THE WILL OF GOD

Going through life it is important we understand God’s frame of mind or intention as our Creator and the principle answer is our salvation (2 Peter 3:9). As Christ shared in John 6:40 that all believing in Jesus Christ have eternal life. As harsh as some may say it sounds salvation does not come from belief in allah, budha or any number of other gods (small g). Free will lets you believe in who you wish but my experience with God’s Word (the Bible) does not allow me to deviate from its contents nor does it allow me to hate the person who believes otherwise.

God’s will also is that we give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Even in difficulties or hardships there is that proverbial ‘silver lining’. In fact when we communicate with God the first thought should be on thankfulness and not on some request that meets a need for that moment.

Finally the will of God is for our sanctification. That we grow in holiness according to His Word. It is pleasant and easy to imagine an eternity with others who are of the same spirit.

Some may wonder if we can know the mind of God. We see in Romans 2:18 that it is revealed especially when we see His wrath against that which is ungodly. God as sovereign over nations and individuals (Daniel 4:35) is seen, I believe, daily. We may choose to not understand it but God’s authority over this world is clear. Today we need to be prepared to fulfill THE WILL OF GOD.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: It would be wise for the ways of man to fulfill the will of God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 2 Peter 3:9 “the will of God is our salvation”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire to fulfill Your will for me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  Is your life fulfilling the will of God?
  2.  How do we find union with God’s omniscience?
  3.  Why do some say their is no difference between the God of the Bible and other gods?
  4.  How is the God of the Bible different from other gods?

 

THE NARROW WAY

We are warned in 1 Timothy 4:1 that in the latter times (which I believe began with Christ’s birth) we are to watch out for ‘deceiving spirits’. One area that they will attack Christians on is the understanding of the Trinity.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob consists of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.The evidence for this Trinitarian belief lies in Paul’s words of blessing (2 Corinthians 13:14) and Christ’s own final commission recorded in Matthew 28:19 that we are to baptize in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Christ spoke of the narrow way for Christians to journey on to Heaven. Some, I believe, have taken the wrong path here not believing God’s Word as written. There are a group of sub-Christian cults who call themselves Christian but do not fully exalt Jesus. Who question Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s divinity. Jesus is simply a prophet, teacher or  good human being in their way of thinking. A true believer believes that in Christ is the fullness of the Godhead (Colossions 2:9). These cults once were if not yet Jehovah Witness, Christian Scientists, Mormon (Latter Day Saints) and Unitarian and many more.

Throughout Scripture there are numerous verses that bear evidence that Christ is divine (ex. John 1:1-18). Today it is important we understand this less we also stray from THE NARROW WAY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Always remain true to the divine nature of the Trinity.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 28:19 “Christ speaks of the Trinity”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord guide me in correct understanding of Your Word.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Have you ever been approached by a sub-Christian cult?
  2. Were you prepared to witness the complete truth of God’s Word to them?
  3. What is your understanding of the Trinity?
  4. What is involved in remaining on the ‘narrow way’?

HELPING OTHERS UNDERSTAND THE TRINITY

It is important for a Christian who takes serious Christ’s final words (the Great Commission) of making disciples of all nations to understand the Trinity or Triune God. In the baptismal ceremony (Matthew 28:19) which is part and parcel of the Great Commission we baptize in the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Three distinct personages united in one just as we are 3 in one created as body, soul and spirit. It is important to understand that as Christians we do not believe in ‘tritheism’ which are 3 separate gods, Unitarianism which is one single god or modalism which is one god with 3 different roles to act out.

Our Triune God was present at creation (Genesis 1:2) and will be present at the final revelation. In the meantime it is important that we understand that in each person we receive something special. As Paul shared in 2 Corinthians 13:14 (and we often share in closing our worship services) we receive grace through our Lord Jesus Christ, love of God, and fellowship from the Holy Spirit.

Until such time as we stand before the great throne of God (Revelations 22:1-2) we have the task of growing in holiness and furthering God’s Kingdom. Part of that is HELPING OTHERS UNDERSTAND THE TRINITY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Our three in one Trinity teaches and touches every heart desiring to know God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 28:19 “Trinity revealed in baptismal formula”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord fill me with grace, hope and love.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do you explain mankind’s unique nature of body, soul and spirit?
  2. How does the Triune God provide grace, love and fellowship?
  3. How do we become filled with the holiness of God?
  4. What are you doing to fulfill the great commission?

REMAIN OBEDIENT

Occasionally I wonder why mankind feels God should not be a God who tests us but simply a God of grace giving everyone a passing grade for this life. It certainly falls in line with public schools not wanting a child to receive a potentially emotional devastating letter grade as many are now doing.

The first children of God having everything failed in their obedience test and now it seems natural to me God would want to test us to see how we respond to His life lessons.

The tests God has shown in Scripture to put before man to make evident the character of each of us come in different forms. First is the physical test, which comes in many forms, to see if we remain obedient. God’s Word tells us what is wicked and if we seek “health to all (our) flesh” we must pay attention to His words (Proverbs 4:20-22).

Next are spiritual tests such as we read about in the life of Daniel (Daniel 4). “Because an excellent spirit was in him” (vs. 3) we see he passed this test of life with flying colors. Part of that excellence of spirit came through his faithful prayer life as explained in vs. 10.

There also may be tests as a nation. Israel found this out when they willfully broke God’s covenant (Exodus 32). Their suffering was long and intense but after a time they passed and were released from Egypt through the Exodus event. These tests continue for Israel and all nations who seem to show moments of true commitment, or as I believe we are now falling into, where our actions individually and as governmental units want to separate ourselves from God.

Finally, there are supernatural tests. The Exodus story (chapter 7-11) shares a few examples. As Creator all God’s creation is available to test our faith and abilities. Needless to say whatever the test may be it is important we REMAIN OBEDIENT.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Tests try our faithfulness to see if we remain true to God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Daniel 6:3 “a spiritual kind of test”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me in preparation to take your tests.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How does a school student compare to we as children of God?
  2. What is God’s lesson plan for mankind?
  3. What physical and spiritual tests are noted in the Bible?
  4. How as a nation are we removing ourselves from a commitment to God?

COMFORT IN ALL MATTERS

Having just noted the omniscience and omnipotent character of our Triune God we still have God’s Word revealing to us His omni or all present character. In modern times we have 24/7 prayer and helplines to call in on year round but that ever present service has been ours since the moment of creation. God seeks our friendship and expressions of concern at all times.

Since the time of Abraham there has always existed among God’s people this feeling of God being ever present. It is seen in we who follow Him through our holding firmly to the principles of truth and love and the other gifts recorded in Galatians 5:22-23. It is when we, in our efforts to further His Kingdom, allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with these blessings that we being born anew can most feel the Divine Trinity’s presence.

God’s Word tells us that “He fills Heaven and earth” (Jeremiah 23:24). Every thought, word and deed by us and all others is captive to His observation. Some may cover their heads with hoods or meet in places with boarded up windows but that will not hide them from the eyes of God.

Christ, in His own words, assures of His presence no matter how few gather in His name. A family holding a Bible study, a gathering of a few couples in a home church or in a small country parish has Christ’s ear as much as a mega church does.

When we know that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Psalm 139:7) are with us at every breath it should change our very nature. Their omnipresence should provide COMFORT IN ALL MATTERS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  The universal presence of our Triune God eliminates uncertainty and brings union with God into greater urgency.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Jeremiah 23:23 “Universal presence of God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord continue to reveal Your presence to me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What eternal desires do you know of?
  2. What attributes are eternal (truth, love, etc.)?
  3. Why do people want to remove God from daily life?
  4. Does knowing God’s omnipresence change how you live?

INFINITE KNOWLEDGE!

Omniscience or infinite knowledge lies alone in the Trinitarian nature of God the Father (Isaiah 40:12-14), God the Son (Colossians 2:2-3) and God the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-13). If we are of God and have received the Holy Spirit we also can know what is required to be in obedience to God. To gain knowledge, wisdom and most importantly understanding.

It is my opinion that when this happens we receive divinely inspired interpretation abilities to be able to see what God had originally intended. Each word of Scripture is like a little seed that contains within wonderful fruit. For that fruit to appear the seed must first be planted , nourished and one day harvested by God.

When this happens, unless those to whom we speak have a similar experience, others may likely not understand. Their efforts in acquiring knowledge has no foundation. Sad to say by their removing God from the equation and inserting their own secular nature loose all possibility of achieving true understanding. For them life and death is simply a foregone conclusion. For the true believer death, having received redemption through Christ, is an act of obedience. Obedience to He Who has shared with us His INFINITE KNOWLEDGE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Omniscience is only understood when mankind desires oneness with God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 “the Gospel is Heavenly wisdom”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord speak to me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Are you seeking Heavenly wisdom?
  2. Did Christ give up His omniscient nature when He toke on the form of man?
  3. Why is our being born of the Spirit so critical?
  4. What fruit lies within you?

INFINITE POWER!

Our God is certainly all powerful. He created all that is and has allowed us to experience a part of that in how He has (Romans 4:17-24) and will continue to fulfill His promises. These are recorded in Scripture both written in a clear manner and also in hidden thoughts and truths intended to reach people’s hearts and minds yet requiring extra effort on our part. In fact since God is omnipotent He is able to do what He pleases (Psalm 115:3) without ever growing weary (Isaiah 40:28). This is why understanding our relationship to Him is so important.

God had intended the perfect relationship with mankind in the Garden of Eden. Sin occurred breaking this relationship and so Christ’s redemption became necessary for us to one day again have opportunity to experience this perfect relationship with an omnipotent God. In the meantime I believe God wants us to deal with an adversary (Job 40-41). Why remains somewhat of a mystery but perhaps it is a desire by God to see our faithfulness. This requiring our being born again of the Holy Spirit and putting on the full armor of God. What we can take comfort in is that God alone can deal with these forces of evil (Job 38-41) which He does daily on our behalf and will one day do for all time. Indeed God has INFINITE POWER.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The omnipotence of God can help us overcome all odds.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 4:21 “omnipotence of God expressed by His infinite power”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I bow before Your omnipotence.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are the promises God will yet fulfill?
  2. How does one find the hidden truths of the Bible?
  3. How does God today show His infinite power?
  4. How will God bring us back into relationship with Him?

WHAT GOD’S CREATION CAN TELL US

The works and wonders of God when looked upon as pointing to Him are indeed miraculous. Favorite verses of mine regarding this are Psalm 19:1-3 that point to the glory of God. In fact as Romans 19:20 shares we can clearly see God’s attributes and understand them through His creation.

What mankind must understand is that through nature we can understand God but nature must not become our god (Romans 1:25) or point to any number of other gods that we might dream up. For indeed their is only one God Who is sovereign over this world and everything in it (Acts 18:24). In nature we can see God’s goodness and we can see God’s judgment.

So what are the characteristics of nature that will help us understand God better? First of all is that it speaks a universal language (Romans 10:18). It would seem to me then that even those far off distant people who have no Bible can find God if they simply look at His creation. It is not unlike a painting telling us about the artist. In a sense we see the heart and conscience of the Creator in what is created. What they do not know is the saving message of Jesus Christ which only through Scripture we can share.

The danger in all this lies in, as touched on earlier, how we respond. What God intended for good we often corrupt with our futile thoughts and foolish hearts. Mankind in its infinite stupidity wants to take what is clearly evident and bring confusion upon those whom God desires be saved. This and so much more is WHAT GOD’S CREATION CAN TELL US.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Nature declares the name of God now to all who would be nourished and born anew.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 1:19-20 “Nature declares God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord declare Yourself to me in the wonders You surround me with.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. In what ways is God’s glory manifested in nature?
  2. How do we see God’s goodness and judgment in nature?
  3. How does our work speak of who we are?
  4. How does mankind bring confusion upon what God has made clearly evident?

 

MAKE SOMEONE JEALOUS

The title may seem rather strange yet causing jealousy in others can be a very positive thing. The confusion lies in the cause and effect that creates the reason for being jealous. For example we know that jealousy is divine because God Himself was a jealous God (Exodus 20:5). The cause was the sins of mankind that would effect future generations.

The problem seems to be when we loose track of where our focus is to be. Pageants, sporting events, political races, etc. seem to create negative energy or jealousy when the focus is on self. Christ had to deal with Peter on this in John 21:20-23. In these situations concerns about favoritism arise such as in the example of Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37:3-11). Jealousy also can come from being associated with wrong leadership or teams (1 Corinthians 3:3-5). These and other causes bring out the negative side of jealousy.

Turning jealousy  positive is the key. Making jealousy a means of salvation. Provoking someone in a positive fashion to the point they are delivered unto salvation (Romans 11:11,14). The key is the focus point. When our cause is Christ the effect will inevitably be positive. This is what we would refer to as Godly jealousy (2 Corinthians 11:2). Living out our lives in this fashion it then becomes important we go out and MAKE SOMEONE JEALOUS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Judicious jealousy is focused on Jesus.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 2 Corinthians 11:2 “Godly jealousy is positive for Christians”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord help keep my jealousy positive.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How can a Christian create jealousy in a secular world?
  2. Is it possible to have competition without jealousy?
  3. How do you make someone jealous to the point of salvation?
  4. What causes for Christ have brought out emulation?

ETERNAL EXISTENCE!

I believe it has always been God’s purpose for humanity, which He created, to have eternal existence. In Genesis 2:17 that is understood. In fact physical death is something which mankind has brought upon itself with original sin. Many on earth doubt or disbelieve in eternal existence as God has planned with a soul, spirit and resurrected body. The reason often heard for this is with immortality through God then life has to have purpose guided by instruction. Life also is then lived under judgment and many do not want restrictions on how they choose to live.

The proof of our immortality lies in our being created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). God desires for each of us what He is. His character as seen in Scripture and the life of Christ is what one should seek. His eternal existence is ours not through reincarnation or other religious beliefs where only a part of us continues in some fashion after death. Rather what will be ours is immortality of body, soul and spirit as Enoch and Elijah experienced through being translated in Genesis 5:24 and 2 Kings 2:11-12. The sight of Moses by Peter, James and John at Christ’s transfiguration (Matthew 17:2-9) is also evidence of this in addition to Christ’s very own promise to each of us as shared in John 14:2-3.  How that eternal existence comes to us is a decision that God only knows.

Immortality for me is without question but it also must be understood it does not come without judgment. Not all will experience the wonders of eternal life. There will be a judgment as Christ Himself explains in Matthew 25:31-46. Eternal rewards and judgments will one day be handed out. The question remains for each of  us where will we spend our ETERNAL EXISTENCE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Made in the image of God our immortality is assured assuming we identify with Christ through faith.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Genesis 1:27 “Eternal existence discovered in the image of God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I await eternity with You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do you view immortality?
  2. What does it mean to be created in the ‘image of God’?
  3. What are reasons many doubt or reject eternal existence?
  4. Where is the failure in other religions?