This is my very first blog entry for this website –
Richard . . .
Proverbs 23:23 “Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline, and understanding.”
God places a very high importance on obtaining wisdom, being disciplined and having understanding. If we are His children and truly love God, shouldn’t it be apparent in our lifestyles?
I am appalled as I witness the disobedience of this generation and the outright rebellion of my peers and their children. On every hand I see children who lack respect for their parents, teachers, law enforcement, Government officials, and the list goes on . . . And sadly enough for many of those young people, it is learned behavior. It is behavior that is learned from their parents. Parents who say that they know God, but in works they deny him, because they are not obedient to His Word and parents who are leading their children down the path to destruction.
If you are a Christian young person reading this article, you need to know that spiritual law is higher & more powerful than any natural law on earth. One of the spiritual laws that you need to be aware of is the law of “sowing & reaping”. The Word of God says “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galations 6:7 This statement is as iron clad as any in the Bible.
Parents, we have a responsibility in this as well. It is important that we realize that what we do in moderation, our children will do in excess! WE set the tone for our children’s future success or failure. WE are the ones that God will hold accountable if we choose to lead our children down the wrong path. Have we set the right example?
My question for our young people is, “where are the true leaders among you in this generation?” I am speaking about young people who are mature enough, wise enough, and disciplined enough to stand up to their peers and speak the truth.
The Word of God says that the Old Testament scriptures were written for our admonition. I read in the book of Daniel a story of four Hebrew boys who were EXACTLY the type of young men that God is looking for in this generation. I am speaking of Belteshazzar, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Better known to us as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego.
Daniel 1:4 records that these young men were ” . . .youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court;”
Proverbs 1:1-3 begins “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair;” Some of the richest and most relevant truths in God’s Word can be found in the book of Proverbs & Ecclesiastes.My challenge to all of us is to turn to the Living God and discipline our lives according to His Word.
Parents, before we can teach our children Godly living, we MUST live it before them. We must set the tone and be the examples that our children long for us to be. “He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.”
Psalms 9:10 “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”
There is absolutely no need to fear the things that are coming upon the earth if you have a personal relationship with the God of all creation. He will take care of His own!
If you know anything about God’s Word at all, you KNOW that what God says will surely come to pass, it is going to come to pass just as He said it would. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived by the distractions of this life. Keep your trust in the one who is able to save your souls.
The story of Elijah & Elisha recorded in 2 Kings chapter two holds a valuable lesson for all of us if we can grasp the importance of the message that God trying to convey.
Elisha was a young protégé of the great prophet Elijah. At one point in the account of Elijah’s life, the sons of the prophets, who knew by the Spirit of God that Elijah was going to be taken up into the heavens by a whirlwind, told Elisha what had been revealed to them.
Elisha so passionately wanted to have a portion of God’s Spirit upon himself that he would not allow ANYTHING to separate him from the presence of Elijah. (read the full account)
I want to encourage you to keep your focus on the things of God. Just as Elisha refused to be separated from his mentor Elijah before he was taken up in a whirlwind. Elisha had every opportunity to become distracted, but his hearts desire was to obtain a double portion of the Spirit of God that was upon Elijah. “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” 2 Kings 2:9 “The most secure place for any believer is to remain in continuous fellowship with our Heavenly Father.”
Nationally, the Thanksgiving holiday is a day set aside for those who are living in the United States of America to pause and give thanks. But for the Christian, EVERY DAY should be a day of thanksgiving! We have so much to be grateful to God for.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be like the world. The world only see’s negative in everything, they live on the negative side of life. But for the child of God, for those who have been born again, their very nature has changed. II Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness (which is a kingdom of unthankfulness) and have been translated into the kingdom of His dear Son.
God’s Word tells us that we are to give thanks to Him in everything. As you search the scriptures you will see that even in the most dire of circumstances the people of God gave thanks. King David was one of those people. In Psalms 95:1,2 he said “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
I work in manufacturing and the phrase “Return to TRUTH” carries with it a two-fold significance. One of the things that I immediately took note of as I worked on the shop floor was a green tote that had the phrase “RETURN to Truth” printed on exterior of the container. The tote was used to distribute parts that we received from a vendor to the assembly lines where it was to use for the products that we manufactured. The name of that vendor was “Truth”. Of course the intent of this message for solely to serve as a reminder for its customer to return the container so that it could be re-used. And, if the container were not returned, then the company would be charged accordingly. However for me, it bore another message.
As I considered the message that was being displayed on this container, it dawned on me what a powerful thought that it conveyed. I thought to myself about how many of us, at one time or another, have drifted from the path that we knew to be right. It’s sad to say, but sometimes the choice is made intentionally. At some point, if we fail to heed the message of “returning to truth”, we will suffer the consequences of our rebelliousness. The scriptures tell us in James 4:7 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” The Psalmist said, in Psalms 119:67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept thy Word”. God’s Word teaches us that there is a place, when we are walking in disobedience, that is outside of His umbrella of protection. He doesn’t want us to go there, but if we insist, He will allow it. Once there, more often than not, we will suffer affliction. It is at this point of our life that we may come to realize that we aren’t where we need to be with God. That was very evident in the life of the Prodigal son. But if we are wise and recognize the error of our way, we can return to Him (His Word) and receive His forgiveness. He longs for us to return to Him because He loves us with a never-ending love and affection. Just like the Prodigal’s father ran to embrace him after he had “come to himself”, even so our Heavenly Father will run to meet us. At this point of realizing the error of our way, we are more inclined than ever to stay within the confines of God’s Word. This is the message that the Psalmist is attempting to convey. God gave His Word for our benefit and our good. If we will only humble ourselves and become obedient to His Word, then we can eat the good of the land and enjoy the blessings of God as He intended.
If you are reading this message today and can relate to what has been written, then this message is for you, “Return to TRUTH”! If your life has taken a turn down the wrong path, it is not too late to turn back. You are at a point of decision right now, what will you do? Continue to walk the path that has led to your afflictions, or will you return to the God of all creation and humble yourself before Him. He will take you back! He will love you and bless you more than you can know. Just like the Prodigal son’s father put a ring on his finger and a robe on his back. Your Heavenly Father will honor you & bless you in like manner. Turn to Him today ….
John 8:32 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Jesus is the true source of freedom! Don’t be deceived by the claims of the “religions” of the world. There is only ONE SOURCE of real freedom and that comes from God alone through Jesus, the Christ. There is no other source that can free a man from sin. Jesus stated that if we would be faithful to obey His Word then that Word would set us free! The Word of God tells us that “… sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14
Our Lord Jesus stated in John 8:34 that “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” The Bible says that sin has torment …
There is nothing more blessed in the life of an individual than to be free from the bondage of sin. There is no reason to continue living a life that is where you are bound by sin. There is no pleasure known to man that can take the place of the peace that comes with knowing that your sins have been forgiven.
All that it takes is for you to recognize the fact that God sent His Son Jesus into the world so that if you would believe in Him, He has the power to deliver you from sin & SET YOU FREE!
Don’t be deceived, JESUS is the only way to the Father. Won’t you turn to Him today?
Ephesians 4:13 ” Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
One of the more memorable highlights of my childhood was standing up against a wall and having my dad or grandfather make a mark on the doorway, level with the crown of my head, in order to prove to me that I was growing. I had only to return to that same place in a couple of months and have them repeat the process, then turn around and see that the mark was made a little bit higher on the wall! I WANTED TO GROW! And this was a great opportunity for me to SEE that I was growing!
Soon after becoming a follower of Christ I found myself once again in the place of wanting to grow, only this time I was desiring to grow spiritually. I was now a new man in Christ “…old things have passed away and all thing are become new” II Corinthians 5:17 I wanted to experience a deeper walk of faith with my Lord. The only problem now was knowing how to measure that growth. So I ask you, how do you measure spiritual growth? Do you measure spiritual growth by how loud you pray, or how many hands you shake during greeting time?
Well, through the years I have found a couple of ways to grow spiritually. One of them is found in Ephesians 4:11-16 (read) which tells me that after Jesus ascended on high that He gave ministry gifts to the church in the form of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors & Teachers.
He gavetheses gifts so that we could hear the word of God preached and thereby we would “be no more be children” Vs. 14 but that we could “grow up into Him” Vs. 15 in ALL THINGS! After all of these years I can yet today step away, turn around, and SEE that I have grown! The failures of the past no longer overpower me, because I have chosen to conform myself to the image of Christ by being obedient to the Word of God that I have heard all of these ministers preaching all of the years prior. That, coupled with my personal devotions & study of God’s Word.
The other way that I know that I have grown spiritually is found in the verse below. I have learned that as I submit myself to God & His Word and ACT on it (live it) I have grown stronger in the faith that I have. I have learned that to resist the devil when I am tempted is much the same as exercising (resistance causes muscles to grow). Each time I do that I get stronger. But I must remain consistent … otherwise I lose a little strength. Much like when I stop exercising physically. I have learned that when I “resist” I gain strength, but when I “yield” to the devil and do things that I know are wrong, things that I shouldn’t be doing, I become weaker. The choice is mine ….
James 4:7 ” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Purpose in your heart today to serve Him better & draw closer to HIM as we see the day of our Lord’s appearing quickly approaching!
Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shallnot return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
There is an old country song that speaks of a farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher riding on a late night bus heading for Mexico. One was heading on vacation, one for higher education and two of them looking for lost souls. As the story goes this bus was T-boned in a highway intersection by an eighteen wheeler and three of the four passengers died as a result of the accident. As the preacher was about to pass into eternity he placed his blood stained Bible into the hand of the hooker and then passed on. Speaking of the only survivor the song writer said ‘why there was not four (fatalities), heaven only knows’. But one phrase in that song strikes a note of truth to me & I want to share that with you in this faith-byte.
The lyrics of the song stated “I guess it’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it’s what you leave behind you when you go.” Most all of those who read this realize that the scriptures tell us that “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither:” Job 1:21 That is a universal fact that has been joked about for hundreds of years. But the point I want to make with you is this….. when your days are fulfilled on this earth, what are you leaving behind you? What will your legacy be?
So many of us have asked ourselves, and ‘yes’ in many cases, even asked of God, “what value is my life on the earth?” Well, if you are a Christian today and you have been one of those that has asked this question, I want to leave you with this thought. Our scripture verse above (Isaiah 55:11) says that as God’s Word goes forth it will accomplish what he pleases and prosper in the thing whereto he sent it. In other words when you heard the Word of Truth, it brought faith. When you as a believer in Jesus acted upon that truth of God he caused a transformation to take place in your life that in the words of the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 5:17 stated ‘old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new’. That was you! If you have made good choices and continued to walk in that truth, there is a ripple affect that takes place. Your testimony is ‘read’ by all men and in many cases has been instrumental in leading others to Jesus simply because of the impact that God had in your life. You see, others can see God at work in the life of a believer, whether you realize that it is happening or not.
The Psalms speak prophetically about how the life of a believer after it is changed by the Power of God is seen of others who in turn gain a new reverence for God (fear of God) and turn to Him in trust! Your life counts!!!
“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” Psalms 40:3
The end of the old country song concluded by saying “That’s the story that our preacher told last Sunday” as he held up that blood-stained Bible for everyone to see. God bless the farmer, and the teacher…..and the preacher who gave this Bible to my mamma, who then read it to me.
The moral of the story simply is this: the life of one committed follower of Jesus can (and will) have an impact on those they come in contact with in their lives. The life that may be impacted can be a result of what God is doing through you!
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1 Peter 3:10
“For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:”
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:“
The Word of God has a tremendous amount to say about ‘the tongue’. The scriptures referenced above only scratch the surface as we broach this topic. First off, we were created in the ‘image of God’ Genesis 1:7 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” As we continue to read through the books of both the Old & New Testaments we see that God’s Words were creative & powerful. God SAID ‘Let there be light and there was light’ in the first book of the Bible. In Psalms 107.20 “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Another example can be found in the New Testament when Jesus (who was God in the flesh) healed the centurions servant by speaking the Word alone – Matthew 8:13 “And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.”
Words are ‘containers’ that carry either life or death as well as blessing or cursing to yourself and those that are affected by the words that you speak. By being created in God’s image it is important that we follow His example, we must imitate His behavior by speaking words that edify (build up) each other, rather than tear each other down. Ephesians 5:1 “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;” another translation says that we are to be ‘mockers & imitators’ of God as dear children.
“Be ye therefore follower of God, as dear children”
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true HOLINESS”
As I concluded my ‘devo’s this morning I sat in my chair and pondered this very question as I finished reading the 4th & 5th chapters of the book of Ephesians. I am saddened and totally amazed (almost to the point of feeling upset in my stomach) at what I am seeing in take place in the church today. What I see is a church that has let their guard down. I see a church that does not demand holiness from it’s membership. I see a lot of people going to church and filling the pews every Sunday that really show no real hunger for the Word of God, and it is no wonder why they carry that attitude. In many cases what they are hearing is a ‘feel good’ message that has no substance. I hear ‘grace’ being preached in many circles, but it is a grace that has been incorrectly interpreted. What I am hearing is a message that says if you fall short in your Christian walk, God will understand. That type of reasoning only communicates to those that are not conforming to the image of Christ that it is o.k. if there is sin in your life, God knows and he is o.k. with it. HE’s NOT o.k with that! There is absolutely no scripture to support that kind of reasoning. What God’s Word does say is to “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.”
Rather than preaching the TRUTH of God’s Word and encouraging our members to COME OUT OF THEIR FORMER way of life in the corrupt works of darkness, we have ‘lowered the bar’ by pandering to them. We are instructed in God’s Word to be RENEWED in the spirit of our minds. We are COMMANDED of God to “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. I have a NEWS FLASH! Grace doesn’t lower the bar!!!! I am not advocating that we should not show patience for those that are weak in the faith. In no way am I saying that we should not be tolerant to someone who is new in their walk in Christ. What I am saying is that it is time that we EXPECT the church to ‘grow up’ into Christ and to behave ourselves in a manner that brings glory to HIM. Let us put aside anything that smacks of the world and put on the robe of righteousness and truly FOLLOW CHRIST! Colossians 3:5-6 commands us, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence (strong sexual desire), and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.“ Here we read it again, IT MUST BE IMPORTANT TO GOD!!!
We have allowed (tolerated) SIN to creep into our churches and it is totally being ignored in the name of ‘grace’, this is SHAMEFUL! We allow our members to live in open sin and do nothing to address the issues as we are instructed in scripture to do! The greater part of the book of 1st Corinthians was written to the church at Corinth in an attempt to correct errors in the church. What is the Church of Jesus Christ doing today to correct errors in the church? Preaching the truth of the Word of God is not a very popular thing to do in this generation, but it is required of us if we are going to stand before God and give an account for how we have lead the church. Colossians 1:28 says, “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:”
We have a responsibility to the church, to the Body of Christ. Are we fulfilling God’s expectation of us by preaching the truth of His Word in the church today?