A LIFE THAT IS ETERNAL

What is sin? Very simply it is a violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Sin defiles every part of our body, soul and spirit and so it should be only natural that we would want to understand it better. By understanding we will no long desire to live in sin which is in our own best interest and certainly is also pleasing to God.

In more recent times sin has become more evident coming out of a movement called moral relativism. Moral relativism tells us there is no sin only sickness. Once that slippery slope was in place it was easy to say there is really no sickness only lifestyle choices. The problem of course is lifestyle choices have consequences and in the case of sin they are eternal. A cost many choose not to acknowledge.

It should be mentioned that the Jewish Torah lists some sin or transgressions as worse than others. Thirty six to be exact which relate to sexual unions, blasphemy, idolatry, robbery, bloodshed and profaning the Sabbath in addition to others. Most especially so if committed intentionally.

The punishment for sin is 3 deaths. Spiritual which is to be no longer in communion with God, physical when our final breath is taken, and eternal separation in what we call hell if forgiveness is never sought. Truth though is God desires to forgive us for His Own sake (Isaiah 43:25). He does not desire to condemn us to eternal death.

Today we need to take responsibility for our own sinful nature (spirit). We need to stop allowing sin to destroy our body, soul and spirit, but rather take on a new nature. A nature or Spirit that gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). A LIFE THAT IS ETERNAL.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Transgressions are earthly trials that cause great tribulation.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Hebrews 9:15 “Christ died for our transgressions”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I am in need of Your forgiveness?

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. What is sin to you?

2. How does sin defile us?

3. Explain moral relativism?

4. Do you ever consider the eternal consequences of your actions?

 

 

LEAD THE WAY

Recently I wrote about womanhood so it is only appropriate to write what Scripture shares regarding masculinity and its characteristics. Society and academia have tried to convince us that we need to be more gender neutral. Not as God would have us be defined but as a few ‘elite’ believe a man and woman should be. When mankind removes God’s Word as the source of all truth and place themselves in the position of God this is what happens.

My truth is God’s Word and God defines for me what it means to be a man. First of which is self-control as recorded in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27. Sadly, many  men fail big time here loosing control seen in various levels of anger. Often doing harm to members of their own families.

A man is also someone with mature understanding (1 Corinthians 14:20). This requires getting rid of all childish ways and for me that only comes with a growing knowledge of God’s Word. Despite this we see fewer men bringing their families to Houses of Worship and staying for adult Sunday School or Bible classes.

Third men are to be the ones who show courage. Abisha addressed this when defeating the Ammonites as told in 2 Samuel 11:12. Courage in battle was once the sole purview of men, at least at the front lines of conflicts. Today social engineers are trying to redefine that Scriptural viewpoint. At least as they would understand life apart from God.

Finally we receive instruction in 2 Timothy 2:3-5. Here we see that mankind is meant to endure hardship. We are to live life by the rules and whatever hardships come along persevere for ourselves and as an example for our families. A great many men in the Bible showed us the way in these areas such as Joshua, Daniel and others. Now it is our turn to LEAD THE WAY.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Manliness manifests itself best in a marriage where the Lord is the Master.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 “Manliness begins with self control”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I be the man You want me to be.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are childish ways that prevent mature understanding?
  2. How is society trying to redefine manliness?
  3. What is the danger of the gender neutral movement?
  4. What additional masculine characteristics are there?

 

THE DANGER OF IMMORALITY!

In a post modern world such as we live in absolute standards are thrown out the window. At least those which we once considered pillars of lifestyle. Watching those who control the message we receive (news media, movies, television, etc.) it is far different than what the Bible would tell us. Our free will here has to make a choice. Obedience to God or obedience to man.

So the question is: what is immoral (a wrongful act). First we must consider the sanctity of the body God has given us. Our body is a temple of God not meant for fornication (sexual relations between unmarrieds) as 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 points out. In verse 18 we are directed to flee from it and flee we must without excuse.

The answer to sexual immorality is in the traditional marriage between one man and one woman (1 Corinthians 7:2). No other combination or arrangement is acceptable according to the teaching of God’s Word. In the process of our sanctification which is to grow in the image of God abstaining from sexual immorality is a must (1 Thessalonians 4:3). In fact it should not even be as much as talked about (Ephesians 5:3) other than that it is forbidden.

One day when Christ returns it will be judged (Revelation 19:2) for the evil it is and the great damage to millions of souls it has done. That is THE DANGER OF IMMORALITY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Immorality removes the image of God from our identity.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 7:2 “traditional marriage is one answer to immorality”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord open our eyes.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is fornication by God’s definition?
  2. How is fornication seen in our world today?
  3. Why is immorality seemingly growing so rapidly?
  4. What is Biblical marriage?

CONTINUING TO GROW SPIRITUALLY

Infidelity is a serious matter. It occurs when a person(s) no longer believes in a relationship that has been revealed or opened over a period of time to two people or as in the case of Scripture between God and man. When relationships break up there is always a big price so it is important to look at the cause, effect and treatment of infidelity and its impact on our spiritual growth.

The cause begins with a hardened and impenitent heart (Romans 2:5). When the focus is on self rather than growing a relationship and forgiveness is not at the forefront all relationships break down. This brings blindness to matters spiritual in nature. As humans we lock ourselves out from the rich teachings of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). Unbelief ensues and individuals then turn to earthly wisdom which is pure foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). That it seems is where we are today in many friendships, marriages and the faith of mankind in God.

The result is a world where humanism grows stronger and Christianity declines. A world that not only rejects God’s Word (2 Peter 3:3-5) but that will laugh, scorn and mock believers much as it did in 2 Chronicles 30:10. We are told in Scripture this world will hide itself in lies, growing evermore so in doubt even to the point of looking at religion (or at least the Christian version) as worthless.

This will not go unpunished as those individuals who choose this path will experience eternal separation from God (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9) and face the horrors of hell as Christ shared in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).

Fortunately there is a remedy against all forms of infidelity. We need to turn to the example of Christ when tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:3-11) and stand strong upon God’s Word while putting on God’s Armor (Ephesians 6:10-19) and CONTINUE TO GROW SPIRITUALLY (2 Peter 1:4-11).

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Infidelity imprisons the soul of an imperfect mankind.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Matthew 4:3-11 “Remedy for infidelity is to stand upon God’s Word”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Has infidelity been a part of your life?
  2. What steps did you take to overcome infidelity?
  3. In what ways has humanism taken over this post-modern world?
  4. Does eternal separation from God concern you?

NO MORE EXCUSES!

Many of us make excuses for why something important does not get done. It is human nature to place blame for our neglect to do what is right and necessary. What we fail to understand is that it is not God’s nature to make excuses. For example Jesus calls out excuses on anyone who chooses not to follow Him. This He showed in Luke 9:57-62 when explaining the true cost of discipleship. There is no room for weak commitment.

What humanity and most especially weak Christians do not realize is how furious this makes our Lord and Savior. We can see that in the words of Christ as shown in Luke 14:15-24 which is the parable of the Great Supper. The invitation for a seat at the banquet table in Heaven is ours but we ignore it or make excuses (vs. 18). Some of those most often heard are that we will loose to much if we take our faith seriously though I would suggest loosing a place in the Kingdom of Heaven is far greater.

Some might fear loosing friends and family over staying true to our faith yet what we gain is far greater and often stronger relationships (Mark 10:29-30). All of these and so many more excuses we make are delusional at best. Excuses are nothing more than our fear to be honest with God and tell Him we are more concerned about being self-sufficient than accepting our God as meeting all we need.

Each of us must be careful that we become so enamored by this world that we loose our place in the next. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus points this out in Luke 16:27-31. The warning to trust God must go out while we are still on earth. I believe God wants to see effort on our part. In the very least we show this in our lifting ourselves out of sin when we come to Him in repentance seeking forgiveness. If we feel this is too difficult then there are consequences. At that point no matter what we say their will be NO MORE EXCUSES.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Excuses are often examples of what exiles us from eternal life.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Revelations 3:20 “Our Lord and Savior awaits us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I come to You without excuse totally committed to my faith.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Do you make excuses in your journey of faith?
  2. In what ways do you minimize your faith thinking it might offend family and friends?
  3. What do you have to loose by totally committing to our Lord and Savior?
  4. Do you believe it is to much to loose?

THE TREATMENT OF MARRIAGE

If I am honest with you who follow these devotionals I need to touch on one of the most painful yet real subjects that face most every individual and family which is divorce.

In a progressively more self centered society and world we are defining relationships such as marriage not only one person or couple at a time but now with the blessing of a judiciary redefining it across the entire societal spectrum. Sadly without an understanding from God’s Word.

From the perspective of the New Testament what was commonly understood as the standard for marriage was that it was for life (between one man and one woman) as stated in Mark 10:2-9. Those were the words of Christ Himself. Today thanks to society (not God’s) standards we humor our human nature and quietly accept every thing from living together before marriage to redefining marriage between any two and sometimes more individuals and who knows what will be next.

Divorces are allowed because of adultery which I addressed when I wrote BREAKING RELATIONSHIPS.  Christ speaks to this in Matthew 5:27-32. In fact if we are totally honest with ourselves Christ calls it adultery when two divorced individuals marry each other. I suspect by now if you are still reading this I may have offended many or perhaps most of you. Indeed God’s truth is a hard pill to swallow. Our comfort comes in Acts 10:43 that tells us forgiveness comes in our believing in God. Only in true repentance and a turning around of our lives are these chains removed. In the meantime efforts to reconcile a broken relationship must be made. That requires that we acknowledge that there is no such thing as ‘no fault’ divorce as so many states allow. This is how we need to look at THE TREATMENT OF MARRIAGE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Divorce destroys God’s divine plan unless through repentance damage is repaired.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Mark 10:2-9 “marriage is binding”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen my marriage or understanding of it.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do you treat your relationships?
  2. Have you experienced separation and how have you handled it?
  3. Where has society turned away from Scripture regarding relationships?
  4. What is the danger of ‘no fault’ divorces?

WHO DO YOU SPEND TIME WITH?

It has been said that we are known by the friends that we keep. If that is true then perhaps we should look to God’s Word on companions.

Companions can be those individuals with whom you build a life that helps you in your journey of faith or who are evil and take you further from the arms of God.

In the good companion group first and foremost should be a Christian spouse. A spouse who will help you grow in your faith in all areas of thought, word and deed providing guidance and correction if necessary.

In addition to a good spouse the companions you choose as friends or those who you develop friendships with at work should be fellow believers as well (Psalm 119:63). Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 was direct in warning Christian believers to not keep company with those individuals he listed who could weaken our faith or cause us to fall away completely. A difficult decision now may be necessary to keep us in the arms of God. Proverbs 1:10 is clear on this stating: “My son (daughter) if sinners entice you do not consent”. Revelation is clear on what their end will be and it is not good.

Whenever a companion, family or otherwise, asserts you to rebellion such as Korah did (Numbers 16) in the time of Moses, or to worship false gods (Ex. 32: 1-8) it is time to break off that relationship. If someone continues in that relationship they will find themselves eventually engaging in some sort of violence such as is pointed out in Acts 23:12-22. Each day we must look at our old and new friends and ask ourselves WHO DO WE SPEND OUT TIME WITH.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Our companions should be Christian and Christlike in their thoughts, word and deeds.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Proverbs 1:10 “warning versus evil companions”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I be a good example for my friends and family at all times.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Who do you spend your time with?
  2. What standards do you use in building friendships?
  3. How can thoughts, words and deeds contrary to Scripture creep into our lives?
  4. How can you build a positive relationship?

RELATIONSHIPS THAT DRAMATICALLY FALL APART!

Some relationships seem to truly be ‘made in Heaven’ while others go so far as one or both parties holding contempt for each other. The Bible clearly forbids this yet it continues.

It begins in the family home as do so many issues. Here we see parents neither demanding or receiving respect from their children (Proverbs 23:22). With each dysfunctional family you add to society we can see why society is falling apart in so many ways. This needs to be corrected and it begins with parents showing love for children (born and unborn) as guided by Scripture and as Christ asks of us in Matthew 18:10.

This then needs to carry over to the work place (1 Timothy 6:2). When a person either employs or works for a believer in Christ the relationship should provide the perfect work environment. A business built on faith and that conducts itself accordingly is a blessing to all and especially to our Lord and Savior.

Finally God desires we have our priorities right which is to say we need to care for the less fortunate before paying homage to any who have achieved financial success (James 2:1-3). Doing less than that shows a contempt in some measure to the poor which is contrary to God’s plan for us.

Acting as our Lord desires we need to be prepared that many if not most others will hold us in contempt. Christ underscored this in the parable of the marriage feast (Matthew 22:1-6). Evil in this world as we see all around us is loud and in your face but we must never cease to speak the truth of Scripture. In this we can take great comfort for no one was reviled more than Christ. Staying true to God’s Word our relationship will be one RELATIONSHIP THAT WILL NOT FALL APART.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Contempt for Christians will come from those who choose to live contrary to Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 18:10 “Christ commands who we must not despise”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me when others speak against my devotion to You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What examples of dysfunctional homes leading to a dysfunctional society are there?
  2. How do we wrongfully despise little ones as Christ forbids in Matthew 18:10?
  3. What businesses based on faith deserve our support (ex. Chick-fil-a and Hobby Lobby)?
  4. How can we show we care for the poor?

FOR SOME OTHER REASON!

Who in life has not been guilty of perversion? Not in the way many think but in its broader definition of doing something with an ulterior motive. Perhaps you make a gift but there are the so called ‘strings’ attached.

Bribery is the giving of gifts to pervert. It is an act we should all avoid. The effects of bribery as Scripture points out is wrong in so many ways. First of all because it makes sinners out of people. In Psalm 26:10 we see this as it points to the ‘sinister scheme’ a bribe is meant for. How often have men and women fallen victim to the evil intent of what seemed a harmless offer.

Bribery certainly corrupts a conscience and can blind us to truth. The Bible clearly tells us not to take a bribe no matter what form it comes in (Exodus 23:8). Original sin came out of the perversion and sinister act of the serpent in the story of mankind’s temptation in Genesis 3:1-5. Ever since then bribery has led to the fall of many into sin.

Bribery also perverts justice. I believe we see that best in the corruption of good government. The idea of ‘you scratch my back and I will scratch yours’ that exist among lobbyists and government officials have ruined many a man and woman and made government less effective. We see this example in Isaiah 1:23. The end result can be nothing but chaos as we see in Amos 6:12. I fear for our society which has ingrained itself so deeply into the political power given special interests.

Certainly bribery in any form or at any level merits punishment. The Lord was clear on this when passing judgment on Israel as expressed in Amos 2:6.  When a bribe occurs someone is being sold out. We are well advised in Scripture to make sure our intent is always straight forward and never FOR SOME OTHER REASON.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Bribery is a bottomless pit that keeps us in bondage to sin and satan.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Genesis 3:4 “the first bribe”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may all my actions be above reproach.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Have you ever been guilty of some form of bribery?
  2. What kinds of bribery have sinister intent?
  3. How is bribery the down fall of good government?
  4. What makes bribery evil?

BETRAYED!

Who has not had a family member, friend or someone else who has not betrayed them? A person in whom you trusted and they let you down in a big way. When that happens we can know that we are in good company for Christ experienced it in an unbelievably painful fashion.

Christ knew who His betrayer was to be and used the occasion of a last supper to announce Judas the betrayer (John 13:26). The dipping of a piece of bread was part of the pronouncement not unlike Jewish culture dips into a dish of bitter herbs at Passover to recall Israel’s slavery in Egypt.

Indeed bitterness and betrayal go hand in hand. Luke shared this in his writing of Acts speaking of the role of the Jewish people in supporting the actions of Pontius Pilate and the Roman government in the crucifixion of Christ (Acts 7:52).

Christ speaks of that act of betrayal or broken trust when one day it will happen among close family members (Matthew 10:21). The good news is that this time will usher in the tribulation (Matthew 24:4-26) and ultimate return of Christ.

Until that time each of us can choose through our free will to follow Christ or to break a bond of trust He desires to have with us. Knowing this it is our choice but keep in mind the words of Christ recorded in Luke 22:22 “woe to the man by whom He (Christ) is BETRAYED.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Betrayal of Christ by  believers is behavior that does not end well.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 10:21 “an example of betrayal”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me to remain ever faithful.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is the relationship between bitterness and betrayal?
  2. How faithful are you to those who trust in you?
  3. How is betrayal and broken trust seen around us today?
  4. Have you betrayed Christ in some fashion and how did you react afterward?