Revive me

Rule-keeping has acquired a bad name in religion. Probably, because man makes rules. And probably, because man rebels even at God’s rules. And possibly, too, because some have removed obedience from the gospel.

Whatever the reasons, and however many they are, it’s in Scripture, both Old and New Testaments.

And Scripture sees the keeping of rules as being dependent on God.

Revive me with your loyal love, that I might keep the rules you have revealed.
Psalm 119.88.

God is willing to constantly revive us. The author looks for it, expects it, desires it. His obedience depends upon it. As does ours.

Obedience is a condition to salvation and continued grace. But it also depends upon God’s power and finds in his loyal love motivation more than sufficient to revive the flagging soul.

#devotional #Psalms #obedience

Barely saved?

“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” Hebrews 7:25.

This is why the gospel is good news! Jesus is able to save the the uttermost. Most of us hope just to squeak in past the pearly gates on our own merits or on the delusion that the sins we’ve done haven’t really been that bad to keep us from heaven. We either hope to save ourselves or have God turn a blind eye and barely save us.

Because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, though, He is able to save to the uttermost. As our mediator and High Priest who always lives (as He’s conquered death once and for all), Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father to intercede—for not just anyone—but those who draw near to God.

And what an advocate we have in Jesus! He’s the just judge who declares us guilty, sentences us to death, and then bears the penalty for our crimes so that we might share in eternity. This means that nothing can separate us from His love if only we would obey His gospel and trust in His intercession. And that is good news!

Have you obeyed for Jesus to intercede for you?

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#devotional #dougkashorek #mediator

Already tried that

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7.

They had already tried that. Saul, being a head taller than many others, certainly had a regal bearing, but the humble facade of hiding in the baggage when called to be king soon gave way to erecting statues in his own honor. So Samuel was sent to Bethlehem to anoint one of Jesse’s sons, and despite being God’s prophet, he saw too much like a man to seek the man who seeks God’s own heart.

David came along, and he was the often-forgotten kid-brother … and young. While such an important figure such as Samuel was visiting his home and all the other brothers were present, David was watching the sheep.

This is the David who would grow up and choose God over his own desires every time (except one, i.e. the Uriah and Bathsheba incident), who would write many of the psalms, and collect money for the building of the temple he knew he would never see because he was a man of blood.

Are you a man after God’s own heart?

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#devotional #appearances #1-Samuel

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

Very little relevance?

“And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go ….’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?” 1 Samuel 15:18-19.

I’ll bet you had to look to see if this quote was from the Old or New Testaments and then breathed a sigh of relief when you saw that it concerned an Israelite king who died long ago and has very little relevance to you. That’s the struggle!

We forget that in 1 Corinthians 10 God uses the Israelites in the wilderness to warn us not to fall into their sins. Or Romans 15:4, which tells us that the Old Testament was written so that with encouragement and endurance we might have hope.

It is very relevant, especially considering that God has sent us also on a mission that begins with the command to “Go.” After explaining that all authority was His, Jesus tells us to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

What if 1 Samuel 15 was calling us into account when we make excuses or justify why we had to modify God’s command instead of King Saul. The kingdom was taken from him then.

Are you obeying the voice of the Lord?

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#dougkashorek #devotional #go

Encouragement note March 2020

By Chris Underwood, Chicago

We may not want to book a flight on an airplane due to worries and precautions but we can book our spiritual flight to a home in heaven with confidence and joy.

The love of God is infinite in power for our souls to access protection more than sanitize liquids, masks, and isolation. Continue to seek God daily for thirst quenching help and joy. (Psalm 63:1-8)

Wash the physical hands three times daily.

Hear, understand and hold on to the right hand of the Lord continuously.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:1-8

#Encouragement #chrisunderwood #devotional

Mold needed cleaning from an expert

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” Ephesians 1:7.

Mold was discovered in our home. Ignoring it or just trying to live with it was not going to solve our health problems, yet that’s what most try to do with sin. We needed the mold to be remediated. Any of our efforts were not going to do it, yet I heard many suggestions from good-hearted friends about what I should do. The more I learned about mold, however, the more I was convinced that my house needed a cleaning from an expert. Continue reading

#devotional, #dougkasorek, #redemption

God-centered love

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” 1 John 4:7.

Self-love can be dangerous. It is at the heart of selfishness. Those in the world will do what is right by themselves at the cost of everyone around them and disguise it as ‘relative truth.’ Because they are true to the standard they have set up for themselves, they believe themselves good and loving people. Knowing this, Christians seek so much to love God and others that they may not love themselves. Our relationship with God is planted when we realize God’s love for us in Jesus dying in our place on the cross. It is fed, watered, and tended with study, prayer, and service to those around us and then blooms into an imitation of Christ. This is not a self-centered love but a God-centered love that emanates into every aspect of our lives and is the lens through which we interact in this world. This is how we love one another as Christ loved us. This is how we are truly born of God and know God. Love for one another is not fodder for a checklist. Looking outside of ourselves isn’t just for our spare time or only after our own needs are met.

How do you love?

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#dougkashorek #devotional

God a terrible obituary writer

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25.

God would be a terrible obituary writer. You know, no matter how the person lived his or her life, the blurb in the newspaper always says glowing things about the person … but God tells it how it is! They were a chosen race, but they had chosen sin. They were a royal priesthood, but they had bowed down to idols of their own making. They were a holy nation, but they had fashioned the Creator in their own image. They were a people for His own possession, but possessions had been gathered for their own selfish pleasures.

They were all this so they could “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called [them] out of darkness into His marvelous light” 1 Peter 2:9-10. Oh, but wait, how did my Bible get flipped open to the New Testament? We were talking about the Israelites, after all!

There are so many similarities between God’s people in the time of Judges and now that the lessons not learned by them then should be taken to heart today.

What would God change in the obituary of His church if the last verse of this book were written today? What would you be remembered for?

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#dougkashorek #devotional #peopleofGod

To fellowship God, one or the other

“… God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” 1 John 1:5-7.

Who is on the $5 bill? Most would say ‘Lincoln,’ but really it is just his likeness. Jesus is described as being the image of the invisible God. That means that in every way and characteristic, He is an exact representation of God. He is God in the flesh.

In John 10:30, He tells us that He and God are one, meaning that they are in perfect fellowship with one another. Two who become one flesh in marriage are supposed to be one in fellowship as well. But to be in fellowship with God means to either have God change to be like us or we change to be like Him.

We don’t want a God who has darkness in Him, so we must expel the darkness from ourselves and take on the characteristics of light. Then, this passage tells us, we not only have perfect fellowship with Him but His people, who are striving to become one with Him, as well.

Are you in fellowship with God and His church?

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#dougkashorek #devotional

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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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