Skip to content

No Cause for Stumbling

February 17, 2018

.

No Cause for Stumbling

Most people  like to consider themselves  pretty good  in comparison  to most other people.    But,  in the same breath,  some Christians are quite hateful  towards other Christians  whom they choose to dislike  for whatever reason.     Such hatred  is definitely wrong  in God’s eyes.

It is one thing  to hate what is evil,  but very different  to hate another child  of God.    That is why the apostle John wrote in 1 John 2:10-11,

The one  who loves his brother abides  in the light  and there is no cause  for stumbling  in him.     But  the one  who hates his brother is  in the darkness  and walks  in the darkness,  and does not know  where he is going  because the darkness  has blinded his eyes.

The Greek word for “brother” includes everyone  in a close relationship,  whether in a family relationship  or  a church fellowship relationship.     In other words,  we are not  to hate those  whom God loves  and calls His dear children.

Instead,  in a Godly,  sincere love  we are to try and iron out  our differences  in God’s eyes  —  that means  in prayer  and according to God’s word  —  that means  with a forgiving heart  that realizes  we are all sinners living  in a sinful world.

This in no way  is telling us  to accept anything  that is evil  and contrary  to God’s word.    Accepting and loving  what is evil  is an abomination  in God’s sight.    That would be taking  into consideration  Isaiah 5:20,

Woe to those  who call evil good,  and good evil;   
Who substitute darkness  for light,  and light  for darkness;
Who substitute bitter  for sweet,  and sweet  for bitter!

So,  we need  to walk a fine line here.     We definitely are not  to have a relationship  with what is evil  in God’s eyes.     And,  we are  to definitely not hate  a child of God,  with whom we have differences.

The only way  we’ll be able  to know the difference is  by studying God’s word  on a daily basis.     The Bible tells us  through many examples  what God loves  and what God hates.    What we are  to end up being is  what Paul describes  in Ephesians 5:1-2,

Therefore,  be imitators  of God,  as beloved children;  and walk  in love,  just as Christ also  loved you,  and gave Himself up  for us,  an offering  and a sacrifice  to God  as a fragrant aroma.

God is well aware  that this will challenge us  at times.     But,  when we love  in the same manner  as God loves,  we will not stumble  and sin  against our Savior.     As we especially  love the children of God,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     Lord,  thank You so much  for faithfully loving us,  even when we have sinned.    Create in us a clean heart  and right spirit,  that we may daily grow more  like You.”

Love,
Margaret

.

A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and God of gods

 

Pray for our country.

 

This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

 

The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Psalm 18:30

 

Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming  to the upright.
Psalm 33:1

 

How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Psalm 84:4

 

Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1

 

Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Psalm 105:3

 

Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12

.

.

.

.

 

Advertisements

Apart from Me You Can Do Nothing

February 16, 2018

.

Apart from Me You Can Do Nothing

Sometimes  in our human pride  we think,  “I can be good  all on my own strength.     All by myself  I’m going  to quit sinning  in every way.     I’ve got to have this determination  in myself  so I can be saved.”

Such self-determination  totally pushes God  out of the picture  of our lives.    It gives Jesus  no credit  for coming down  from heaven  to suffer and die  to pay  for all  of our sins.     Whatever kind  of self-righteousness  we might have — it will never be good enough  to “earn” our way  into heaven.

So,  the soul  that thinks it can be perfect  all by itself,  is deluding itself  and carrying a burden  God does not want us  to carry.     God wants us  to learn  to depend  on Him  for all our needs — not just food,  clothing  and such — but the perfection  we must have  before we can  enter heaven.

Even heathens  can be “good” people — kind,  generous,  tender-hearted.    But,  that won’t get them  into heaven.    Their kind  of goodness  is a worldly goodness.     It has nothing  to do  with knowing the truth  about God’s eternal love  for us  and His plan  of salvation  for us  in Christ Jesus.     Worldly goodness  has nothing to do  with the most necessary goodness  of an honest faith  in the true God  and love  for the God  who loves us  so dearly.

The kind of goodness  that God wants  in us  is based on being  in a loving relationship  with Him  through faith.     Just knowing  that we are loved  by God  and have eternal life  and forgiveness  through faith  in Jesus,  wells up  within us  a genuine love  for all  of God’s ways  and being.     God living  in our hearts  and us living  in our Lord  is what causes us  to be changed  into what God’s children should be  —  children who live by faith  in God’s word.

That is why Jesus says  in John 15:5,

I am the vine,  you are the branches;  he who abides  in Meand I  in him,  he bears much fruit;  for apart from Me  you can do nothing.

No one can bear fruit  for God  unless they abide in Him  and acknowledge  that everything they have  is a gift  from God.    It is God’s Spirit working  in them  that causes them  to rightfully  and honestly love those  around them,  to be kind,  tenderhearted,  honest,  hard working,  truthful,  and every other goodness  that marks  a child of God.

To abide  in Jesus is  to daily speak  to Him in prayer,  confessing our sins  and accepting His forgiveness.    It is studying  and meditating  on His word  that shows us the way  we should trust  and obey.    It is believing  and trusting all  of God’s word,  even in times  of trouble  and temptation.    It is depending  on God  to lead us  in His way.

The kind of fruit  that pleases God comes  from a humble heart  that looks  to Him  for all its needs.    As we daily trace  all the beauties  of God’s love  for us,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     Lord,  thank You  for loving us  and faithfully leading us  according to all Your promises.”

Love,
Margaret

.

A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and God of gods

 

Pray for our country.

 

This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

 

The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Psalm 18:30

 

Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming  to the upright.
Psalm 33:1

 

How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Psalm 84:4

 

Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1

 

Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Psalm 105:3

 

Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12

.

.

.

.

 

No Lie Is of the Truth

February 15, 2018

.

No Lie Is of the Truth

When John wrote  to the early churches,  he was deeply moved  to protect them  from all sorts  of false preachers  trying to take advantage  of those  who used to be heathens  and then put their faith  in Jesus Christ  to save them  from all their sins.

These false preachers wanted  to be leaders  of people  just for the sake  of feeling powerful  lording it over people  and for the sake  of getting rich.     To become a leader  of their own group separate from the true church  and gather people  (and riches)  just unto themselves,  they needed  to change the gospel  a bit  and get people  to look  to them only.     So,  they would make up  some new doctrine  that would set them apart  from the rest.    And,  then they would forcefully preach  that they were the only ones  with the truth.

But,  their so-called “gospel”  did not agree  with God’s word  from the beginning  of time.    The legalisms  they preached  were definitely contrary  to all of the Old Testament  and the preaching  of the apostles.     So,  it did not matter  that they preached  some  of the gospel.     Some  of the gospel  with lies added to it  ends up being  no gospel.

Therefore,  the apostle John wrote  in 1 John 2:21,

I have not written  to you  because you do not know  the truth,  but because  you do know it,  and because  no lie  is  of the truth.

To keep  from getting bamboozled  by all that is being preached  on the radio,  TV,  Internet,  in books,  etc.,  we really need  to get strong  in the scripture  that has been proven  to be straight  from God.    The proof is  in the prophecies made  about the Christ  in the Old Testament  and the historical records  of the New Testament,  showing  that those prophecies all came true  in the life,  death,  and resurrection  of Jesus Christ.

As we hold closely  to God’s word  in the Bible,  we say, “Hallelujah!     Lord,  You are faithful  and eternally true.     Thank You  for keeping all  of Your word  for us.”

Love,
Margaret

.

A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and God of gods

 

Pray for our country.

 

This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

 

The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Psalm 18:30

 

Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming  to the upright.
Psalm 33:1

 

How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Psalm 84:4

 

Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1

 

Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Psalm 105:3

 

Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12

.

.

.

.

 

They Would Have Swallowed Us Alive

February 14, 2018

.

They Would Have Swallowed Us Alive

All of our lives  we will run into  all kinds of situations  where we will be mocked  and despised  just because of our faith  in the Lord.     It won’t matter  how hard we work,  how honest  and dependable we are,  how gifted we are  in doing our job,  or how loving  and caring we are.

There will be someone looking  to tear us down  in whatever way possible  —  just because we believe  in Jesus  as our Savior  from all sin.    That’s the only excuse they need.    Just as the early Christians suffered  many persecutions  and even death,  so we,  too,  can expect persecution  from those  who hate God  and everything He stands for.

Whatever happens  in this life,  we have victory  in all eternity.     Persecutors may take away job positions,  income,  reputation through lies,  home,  goods,  and life  —  but they cannot take away  our eternal salvation  in Christ.     So,  no matter what happens  in this life,  we still have victory  in Christ.

With this truth  in mind,  King David wrote Psalm 124.

“Had it not been the LORD  who was  on our side,”   
Let Israel now say,
“Had it not been the LORD  who was  on our side,
When men rose up  against us;
Then  they would have swallowed us  alive,
When their anger  was kindled  against us;
Then the waters  would have engulfed us,
The stream  would have swept  over our soul;
Then the raging waters  would have swept  over our soul.”

Blessed be the LORD,   
Who has  not given us  to be torn  by their teeth.
Our soul  has escaped  as a bird  out of the snare  of the trapper;
The snare is broken  and we have escaped.
Our help is  in the name  of the LORD,
Who made heaven  and earth.

Our soul is safe  with our Lord,  whatever happens  in this earthly life.     As we think  about God’s almighty power  to either thwart  and destroy  an enemy  or take us  to our heavenly home,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     Lord,  everything You do  is done in wisdom  and love.     May our lives  always glorify You  for the salvation  You give us  in Christ Jesus.”

Love,
Margaret

.

A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and God of gods

 

Pray for our country.

 

This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

 

The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Psalm 18:30

 

Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming  to the upright.
Psalm 33:1

 

How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Psalm 84:4

 

Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1

 

Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Psalm 105:3

 

Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12

.

.

.

.

 

The LORD Has Destroyed Your Works

February 13, 2018

.

The LORD Has Destroyed Your Works

The Bible  has many good stories  to teach us  about God.     One that I like  is found  in 2 Chronicles,  chapter 20.     Jehoshaphat  was a good king  in Judah.     Jehoshaphat  followed the example  of King David  in seeking the LORD  and following  God’s commandments.     He even rid  the land  of many  of the idols  that the people worshiped.     Because he was faithful,  God blessed him  in various ways.

An extra special blessing  Jehoshaphat received  from the LORD  was when great armies  from the Moabites,  Ammonites  and Meunites  came all at once  to try  and destroy Jehoshaphat.     We can easily understand Jehoshaphat’s fear.     He immediately went  to the Lord  in prayer.

In 2 Chronicles 20:15,  we read how God  then sent  a prophet,  who told them,  “Do not fear  or be dismayed because  of this great multitude,  for the battle  is not yours  but God’s.”     They were  then instructed  to just station themselves around  and watch the Lord  win the battle  for them.     With this news,  Jehoshaphat  bowed down  and worshiped  the LORD.     And the people began  loudly praising the LORD.

As they went out  to the battle field  the next morning,  Jehoshaphat told everyone  in 2 Chronicles 20:20“Listen  to me,  O Judah  and inhabitants  of Jerusalem,  put your trust  in the LORD  your God  and you will be established.     Put your trust  in His prophets  and succeed.”

He was such a good leader  to encourage  the people this way.     Then,  as the people  praised the LORD,  God set up ambushes  against all  of the enemies  and all  of them  began  fighting each other,  totally annihilating each other.     It took God’s children  three days  to collect  all the booty  from the slain enemies.     And,  of course,  then they praised God again.

That is  an amazingly wonderful account.     We can all learn  that we are  to praise  and worship  the LORD  and He will win impossible battles  for us  as we trust  in Him.     That is great,  and we need  to realize  that such praise  takes a heap  of trust,  love,  and respect  for the LORD  and His ways.

One would imagine  that with such  memorable miracles  in his time  of great fear,  that Jehoshaphat  would remain totally dedicated  to the LORD  all of his life.     But,  sadly  that is not so.     God’s second story is  in 2 Chronicles 20:35-37.     This story says,

And after this  Jehoshaphat  king of Judah  allied himself  with Ahaziah  king of Israel.     He acted wickedly  in so doing.     So he allied himself  with him  to make ships  to go  to Tarshish,  and they made the ships  in Ezion-geber.

Then Eliezer  the son  of Dodavahu  of Mareshah  prophesied  against Jehoshaphat  saying,  “Because you have allied  yourself  with Ahaziah,  the LORD  has destroyed  your works.”     So the ships  were broken  and could not go  to Tarshish.

Becoming buddy-buddy  with someone  who had no respect  for the LORD  was a real slap-in-the-face  to the LORD God Almighty.     Tarshish  was a port  for trade,  so this was a big,  money-making deal  for Jehoshaphat.     We all know  how tempting  it is to want  to get rich  and famous quickly.     And,  as if that wasn’t  bad enough,  Jehoshaphat  was willing  to team up  with someone  who despised  the LORD,  just so  he could get richer.

It was  in love  that God immediately  disciplined  Jehoshaphat  by breaking up  the whole fleet  of ships,  so they could never sail  anywhere.

God’s love  does the same  for us.     He blesses us  every day.     But,  when we deliberately  let something  in this world  turn our head  away from the LORD,  He will protect us  by destroying  whatever it is  that we put our trust in.

This story  from our Lord is  to gently teach us  the faithful love  of God  in protecting us  from our own sinful tendencies.     Our Lord  will destroy things  that take us away  from a true faith,  hope,  and love.

This is why,  no matter what happens,  we can trust  that God  is guiding us  to live  according to His ways,  so that we can end up  being saved eternally.     Therefore,  in all things  we give thanks  and praise  to the Lord,  saying,  “Hallelujah!     Lord,  blessed be Your name  and Your love  that guides us  through every trouble  and temptation.     Please continue  to hold  our hands  and lead us home.”

Love,
Margaret

.

A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and God of gods

 

Pray for our country.

 

This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

 

The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Psalm 18:30

 

Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming  to the upright.
Psalm 33:1

 

How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Psalm 84:4

 

Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1

 

Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Psalm 105:3

 

Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12

.

.

.

.

 

Wisdom from God

February 12, 2018

.

Wisdom from God

There is such an infinite wisdom  in the making  of all creation.    All of the workings  and balance  of nature  are absolutely awesome  in the intelligence it took  to create everything.     Just by looking around us,  we should be able  to figure out  that the LORD God Almighty  is wise beyond  our wildest imagination.     No human has  that kind  of intelligence.

God’s wisdom is seen  in more  than all  of creation.    There is infinite wisdom  in God’s plan  of salvation,  also.    As 1 Corinthians 1:30 says,

By His doing  you are  in Christ Jesus,  who became  to us  wisdom from God,  and righteousness,  and sanctification,  and redemption…

Just by believing  in God’s salvation  through Jesus Christ,  we are made righteous  in God’s eyes  —  God sanctifies our daily living  —  and we are redeemed,  bought and paid for  by the blood  of Christ.

All of this takes place  because of God’s wisdom.    God knows  that we cannot do any  of this  on our own.     We are too weak  and helpless.

But,  worldly people refuse  to believe  our eternal salvation  can come just  by faith  in Christ.     As they greatly admire  their own intellect, they feel  it is absolutely necessary  to add the ideas  of great philosophers.     After all,  philosophers from all over the world  have thought through our human condition  and figured out ways  to make this  a better world.

And then,  since the gospel is presented  so simply  in the Bible,  the world feels  they really should intellectualize it  with deeply explained doctrines  of their own,  in high sounding words.     So  they try to show off  their intellect  by inventing doctrines  and words  to describe the doctrines  that they have figured out  all by themselves.

The world invents  physical exercises  and various methods  of meditation  to get one “in tune”  with the universe.    They write up  long lists  of rules  for living.     They write thick books explaining  how their “truth”  is a blend  of all the religions  and philosophies  of this world.

But,  the Bible repeatedly warns us  against all false teachings  and heresies.     Instead of looking  to sinful mankind  for the truths  of God,  we need  to be looking  to the LORD,  who has proven  that His word alone  is eternal truth.     Only in God  can we find  true wisdom  and salvation.

Solomon wrote  some good advice  in Proverbs 3:7,

Do not be wise  in your own eyes;   
Fear the LORD  and turn away  from evil.

According to the psalmist,  we have plenty to learn  in the word  of God,  and need  to be studying it  for our salvation  and wisdom.    Psalm 111:10 says,

The fear  of the LORD  is the beginning  of wisdom;   
A good understanding  have all those  who do His commandments.

We would be wise  to trust  in the LORD,  His wisdom,   and His ways only.     We should not let the world  bamboozle us  with its foolishness  and arrogantly pretentious “knowledge”.

As we study God’s word  and come to respect  and revere the LORD  for His wisdom  and almighty power  to save us  from our sins,  our eyes will be opened  to His awesome love  and patience  with us.     Then we will say,  “Hallelujah!     Lord,  Your wisdom  and love  are so far beyond  any human ability  to think  or reason.     All glory,  power  and dominion  are Yours.”

Love,
Margaret

.

A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and God of gods

 

Pray for our country.

 

This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

 

The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Psalm 18:30

 

Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming  to the upright.
Psalm 33:1

 

How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Psalm 84:4

 

Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1

 

Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Psalm 105:3

 

Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12

.

.

.

.

 

Awake, Sleeper

February 11, 2018

.

Awake, Sleeper

Love awakens us.     That is the scenario God presents  to us  in a number of places  throughout the Bible.     First,  God paints the picture  of what we are like  when we don’t have a clue  about how much He loves us  or what salvation  is all about.

God’s word says things  like we “walk in darkness”;  we are “dead in our sin and trespasses”;   we are “asleep” to the reality of life;  we are “blind and deaf”;  and we are “trapped”.     We might get rather defensive  about these descriptions  and claim they certainly do not refer  to us.    But,  it would be good  to think about that  awhile.

Then,  God describes His children  as “walking in the light”“growing in grace”“imitating” their heavenly Father;  “alive” unto God;  “fruitful unto life”“sanctified”“giving thanks unto the Lord”“praising the Lord”;  and “understanding the will of God”,  along with many other descriptions.

That’s quite a contrast.     These sharp differences  are what Paul was referring to  when he wrote  to help the Ephesians think about  how their faith  should be changing  their former heathen life styles.     Paul is saying,  if you really have the light  of God shining  in your heart,  you will see the difference  between your old heathen ways  and the new way  of life God wants you  to live.    In Ephesians 5:13-17,  he writes,

But all things become visible  when they are exposed  by the light,  for everything  that becomes visible  is light.    For this reason it says,   

Awake, sleeper,   
And arise  from the dead,
And Christ  will shine on you.”   

Therefore  be careful how you walk,  not as unwise men,  but as wise,  making the most  of your time  because the days are evil.    So then  do not be foolish,  but understand  what the will  of the Lord is.

Do we recognize the differences  between right  and wrong,  good  and evil,  Godly  and ungodly?     Paul wants us  to wake up  and arise  from the spiritual deadness  that wants  to grip us.    We need  to wise up  and be careful  about how we live  in this world.

It definitely is foolish  to know “about”  the will  of God,  and yet,  not wake up  to our need  to obey the will  of God  for our lives.     Our life depends  on our waking up  and arising  from spiritual deadness.

As we let the love  of God  wake us up,  we have a new day filled  with praise,  gorgeous in all the wondrous beauties  of God’s everlasting love  for us.     As we enjoy the warmth  and comfort  of God’s love,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     Lord,  thank You so much  for Your patience  and faithfulness  in calling us  to be Your own dear children.”

Love,
Margaret

.

A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and God of gods

 

Pray for our country.

 

This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

 

The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Psalm 18:30

 

Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming  to the upright.
Psalm 33:1

 

How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Psalm 84:4

 

Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1

 

Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Psalm 105:3

 

Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12

.

.

.

.