All of these devotionals are the result of my own personal reflection on God's word. If you find these devotionals helpful, please subscribe and share them! Thank you for reading!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Revelation 9:20-21

"The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts."

 The heart of man is desperately wicked even unto the end of the world.  It is a sad reality we must realize that some men and women will die in their sin because of their stubbornness and hardheartedness. These people are seeing but never perceiving, hearing but never understanding lest they turn and be healed.  Goats cannot be turned into sheep anymore than weeds can be wheat, but Christ knows the difference and will sort them out in the last days.

So what is the difference? The elect, upon hearing the truth of Jesus Christ, will love him for they know the voice of their master intuitively.  However, the rejected will resist Christ and his gospel until the day they die.

So how can you tell if you are elect?  All of the elect want to be elect and all of the rejected could care less about Christ and his gospel.  So if you want to be elect, chances are that God has already chosen you from before time began to be elect and has instilled in you the desire to follow Christ.  All that's left is to actually follow Him.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Revelation 4:10

"the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne..."

It is fascinating that these twenty four elders, whoever they might be, are given crowns.  Whether these are literal crowns (Ps 21:3; Rev 4:4) or crowns of glory (1Pe 5:4) and righteousness for having completed the race (2Tim 4:8) or the crown of life (James 1:12; Rev 2:10) or perhaps even crowns of people ("For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy." 1Th 2:19) it does not matter much.  The interesting thing is that these crowns are given so that they may be laid at the feet of He who sits on the throne as an act of worship.

So it is that the earthly realm was made to reflect the heavenly realm where worship is an eternal reality that all things given on earth are to be used to worship God just as it is in heaven.  If God has granted you riches, than worship God with riches.  If he has given you rags, then worship Him with rags.  Worship God with whatever God has given you for those who receive crowns from God are those who are willing to give them back in worship and humility.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2 Timothy 2:24-26

"And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."

Senseless arguments are not necessary in God's kingdom.  There is no discourse that can happen among those who are unwilling and not open to the Gospel which is why Christ commands that we simply "shake the dust off or feet" (Mk 6:11) and walk away. It is why Paul left Athens and had little harvest there and why he rejoices so greatly for cities like Ephesus, Philippi, and Corinth who embrace the Gospel with faith.  There is no argument so clever or human words so persuasive that can open a hardened heart or uncover blind eyes.  God alone does these things.

But instead of quarrel, the Lord's servant is kind, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, and correcting with gentleness. Then God might grant repentance leading to knowledge of truth that they might escape from the schemes of the Devil.  Salvation comes not through debating the faith, but belongs solely to our God and is his sovereign choice.  Therefore, do not treat your brothers with contempt, but show him gently his error and give him reasons for the hope that you have in Christ.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mark 12:31

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

The popular interpretation of this verse is that you should love people the way you want to be loved.  However, what this verse does not say is that you should love someone as if they were you.  Not only is such thinking about this verse wrong, but it's completely self-centered.  You love people they way they want to be loved, not the way you want to love them as we all have different love languages.

For some, gifts are symbols of love where others could care less about sentimentality of objects but really appreciate kind and affirming words.  It is not loving someone when you hug someone who doesn't want to be hugged, especially if you know they don't like them and do it anyway, even though you like hugs.

And yet this lie and misinterpretation has been told to us since kindergarten (The Golden Rule: treat people the way you want to be treated.)  Jesus isn't wrong, but our understanding is.  To love someone as yourself is a call to a radical shift in mindset.  When you love someone, you are actually loving yourself.  When one person is the body of Christ is happy, we all rejoice. When the line between me and you starts to dissipate and two start to become one and the entire Church body becomes one as Christ and the Father are one, then you will see and understand what it means to love someone as yourself for you'll no longer exist.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Proverbs 13:15

Good judgment wins favor,
   but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction.

Being a Christian is going to be the hardest thing you will ever do.  The standards are high, the path is small, and the gate is narrow.  It is a long race of endurance and in the end it will cost you everything to run itJesus asks his disciples to deny themselves and carry the cross, to suffer persecutions for his Name's sake, and to give up their mother and father, brothers and sisters, wives and children, and even their own lives so that Jesus takes precedence.  He asks you to leave everything and come follow him.  Indeed, the way of God is costly.

But even more costly is the way of the unfaithful.  They breed misery and destruction.  They hunger for more and are never satisfied.  They use and oppress each other for selfish gain and as soon as they amass wealth they realize the bitterness and loneliness of life for nothing can satisfy a man's soul like Christ.  And to top off their so called "fabulous lifestyle" is destruction.  They spend their entire lives trying to gain all things only to lose it all in death, but a Christian seeks to lose all things only to gain them all in eternal life.  Truly those who seek to save their lives will lose them, but those who lose their lives for Christ's sake will save them.

Now which one costs more?  Why work for that which you cannot keep?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Isaiah 1:24-26

"Therefore the Lord, the LORD Almighty,
   the Mighty One of Israel, declares:
“Ah! I will vent my wrath on my foes
   and avenge myself on my enemies.
I will turn my hand against you;
   I will thoroughly purge away your dross
   and remove all your impurities.
I will restore your leaders as in days of old,
   your rulers as at the beginning.
Afterward you will be called
   the City of Righteousness,
   the Faithful City."

God never ceases to amaze.  God vents his wrath not for the sake of destroying sinners, but to restore his holy people.  His turning of his hand against us is the same as his removing all unrighteousness.  He wants to restore us back to what were were at the beginning so that afterward we would be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful city.

However, the restoration and purification of God's elect involves the removal of those who are not God's elect.  All who have sinned and gone astray will be purged as dross so that only the faithful remain.  But not one of us is elect.  All have sinned and are unrighteous, only to be purged, had not God sent His Righteous One to intercede for us.  Only one has been faithful and obedient, Jesus Christ, and it is only as we find ourselves in him that we take part in the life of the elect for only Christ is elect.  For the sake of one righteous man, God spared the world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Matthew 21:29-31

" “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
   “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
    “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
   “The first,” they answered."

You can take all the time you need to tell God how much you don't want to do something.  God understands, for the heart of man is desperately wicked (Jer 17:9).

In the end, it does not matter if you want to do something or not, only that it gets done.  And it should be no surprise to us that God will call us to do things we do not want to do!  In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."  If you are called to be like Christ, you are called to a life of self-denial and obedience like Christ.  These things are hard!

But the thing is, Jesus understands what he's asking you to do, and he asks you to do them anyway.  He knows full well what you can endure and what you can accomplish if you put your trust in him.  He knows you don't want to do them, and yet he still asks.  And so the only question that remains is do you have the faith to follow Christ, even to the cross?  If not, pray for faith, otherwise for strength and endurance.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Isaiah 1:9

Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah. 

 God's inequity is not God's injustice.  In God's wrath, some will perish.  It is the inevitable truth that not all people will be saved on that great and fearful day.  Such is the heart of a man that is desperately sick (Jer 17:9), resisting even in the last days (Rev 9:20).  Even the greatest of evangelists during our time understand this, that sometimes you just need to kick the dust off your feet and move on (Matt 10:14; Mark 6:11).

Is God being unfair or unjust by choosing to save only some?  By no means! God did not have to save anyone at all.  All men have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God (Rom 3:23), the glory they were made to reflect (Gen 1:27).  Again and again, we see God punishing mankind for their sins, but never to the extent it deserves.  Genesis 6, Exodus 32, and all through Judges and the prophets, and yet he never fully erases humanity from the face of the Earth.

So we say with great thanksgiving,

Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah. 

Our God is overflowing with grace and mercy, forgiving sins for no reason other than that it pleased him to do so through the death of His own Son, Jesus Christ.  Thanks be to God!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Deuteronomy 5:21

"You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor's house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Covetousness is a denial of God's character as provider.  It is an attitude which states that God has in fact not given you everything you need in the present moment.  It is a failure to be content with what God has given you in His grace and mercy.  This lust for "more" leads to misery because you can never get everything you want and even when you have it, you will be left wanting more.

Truth be told, God has given you everything you need to be happy.  This is why those in abject poverty can rejoice, despite having nothing.  It's what causes rich people to be miserable while their servants live content lives.  God gave us his only Son to fulfill our every need and covetousness is a denial that Jesus Christ's sacrifice is all sufficient.

Not only that, but it causes us to sin against our neighbor, as David did to Uriah the Hittite in killing him in order to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba, his wife.  We see covetousness leading to adultery, deception, and ultimately murder.  We can see how breaking one commandment quickly leads to breaking more and more because sin begets sin and multiplies like an infection.  Just remember that all things are grace and undeserved and you will be content with everything.