Worshiping idols but sure of God’s blessing

“Then Micah said, ‘Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest’” Judges 17:13.

Two wrongs don’t make a right—yet this is what Micah and most of the world believes today. Micah stole some money from his mother and restored it to her with a confession. This bright spot in the tale dims quickly as his mother dedicates the money to the Lord by having a carved metal idol made with it. Micah then puts it in a shrine in his house along with an ephod and household gods and installs his sons as priests.

How could straying so far from God’s commands be pleasing to God? The text explains that, like today, everyone did what was right in his own eyes. It was a ‘tolerant’ society in which each sets up his own standard for life and God’s standard, if not forgotten, is just a loose guideline. This is clear when Micah finds a Levite as the Law demands to minister, not at the tabernacle but before his idol, and then proclaims that he’s certain that God will now prosper him.

If we do not return to God’s Word for our faith, life, and worship in our very ‘tolerant’ society, we are just like Micah—worshiping our idols but sure in our minds of God’s blessing.

Are you Micah?

Doug Kashorek

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#dougkashorek #devotional #Judges

Persuade me

“And Agrippa said to Paul, ‘In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?’ And Paul said, ‘Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am–except for these chains’” Acts 26:28-29.

Agrippa was a somebody. How dare the lowly prisoner, Paul, try to convert a man of power, influence, and wealth?! Yet, that’s what Paul did–to everyone. It didn’t matter how rich or poor, how high or low the station, how much or little time he had to spend with a person. If Paul was in your proximity, you were going to hear the saving gospel of Jesus Christ!

Agrippa seems a little taken back by this. Perhaps it’s Paul’s boldness; perhaps it’s the power of the message that he was hearing. Whatever the reason, Agrippa was squirming in his seat and didn’t want to hear any more.

Alas, today it seems the opposite is true. Instead of sowing the seed on all kinds of soil, we examine the soil first to determine if we believe it receptive to the seed. And, any excuse is enough to justify not preaching the words of eternal life.

Are the Agrippas in your life ever hearing the good news? Who are you making squirm?

Are you persuading anyone to be a Christian?

Doug Kashorek

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#dougkashorek #devotional #persuasion

The world’s mantra

“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?

Douglas Kashorek

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#vengeance #devotional #other-cheek

Greater works

“‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father’” John 14:12.

Wait! Greater works than what Jesus did while He was here on this earth? There’s no doubt that the King of Kings was the servant of servants. He lived servitude: washing feet, touching a leper, raising the dead, multiplying food, curing the sick, teaching the lost, loving the unloved. And then He endured all He did before hanging on a cross for all of us. He is the peak of what a servant should be about.

And yet, He tells us that if we believe in Him not only would we be doing the works that He did but we would do greater works than these. How?

Again, we limit our perspective. We have to open it up by submitting, trusting, and obeying to let God do incredible things through us. After all, His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. Let God do the driving the car of your life and stop grabbing for the wheel. If He can provide eternal life for sinners from His Son’s death, then there’s nothing He won’t do for and through you.

What great works will He do through you if you’re willing to serve?

Douglas Kashorek

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#devotional #douglaskashorek #works

Don’t strike rash bargains with God

“And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, ‘If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering’” Judges 11:30-31.

The Bible never glosses over the bad points of God’s people seeking to serve Him. Jephthah was rough around the edges to be sure. He also had a lot of worthless fellows that attached themselves to him. But, unlike Abimelech, he seemed to legitimately want to serve God. This should encourage us as we see God using someone imperfect in His service.

But, unlike Jephthah, we should trust in God and His salvation, never-ending love, and constant concern for us rather than seeking to strike rash bargains with God that we often don’t intend to keep. Even if we were to keep a vow, the fact that we felt we had to make it in the first place indicates that God is into making deals rather than operating out of love. This cheapens God to the status of a pagan god.

We won’t ever know if Jephthah actually sacrificed his daughter as a burnt offering.

But we should not vow but instead trust God to love us.

Douglas Kashorek

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#vows #douglaskashorek #trust #devotional

The Father seeks us

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him” John 4:23.

We seek things we value. I had a contractor make a trip to my house this morning to ask if we had found a particular water bottle. On the other hand, I’ve messaged a different contractor twice about a rusty, cracked shovel he left last fall that is still here. He doesn’t value it enough to stop by.

We know what God values because we’re told He is seeking true worshipers—those who “will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” And, from Jesus’ parables in Luke 15 about the lost coin, lost sheep, and lost son, we know with what intensity and ferocity of love God seeks that which He values.

Often, we see the rusty and cracked condition we’re in and, because we don’t value ourselves, we can’t imagine that God could possibly value us enough to seek us. Or, we see how ordinary we are, such as a water bottle, and can’t see how we could be special enough for God to seek us. But, if we will be true worshipers, worshiping Him in spirit and truth, then the Father seeks us.

Are you a true worshiper that God seeks?

Douglas Kashorek

elder, evangelist, editor

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#devotional #douglaskashorek #value #worship

Who do we trust to save?

“Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’ And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade ….’” Judges 9:14-15.

God’s people under Gideon were trees, but Gideon was dead and the son of his servant, Abimelech, was all thorns. Looking for relief for their bondage in the midst of the Judges cycle of sin, they turned to a man who first killed his seventy brothers before treating them cruelly rather than turning to God. Abimelech’s story is a cautionary tale to us in many ways. First, just because God is using us, doesn’t mean that He is pleased with us. We should compare words and actions against His Word. More importantly is the bigger lesson of whom we put our trust to save us. Just because our money says ‘In God We Trust’ doesn’t make it so—no more than wearing a WWJD bracelet makes us a Christian. Today, we might put our trust in the economy or politicians, good health or friends. But God and His Word is the only One in which we can trust for salvation. If we look to brambles to reign over us, we will get scratched in their shade.

In what or whom are you trusting?

Douglas Kashorek

sermonlines.com

#devotional #douglaskashorek #trust

We have this promise

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

The Christian life has often been compared to a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. Having wings, butterflies are not concerned with caterpillar things.

So are Christians. Although we are on this earth and our bodies are made of the same substance as the lost around us who are still about earthly things, we are a new creation in Christ.

A transformation happened in Jesus when he emerged from the tomb. Not only did He overcome sin and the grave, He had a body that was changed. It was eternal.

So, it only follows that the members of His body, the church, will be “like him because we shall see him as he is” 1 John 3:2. In fact, those baptized into His death have this promise: “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” Romans 6:5.

Thus, we fix our eyes on the eternal and our hearts and minds on things above. The church, then, is not made up of caterpillars. Rather, it’s a gathering of the saved who are being sanctified in the chrysalis of this present life and are looking forward in hope to emerging as a new creation.

Are you?

Douglas Kashorek

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#devotional #transformation #hope

Getting Out of the Fog

According to the Bureau of Standards in Washington, a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of 100 feet is composed of less than one glass of water. That amount of water is divided into about 60 billion tiny droplets. Yet when those minute particles settle over a city or the countryside, they can almost blot out everything from your sight. Continue reading

#devotional, #fog, #thought-for-today

God’s grace shields us

“And Gideon said to him, ‘Please, Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? …’” Judges 6:13.

IF … the Lord is with us … there is a God … He cares at all. How often I’ve heard Gideon’s question posed to me over my years of ministry. The problem is that the beginning premise is flawed. Many assume that we all are basically good people, who haven’t done any really bad sins like rape or murder—so we are unnecessarily or unjustly facing terrible circumstances in our lives from an uncaring, uninvolved, or non-existent God.

Scriptures reveal just the opposite story, though: that we have all sinned and deserve death! When we can grasp this truth, then we begin to see just how the evil in the world is always caused by sinful men, a fallen world, or (gasp) our own bad choices!

In fact, when compared to what could be happening to us, we can see God’s grace in shielding us from what could have been. The financial guru, Dave Ramsey, often answers when asked how he’s doing with “better than my sins deserve.”

This keeps a good perspective. It’s better to ask, “If the Lord were NOT with us, what could be happening to us?”

Do you recognize His grace?

Douglas Kashorek

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#devotional #grace #douglas-kashorek

Command and teach

“Command and teach these things” 1 Timothy 4:11.

We are to train ourselves to be godly as godliness has value in this present life and the life to come. We labor and strive with hope in the living God as our motivation to flee from our sinful lives to take hold of the promise of eternal life that God has given us and declared with an oath. So, now it is time to break this down into specific behaviors. Speaking to the young evangelist first but to us by extension, we are to “set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” We must also “devote” ourselves “to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” We must not, and this is perhaps the most challenging—not neglect our gifts. If benevolence, edification, and evangelism are our core values, to not live these instructions out is to sin by omission. James 4:17 says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” To not set an example is to not show edification. To not be devoted to reading, preaching, and teaching is to not show evangelism. And, to neglect our gifts to not serve others is to not show benevolence.

Are you living out our core values?

Douglas Kashorek

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#devotional #douglas-kashorek #values

Watch and pray to be prepared

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. … Be always on the watch, and pray … that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” Luke 21:34-36.

Often we want to get wrapped up in the issues of in whether Jesus is speaking about the end of the world or the destruction of the temple? Premillennialism or a rapture? The point is that we must watch and pray, so we are prepared. But prepared for what? Not the end of the world but to stand before the Son of Man. What may keep us from doing that? The answer is a scarily accurate depiction of life today. Our hearts may be weighed down with dissipation, which is a wasting from misuse of our talents and time. Drunkenness—terrible escapes from life. Or caught up in the anxieties of life! Life today has lots of those … as well as more leisure time than any generation before ours, thanks to advances in every realm of life. Not using your time and talents for yourself, then, but for God’s Kingdom instead would be one way to prepare.

If the end was in this moment, could you stand before the Son of Man?

Douglas Kashorek

plattsburghchurch.com

#douglas-kashorek #devotional #preparation

Never richer

“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away’” Luke 19:26.

Other than a “wee little man” many may not know who Zacchaeus was. As a tax collector, Zacchaeus, in the normal practice of his profession, was a state-sanctioned thief who stole more money from his fellow Jews than Rome said he needed to collect. He was despised, yes, but he was a part of the 1%. A Have—in a sea of Have-Nots. Yet, he repented and was willing to give up his ill-gained worldly wealth for eternal riches. This prompts Jesus to tell the parable of the Ten Minas that ends with the one who had the most wealth and who invested it to present his master with an increase to be given the mina of the servant who had buried his. How unfair that seems from a worldly perspective, yet how often God turns our logic upside-down. To be strong, we must become weak. To gain our life, we must lose it. Rather than fighting our own battles, we must cease striving and know that He is God. In Jesus’ view, Zacchaeus was never richer than when he gave it all away.

Where is your treasure stored?

Douglas Kashorek

plattsburghchurch.com

#devotional #treasure #Luke

Don’t get sidetracked

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

Powerful faith in action

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