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Called to be Transformed

Losing God

She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.         Judges 16:20 NASB How do you lose God? That seems crazy, like losing theContinue reading “Losing God”

Don’t We Need the Old Testament

For the word of God [OT] is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.                                                                                                   Hebrews 4:12 NASB Do you need the Old Testament? Many peopleContinue reading “Don’t We Need the Old Testament”

Holy to the Lord

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.                                                                                                                       Ephesians 1:4 NLT What is God’s goal for human life? It is holiness and completion. That is what Ephesians 1:4 tells us, and that is in confirmation of Genesis 17:1,Continue reading “Holy to the Lord”

Pilgrims 2

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; beverlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.          Isaiah 35:10 ESV We said in the previous devotion that pilgrims travel light, letting neither reputation nor possessions weigh themContinue reading “Pilgrims 2”

Pilgrims 1

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bythinia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.                                                                                                                         1 Peter 1:1-2Continue reading “Pilgrims 1”

Rocks or Grass?

Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’llContinue reading “Rocks or Grass?”

Sexuality

 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own bodyin holiness and honor, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one wrong or exploit a brother or sisterin this matter, because theContinue reading “Sexuality”

The Blues

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.                                                                                                           1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV In 1949 the British author Dorothy Sayers made a typically profound observation that is even more relevant today than it was seventy-three years ago. She said that if a personContinue reading “The Blues”

Truth

 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”                                                                 John 17:7 We live in a world where personal convenience, personal desire, and personal comfort are everything. Faced with those realities, truth is a poor second. Why should I tell you the truth if it’s not convenient?  Why should I keep my promises if it doesn’tContinue reading “Truth”

Resentment

You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”   Genesis 4:7 NLT Many of us live with hidden resentments. Things have been doneContinue reading “Resentment”

Rest

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.                                                                  Hebrews 4:9-11 ESV What is CanaanContinue reading “Rest”

Blessed Are the Hungry?

Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh                                                                                                             Luke 6:21 ESV Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.        Matthew 5:6 ESV Sometimes we are a little troubled by differences in theContinue reading “Blessed Are the Hungry?”

What Can We Expect?

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.                            1 Thessalonians. 5:23 NLT Last week, I invited you to make a full appropriation of what Christ did for you on the CrossContinue reading “What Can We Expect?”

A Second Work

As we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?                                                                                                 1 Thess. 3:10 ESV I recently read in a dictionary article on holiness the unequivocal statement that there is no such thing as a second work of grace. IContinue reading “A Second Work”

The Cross and Ukraine

Because of the joyawaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.                                                                    Hebrews 12:2 NLT He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.                                                                                                                1 Peter 1:20 NRS AllContinue reading “The Cross and Ukraine”

Deeper with Christ 3

“And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh                                                            (Ezekiel 11:19 ESV)  To grow deeper in Christ, we need to be re-programmed and that’s what the Holy Spirit does. WeContinue reading “Deeper with Christ 3”

Deeper in Christ 2

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 ESV Tragically in American Christianity, “the flesh” has crept right into the sanctuary. Why do I serve God? To get what I want! What a tragedy! We serve Christ because thatContinue reading “Deeper in Christ 2”

Deeper in Christ 1

“For the flesh is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are under the control of the flesh can never please God.”                             Romans 8:7-8 (author’s) If we are to have a deeper life with Christ we have to claim it, it doesn’t comeContinue reading “Deeper in Christ 1”

Contagion

‘If one of you is carrying some meat from a holy sacrifice in his robes and his robe happens to brush against some bread or stew, wine or olive oil, or any other kind of food, will it also become holy?’” The priests replied, “No.” Then Haggai asked, “If someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touchingContinue reading “Contagion”

See My Glory

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.          John 17:24 ESV “For I knowtheir works and their thoughts, and the time is comingto gather all nationsContinue reading “See My Glory”

All of You

And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,                                                                                                                       Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV What does God want from us? It’sContinue reading “All of You”

Jesus’ Ministry

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him To those who sold doves, he said, “Get these out of here! Stop making my father’s house into a market!                                                                                                                                                          (John 2:11, 16 NIV) When we compareContinue reading “Jesus’ Ministry”

A Clean Heart

Later I went to visit Shemaiah son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home. He said, “Let us meet together inside the Temple of God and bolt the doors shut. Your enemies are coming to kill you tonight.”  But I replied, “Should someone in my position run from danger? ShouldContinue reading “A Clean Heart”

Cain and Abel

“Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be itsContinue reading “Cain and Abel”

Plans

We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives. Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.                                                                                                   Proverbs 16:1-3 NLT As we look at the year ahead, it is perfectly normal toContinue reading “Plans”

What Did He Do?

Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slaveand was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s deathContinue reading “What Did He Do?”

Dreams

But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.  Matthew 1:20 ESV Why did God speak to Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, in dreams? He spoke directly to Mary through Gabriel. He gave a vision to Zechariah. But he spoke to Joseph, not once, but four timesContinue reading “Dreams”

Thoughts on a Centipede

“What are humans that you pay any attention to them at all?                                                                           Psalm 8:4 JNO I sat in my study and looked at a miniscule centipede wandering across the floor, and wondered, “What is it thinking?” Then I thought how great the gap was between it and me, its brain and mine, and suddenlyContinue reading “Thoughts on a Centipede”

Don’t Fence Me In

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.                                                                                                                                         Psalm 36:1 ESV Have mercy on me,O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.                                                                                                Psalm 51:1 ESV “Transgression” is the third of the three most commonContinue reading “Don’t Fence Me In”

Just Get Over IT

Therefore, thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.                 Isaiah 30:12-13 ESV “Iniquity” (Heb.Continue reading “Just Get Over IT”

Lies

We know we have rebelled and have denied the LORD. We have turned our backs on our God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies.              Isaiah 59:13 NLT “…God, who ‘requires truth in the inward parts” hates all hypocrisy, falsehood, and deceit.”[1] This statement gets at the heartContinue reading “Lies”

Divorce 3

For I hatedivorce, says the LORD, the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.                    Malachi 2:16 NRS In our previous pieces about this subject on the basis of Malachi 2:15-16, we have pointed out two reasons why YahwehContinue reading “Divorce 3”

Divorce 2

14You cry out, “Why doesn’t the LORD accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. 15Didn’t the LORD make you one withContinue reading “Divorce 2”

Divorce 1

…because the LORD was a witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did not one God make her?Both flesh and spirit are his.  And what does the one Goddesire? Godly offspring. So look to yourselves, and doContinue reading “Divorce 1”

That They May Know

And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the wordsContinue reading “That They May Know”

How Close?

How Close? How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD. How blessed are those who observe his testimonies, who seek him with all theirheart. Psalm 119:1-2 NAS In my years of ministry I have often been asked, although not always in these exact words, “as a Christian,Continue reading “How Close?”

Missed Chances

My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end. Psalm 119:112 NIV Someone says, “Suppose your Christian faith is a delusion. Suppose you close your eyes for the last time and that’s all there is. Think of all you will have missed because you stuck to all those stupid rules.” Missed? Yes,Continue reading “Missed Chances”

A Leader’s Prayer

“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this, your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was bcupbearer to the king.                                             Nehemiah 1:11 ESV            Continue reading “A Leader’s Prayer”

Lies and Truths

The Apostle John tells us that there are three great lies about life, and three great corresponding truths. Lie #1 You’ve been a good person (or at least better than most other people) and you don’t need Jesus Christ to come into your life with forgiveness. 1 John 1:10 Lie # 2 You can beContinue reading “Lies and Truths”

Values

One hears a good deal about values these days. But the emphasis is quite regularly on “my values” or “your values” or “their values.” That is, each of us chooses what is important to us, and whatever each of us chooses is just as significant and “valuable” as what anyone else might choose. That is,Continue reading “Values”

The Wrath of God

Who considers the power of your anger? Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.  So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart. Turn, O LORD! How long? Have compassion on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that weContinue reading “The Wrath of God”

Applause in Worship 2

But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. Habbakuk 2:20 ESV Not only is applause an expression of pent-up emotion, it is also a way of expressing appreciation for some performance that we especially appreciate, either for its excellence, or because we want to encourage someone whoContinue reading “Applause in Worship 2”

Applause in Worship 1

One of the consequences of the rootage of current Christian worship practices in the rock concert is the increasing prominence of applause in worship. I would like to suggest that applause is never appropriate to Christian worship, particularly the egregious “Yes, let’s give God a hand.” Where does this instinct for applause come from? InContinue reading “Applause in Worship 1”

The Lie

These wicked people are born sinners; even from birth they have lied and gone their own way. Psalm 58:3 NLT ­­Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. You desire truth in the inward being;therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.          Psalm 51:5-6 NRS Several years ago it dawnedContinue reading “The Lie”

Eternal Security

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22 ESV Sometimes those of us of a Wesleyan-Arminian persuasion give a wrong impression. In our attempts to combat the “sinning religion” that results from an unthinking adoption of the concept of “eternal security,”Continue reading “Eternal Security”

Lies About Sin

This is the message we heard from Jesus1 and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.                                                                                1 John. 1:5-6 NLT ThereContinue reading “Lies About Sin”

The Way

“Without holiness no one will see God.”                                                                          Hebrews 12:14b NIV                                                                              Too often we have given the impression that salvation is a change of state accomplished through a judicial transaction. While that is not untrue, it is, unfortunately, to miss almost all that God is about with us. A reasonably careful reading ofContinue reading “The Way”

Happy is the man . . .

We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the ten commandments of God.                                                                                     James Madison, fourth President                                                                                     PrimaryContinue reading “Happy is the man . . .”

The House of God-2

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.Continue reading “The House of God-2”

Come Away, My Beloved

The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming. Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one!”                                                         Song of Songs 2:13 NLT Believers from earliest times have struggled with the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon). What’s it doing in the Bible? After all, it’sContinue reading “Come Away, My Beloved”

Touchdown

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature [KJV “perfect”] in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Ephesians 4:13 NLT St. Paul used the analogy of the footrace several times to talk about theContinue reading “Touchdown”

The Bible Story-Line

But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.                         Matthew 5:48 NLT These words of Jesus have terrified Christians for 2000 years. What?! Be as perfect as God? No! So people have tried to explain it away in a variety of ways. But there it is, and it won’t goContinue reading “The Bible Story-Line”

Who You Are

 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.                                                                                                Continue reading “Who You Are”

To Find Yourself

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.                                                                    Matthew 16:24 NLT One of the great crises in our contemporary culture is the struggle to find oneself. This is, of course, the tragic result ofContinue reading “To Find Yourself”

God’s Pattern

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God– truly righteousContinue reading “God’s Pattern”

Boundaries

I am the LORD your God.  You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules and keep myContinue reading “Boundaries”

Coming Home 2

Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you also are being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:20-22Continue reading “Coming Home 2”

Coming Home-1

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”                                   Genesis 3:8-9 NLT The longer I teach the Bible, the more impressedContinue reading “Coming Home-1”

At The Cross

Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.               Isaiah 1:18 NLT There is a scene in the movie Ben Hur that I will never forget. This once,Continue reading “At The Cross”

Two Roads

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NIV We have been made for God – He is the only thing, better, the only One, who can satisfy us. But the devil tries to trick us by telling us, “You canContinue reading “Two Roads”

Know Yahweh

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind [an eager self], for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he willContinue reading “Know Yahweh”

Unclean

Scrub me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7 Author It’s all over for me! I am done for, because I am a man with unclean lips and I live in the midst of a people with unclean lips, and I have seen theContinue reading “Unclean”

Kingdom of Light 2

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened withContinue reading “Kingdom of Light 2”

Lost

Won’t he leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?                                                                                                                         Luke 15:4b NLT One of Satan’s most effective lies is the one he told Eve in the Garden. It worked then and it has worked ever since. The lie is thatContinue reading “Lost”

Thy Kingdom Come

“Our Father who is in heaven, let your name be made holy; may your kingdom come, [that is], your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth….”                                                                     Matthew 6:9b-10 Author’s translation When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, the traditional language is “…thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth asContinue reading “Thy Kingdom Come”

All His

All His We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love becomes complete….  Such love has no fear because complete love expels fear….                                              Continue reading “All His”

Salt

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.                                     Matthew 5:13 NRS Researchers continue to tell us that the top ten things we Christians value are no different thanContinue reading “Salt”

Where is the God of Justice?

You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”                                                                                               Malachi 2:17 ESV You have said, ‘It is vain toContinue reading “Where is the God of Justice?”

Realistic about Sin

We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them.                                                                        1 John 5:18 NRS We need to be realistic about sin. To be a human is to have the sin condition. None of usContinue reading “Realistic about Sin”

The Refiner’s Fire

“But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.”                                                                                                       Malachi 2:3 Like many in our own day, the Jews wanted justice. That is, they wanted what they were sure they deserved. They had been veryContinue reading “The Refiner’s Fire”

Signs 4

Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.                                                                                                              Luke. 2:34 NLT We have seenContinue reading “Signs 4”

Signs 3

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke. 2:11-12 ESV Here we are again with another of God’s strange signs. Alright,Continue reading “Signs 3”

Signs 2

Signs 2 “Hear this, House of David! Isn’t it enough for you to wear out the people that now you have to wear out my God as well? Therefore the Sovereign will give you a sign: the maiden has conceived and is about to give birth to a son; she will name him “God WithContinue reading “Signs 2”

Signs 1

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shallContinue reading “Signs 1”

Which Trail

Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.                                                                            2 Samuel 12:10 NIV Recently, while reading in 2 Samuel, I was struck by the trail of death that extends outward from chapter 11, where David violatedContinue reading “Which Trail”

Wings 3

Wings 3 Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking. Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness.                                                        Psalm 55:5-7 NLT But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soarContinue reading “Wings 3”

Wings 2

‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.                                                                                                            Exodus 19:4 NLT Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on hisContinue reading “Wings 2”

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