1Sam 4 to 7 What do you trust in for salvation? Works? Prayers? Something else? The author of Cripplegate writes:
“Most world religions are a form of what Christians call works righteousness. That expression—works righteousness—is used to describe the world view that believes God is real, heaven is real, and you have to be good to get there. Good is then defined as something along the lines of “trying hard to lead a good life.”
That is how the Israelites and the Philistines lived life. They confused the Ark of the Covenant to save them in a precarious battle only to be defeated. The Philistines captured the Ark and knew the proof of the Egyptian plagues but felt their idol god Dagon was greater. God turned that idea on his head when he defaced Dagon not once but twice.
Satan is a master deceiver. He “blinds the minds…so [we] would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ.”[2Cor 4:4] Salvation only comes when we accept the provision He has provided: Jesus Christ the righteous! Remember there is none righteous no, not one. [Rom 3:10] Trust in Jesus not works: For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; [Eph 2:8]
For more from Cripplegate: https://thecripplegate.com/
Judges 19-21 How do we handle stories like the one God left for us in these last chapters? God wants us to see how patient He is with our sinful natures. God is also challenging us to recognize why we need to evangelize the world with the gospel message, which is the only path to redeeming hearts that are “deceitful above all things and desperately sick.” [Jer 17:9] A third lesson we can glean from this is to see how deep the depth of sin leads even men of the cloth to be callous, irreverent, deceitful, selfish, and liars—they need Jesus too. In summary, God has saved this story to help us see the depravity and reality of Romans 1:18-31.
There are some questions we need to be asking. Are we spreading the good news that can alter the hard hearts, whether they are men of the cloth or just people like you and me? Are we standing up for those like the concubine and whose voice is never heard? Are we outraged at self-righteousness and hypocrisy? Are we compassionate for those who fall beneath the cracks of society? Take time today to pray for those who are caught up in this depravity. Pray for a heart change. Pray for boldness to speak words of God’s love. Pray for God’s eyes to see and His ears to hear the cry of those who need defending.
Lev 5 “It is all about holiness before a holy God.”
One phrase is repeated in this chapter about sin: “even if he did not realize it…” This is not talking about intentional rebellion, but those sins that we unintentionally commit and then realize. When sin brings guilt we have a choice: we can ignore it OR confess it to God seeking His forgiveness and cleansing.
These Leviticus chapters were written to the Israelites to demonstrate the love and mercy of God upon these unintentional sins and how men were able to seek God’s forgiveness. Then people had to do it over and over and over. Jesus paid it all on the cross once and for all. Both then and now all must seek God’s mercy gift. God wanted us to realize that sin is not just against a fellow citizen, but God Himself. God is right to condemn our sin because He is holy, and He calls us to be holy. Without the sacrifice we stand guilty before God in need of atonement.
Today we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to speak to our heart. We must confess our sin; seek God’s forgiveness; trust that He is faithful and righteous and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [1John 1:9 paraphrase]
Do you need this today? Do not delay but listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
1John 1&2 In time past, you chose to accept Jesus as your Savior when the gospel was presented. You moved from a life of darkness into the illuminated life of the believer. One of the blessings of that new relationship is that you have the indwelling Holy Spirit to assist you in abiding. Abiding is our intimate relationship with Jesus, our Advocate, and Blessed Redeemer/Savior. It has the essence of how we respond to Jesus and His commandments. We allow Him to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections. Jesus takes up residence within us through the Holy Spirit as He promised. As our indwelling teacher, the Holy Spirit (John 14:26, 16:13) will bring thoughts to our mind, direct our steps if we are yielding, and will give us understanding to the “all things” of the scriptures.
Blessed Beloved Ones, remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding lest you be led astray. Test the spirits to know if they are of God or not. Check and see if you are abiding, loving, anointed.
Abide anointed ones, for you are blessed beyond measure.
How often do you go through FB or your email and receive this notice: this is a one-time offer! Pleading with us that after x,y,z minutes, that offer will not be available. How grateful to know that Jesus’ sacrifice was a one-time offering and it is never rescinded. Now He asks just as Isaiah: “Come, let’s consider your options,” says the Lord. “Though your sins have stained you like the color red, you can become white like snow; though they are as easy to see as the color scarlet, you can become white like wool. [Is 1:18]
His offer to save you stands now as it did centuries ago when he died on that cruel cross. If you have partaken of this offer, you, along with the many who have, stand sanctified in Christ before God and have access to the Father Himself.
Therefore, let us draw near Him because we are sprinkled clean; our bodies are washed in pure water. We are to hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess. We are not to be like the wavering sea of the ocean that James presents. We are to consider how to stimulate others to love and good deeds, for this is the avenue by which the world will know who we are. We are to assemble to encourage others and even more so as we see the day approaching. Lastly, we are to endure to the very end.
Romans 9 to 11: Temporal losses of a job are tough, but there is always hope to find another. You can lose a home and its contents, but you can build a new one. But you cannot bring back a loved one. Paul’s heart is broken 💔 for his people, but he also knows and understands the why; they who are lost are stubborn just as he was and Pharaoh along with countless others. Truth: “if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us.” [Heb 10:26]
Men’s hearts are hard and stubborn. They think there is a tomorrow when they can call upon God for salvation but there may be no tomorrow; today is the day of salvation. They know God’s mercy is evident and they understand that He has stretched out His hands to them but they keep delaying. Is this you? Have you called upon the Lord who saves? If not, know this; God and others are grieving for your soul.
Paul is speaking, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.” Is this your grief too for those who are lost?
Blessed One, we must earnestly contend for the faith. [Jude 1:3] We must “go and make disciples.” [Matt 28] We must pray for our loved ones who do not know Christ. Just as Moses, Paul was willing to forgo his eternal salvation so that the lost might be saved. Would we be so willing?
Romans 8 “Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” because you are/we are free from the law of sin and death and are alive in Christ. [Rom 8:1] They who accept the free gift of salvation can say with Paul; I am now righteous because of the sacrifice of Christ and am justified by faith.
Even though we were sinners, Christ died for us. [Rom 5:8] His life for ours freely given out of love. It is because of that truth; we can say, “I was crucified with Christ, yet am alive and live because of his faithfulness. Therefore it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us.” (Gal 2:20 author’s paraphrase) We can know for certain that if we have died with him, we will reign with him. Not only is this true: no more condemnation awaits us, but also nothing can separate us from Him. We are eternally secure. We who have heard and accepted the gospel and the Holy Spirit are to proclaim Christ’s saving knowledge and His work of redemption. You, too, can know this truth: you are not condemned and you are eternally secure.
Many do not know this, so pray for open doors to speak of His lovingkindness to them.
Acts 28 John Jacob Astor believed that the Titanic was unsinkable, yet he and his wealth are at the bottom of the ocean because of his stubborn pride and lack of foresight—the Titanic only carried enough lifeboats for half of the passengers—Astor was not saved. We hear the words of Paul “men, you should have listened to me.” [Acts 27:21]
On the Adriatic Sea God sent another storm tossing the ship Paul was on. Just like the Titanic, the ship’s captain did not heed the words of Paul to stay on the island of Crete. Yet, God can overrule men’s decisions so that they may come face to face with the God of the storms. In this case, He chose to preserve Roman soldiers, centurions, rowers, the captain and prisoners so they might hear Paul teach and preach the resurrection of Christ. Did they respond because of the storm? Only in eternity will we know. Yet this is true: “Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.” [Rom 10:17]
God does the same for us today; He uses ordinary people like you and me to carry out His divine appointed plans. We never know when we may experience a storm so men may hear the story of the resurrected Christ.
What storm are you facing?
Will you let God use you to share the resurrected Christ to others?
You may be experiencing the pandemic in spades. You are stuck at home with little ones or your job is only using the technology of zoom, Google meet, or Whatsapp. No matter what, we can follow Paul’s example of using every available opportunity to present Christ.
Therefore, the question is, how are we using this down time?
God gave Paul multiple opportunities to present Christ and the resurrection. He courageously presented Christ before the Jews, Romans, Governors Felix and Festus, King Agrippa, Bernice, Drusilla, the Sadducees and Pharisees, the soldiers, the Roman Commander Lysias, the Jewish High Priest, and the crowd. Is this amazing, or what?
Paul knows that he is God’s chosen instrument to carry His name before Gentiles. [Acts 9:15] In chapter 23, the Lord came to Paul in the night and promised him that he would testify in Rome. No matter where we find ourselves, we have His Word and a reminder to “go and make disciples.” [Matt 28]
Today as you go about your day, keep an eye out for divine opportunities to present Christ and the gospel message. It might be just a quick word of encouragement or a conversation. Wherever it may be, be alert and watchful lest these who will one day stand before a holy God have to hear “depart from Me, I never knew you” because we failed to present Him.
Acts 20 We are to be in a race of winning people to Christ and until He returns. We are the “people of the cross” with the message of truth: Jesus alone is The Way, The Truth, and The Life! [Jn 14:6] Paul left the Ephesian elders for the last time: “testifying …about repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus.” [Acts 20:21] Paul’s testimony was: “I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace.” [Acts 20:24]. Later he would write: “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith!” [2Ti 4:7]
We are to be busy testifying about the gospel message even when the wolves rear up. Remember this promise: “Indeed, the Lord who commands armies has a plan,” and it will be fulfilled. [Isa 14:27] “Obedience is better than crumbling to the fears of speaking out.” [O. Harris] Be faithful to pray that God releases his angelic army, miraculous signs and wonders so that the enemy’s mission of destruction is hindered. Pray that unbelievers may have dreams that will convict and turn them from unbelief to the true Messiah.
Pray that we remain steadfast as the “people of the cross.”