“The evil person is ensnared by the transgression of his speech, but the righteous person escapes out of trouble.”
Evil is full of lies, obfuscation, half-truths, and self-interest. The righteous person is honest, true, transparent, unselfish. Righteousness pays!
For all the talk of how evil has the advantage, it’s really not true. In the end, evil suffers from its own undoing. God is in control and rewards the righteous!
#votd #Proverbs #evil
“Then 3000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, ‘Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?’ And he said to them, ‘As they did to me, so have I done to them’” Judges 15:11.
There’s a lot of avenging going on here. Samson’s wife was given to his best man because he didn’t like being tricked into giving up his riddle. So he sent 300 foxes with lit torches tied to their tails into the Philistines’ standing grain. So they burned his wife and her father. So he “struck them hip and thigh with a great blow.” So they made war on Judah. So he willingly let 3000 Judaites bind him so he could strike down 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey.
The world operates in this way, its mantra being ‘as they did to me, so have I done to them,’ but Christians know that vengeance belongs to the Lord and turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and give the cloak as well as the tunic. We don’t wage war as the world does. Rather, in weakness we persuade men and take every thought captive for Christ.
Do you act as though Satan is still ruler over us or that Christ has defeated sin and death?
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#vengeance #devotional #other-cheek
Jer. 32:1-33:26; 23:1-8
While imprisoned in the court of the king’s prison, the Lord instructed Jeremiah to buy some land. In those days land was purchased by those with the right of inheritance within the families of the owner. Apparently, Jeremiah was attempting to claim that property when he was arrested and put in prison. That was a sign that God would eventually allow the people to return to the land that He had given to them many centuries earlier. With family members and witnesses present, Jeremiah, through faith in God presented the purchase price and the deed was sealed. It is impressive that legal acts today are still recorded much the same way as they were thousands of years ago.
God again reminded Jeremiah of the reasons behind His anger against His people. He also described the vast destruction of Jerusalem. The city, including the temple had become defiled by the worship of idols. Molech worship was especially evil in the sacrificing and burning of little children to that false god. However, in future times the nations opposing Israel and Judah would fall and the remaining captives would return to their homeland.
Another sign of the restoration of God’s people was His reaffirmation of His covenant with them. The near future would be their restoration to their earthly kingdom, but reference was also made to the establishment of, “A Branch of righteousness.” “Behold the days are coming…His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.” That was looking forward to Christ and His kingdom, the church.
“For in [Christ] all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”
Christ’s physical fullness brings to his followers spiritual fullness. He is supreme. Nothing prevents him from filling his followers with his life.
How to realize this fullness? By developing our love for him and his people. By strengthen our hope in his coming. By growing in faith that all will be fulfilled in his time.
#votd #Colossians #fullness
Amid the doom and gloom of Jeremiah’s prophesies were also words of hope. God stated that Israel and Judah would return to the land that He had given to their fathers. That occurred during the lifetimes of many of them. Another kingdom was also promised. “But they shall serve the Lord their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them.” They would not serve the dead King David, but a new King, Jesus, the Christ on David’s throne in a new kingdom, the church. Their former captors would have been destroyed because of their wickedness.
Israel had been completely annihilated except for a few who had escaped the swords of Assyria. They would be permitted to return to their land and worship at Zion, the rebuilt Jerusalem. Their lives would be rich with abundant harvests.
Jeremiah’s words of Rachel weeping for her children showed the great sorrow that surrounded the captivity of God’s people. Rachel’s weeping also looked forward to the time many years later when King Herod ordered the killing of all male children less than two years of age. Herod was attempting to destroy Jesus whom he thought to be a rival for his throne. That throne, however, is a spiritual throne that governs by a new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah—one in which man’s sins are blotted out forever.
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:29 ESV)
А коли ви Христові, то ви Авраамове насіння й за обітницею спадкоємці. (До галатів 3:29 Ukrainian)
Most holy Father in heaven ~ thank you in the precious name of Jesus, for this new blessing-filled day. We are often blind to the numerous benefits we receive because of being justified by faith in Christ by faith, and baptism into his death. Walk with us as we walk in step with our dear Lord to the best of our ability. Silence those who would throw cold water on the spectacular life that is ours now as citizens of the vast Kingdom of Christ. Amen.
David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister
Cedar Key Church
Jer. 46:13-28; 37:1-21
During the siege of Jerusalem, Egypt as an ally of Judah at the time, attempted to prevent Babylon from taking them. God speaking through Jeremiah stated that the Egyptians would be defeated just as surely as Mt. Tabor and Mt. Carmel were standing in their respective locations. They would be delivered into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and his servants.
God again assured that Judah would not be completely destroyed. Their seed was destined to bring forth the Son of God many years later.
Zedekiah sent men to Jeremiah to ask the prophet to pray for the people. With Pharaoh’s army coming to Judah’s aid, the Babylonians eased the siege and departed to fight the Egyptians. The Lord instructed Jeremiah to warn Zedekiah against being deceived by Babylon’s actions. They would return and take the people captive and burn the city. Nebuchadnezzar’s army, even if only made up of wounded men would defeat Judah.
As Jeremiah was traveling to attend to personal matters, he was arrested and accused of defecting to Babylon. Disregarding his denial, the prophet was imprisoned in a dungeon. After some time, Zedekiah secretly called for him and inquired about any word from the Lord. There was word, but nothing had changed. “You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon!”
With their captivity imminent, Jeremiah in an “I told you so” attitude asked Zedekiah, “…Where now are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you or against this land?’” Upon his appeal to the king, Jeremiah was moved to a more comfortable place in the court of the prison and promised bread each day, “Until all the bread in the city was gone.”
“With regard to food sacrificed to idols, we know that ‘we all have knowledge.’ Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”
1 Corinthians 8.1
Some Corinthians gloried in their knowledge. Their worldly perspective caused them to ignore or despise others who were not as advanced as they thought they were.
Without love, people exalt themselves because of knowledge. See Jeremiah 9.23-24. Here applies the old phrase that it’s not what, but who, you know.
#votd #1-Corinthians #knowledge
The prophet, Jeremiah reminded Zedekiah of the dominion that Babylon would have over Judah. He, along with his people would be given into their hands. Jerusalem would burn and he would die in Babylon, but would die in peace and be mourned properly.
One of the provisions of the law of Moses was the release of slaves in the seventh year. That commandment had been ignored for many years. As an attempt to regain favor with God, the Judeans released all of their slaves in compliance with that command. However, that did not last long. Everyone went out and reclaimed their slaves. With the breaking of that covenant, all avenues of salvation from Babylon were closed. Destruction was imminent.
II Kin. 24:20-25:3; II Chron. 36:13-16; Jer. 52:3-6; 10:17-25; 21:1-22:9
In view of all of the destruction that had been prophesied by God’s prophets, Zedekiah continued to be defiant. He had been urged to surrender to Babylon in order to prevent the mass destruction of Jerusalem, but he refused. Instead of surrendering, Judah’s king rebelled against Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar and his army besieged the city and deprived them of the necessities of life.
Jeremiah had advised the people to gather their possessions in preparation for the exile that was before them, but they were not prepared. He had heard the words directly from the Lord and was distressed for the people and also for himself personally. They would cry out, but no one would help them. Even though his words were rejected, Jeremiah knew that, “The way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.”
Man has the tendency to rely upon self until calamity strikes him. Zedekiah realized that he needed help against Babylon and sent two of his men to Jeremiah to ask the Lord to take Nebuchadnezzar away from him. God refused. Even though Babylon and her gods would be the weapons of destruction, it was God who would allow it for His punishment of a rebellious people. However, there was still a way of escape. Those who remained in the city would die, but those who would surrender to Babylon would save their lives.
Jeremiah reviewed the reasons why God had turned His back upon His people. In summary, he stated, “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and worshiped other gods and served them.”
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)
Estas cosas os he hablado para que en mí tengáis paz. En el mundo tendréis aflicción, pero confiad, yo he vencido al mundo. (Juan 16:33 Spanish RVR1995)
Most holy, righteous and merciful God, our dear Heavenly Father ~ hear our prayers on this new day as we come before you with our requests in the precious name of Jesus our Lord. Bless and magnify the publishing of the gospel of Christ that is for all people who desire to know you and your plan to save humanity. Build us up during times when we may feel down and discouraged. Give us the peace that surpasses all understanding! Watch over us and others as we travel today and tomorrow. Amen.
God has watched over our every step while here in Slavyansk, Ukraine. We are sincerely thankful for all your prayers and encouraging words while on this mission trip to our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ and many wonderful children who are now friends for life. God also blessed us with the opportunity to spend time with grandson Seva and his Mama Gelya.
David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister
Cedar Key Church
“Woe to you who are well satisfied with food now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.”
The second and third woes of Jesus reverse fortunes. The woes are for those who live for these things, “those who make merriment … a constant aim” (Fourfold Gospel).
For the partier, eternity will not be a party. Think weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus challenges what it is we live for.
#votd #Luke #woes
Ezekiel was a young priest who had been exiled into Babylon possibly at the same time as Daniel or a few years later. He was probably thirty years old, the age that young priests became active in their priestly duties. However, that would not happen for Ezekiel.
In a foreign land away from the house of God, instead of assuming priestly duties, Ezekiel saw a vision. He described the vision as the likeness of four creatures with awesome characteristics surrounded by a wheel beside each one. From the brightness of that vision, he fell on his face and, “heard a voice of One speaking.”
The voice of the Spirit spoke to Ezekiel and commissioned him to go to the children of Israel. Judah was referred to as Israel because they were the remainder of the original nation of Israel. He reminded the new prophet that they were a rebellious people and whether they would hear him or not, God’s word would be proclaimed. Ezekiel was assured that even in a hostile place, he would be kept safe. God’s words of lamentations and woes were then spread before the prophet in the form of a book.
Ezekiel was ordered to eat the scroll that he had been given. Following that, he was given directions for his ministry. He was informed that the people would not listen to him because they had not listened to God before him. The final charge of Ezekiel’s commission was to speak God’s warning. If he failed to obey and warn the people, they would die in their sins and he would be held accountable. However, if he did warn them and they failed to obey, they would die in their sins, but he would be free of their blood. That same accountability rests upon us to also warn the righteous to remain faithful to God.
(Note: Before being “jumped on” for the title of this essay by those who may not be all that familiar with biblical language, let me point out (as I do below) that the phrase is from the pen of the apostle Paul. What follows was first posted as an Observation on my Facebook page on Friday, July 5, 2019. I have expanded the material and send it forth this week to a wider reading audience, hoping that it will stimulate thoughtful reflection on the part of all who read it). Continue reading
“For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want!”
Paul shows the futility of human struggle against sin in this chapter. Man may intend to do go, but he winds up committing the sin he has rejected.
The final declaration of the chapter ends this exercise in frustration. It is a must read. It leads into the rich victory of chapter 8.
#votd #Romans #gospel