Devotional – What Will You Reap?

The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways. Proverbs 14:14 ESV

There is a universal principle taught throughout the Scriptures: “Whatever one sows, that he will also reap” Galatians 6:7b ESV. Seems simple enough: sow a few corn seeds, reap a small harvest of corn; sow 100 acres of corn, reap a large harvest of corn.

This principle not only applies to farming, it applies to every aspect of life. Paul goes on to say to the Galatians: “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” Galatians 6:8 ESV.

Do you desire to abound in the things of the Lord? Do you desire a healthy, vibrant, and blessed Christian life? Then you must sow to the Spirit! Feast on His Word. Fall to your knees in prayer. Think on those things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

If, however, you sow to the flesh by thinking on those things that are not worthy of praise, less than excellent, not commendable, unlovely, impure, unjust, or dishonorable, then you cannot possibly expect the blessings of God. Rather, just the opposite: you will reap corruption.

Today and this day forward, sow bountifully to the Spirit and you will reap a bountiful harvest of spiritual blessings.

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Editorial note: Originally published January 17, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – The Pathway of Integrity

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Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways. Proverbs 28:6 ESV

Not all who are rich are dishonest.
Not all who are poor walk in integrity.
However, all who walk with integrity possess something far better than silver or gold.

While there is nothing wrong with wealth per se, the desire to gain and retain wealth has lead many to compromise their integrity.

Our desire to maintain our integrity should always trump our desire to be rich. We must be vigilant. We must be on guard, because the temptation to compromise will come. When it does will you stand the test? Or will you succumb to the temptation to sacrifice your principles to the idol of materialism?

Integrity means nothing until it costs something. Are you willing to forego the riches of this world if the pathway to those riches is crooked? “By faith Moses… considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” Hebrews 11:24,26 ESV.

Integrity ‘cost’ Moses the treasures of Egypt.

What ‘cost’ are you willing to pay to walk the pathway of integrity?

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Editorial note: Originally published August 10, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – Look, Wait and Pray

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But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7 ESV

Micah declared he would do three things: look to God, wait for God and pray to God.

To look to God implies we stop looking at everything else! When Peter’s eyes were squarely focused on Jesus Christ he walked on the waters of the raging sea. The moment he looked away the ravenous waves began to devour him alive.

If the raging storms of life are eating you alive you are looking in the wrong direction! By faith, look to God alone! Though He may not immediately halt your storms– He will reach out His hand and take ahold of yours!

To wait for God implies we stop living life by our calendar and live according to His. The problem, of course, is that He usually does not reveal to us His timetable. Why? Because His desire is for us to walk by faith one step at a time.

Will you trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding? Will you acknowledge Him in all of your ways? If so, God promises to make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

To pray to God implies we believe He hears our prayers. The scriptures tell us our prayers reach into the very throne room of Heaven where our Advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ, hears our prayers and petitions the Father on our behalf.

Do you believe God hears you? If so fall to your knees and pray!

Micah determined to look, wait and pray. Will you?

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Editorial note: Originally published July 23, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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NT Tuesday: Worship in Spirit and Truth [3]

SunriseFor the last couple weeks, we have been looking at the New Testament principle of worship. Our thesis, if you will, has been as follows: The Father seeks worshippers. As disciples of Jesus Christ, worship is a necessity – both corporately and individually. The Father desires it! But as any Master desiring something, it is to be on His terms. This by default means that it is not on our terms.

We’ve seen from scripture (John 4) that Lord Jesus said we must worship God “in spirit and in truth.” Last week, we discussed the first requirement for worshipping God. This week we are going to look at the second requirement of worshipping God – “in truth.” First, we must ask, what is “truth”? Truth is the Word of God. Truth is not arbitrary. Truth for one person is the same as truth for the next. God has given us clearly His will for us and it is revealed for us in the Word of God. Everything we do in worship, we must do in accordance with the Word of God. God has defined acceptable worship – not man.

Man, as he is inclined to do, comes up with his own ideas and his own ways of worshipping God. There is a proverb that would remind us of the dangers of that type of thinking – “There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12). Often times, we are well-meaning and sincere, but we are also wrong. We cannot define worship as something different than how God has defined it.

Sadly, the human mind can rationalize nearly anything. Well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ have convinced themselves that they can worship God however they want – whatever makes them feel good about themselves and their walk with the Lord. Just because we can rationalize something or just because it feels good (or we feel blessed), doesn’t make our actions right!

God has always told man how He is to be worshipped. He has not left it up to man to determine how to worship Him. And when man did use his own “judgment” or followed his own “conscience”, result was not good (think of Saul!). In Ephesians 5:17, we read “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence.” God has given us all things we need to know that pertain to worshipping Him so that we can worship Him in spirit and in truth.

One last point, because truth never changes, our worship doesn’t change. We do not need to make worship “relevant” for different peoples or different cultures or different generations. Worship is in response to KNOWING GOD – His person and His work. If we need to do anything to help people worship God, it’s teaching them about Him, showing them His glories from the Word. God has not changed, truth has not changed, and worship does not change and God certainly doesn’t need us to help Him make it relevant.

Until next week, fulfill your ministry!

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Jump back to the first post in the Worship in Spirit and Truth series.

Photo credit: Chris Buggins, used with permission.

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Happy Mother’s Day

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels… Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” Proverbs 31:10 & 28

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Entry Level Theological Truth [20]

Indian cobra snake

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Genesis 3:1

In choosing a surrogate to approach Eve with an insidious temptation, Satan chose a serpent – an animal that was known for its intelligence. The New King James Version’s rendering “cunning” is somewhat misleading, implying something negative. No doubt the translators chose this word because in this chapter the serpent’s cleverness is being misused for evil purposes.

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Good News In A Floating Bottle

“As cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25

On February 25, 2010 my friend Sammy Albury dropped a bottle into the sea near his home in Man-O-War Cay, the Bahamas. It contained a note, bearing this inscription: “God has given us this day, so let’s enjoy it.” Accompanying that message was a small page from the Psalms.

Later that year, brother Sammy went to be with the Lord, not knowing that his message would travel approximately 3,700 miles to Frouxeira Beach, near Valdoviño in Galicia on Spain’s northwest coast*. This amazing incident brought the verse at the top of this post to mind. The story also reminded me of the way that little things we perform faithfully can return to us in time to come.

True Philanthropy

Spreading God’s truth is aided and made more memorable by acts of kindness and Christian love. Distractions abound in this fast-paced world, and it is easy to miss opportunities to testify to the lost regarding God’s grace, not to mention to remind the saved of His love for them. It can be something ever so small: giving someone a gospel tract, a word of encouragement, or a simple prayer offered for someone in need. Sending letters and cards to cheer the sick or the lonely is a time-honored tactic for doing good to one’s fellowman (of course, e-mail is also an option, but many prefer the “human touch” of physical mail.)

Brother Sammy left behind more than just an innovative floating tract; he also bequeathed a good reputation and a godly testimony to his family, friends, and acquaintances on the island where he lived. It is true that he sent “good news from a far country.” Additionally, he left a legacy of sharing his faith over many years to those that he encountered.

Leaving Behind Something Worthwhile

Almost twenty years ago a brother in the Lord shared some meaningful advice with me: “Always preach Christ,” he said. So often I have thought of those simple words – often as I step into the pulpit to share God’s Word – and they have helped to moor me to the solid rock of Christ-centered preaching. I am not sure that the man who imparted that advice even remembers that incident. Yet the Lord has often used his counsel to help me stayed focused upon Himself in Bible teaching.

All of which leads me to ask: What am I leaving behind? What “good news” am I sending forth through my words and works? For that matter, what are you doing to impact others for eternity and glorify God? Pondering these questions from time to time is certainly a valuable exercise.

*Carla Elias, “De las Bahamas a Valdoviño en una botella” (“From the Bahamas to Valdoviño in a bottle”), Spanish newspaper article in La Voz de Galicia, accessed here on 10/10/11: http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/galicia/2011/10/08/0003_201110G8P16992.htm

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