THERE IS A NATURAL EXPLANATION FOR EVERYTHING!

I am a person who appreciates what is real or innate more so than what is man made or artificial. This, I believe, is the way God intended life to be and to which one day life will be restored (Romans 8:21-23). A foretaste of that time was when Christ journeyed on this earth and the rest we await as it will be revealed to us one day in Heaven.

During this time there is one thing we need to be aware of and that is that the natural way can only be overcome by a supernatural God. An example of this is Sarah’s giving birth at a late age in life.

The question then might be what is natural? If one is blessed with a special gift we say “they have a natural talent”. The shame being when that talent is not used for God’s purpose or developed into its full potential.

All have a natural talent for prayer the four steps of which are shown in Luke 11:1-13. Prayer simply is communicating with God not totally unlike you would when visiting with an acquaintance.

In all things there is a natural explanation. It is time we turn our thoughts back to God’s natural plan whether in how we care for ourselves or all which is around us. This can only come through understanding what is revealed in Scripture. Indeed THERE IS A NATURAL EXPLANATION FOR EVERYTHING.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Nearness to God comes from understanding the beauty of what is natural.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 15:44-46 “God’s plan for us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I seek Your natural plan for my life.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How is society returning back to its natural ways?
  2. Is the process of returning to our natural ways allow room for God?
  3. What is the essence of the meaning behind 1 Corinthians 15:46?
  4. How does God reveal Himself supernaturally?

PASS IT ON

As citizens of the United States of America we find ourselves today in the midst of a great celebration. A celebration of freedom for which many have fought and died and continue to do so this day. A land with a rich history that needs to be understood and passed on.

Sadly for many our heritage as a nation and as individuals is most often given little attention other than we can make a party  out of it. That is certainly not God’s plan as heredity (the transmission of physical and mental traits) was often sovereign as in the example recorded in Romans 9:6-16. Once a child of God it is important we transmit that great heritage and faith to others which for me is first and foremost to my children. Transmission that should also include the blessing of a free nation.

What sadly is transmitted to our children is our sinful nature (John 3:6-7) but if we as parents and adults are born again of the spirit that also can be passed on (along with all which accompanies it) to those we love most.

Certain hereditary traits are automatically passed along to our children through DNA. The image or likeness of a parent is often seen in children (Genesis 5:3). Sadly what does not always get passed on is a parents love for God as seen in the example of Samuel and his sons (1 Samuel 8:1-5). With all this being said we are called to remain faithful to our Lord and Savior and do all we can in remaining faithful to our heritage by PASSING IT ON.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Spiritual heredity is helpful when we heed the words of our heirs.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Jeremiah 31:30 “individual responsibility for our lives”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for my family foundation of faith.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What hereditary traits do you have?
  2. How do hereditary traits and being an example tie together?
  3. How are mental traits transferred?
  4. What faith foundation are you setting for your family?

“DADDY”

Growing up as a child speaking German there was a prayer I said before eating that began with the words ‘Abba Vater’ which can be translated as ‘daddy’ for indeed God is our loving Father. When we acknowledge God as our Father we become heirs with God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14-17). I believe it is important for us to take some time and let that soak in. No matter our circumstances in this life we have the ultimate Father. No excuses for our behavior.

As joint heirs with Christ that makes us heirs of ALL things (Hebrews 1:2). Obviously that does not mean we can go out and take whatever we want but it does give a new perspective to the once popular song “this land is your land”. Carrying it further we are now seeds of Abraham and heirs according to all promises given him (Galatians 2:29). This does not come automatically to every one but only those who come to it through faith (Romans 4:13-14) by grace (Acts 15:11).

What is special at this point is we begin to realize our inheritance even as we live in this life. One example is the presence of ministering angels who help us prepare for the salvation that will ultimately be ours (Hebrews 1:13-14). Indeed throughout Scripture believers are assured of eternal life (Titus 3:7). In this life there is no child without a father as we all can have the ultimate DADDY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Our heritage is that we are spiritual heirs of Heaven.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 8:17 “joint heirs with Christ”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for adopting me as Your child.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What does it mean to have God as our Father?
  2. What were the promises made to Abraham?
  3. What does it mean to have a ministering angel?
  4. Do you have a saving faith?

 

IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY AND GENEOLOGY

For whatever reason since I was a young child I have enjoyed the hobby of genealogy research. For me though it was more than putting together a puzzle of who all my family and ancestors are and how we are related. It was about having an understanding such as God would desire from us on why family history is important.

Recording the chronology of the lineage of Jesus was important enough to record that in Matthew 1:1-17  the lineage of Jesus is noted. Jesus properly called Yeshuah in Hebrew, was often referred to as ‘Son of David’ who also once sat on a throne. God’s Word certainly placed genealogy in an important place.

It should be noted here that Christ being born of the Holy Spirit is noted as born to Mary who was wife of Joseph. Joseph, though not blood parent, was still the father of Jesus with all related responsibilities. In fact all legal responsibilities came through the male line while matters of descent often came through the mother’s side. The bottom line is both and male and female parent were critical in a child’s development.

Family ties and traditions are important to hand down. So much so that many today are trying to find a connection to the Jewish culture. Some have done so such as the Ethiopian Jews who claim descendency through one of the ‘ten lost tribes’ of Israel. For many it is important to claim they are one of God’s original chosen people.

Today all can find themselves ‘chosen’ saved by grace through faith. Preserving our identity as families coming out of a strong faith centered family background helps us to uplift one another. It also allows us to unite in doing good works as Titus 3 points out. From generation to generation we as families should build on this. It is the reason for the IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY AND GENEALOGY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Genealogy is the gate through which families grow closer to one another and God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 1:17 “the chronology of Jesus”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may we as family and followers of Your Word unite to further Your kingdom.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  What is the story behind the ‘ten lost tribes’?
  2. What is the role of the male and female in genealogical descendency?
  3. How are family ties maintained in today’s world?
  4. How does Jesus’ life speak to the idea of adoption?

 

THE FARMER

I am not a farmer, although I grew up on one. Today many who farm feel they have to own hundreds if not thousands of acres of ground. I remain as steward over 80 acres entrusted to my family since my great grandparents turned over its soil for the first time as Homesteaders. It is why today we look at what Scripture tells us about farming and farmers.

It is acknowledged according to Biblical teaching that Cain was the first farmer. We are told in Genesis 4:2 that he was “a tiller of the ground”. Perhaps we see through Cain and his brother Abel, involved in animal husbandry (raising sheep), a bit of the seed in so many today who enjoy gardening and raising backyard chickens even in our cities. Others who farmed were Noah (had a vineyard as written about in Genesis 9:20), the prophet Elisha who plowed the ground with oxen (1 Kings 19:19) before joining Elijah on a journey of prophesying and finally King Uzziah who we are told in 2 Chronicles 26:10 “loved the soil”.

Anyone ever responsible for a farm (much less a yard in town) knows it requires diligence to maintain. A person can not do as Proverbs 24:30-34 tells us and sleep away the day with hands folded hoping that the land and livestock will care for itself. The principle of being rewarded for your labors is best illustrated in 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. Today’s idea of being entitled to something and not working for it is certainly against the advice of Scripture.

What we can also learn from farming is the lesson Christ shared in Luke 12:16-21. Here Christ tells us all our labor no matter how successful we become is in vain if we leave God out of the equation. There is so much that God intends for us to learn from selecting the seed through the entire process until harvest. Indeed God has richly blessed THE FARMER.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The face of the Lord can easily be seen by a farmer who is faithful.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Luke 12:16-21 “God is key for a successful farmer”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for sharing Your creation with me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  Have you been given a piece of ground to care for?
  2. What have you learned from this opportunity?
  3. What all is involved in farming?
  4. What makes a person want to own a piece of ground?

 

A TREE IS FED BY ITS ROOTS!

We live in a most unique world and the more we distance ourselves from God’s Word as our standard by which to live the ‘crazier’ this world becomes. I say this because it reflects on how mankind views sin.

Growing up in the church my understanding was and still is quite simple. Male and Female were created perfect in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). The problem was that mankind through free will would throw this perfect life away beginning in a simple decision by a single man Adam (Romans 5:12). At that point of eating forbidden fruit righteousness was given up for condemnation. Original sin was in place and all future generations would feel its sting through death. In Scripture we also understand that this is a decision that each individual soul makes and blame can not be passed off.

The problem then (time of original sin) as it continues this day is that humankind desires to substitute our will for God’s. This comes out of pride, unbelief, a desire to be like God encouraged by self promotion and a desire to enjoy what God’s Word prohibits. If as believers we point this out (also looking within ourselves) then we are castigated as judgmental and worse. The more the world distances itself from Scripture the greater the hatred for people of faith will become.

The good news, which anyone can receive for himself, is that Jesus has redeemed us from the bondage of sin by paying the full penalty. The choice as it was for Adam is there for each of us. Our root can now be in Christ and our TREE WILL BE FED BY ITS ROOTS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Sin saps our strength unless we return to our Savior.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 5:12 “explanation of original sin”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for redeeming us.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How close or distant are you from God’s Word?
  2. What forbidden fruit do you have before you?
  3. Who is the cause of original sin and why?
  4. What are examples of self-promotion commonplace today?

THINK THE WAY GOD THINKS!

Many of us as students in the various schools we attend or have attended may have had a favorite teacher. Perhaps even to the extent they impressed you to such an extent that your life’s path mirrored theirs. That is what it means to disciple and is what God desires of we who follow Him. The perfect example of this is to think the way God would think as best as we can know through His Word.

The Bible tells us, as any good teacher would agree with, there must be tests to overcome and the first recorded in John 14:15 is obedience. God expects our love to show up in obedience to His Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). Every teacher to create the maximum  learning experience has to have rules or chaos would break out.

In addition we must be faithful which will show in our bearing much fruit (John 15:8). That can come only when we abide in God’s Word. You cannot think God’s thoughts unless you know God’s thoughts and that requires we study it eagerly. Doing this we will grow in love for one another (John 13:35) and the divisiveness of the world will begin to end. But know this that when your disciplining begins to bear fruit you must remain humble and know we are always the student and God is always the teacher.

Doing this God will reward us for He is a giving God. Perhaps at the top of the list is we will be brothers and sisters with Christ as He Himself proclaimed in Matthew 12:48-50. We will be enlightened by Him (John 8:12). We will also be guided by the Holy Spirit Who will reveal to us things yet to come (John 16:13) and we will be honored by God the Father (John 12:26). This all and more if we desire to THINK THE WAY GOD THINKS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Disciplining demands we remain devout to our Divine Creator.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 16:13 “Lives guided by the Holy Spirit are a reward for our disciplining.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord help me in being the best disciple I can for You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Where is the failure in many of our educational settings?
  2. What does it mean to surrender all (Luke 14:33) if we want to be God’s people?
  3. What does it mean to you to be a brother/sister of Christ?
  4. How are you doing in your discipleship journey?

THE FAMILY OF GOD

As I have shared in past devotionals written, I am fascinated by genealogy. To me it is like a puzzle where there is always one more piece and with each piece you put in place you make an ever more beautiful picture. The family of Christ is one of those families that is truly interesting to observe and piece together. Jesus born of a virgin had God as His Father and therefore the other sibling in the family of Mary and Joseph were half brothers and sisters.

On one occasion in Luke 8:19-21 Christ had His family visit Him but by their not understanding his purpose on earth they were put off on their request to see Him. Christ showed in His response that spiritual ties supersede physical ones (John 1:12-13). Although our family ties are certainly important and help ground us as we journey through this life we need to acknowledge the present family ties are temporal in comparison to the spiritual kinship that develops through matters of the heart such as faith,hope, love and service to others. When your earthly family is intertwined in actions of the spirit that makes your physical relationship all the more blessed.

Christ responds to those who are connected to Him through the Holy Spirit. In fact that spiritual relationship allows for life to get better and better the more time we spend with Christ. A spiritual family of God with all who have followed Him past, present and future. That family is the family we should all desire to be a part of for it offers what no other family can. Today we need to commit to do whatever is necessary to become a member of THE FAMILY OF GOD.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  A family built on faith is forever.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Luke 8:19-21 “what family means”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I treasure a life lived within your family.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is the genealogy of Jesus?
  2. How did the family of Jesus live out their lives in relation to His ministry?
  3. Do you understand the importance of relationships both in your physical family as well as spiritual family?
  4. How do families grow in their bonding relationship and what does that say for our relationship to Christ?

WHAT ABOUT ADOPTION?

I enjoy genealogy. The tracing of the many branches of my family around the world as far back as I can. As a believer in inerrancy of Scripture that would take me to Noah and his sons or back to Creation. It makes Scripture truly come alive reading about my family.

Genealogists often get caught up in blood lines and DNA transfer but God does not. God is all about restoration. Restoring us to our original intended state to be one with Him. Part of that is understanding there should be ‘no child left behind’ and accepting the fact that there are no unwanted children only unfound families as someone once said.

In fact if you are adopted you are in good company. The relationship between Joseph and Jesus was one of adoption as Jesus was born of the Spirit. This brought Jesus into the line of King David as it does any child adopted into a familie’s ‘tree’ bringing them into that family line. In fact I believe Scripture points to the fact that God considers adoption equal to birth.

We can by this knowledge all become children of God (Romans 8:12-17). The key is that this is only for those led by God’s Spirit who put their trust in Jesus. If you have no Jesus in your life, you have no Father and therefore no adoption (1 John 2:23). It is as simple as that.

Adoption also means ‘taking on’. For those who study Scripture in a deeper fashion than I have it is my understanding Jesus took on the name Yeshua. That topic is for another time but key is when we are adopted be it into a family or into the Christian Nation we take on a new name. As a believer that new name will be stamped on us (Rev. 3:12). We will have a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17) that gives us access to God (Ephesians 2:18) and His Fatherly love (1 John 3:1). That is the answer to WHAT ABOUT ADOPTION.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Adoption acknowledges a person is accountable to someone new.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 8:15 “the Spirit of adoption”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for making me Your child.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Is adoption the solution to abortion while still allowing freedom of choice?
  2. Is it possible to adopt without physical presence?
  3. In what way might baptism be considered ‘adoption day’?
  4. What is the history of adoption in Scripture?

RELATED BLOG: What does it mean to be adopted?

YARD SIGNS!

As I write this we are days away from an election. Driving around I see yard signs and banners of numerous candidates. We place our trust in humans to make our lives better. Yet He who guarantees us a better life has no banner save for an occasional rare cross on the side of the road or Christian flag flying in our yards.

We read in Psalm 20:5 where David wrote: “And in the name of our God we will set up our banners”. We should all have a sign or flag in our yards or on our patio’s displaying our Christian faith. For it is the symbol of our salvation. Far more than any politician can give us. Moses understood this when we read in Exodus 17:15 that he built an altar (a sign of sorts) and “called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner”.

I believe that where our Lord’s banner stands or fly’s it is there where His love and protection lies. It is also a sign that we believe in God’s power (Song of Solomon 6:10) to lead us and not some ever changing and short lived human power based on political will and not the far stronger spiritual truth. It is the banner of our Lord that I will run to quickly wherever I see it (Isaiah 5:26) for it is there I will find safety.

That banner is figurative of Christ Who was foretold long before His human birth (Isaiah 11:10) and Who will gather His own (vs. 12) one day to bring us home to Heaven. That day seems to be approaching ever faster. As Christians it is time to put out our YARD SIGNS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Banners boldly bear the sign of in whom we believe.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 20:5 “Who’s banner should we fly”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I display Your banner proudly.

  1. Do you or are you willing to declare your faith publicly with a yard sign or Christian flag?
  2. Why should you declare your Christian faith with a banner?
  3. In whom do you believe?
  4. Could Christian banners serve as a way for others to know you are a safe house for those in danger?