By A.B. Simpson — 0ne of Satan’s favorite employees is the switchman. He likes nothing better than to sidetrack one of God’s express trains sent on some blessed mission and filled with the fire of a holy purpose.
Something will come up in the pathway of the earnest man to attract his attention and occupy his strength and thought. Sometimes it is a little irritation or provocation. Sometimes it is some petty grievance he stops to pursue or adjust. Sometimes it is somebody else’s business in which he becomes interested, and he feels bound to rectify. Before he knows it, he is absorbed in many distracting cares and interests that turn him aside from the great purpose of his life.
Perhaps he does not do much harm, but he has missed his connection. He has left the main line.
Let all these things alone. Let grievances come and go, but press forward steadily and irresistibly, crying as you speed toward the goal, This one thing I do! —Philippians 3:13
#devotional #sidetracked #focus
Today, Ed Mathew’s devotional is based in Philemon.
Faith in action is powerful. It reveals the riches of living in Jesus. It leads others to see the beauty of Christianity. It draws people to the Lord. The most convincing faith is a demonstrated faith, II Thessalonians 1:11,12. Actions are more persuasive than words.
Focus question: How does your faith show itself at home, at school, in the workplace, in the congregation?
Update: This was supposed to have been sent to my microblog, but it’s still OK for here.
#faith #practice #devotional
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” John 1:1-2.
Most of us cannot but jot down a few appointments on a calendar and strive to meet them, but looking back on a day, we can see just how nearsighted we are. As we try to understand God’s plan to redeem sinful man, it’s easy to believe Jesus as just another figure in a line of greats: Adam, Noah, Moses, David …. But, Jesus is different.
He is from the beginning, being both God and with God, through whom all things were made. His Only Son’s part in His plan of salvation is integral, but what was the Second Person of the Godhead doing before “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us”?
He was the instrument of Creation and spoken to by the Father in Genesis 1:26 as He and the Father are one (John 10:30). Some believe it is Jesus to show up in various theophanies (appearances of God) throughout Scripture … perhaps even Melchizedek himself, in whose order Jesus has become our High Priest forever. He even made His own mother who would give birth to Him.
Do you believe that as God, Jesus is the ‘I Am’?
#Jesus #Word #devotional #dougkashorek
“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted” Romans 6:17.
“Thank, God!” we exclaim when even trivial things go our way, but few think about how we are acknowledging God’s intimate attention to the details of our lives and how we’re going to the Creator in prayer with thanksgiving.
Even atheists call the holiday we celebrate at this time of year by its name but don’t really think about to Whom we are giving thanks. Giving thanks has become so flippant that our eyes graze over the hundreds of times in Scripture God is thanked.
Like the nine lepers who did not return to give thanks, we are great at asking God to do stuff for us or give us stuff but don’t take the time to let thanksgiving be part of our prayers.
Do we have reason to thank Him? Over and over again. Just the verse above alone is reason to run back to Jesus, fall down before Him, and give Him thanks. We used to be slaves to sin, but He entrusted us with a form of teaching that we could wholeheartedly obey. We spiritual lepers, healed of our affliction, have a lot to be thankful to God for.
Do you truly give thanks to God?
#dougkashorek #Thanksgiving #devotional
“… ‘You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us’” Ezra 4:3.
In this era of inclusion and bending of the rules to accommodate everyone, the drawing of a line of fellowship by the returning exiles sounds really harsh to us. But, it is God who draws it.
It was precisely because His people had erased His line and drawn it where they pleased that they had ceased to be His people and had compromised with the beliefs and practices of every nation around them.
As Ezra had to tell those of the surrounding peoples who opposed them, “You have no part with us,” Nehemiah needed to a few years later when he sought to rebuild the walls.
But why not extend fellowship? Doesn’t God love all people? Yes, but with God a person is either in or out. It’s tempting to want to call seemingly good and loving folks who are doing great deeds “Christians,” but God draws the line still by whether they are in or out of Christ.
It is up to us to have the courage to hold the line and build the wall in the face of opposition or give in to the pressure to re-draw God’s line.
Are you courageous to stand for God?
#devotional #fellowship #love
“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” Acts 8:4.
This statement has always run counter to what I’ve observed in the my two decades of ministry. If evangelism is to happen, then every factor in people’s lives have to be perfect. After things are going well in the marriage, with the kids, with finances, at work, and with friends, then life is stable enough to think about telling someone else about Jesus. But, as long as even just one piece of our life’s puzzle is out of place, then we shrink back into ourselves to lick our wounds and figure it out.
Guess how often Satan is going to make sure that you have a struggle going on if it will keep God’s people from preaching the gospel? Always.
Not Christians in the first century! Like coals of a fire when a large log is thrown onto them, they spread and catch onto other tinder. How frustrated Satan must have been during the early decades of Jesus’ church! Nothing he threw at them worked; those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
How could that be us again? We tell of other things that are important to us. The gospel must become important. Our faith must grow.
Are you telling the gospel?
#evangelism #devotional #struggles #gospel
“Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion” Ecclesiastes 9:4.
Hope, that anchor for the soul, is in short supply today. I meet people everyday who feel defeated in their lives. Perhaps it’s a change they’ve failed to make in their lives. Maybe it’s circumstances they are currently trapped in. Or, possibly they or someone they love have not obeyed the gospel for salvation. Their declaration is always the same, “It’s hopeless!” Continue reading
“Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more” 1 Thessalonians 4:1.
When we justify our choices by our situation, we live in order to please ourselves as Eve did when she “saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” We set ourselves up on the throne of our lives as the ultimate authority over ourselves. When we sow to please our sinful nature, God warns us in Galatians, that we “will reap destruction.”
Instead, we are told in 2 Corinthians to “make it our goal to please Him.” Being resurrected with Him, we live for Him. We must please Him, not us.
And we do this, this chapter tells us, by living sanctified, that is, holy or set apart. We do this by avoiding sexual immorality, not wronging our brother, living a pure and holy life, loving each other, and living to “win the respect of outsiders” and “not be dependent on anybody.”
Just as the Thessalonians were doing this already but needed to be urged “to do this more and more,” so must we.
Who do you live to please?
Plattsburgh church of Christ
Here’s a thought that I’m going to work in during my sermon based within the context of Luke 7:36-50 (Simon the Pharisee and the woman sinner).
“If you owe someone 1,000$ and your neighbor owes 10,000$, and the note is due the next day, but you’re both out of work, who’s in trouble? – That’s why we’re all dependent upon the mercy of God through the Son of God who can pay off our notes through his blood.”
Read Luke’s account of what happened that day in a Pharisee’s house and the point becomes clear.
I thought you might be able to use it for a devotional thought or a sermon seed.
Here’s another road sign that makes sense; it’s one of my personal favorites:
Be a Fountain – Not a Drain
Scripture link: “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38, NKJV)
Is the “water of life” flowing out of our heart or is it just disappearing?
Division in the family is as unpleasant of an experience in this life more than anything else of which I can think. As unpleasant as it is, one must make a choice. “For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Luke 12:52-53, ESV). If one chooses wisely that which is unpleasant will result in immeasurable riches of eternity’s blessings.
What Excuse Will You Offer?
Have you ever been invited to a gathering, but for some reason you could not attend? It is likely that the reason you could not attend was a legitimate reason; perhaps it was because of scheduling, health, work, or some such reason. Those who have extended the invitation to you were probably charitable in understanding your circumstances.
The Lord also has extended an invitation (Matthew 11:28-30), but those who refuse His invitation will have no legitimate excuse for their refusal. Have you ever considered this (Luke 14:12-24)? Here is the difference in the invitations: those who extend an invitation in this temporal world can offer another. The Lord’s invitation is the only one He will offer, and this invitation is withdrawn once life is over (2 Corinthians 5:10). It would be a good idea to accept. RT
Have you read what the Lord said about a person’s retirement plan? I haven’t either. However, it might be a good idea to read Luke 12:13-21. This may not properly apply to you, but perhaps it does so more than you realize. way too many people put a greater emphasis on this world’s retirement and fail to consider greater things. Finding a balance is not always easy, but it is important that we do so. Thus, when you have found that balance, be sure the scale dips clearly on the side of the Lord. RT
This may come as a surprise to you, but the Lord’s words were interpreted as an insult. In Luke 11:45 (ESV) the religious leaders took the Lord’s words as an insult when He said that people walk over them as they are unmarked graves. The Lord was not intending an insult as much as he was being very pointed in His remarks. The insult received was the result of the interpreter’s hearing. Take for example the proverb the Lord used when He spoke to the woman desiring Him to heal her child (dogs); she could have taken that as an insult, instead she took that as a lesson to be learned and a teaching to be extended. The Lord was pleased. So, rather than being overly sensitive (thin skinned) let us listen and learn. Moreover, let us also be mindful of the words we speak; our words are to be seasoned with salt, not salty language (Colossians 4:5-6).
One of the great teaching methods of the Lord was in the use of parables. In Matthew 13, the apostle decided to group many of the parables of the Lord together. In the teachings of our Lord, He made a comment that penetrates even the hardest of hearts and frightens it so. “Hearing you will hear and not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive.” This frightens many because they wonder if they are exactly in that spot. Who would these people be, and who would be guilty of such things? Well, apart from the majority of the people who exist today, take note of what Ezekiel said (by the Lord’s authority), “So my people crowd in to hear what you have to say, but they don’t do what you tell them to do. Loving words are on their lips, but they continue their greedy ways” (Ezekiel 33:31, GNB). “Going to church” is on the outside, what is on the inside?