides in us: by the Spirit he has given us. 1 John 3.24

Obedience is important. Teaching our children obedience is important. When we teach our children obedience, we are steering them in the right direction. We are helping them to understand that it is important to obey God first and foremost. John tells us that the person who keeps his commandments resides or continues in God. God also continues in him. John also assures us that we can know that God lives in us. How can we know? God gives us his Spirit. The Spirit helps us in our relationship with God. Not in miraculous ways as in the times of the apostles, but in other ways. The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.22-23 is in the singular. The characteristics listed in these verses are all a part of the fruit that the Spirit produces in our lives when we remain in God. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are all a part of the fruit that the Spirit produces in our lives. 1 John 5.25 tells us that if we live by the Spirit, then we should also behave in accordance with the Spirit. We will have these characteristics if we remain in God.

#risingjoy #1-John #commandments

Mar. 28. Healing A Phoenician Woman’s Daughter

Mt. 15:21-28; Mk. 7:24-30

Jesus left the region of Galilee and traveled northward forty or fifty miles into Gentile territory in the region of Tyre and Sidon. He wanted to escape the Jews and get some rest. After arriving, He entered a house in order to be alone.

Again, His popularity prevented Jesus from getting away from the people. A Greek woman came asking that an unclean spirit be cast from her daughter. Jesus ignored the woman because He was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (the Jews).

There were only two classes of people—Jews and Gentiles. Gentiles were sometimes referred to as dogs, which explained Jesus’ statement, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

The woman was persistent in her request and stated, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.” Because of her faith and persistency and Jesus’ mercy and compassion, He healed her daughter. Our needs, however great they are to us, are just crumbs compared to what the Lord is able to do for us.


Exhilarating sights, sounds, and scents

Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. (1 Corinthians 4:5-6 ESV)

Thế thì, đừng đoán xét ai trước kỳ Chúa đến. Ngài sẽ làm sáng tỏ những bí mật đen tối và phô bày những mưu mô trong lòng người. Lúc ấy, chính Đức Chúa Trời là Đấng sẽ khen thưởng mỗi người tùy công việc mình. Thưa anh chị em thân mến, vì lợi ích cho anh chị em, tôi đã áp dụng những điều này cho chính tôi và A-bô-lô để anh chị em noi gương chúng tôi. Chớ vượt quá lời đã chép; để không ai trong anh chị em sinh kiêu ngạo, theo người này chống lại người kia. (1 Cô-rinh-tô 4:5-6 New Vietnamese Bible)

Most holy and awesome God, our dear Heavenly Father ~ thank you Lord for the exhilarating sights, sounds, and scents that remind us of your abiding love for all creatures who love to sing you praises. Be with everyone who is doing the best they can to live according to your most holy and perfect word that directs us to walk in the steps of the Savior. Lead us, Lord, to someone today who has lost their way and give us the wisdom to speak and act toward them with the sincere love of Christ. We pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church


Remove all filth

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin, because God’s seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God. 1 John 3.9

God is holy. If I am a child of God, he is my Father. I cannot practice sin in my life and be holy and acceptable to God. It is a law of creation that a seed produces its kind. Peter writes in 1 Peter 1.23 that we have been born anew from imperishable seed through the word of God. James tells us in his letter, 1.18, that God gave us birth through the message of truth. In verse 21 of the same chapter, James encourages us to remove all filth and evil excess from our lives and welcome the message that has been implanted within us. We hear that message through the preaching of the word, Romans 10.17. The word of God in our lives will keep us from sinning. We see the example of Jesus in Matthew 4.1-11. When he was tempted by Satan, Jesus used the word to overcome the temptations. Reading the word is of utmost importance. For like Jesus, we will want something more than living a life of sin. We will want to please the Father. We will want to obey him.

#risingjoy #1-John #seed

Mar. 27. Jesus Teaches Lesson on Purity

Mt. 15:1-20; Mk. 7:1-23; Jn. 7:1

Since the Jews had been so hostile to Jesus the last time He was in Jerusalem, He decided to avoid this Passover Feast and travel in the region of Galilee. It was still not the time for Him to be offered.

Sometime after the Passover, some of the Pharisees and scribes who had come from Jerusalem saw Jesus’ disciples eating without washing their hands. They were very critical of the disciples because they had transgressed “the tradition of the elders.”

Jesus called them hypocrites because they presented themselves, as keeping the commandments, yet did not honor their fathers and mothers. He stated that they were “teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” This presented Him with an opportunity to teach a lesson on purity.

Eating with dirty hands may not be sanitary or healthy, but it will not defile the soul. Jesus said that it was not the food that goes into the mouth, but the words that come out of the mouth that defile a man.

The words that come from the mouth come from the heart. Some of the things that defile are evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, deceit, lewdness, evil eye, pride and foolishness.


His perfect plan

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:11 ESV)

Ибо никто не может положить другого основания, кроме положенного, которое есть Иисус Христос. (1-е Коринфянам 3:11 Russian)

O LORD my God ~ we cry out to you from the depths of our hearts on this new day on which we positively expect more blessings from your merciful kindness to those who trust and obey your beloved Son who offers eternal life to all who obey his perfect plan. Give an extra measure of the perfect wisdom of Christ as we struggle to make sense out of the daily news regarding measures political leaders are taking in the fight against a coronavirus. Grant wisdom to all leaders in America and every nation beset by this virus. Help all faithful believers to remember that a more dangerous virus of false teaching is also sweeping the earth and if believed it will cause many to lose their home in heaven. We fervently pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church


When I stumble and sin

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Everyone who resides in him does not sin; everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him. 1 John 3.6

This verse is difficult for many people to understand. They have the idea that once you become a Christian, one must live a life without a single sin. They feel, rightly so, that they cannot do that. But, James wrote in 3.2 that we all stumble in many ways. John also writes in 1 John 1.7 that if we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. Then what does this verse actually mean? If I reside or remain in Jesus, I do not practice sin. I strive to live my life in obedience with his word. However, when I do stumble and sin on occasion, 1 John 1.9 says that if I confess my sin, God is faithful and righteous, forgiving me my sin and cleansing me from all unrighteousness. Righteousness is something that has to be practiced. It does not occur naturally. I cannot practice sin and call myself righteous. I deceive myself if I believe that this is possible. In the same way, everyone who lives a life of sin cannot claim to know Jesus. I cannot be in two locations at the same time. I cannot be living a life of sin and a life of righteousness at the same time. They are totally different lifestyles. I want to reside in Jesus for there I have hope.

#risingjoy #1-John #righteousness

Mar. 26. Jesus Teaches Lesson on Spiritual Food in Capernaum Synagogue

Jn. 6:22-71

Again, a great throng of people met Jesus and the disciples as they came to shore in the land of Gennesaret near Capernaum. They brought many who were sick begging only to touch the hem of His garment. Those who touched it were made completely well.

The day after Jesus had fed the five thousand men, He taught them in the synagogue in Capernaum. Since He perceived that the crowd was looking for more food, He taught them a lesson on spiritual food that would endure for eternal life.

Jesus stated that He is the bread of life and that He was sent by His Father from heaven. Also, if they would eat of that bread and believe in Him, they would have eternal life.

The Jews could not understand this. They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then, that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

After Jesus had stated that His flesh must be eaten and that His blood must be drunk in order to live forever, many of His disciples (followers) “went back and walked with Him no more.”

At this time, Jesus asked the twelve apostles a sad question, “Do you also want to go away?”

Peter answered with an expression of the hope of mankind. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”


Vast harvest fields

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38 ESV)

Our most holy Father in heaven ~ bless all people in the world who hold the name of your beloved Son Jesus at the highest place in their hearts. Open our blind eyes so that we will never lose sight of the vast harvest fields that are starving physically and spiritually because not churches have leaders with the foresight to call and send reapers into those ripe harvest fields. Forgive us Lord, and help us to show tender-hearted compassion toward those now suffering from this worldwide coronavirus plague that is sending some people to their graves before they have learned the message of salvation and given an opportunity to trust and obey Christ Jesus as Lord. Help the medical workers who are risking their own safety in order to save lives. Help Christians to risk our peace and safety in order to save souls. In the precious name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church


What must remain in me?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

As for you, what you have heard from the beginning must remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. … And now, little children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink away from him in shame when he comes back. 1 John 2.24, 28

The concept of remaining is not a popular one today. Commitment seems to be from a bygone era. We stay until the going gets tough and then we turn and walk away. We cannot treat our relationship with God in the same way. Indeed, if we walk away from Jesus, to whom will we go? Peter said much the same in John 6.68. What is it that must remain in me? What I heard from the beginning must remain. That means that I must cling to the truth that I heard and learned in the beginning. Creativity is a good thing, just not in my relationship to God. God sets the terms of agreement and I must simply obey them. If I do, I have the assurance of remaining in the Son and the Father. When Jesus comes back to claim his church, his people, what will our attitude be? Will we have confidence that we have remained in him by being steadfast and unmovable, constant? Or will we shrink in shame knowing that we had it in our grasp, but we turned and walked away. The choice is ours. What will your choice be?

#risingjoy #1-John #commitment

A wonderful description of conversion

What does it mean to receive Christ? It means to receive his messengers who bring his Good News. The real ones, as distinguished from false teachers, bring a vigorous message of conversion. It means (1) hearing; (2) turning; (3) changing; (4) serving; and (5) waiting: Continue reading

#1-thessalonians, #conversion, #devotional, #jesus, #second-coming

Slanders, Sayings and Secrets

Slanders, sayings and secrets,

to which the majority there is great doubt.

There are many ways to react to these,

to the gossiper who loves to tout.

But when secondhand tales come your way

be wise and shout off the spout.

Because a day is coming when the happy dish

will be exchanged with a solemn pout.

For when judgment comes that quiet subject

will be made known with a loud shout.

Slanders, sayings and secrets,

there are better things to talk about.

In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.” (Luke 12:1-3 NKJV)

Mar. 25. Jesus Walks on Water

Mt. 14:22-36; Mk. 6:45-56; Jn. 6:15-21

The Jews were expecting the Messiah to set up an earthly kingdom and Jesus realized at this time that the people were about to come by force and make Him a king. That was not His mission.

He sent the disciples to the other side of the sea toward Capernaum and after sending the crowd of people away; He went up into the mountain to pray.

While Jesus was praying, the disciples were having their problems. A strong wind began to blow, which churned up the waves and made rowing the boat very difficult. As they strained against the wind and waves, they encountered an even worse problem. It was early in the morning just before daylight and they saw a ghost!

The “Ghost” identified itself as Jesus, who had completed His prayer and was walking on the water to join the apostles. The impetuous Peter was skeptical and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

Jesus said, “Come.” As Peter was walking on the water toward Jesus, he saw how boisterous the wind was and his faith failed. Beginning to sink, he called out and Jesus caught him. When they got into the boat, the wind became calm.