Daily Devotional; formerly Chaplains Corner

Discussion in 'Religious Discussions' started by ampaterry, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Never Give Up part 2

    Hebrews 10: 35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

    Why should we not “throw away our confidence”?

    A couple of reasons.

    1. Because it has a great reward. Verse 34 says …knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. God has a reward waiting for us, if we will stay the course. Paul looked forward to receiving His crown of glory when he walked into the Father’s presence. Jesus talked about storing treasures in heaven, not on earth.

    2. Because we have need of endurance. That confidence that says “I know I’m in the right. I know that as long as I’m doing God’s work God’s way, He has my six” gives us the energy, the will to keep going when things get tough.

    In Joshua 1 God says 8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

    Why would we throw away our confidence?

    1. Pressure, discouragement, feeling of defeat. Jesus warned Peter about that in Luke 22 when he said that satan wanted to sift him like wheat. Think of a dog shaking a rag doll. Satan is the accuser, and if we get our eyes off Jesus and listen to the accusations, we start feeling like major losers.

    2. Getting distracted by the things of this world. Paul wrote about that in 2 Timothy 4: 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica;

    3. Giving in to the world’s pressures. Compromising the convictions God has given us, so that we can “go along to get along”.

    Antidote: 1 John 4 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

    How would we throw away our confidence?

    1. Esau—sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. He let his body’s appetites rule his life and lost something vital, his future reward.

    2. Israel—became self-satisfied when they got settled into the Promised Land, and started loving the world and the things of the world. They did just what God warned them against while they were in the desert. They felt they were self-sufficient and no longer needed God’s protection or provision.

    3. Saul—became power hungry. God promoted him to be king of Israel. All that power and authority he had went to his head and he became paranoid. He saw David as a threat to his kingship and tried to kill him.

    Antidote: 1 John 2 15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

    Never give up. The confidence God gives us will give us the endurance to stay the course, and win through to the reward God has waiting for us.
     
  2. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Reputation. It’s important. Our personal reputation is important; we want to have a good name so that people will respect us and listen to what we say and value our friendship. Some cars and guns and ammunition have good reputations; others have mediocre or bad reputations. We buy the products that have good reputations and avoid those with bad reputations, even if it costs a little more. We know we will have fewer problems, and the company will back their product with good customer service. Companies that take good care of their customers have integrity.

    Proverbs 22 says A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold. Good customer care costs the company money and time and effort, but it pays off in word of mouth advertising, as satisfied customers spread the word that this is a good company to deal with.

    As Christians we need to have integrity, to live in such a way as to show God's righteousness to the world. That’s part of what Jesus was saying in Matthew 5: 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

    But God is also protective of His name in the world. God says in Exodus 20 7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

    Think knock-off products. They are cheaply made imitations that bear the name and logo of a company with an excellent reputation, but when put to the test, they break, don’t perform up to standard. They can be dangerous. They are illegal, and the law of the land goes after people who make and sell knock-offs. They damage the reputation of the genuine article.

    In the same way, God commands that there be no “knock-off Christians”. We must not take His name in vain. If we are going to say we are Christians, we had better be Christians, of face God’s prosecution.

    And believe me, there are many knock-off Christians running around in the world today. They are the ones who claim to be Christians, but tear God’s Word apart and burn half of it in their effort to say God says it’s OK to promote sinful lifestyles. They are trying to mold God into their image, rather than let God control their lives.

    These people, like knock-off products, are dangerous because the things they advocate will destroy people, families, and society in the long run. These people are advocating policies that will break down when put to the test.

    Well, God says He will not leave them unpunished.

    These people have slapped a brand name on themselves and hope that gives them all the credence they need to foist their man-made ideas on people they come into contact with. And a lot of people fall for them. Remember Jim Jones and his Cool Aid cult?

    Two things.

    First, we need to be sure that we ourselves are taking the name of God correctly. We need to be sure we are truly Christians. John 3 says 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

    A real Christian is someone who has received Jesus into his life. If you haven’t done that, do so. Pray. It’s just talking to God, like you would talk to someone next to you, or on the phone. Tell God something along the lines of, “I’m sorry for my sins. Will You please forgive me? Will you please come into my life and take over my life? Thank You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

    Please note: just reciting a prayer, saying words, doesn’t mean anything much. This is a serious piece of business, the single most important thing you can do in your life. You need to deeply want, from the inside out, this salvation. You need to absolutely believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal life, and you need to want that more than anything else in the world.

    Romans 10 says 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

    Second, we need to check out people who make themselves out to be leaders against God’s Word. Remember Acts 17 11 Now these [Bereans] were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

    The Bereans would listen to Paul for a while, then go back and check out what they had been saying against God’s Word to see if Paul was on the level.

    1 John 4 says Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God…

    May God bless us richly as we bear His name proudly and genuinely, not in vain.
     

  3. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    God’s special treasure

    I was reading the other day and this passage really struck me.

    Malachi 3 16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. 17 “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” 18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

    The Jews had returned to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon and were getting resettled into life in their beloved homeland of Israel. Many were getting caught up in the day today things of life and God was starting to take a back seat in their lives. However, there were some who, in today’s language, met together for Bible Study or maybe it was just a casual conversation on the street corner, or maybe it was over a cup of coffee at someone's house. They feared the Lord spoke to one another.

    They were talking to each other about God, Who He is, what He has done, what He means to us. They were talking about what God had taught them recently. They were talking about how He had changed their lives. They were discussing Sunday’s sermon and thinking about what it means to them, what it means for Jerusalem, for Israel, and maybe for the surrounding lands and peoples.

    And God sat up and took notice. God had a book of remembrance set up to record what these people were saying to each other. These people, says God, are ones who fear Me and esteem My Name. Lots of other people go to church and do religious things because that’s the nice thing to do and it gets them a good reputation around town, but these people—the ones I’m having recorded in My book of remembrance—are special to me because I am special to them.

    I think that down through history God has continued writing names in His book of remembrance. During the “killing times” in Scotland during the 1600’s the Covenanters met together in home Bible Studies, as they feared the Lord and spoke to one another. If they had been caught they would have had to pay dearly, but their love for God was greater than their fear of the unjust laws of a tyrannical king. The Chinese meet in secret in house churches, have been for many years. From time to time they get caught and are severely punished. But they fear God, love God, and speak to one another. And I’m sure God is recording their names in His book of remembrance.

    The same thing is happening in other countries around the world…Pakistan, India, Viet Nam, Malaysia, and so many other countries. They are the persecuted church. But they still meet together, in small groups, in twos and threes, to encourage each other just like it says in Hebrews 3 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

    They are doing what Paul urged the Thessalonians to do in 1 Thessalonians 5: 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

    Now the wonderful thing. God says in Malachi 3 17 “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession,

    Another way of translating “My own possession” is “My special treasure”.

    We all have “special treasures”. They might be special guns, cars, knick-knacks from special places we’ve visited, mementos of people we have known and loved, certificates; you know what I mean. These special treasures bring back precious memories. We set them up so we can see them and show them off to other people, so we can remember them, and talk about them.
    We take special care of them.

    These people are His special treasures that bring Him pleasure to look at. God has a special book of remembrance for these people, and in due course He has a special place for these people. He takes special care of them. and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”

    That’s what God is doing with us as we consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds; as we encourage one another and build up one another. God takes time out of all the other things He is doing just so He can take note of what we say to one another, write it down in His book of remembrance. He really likes it when we speak to one another about Him.

    In due course He will give us His promotion, make us His special treasures. Only I don’t think we’ll just be set up on a shelf for people to admire. He’ll have special things for us to do. If we proved ourselves useful on earth, He’ll make us useful in Heaven.
     
  4. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Go to the light

    Psalm 76 4 You are resplendent, More majestic than the mountains of prey.

    God is resplendent. That word “resplendent” could also be translated “light”. It carries all the meaning of majesty, of honor, of glory.

    God is pure, unsullied by any shadows of any kind of darkness. There is no compromise with Him. When God sent His son into the world, well, here’s what Hebrews 1 says about Jesus: 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.

    So now, 1 John 1 says 5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

    So is it any wonder that Jesus said this to the crowds in John 8: 12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

    God is more majestic than the mountains of prey. Think loot piled up sky high. The Psalm is about how God has overcome the enemy that came to kill and loot and plunder. He knocked them out, made them powerless. All that gold and silver and art and fine goods they could have taken, piled up into a heap, doesn’t hold a candle to God’s glory and majesty.

    All the goods in the world don’t come near to walking in God’s light. Piles of loot will just get broken, wear out, get stolen, and eventually become a burden. Walking in God’s light leads to life, eternal life.

    So if we have a choice between walking in God’s light, or glorying in piles of loot, go to the light!
     
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  5. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    We’re all in the same boat

    Galatians 3 22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

    I saw an article in a local newspaper that describes how crab fishermen dredge up a variety of crabs, some of which are legal to catch, and others have to be thrown back into the sea. The dredge brings everything up, it all gets dumped into the boat, and the fisherman sorts the crabs and saves out the ones he wants. The rest get dumped.

    Scripture does much the same with people. It collects everyone into the “net” of God’s justice. Romans 3 says 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    Psalm 53 says 2 God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God. 3 Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.

    Everyone gets caught up in the dredge of God’s Justice and dumped into the boat of His judgment. There God sorts through us. Some of us He keeps, the rest He dumps.

    How does He decide on who He keeps? He looks for those who believe in Jesus Christ. These are the ones to whom He gives the promise by faith in Jesus Christ.

    And that promise…what is it? It’s the promise to become God’s children. Four verses down: 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

    What does being “sons of God” mean?

    It means an inheritance greater than anything we could ever imagine. James 2 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

    It means…

    Protection. Psalm 17 8 Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings 9 From the wicked who despoil me, My deadly enemies who surround me.

    Provision. Matthew 6 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

    Prolonged life—eternal life. 1 John 5 11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

    Presence—we get to go directly into the presence of God. Hebrews 4 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

    We all start out in the same boat, all sinners under the law. But God sorts through us, and selects the ones who have faith in His son Jesus Christ, and keeps us.

    God gives us the choice, the option, to become one of the ones He chooses.

    John 1 says 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

    John 3 says 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
     
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  6. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Which compass do you follow?

    Years ago I was in the Colorado Rockies on a map and compass exercise. Our councillor gave us a compass heading to follow and said He would meet us about half a mile along that heading. He knew where he was going; we didn’t. We set the compass, sighted along the bearing and started walking. And walking…and walking…and walking. No sign of our councillor. We kept looking at the compass all along the way, to make sure we stayed on course. Then doubts started to creep in. Had we set the right bearing? Had we made the right magnetic correction? Did the compass work right, or was it defective some way?

    Rather than make what we feared was a bad situation worse, we stopped and blew the whistle our councilor had provided us. He answered by jumping down out of a tree fifty yards directly in front of us!! The compass had been right all along; we just gave up too soon.

    There’s a lesson in there about perseverance. If you know you are on the right track, keep going. We just were not sure we were on the right track. We didn’t trust the compass.

    God gives us a compass. It’s His Word, the Bible. As long as we set the course of our lives along the bearings He gives us through the Bible, we are heading in the right direction. His Holy Spirit helps us understand His instructions as we are going through life.

    Proverbs 3 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
    6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.


    7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
    8 It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.


    There is the choice we have. We can follow the compass of our own intellect, our own wisdom, our own ideas, our own appetites, or we can follow the compass of God’s unlimited intellect, His infinite wisdom, His creative ideas, His perfect desires for us.

    If we follow our own wisdom, we are like the pilot in a plane that gets caught in the clouds. His instruments will keep him straight, but if he decides his instruments are wrong, he starts flying “by the seat of his pants” and starts going in circles, or misjudges his altitude and crashes. Or we are like the people who get lost in the mountains; they start going in circles, fall off a cliff in the darkness or die of starvation and exposure because they didn’t trust their compass, or worse yet, didn’t have one in the first place.

    We need to set our lives by God’s compass, instead of “being wise in our own eyes” and setting our own course. He will show us how to turn away from evil, those precipices we could fall off if we insist on blundering along on the compass bearings of our own wisdom. As long as we know we are referring to His compass, acknowledging Him in all our ways each step of the way through our lives, He will give us a straight course to follow.

    And it will be healing to our bodies. We have the reassurance we are going the right direction. That takes the mental, and emotional strain off our minds—the kind of strain that brings on ulcers and heart attacks and strokes.
     
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  7. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Have I not sent you?

    How many times does God pick the “nobodies” of the world to do great things?

    Consider Gideon. He was least in his father’s house, and his father’s house was least in Israel and he knew it. Not a huge set of credentials to become a leader. But God selected him to free Israel from an oppressive regime.

    Here’s the commission God laid on him:

    Judges 6 14 The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”

    What strength did Gideon have? None. He had no credentials. He had no powerful family to back him. He didn’t have piles of money or loads of friends. Maybe that’s why God chose him. He didn’t have any strength of his own. You remember later on God whittled down his army of 30,000 men to just 300.

    God wanted to drive home the fact that He was doing the delivering, not the people. Judges 7 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’

    Gideon had no strength of his own. But He did have God’s commission: “Have I not sent you?” That was his strength. Not his own physical strength or leadership ability, or his circle of friends, or strong family or business ties. Just God’s commission.

    It’s the same commission God gave Joshua in Joshua 1: 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

    It’s the same commission Jesus gives us in Matthew 28: 19 Go therefore … and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

    We go in this our strength…what strength? The strength God gives. Remember what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12? 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” … for when I am weak, then I am strong.

    Our strengths can become our greatest weaknesses if we trust ourselves and leave God out of the equation. Our weaknesses can become our greatest strengths as we obey God, carrying out His commission. When He sends us and we obey, we are unstoppable.
     
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  8. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Conquerors through Him

    Romans 8 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

    Compared with other things and people and governments and social movements in this world, we are weak, insignificant individuals. They can bring unbearable pressure on us to conform to their standards. They attack people who live and talk God’s standards with unceasing lies and threats and all kinds of intimidation and persecution.

    Christians in other parts of the world get it from their governments, and even if their governments don’t formally oppose Christianity, they turn a blind eye when mobs attack churches in their countries, and beat and murder Christians in broad daylight.

    Christians in the Western world are persecuted by the liberal mob. The Vice-President of the US has been verbally assaulted for his Christian lifestyle. God’s Law is being publicly stamped into the mud at every opportunity.

    If we dare to stick our heads above the parapet and declare God’s Good News to the world we make ourselves targets. But God makes His promise to us…Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Jesus said that we would face rough times in Matthew 5, but he also said we would be blessed as we go through them.

    And God says we will not only survive these times, but we will overwhelmingly conquer these rough times and this rough treatment we receive from the world. Those Christians who are being martyred by ISIS and other anti-Christian groups around the world, even in their deaths are overwhelmingly conquering the enemy. They are not caving in to the pressures society and governments and social movements put on them to conform to this world.

    24 year old Patrick Hamilton was burned at the stake in St. Andrews, Scotland on February 29, 1528. He would not bend or recant any of what he was preaching because it is God’s truth. It was said that "the reek of Patrick Hamilton hath infected all those on whom it blew". Many people watched as he died, and began to question what they were being spoon-fed by the powers that be. Many turned to Christ as a result of seeing or hearing about what had happened to Patrick Hamilton.

    We don’t have much strength in ourselves. But, just like Gideon, we have God’s commission backing us, “Go in this your strength” and we “overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

    And when we let God work through us, we make a big difference in the world.