Devotional – A Not So Famous Amos

Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’” Amos 7:14-15 ESV

There was nothing special about Amos. By all appearances he was just a regular person going about his own business as a shepherd and a farmer. He had no experience as a prophet, nor did he come from a family of prophets.

Amos was simply going about his own vocation. However, God had a plan and a calling for Amos to prophesy to the people of Israel.

If you want to be used of God to do great things, first be faithful where you are right now! No matter how mundane or boring your daily responsibilities are, go about your daily routine for God’s glory.

God called Amos out of his daily routine to preach to kings and kingdoms. If you are faithful going about your daily routine God may call you to do even greater things than Amos did!

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Editorial note: Originally published September 15, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – 36,200 Feet Deep

He will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19b ESV

Satan loves to remind us of our sin. He doesn’t care Christ has fully paid the price of our sin! He doesn’t care God has forgiven us and chooses to never remember our sins again!

Satan wants to derail our spiritual life and render us ineffective in the Lord’s service. He often does this by holding our old sins over us and whispering in our ear, “Shame on you! You’re no good! Look at what an awful sinner you are! God could never use someone like you!”

Thankfully Micah reminds us that our sins have been fully dealt with by the blood of Jesus Christ! Micah tells us God has trampled our sins under foot, and cast them into the depths of the sea!

The ocean is deep. Very deep. According to NOAA the average depth of the World’s oceans is 12,100 feet deep (2.3 miles!). The deepest point in the ocean is 36,200 feet or a stunning 6.85 miles below the surface!

When your old sins come to mind remind yourself that God chooses not to remember those sins and has buried them in the deepest grave for all of eternity.

The next time Satan tries to remind you of your sins you can tell him to take a long walk on a short pier.

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Editorial note: Originally published September 9, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – Andrew

[Andrew] brought [Simon] to Jesus… John 1:42 ESV

 Andrew… said to [Jesus] there is a boy here who has barley loaves and two fish… John 6:8,9 ESV

Some Greeks… asked Philip… ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. John 12:20-22 ESV

We only read of Andrew a few times in the Gospels.  But, when we do read of him he is always bringing someone to Jesus. First we read of Andrew bringing his family to Jesus… specifically his brother Simon whom the Lord would latter call Peter.

Next, he brings to Jesus a young fellow who was willing to give all that he had – a few barley loaves of bread and two fish.
Lastly, he brought foreigners to Christ.  When some Greeks asked Philip to see Jesus, Philip went and consulted with Andrew! Certainly Andrew would know what to do!

Andrew was never in the limelight.  He was content to work quietly in the background as an evangelist.  In the same way, you do not need to be in the spotlight to do great things for Jesus Christ.

Who will you bring to Jesus today?

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Editorial note: Originally published January 28, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – The God of All Power

Is anything too hard for the LORD? Genesis 18:14 ESV

Ah, Lord GOD… Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17 ESV

In the Greek language omni means “all” and potent means “power.” This is where our English word omnipotence originates. So, when we speak of God’s attribute of omnipotence we are actually saying He possess “all power.”

In Genesis 18 the LORD gives Abraham the amazing news that his aged wife Sarah will give birth a child in about a year’s time. Overhearing this Sarah was incredulous – how could a woman well beyond her childbearing years possibly have a child?
Knowing her thoughts, God asked the rhetorical question “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Many years later the prophet Jeremiah decisively declared, “Nothing is too hard for [God].”

Do you believe this? Do you really believe God possesses all power? Do you really believe nothing is too hard for God? Even in your life?

If you truly believe this… if you have truly placed your full, unconditional trust in Him, you have no reason to fear any challenge you may face. No matter how impossible it may seem. You can rest in the full confidence of knowing that nothing is too hard for God!

Father, You are omnipotent. There is nothing too hard for You, for You possess all power. Please help me to fully rest in you, while placing no confidence in the flesh.

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

 

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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 – Getting a Closer Look

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. Genesis 11:5 ESV

The people desired to make a name for themselves (Genesis 11:4) so they devised an audacious plan on the grandest scale. “Come,” they said, “let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens.”

And, so, they began their great project constructing a tower that would be so large, and so tall it would reach into the heavens. Impressive. Yet, in one of the more humorous Bible verses we are told the Lord “came down to see the city and the tower!” LOL. From God’s viewpoint their tower wasn’t so impressive.

Their building project was so puny! It was so infinitesimally small God implies He couldn’t even see it from Heaven! God ‘had to’ come down to ‘see it.’

What about you? Are you working on ‘great’ projects attempting to make a name for yourself? Or, are you busy making His name known?

Lord, today, would you help me to glorify your name?  And help me to make your name known and glorified on the Earth? Amen.

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Editorial note: Originally published January 11, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – Speaking the Lord’s Message


the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s message Haggai 1:13 NKJV

Seems rather obvious, doesn’t it? Of course the Lord’s messenger spoke the Lord’s message!  What other message would he speak? Sadly, there are many today who claim to be the Lord’s messenger but are, in reality, not. One may speak messages that sound wonderful but are not God’s message. One may even speak messages that elicit endearing accolades from their audiences, but are not God’s message.

God’s standard is God’s Word. Any message that is at variance with the Scriptures is not the Lord’s message; the one who spoke the message is not the Lord’s messenger!

Lord, today, would you help me to judge all that I hear and read with Your Word?  And, Lord, would you guard my lips from speaking any message that is not your message.  Amen.

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Editorial note: Originally published January 3, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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25 Biblical Reasons Why Jesus Came

BookmarkThe following listing of 25 Biblical reasons why Jesus came was developed from my recent studies for a series of Gospel messages. This list is given without comment and is certainly not intended to be exhaustive. Please feel free to add to the list in the comments section.

The list is presented with the prayer that you will use this list as a springboard for further study.

  1. “…you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
  2. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17
  3. “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” Mark 1:38
  4. “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Mark 2:17 & Luke 5:32
  5. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve… ” Mark 10:45 & Matthew 20:28
  6. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served… but… to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 & Matthew 20:28
  7. “To preach the gospel to the poor” Luke 4:18
  8. “to heal the brokenhearted” Luke 4:18
  9. “To proclaim liberty to the captives” Luke 4:18
  10. “recovery of sight to the blind” Luke 4:18
  11. “set at liberty those who are oppressed” Luke 4:18
  12. “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” Luke 4:19
  13. “I came to send fire on the earth…” Luke 12:49
  14. “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.” Luke 12:51
  15. “…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 & Matthew 18:11
  16. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17
  17. “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38
  18. “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” John 10:10
  19. “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46
  20. “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” John 18:37
  21. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” 1 Timothy 1:15
  22. “Behold I have come to do Your will, O God.” Hebrews 10:9
  23. “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins” 1 John 3:5
  24. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8
  25. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

 

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Boston Marathon Explosions

Boston Marathon Explosions April 15 2013As reports continue to flood in from Boston regarding this afternoon’s multiple explosions my heart felt prayers go out to all who are in Boston today, especially the victims and their families.

While this is still a developing event and it is way too early to draw any conclusions~~ it would at least appear that the explosions were intentional.

If this is the case, in addition to praying for the victims we should also keep in mind the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44 ESV.

This, of course, is not easy to do– yet I do believe it is an entirely appropriate response for a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Another thought is the extremely fragile nature of human life. The Bible repeatedly reminds us that life is brief… we should all give our loved ones an extra hug and a kiss today.

We should also be mindful that the Bible very clearly tells us “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Hebrews 9:27 ESV. Are you prepared to die? Are you prepared for this judgement?? If you have any doubts check out this video over at GoodNewsPennsylvania.com.

 

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NT Tuesday: The False Gospel According to Rob Bell

“We need to affirm people wherever they are.” ~Rob Bell

“You must be born again.” ~Jesus Christ

If you have been following recent events concerning Christianity over the last few years you, no doubt, have heard of Rob Bell. In fact Rob Bell has been difficult to ignore- in 2011 Time Magazine listed Rob Bell as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. He has authored numerous books including two New York Times best sellers.

Presently Rob Bell is back in the limelight as he, probably for the first time, stated publicly that he is not opposed to legalizing same sex marriage. This, really, comes as no surprise– however, I am not interested in commenting on his stance regarding this particular issue. Rather, I would like to comment on something else that he said in support of his position on marriage.

Rob stated: “I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.” Italics mine, see link to the entire audio recording below.

What exactly does it mean to “affirm people wherever they are”? Unfortunately, I’m not so sure I understand what Rob is trying to say. However, we should be able to gain some understanding of what he means by looking the definitions of the words he uses. :::On the outside chance that Rob might actually be reading this… I invite you to explain what this means in either a comment below or in a guest post.:::

According to dictionary.com the word affirm is a verb that means to state or assert positively; maintain as true, or to express agreement with; uphold; support. The word wherever is a conjunction that means in, at, or to whatever place; in any case or condition. And, finally, are is the ‘present indicative plural and 2nd person singular of be.’

So, putting it all together, when I hear Rob Bell say “we need to affirm people wherever they are” this is what I think he means: “We must express agreement with, and maintain as true whatever place or condition someone is in.”

Really? Is this what we are to do? Is this what our Lord Jesus Christ did? Did He “affirm people wherever they [were]”? Is this what our Lord Jesus Christ told us to do? To express agreement with everyone? Of course not!

In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ taught EXACTLY the opposite of this. Jesus taught everyone is actually in the wrong place! That everyone must be radically changed by God Himself… Jesus said, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.'” John 3:7.

Clearly Jesus Christ is not affirming people wherever they are. Jesus Christ not only taught that everyone IS in the wrong place, but that everyone is also heading in the wrong direction. “I tell you… unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5. The Greek word translated repent (Strong’s G3340) means to think differently.

In other words, Jesus Christ did not ‘affirm’ whatever people thought… rather He taught that they must change what they are thinking! That they must repent… meaning they must change from what they think to what God thinks. We must affirm God not each other!

The gospel according to Rob Bell is a false gospel. It is not what the Lord Jesus Christ taught. It is NOT possible to appease society with politically correct platitudes, nor is it possible to win over a culture by assimilating into that culture. Rather we who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ must proclaim the exact same Gospel as He did.

2,000 years ago the Gospel was not a popular message… in fact they crucified the messenger! The Gospel is STILL wildly unpopular… those who stand up for and preach the true Gospel today should not expect to be treated any better then He was treated 2,000 years ago.

 

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Sources:
Rob Bell Entire audio of his recent comments.
Denny Burk Blog post critical of Rob Bell.
Greg Carey Blog post supportive of Rob Bell.
Wikipedia entry for Rob Bell.

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Postscript: If given the chance this is what I would say to Rob Bell: “When I compare your teachings with the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ I find there is a great difference between the two and I must follow what He taught. I also believe that I have the responsibility to warn others about your false teachings. I do not hate you, I simply disagree with you. If somehow our paths cross one day, I would love to sit down with you over a cup of coffee and explore these things together.”

 

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