Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  NASB

This is a very interesting, sometimes perplexing, and complex passage.  I have heard arguments from all sides regarding what it means to be ‘poor in spirit’ and most of those arguments leave me wanting.  What was Jesus teaching?  Was He teaching that being poor makes one happy?  What is a ‘poor spirit’

The word “blessed” in the Greek text means “happy”.  That focuses on the source of that blessedness or the quarter from which that happiness comes.  Here the statement is “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”  Jesus, what are you talking about? 

As I examine this beautiful yet troubling beatitude, I bring my mind to bear on the word “Blessed” or “Happy” and proceed from there.  If something is a blessing and brings happiness which is the result of a stimulus that is a good place to begin our consideration.  The stimuli that produce that state of Blessedness is being poor in spirit.  The benefit or reward for that condition is ‘the Kingdom of Heaven.’  That is nothing short of incredible.  Who would not want the Kingdom of Heaven to be a current and daily reality in their lives?  What believer would not want God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth in the same manner and to the same degree it is done in heaven?

How is the abundance of God’s riches to be squared with poverty?  It cannot be. But poverty is not the topic but being ‘poor in spirit.’  If I am poor in the natural, I have no goods.  If I am poor in relationships, I am alone.  If I am poor in health, I am sick.  So, what does it mean to be ‘poor in spirit’?

Let me suggest a possibility and you decide if you consider it a valid consideration or explanation.  I suggest that being ‘poor in spirit’ is to be ‘empty of self.’  Remember the words of John the Baptist in John 3:30?  He said, concerning Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  I suggest that He cannot increase to us, until and unless we decrease to ourselves.  The apostle Paul warned not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think in Romans 12:3. 

I suggest that being ‘poor in spirit’ is a condition in which we totally rely on and trust in God.  We recognize our own mortality and finiteness and focus on his immortality and infiniteness.  Our hearts and minds are focused upward and outward rather than inward.  If I am ‘rich’ toward who I think I am and the top priority is given to me, my needs, my wants, my ambitions, I am number one.  There can only be one number one in our lives.  Remember the declaration of Jesus in Matthew 6:24 that it is impossible to serve two masters at the same time. 

If I am ‘poor in spirit’ I recognize my frailty, failure, sin, and unfitness.  It is in that condition that I shift my focus to Him and as I look to Him, I have the immeasurable promises of the Bible to strengthen me.  He has promised in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that His grace is sufficient, and His strength is made perfect when we recognize and acknowledge our weakness.  He is the Almighty God and we are finite mortal created beings.  He is the giver and sustainer of life we are recipients of that life not the creators of it.  The ‘poor in spirit’ recognize Him and turn to Him.

I challenge you to consider Psalm 91 and Matthew 6:33 and reflect on the incredible promises of God for the one that makes Him first in their lives.  That person that empties themselves of self and refuses put anything before Him is rich in Him while being poor in their own spirit.  Being ‘poor in spirit’ is to recognize that it is in Him and only in Him that we live and move and have being. 

If you are rich in yourself (we are not talking about possessions but attitude) you are a pauper in Him.  On the other hand if you empty yourself of self and cast all your care on Him trusting Him for your everything you become possessors of His Promises and in those promises are the words of Jesus in Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” 

My desire is “LORD, help me to focus less on me and more on You.  Help me to empty myself of self and open my heart to You.  Help me to become ‘poor in spirit’ and rich in You so that I can truly be an instrument for good in this world and bring joy to Your heart.”

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!


John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”  NASB

Abiding in Him and having His Words abide in us is a significant challenge.  It cannot and will not be achieved with superficial Christianity.  I am not suggesting that we become eerily spiritual in our lives but that we completely commit our entire selves to God.  He becomes the first thought of our day and the last thought as we retire in the evening.  He is our Hope, our Source, our Strength, and the reason we do everything we do.  It is in Him and through Him that we live and exist.  We are conscious of Him all the time.  I did not say we felt something all the time but that we are conscious of Him, His Word, His Purpose, and His Precepts.  Our lives are becoming one with Him completely.

He promises that “IF” we abide in Him and His words abide in us whatever we wish or ask will be done for us.  I love 1 John 5:14-15 – “And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”  That is nothing short of incredible! 

The Psalmist declared in Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  The next verse is equally powerfully declaring, “Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”  Also, if we consider the promises of Psalm 91, we are blown away. 

The man or woman who dwells in God, in His secret place, which is the picture John 15 paints of ‘abiding’ in Him and His words ‘abiding’ in us.  The promises are that we receive deliverance and protection from the snares of life and pestilence.  We discover that we are fearless because fear is banished.  We have the promise that although there are calamity and disaster all around us it won’t touch us.  The angels of God are commissioned to watch over us and protect us.  There is even the promise of long life and the promise that God will answer our prayers.  That is amazing! 

Joshua 1:8 is incredibly powerful and holds a great reward.  It says, “The Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous and you will have good success.” 

How about Psalms 1 and the picture of the blessed man.  He is the one that is ‘abiding’ in God and God’s words are ‘abiding’ in him.  The passage God used to bring me to salvation was Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” 

I have to ask, “If God promised a place that we could have answers to all our prayers, why are we not living there?”  I would also ask, “When did God stop being God?” If Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever as the Bible declares and He did things once, ‘Why Not Now?’” 

I do not believe that God makes any statement in the Bible that includes a Promise or Provision that is somehow unavailable to those of us who believe.  In Isaiah 55:11 the declaration of God was that His word would not return to Him without fulfilling His decree.  In Numbers 23:19, God challenged Israel with the question, “have I not said it, and will I not do it?”  What is it that God says that He either cannot or will not do? 

I want to dwell in His Presence in the here and now.  I pray the prayer He instructed in Matthew 6 and believe that God would never have instructed us to pray that way if it were not possible.  He would never have said the words of John 15:7 if they were not possible.  If I were to adopt the mentality that some of God is Word is for me now and some are not, I would be terrified that Salvation is also no longer available.  God is a Covenant Making and Covenant Keeping God and He Tells the Truth.

Therefore, if I am not getting the answer to all my prayers the problem is not with Him.  I am tired of making excuses for God when something does not happen that I am praying for.  He doesn’t need my excuses and they do me no good.  If I ask according to His will, He says that I have what I have asked.  In our scripture, we are considering He says that if I abide in Him and His words abide in me, I get what I ask. 

Therefore, rather than finding excuses as to why we don’t have that a reality in our lives why not seek to find out why not and commit ourselves to press into His presence? It is my hope that each of us will become more like Him and lives more fully manifest Him and His word.

God bless you as you enjoy this beautiful day in Jesus!


John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”  NASB

Part one of the equation and the fulfillment of the Promise requires us to ‘Abide’ in Him.  That ‘abiding’ must be done 24/7/365 and be a total commitment not compartmentalization of aspects of our lives and being.  It is ‘abiding’ In Him with our whole being. I wish I could tell you that this passage is a daily and constant reality in my life, but I can’t.  Yes, I love God and am committed to Him, but I cannot say that whatever I wish or ask for I get all the time.  Now let’s consider part two of the equation.


It is one thing to ‘abide’ in Him, in Jesus but what about His words ‘abiding’ in us.  Consider this in the same manner as you considered the 1st part of the equation, ‘abiding in Him.’  Is the Word of God one with us, all the time, in all situations, and in all places?  Do we ever find ourselves operating in the flesh and trusting our own wisdom, thoughts, words, and ability?  Of course, most of us do.  Before you say, “But we are human so what else can we expect, I ask you to look at the verse again.” 

The “if” is inescapable and it not only implies that there is something expected and required of us but that fulfilling that requirement is possible.  If ‘abiding’ in Him requires 24/7/365 commitment and focus, then having His words ‘abide’ in us does as well.  Paul instructed the Thessalonian Christians to “pray without ceasing.”  How can that be possible?  How can one function in life if you are engaged in prayer every waking moment and even in your sleep invested in the process? 

It is through ‘abiding’ in Him and having His words ‘abide’ in us that we can pray without ceasing and stay focused on Him fully.  It is as we become one with Him through Grace and one with His Word that we discover the possibility of praying without ceasing, rejoicing always, and discover the ability to manifest Him as well as represent Him in this present world.  I call your attention to 1 John 4:17 where the apostle John brings our attention to God’s desired reality that “as Jesus is, so are we in this world.”  He was not talking about what we would be when we get to heaven, here in the present. 

How is He?  Is He not one with the Father?  He said He was.  Is He not always making intercession for us?  He said He was.  In fact, if you examine the total of scripture you discover in the word of Jesus to Pilate that the Word of God is Truth and then in John 14:6 Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”  So, the Word of God is Truth and Jesus is the Truth, is that a conflict?  Hardly for in John 1:1 we read the incredible declaration that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  So, if the Word of God is Truth and Jesus is Truth and the Word created all things, then we know that the Word is Jesus. 

If we are to have His Words abide in us, we must have Jesus abiding in us and we must become one with His Word.  I acknowledge the distinction between words and word.  He is the Word, but His Words are those truths and principles He taught.  I urge you to recall His promise that when the Holy Spirit comes, He brings light to the truth of God and guides us into All Truth which is the Word, which is Jesus.  He leads us into the fullness of Jesus, and we are able to become one with the Word of Christ!

The Word of God transforms us.  One of the ways it transforms us in through our thoughts or the ‘renewing of our minds.’  It is as we become one with the word that we learn to both abide in Him and have His words abide in us.  In short, we become the physical manifestation of God’s Word.  The Power of God flows to and through us.  We are able to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus.  We are able to demonstrate the Word of God in our lives. 

Imagine living in a manner and being so completely united with Him and His Words that doubt vanishes completely! The disciples were channels of extraordinary miracles. That, I believe was only possible because they were ‘abiding’ in Him and His words were ‘abiding’ in them. 

I am reminded of the account in Acts 19 where it speaks of the seven sons of Sceva who had observed the miracles performed by Paul through the power of the Holy Spirit.  They decided to cast out a demon and thought it was a formula, so they declared, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches come out.”  The demon was not impressed.  The spirit said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I am familiar with, but who are you?” The results of that encounter would be hilarious were it not so serious and so true of too many today.

When we become one with the Word and the Words of Jesus abide in us as we abide in Him, we unleash the Power of Heaven and this becomes a very real fulfillment of the prayer Jesus taught in Matthew 6:10 – “Thy kingdom come…”  It opens the door for God to be God in our lives and in our world.  How can I doubt, if Jesus is living His life through me?  How can I doubt, if I become one with the Word of God?  How can I doubt, if ‘as He is, I am in this present world’?

We are half-way through our examination of this Promise, Problem, and Possibility.  I hope you will join me for more consideration of this as we seek to see this passage become a daily reality in our lives.

God bless you as you run today’s leg of your life’s journey. 


John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”  NASB

There are verses in the Bible that are problematic.  Not that they are problems concerning the truth but a problem of them being a normal manifestation in our lives.  This is one of those passages.  There are four things specifically listed in this passage that must be considered when seeking to understand and implement this directive, challenge, and promise into our lives individually and collectively.

There is that dastardly word “if” at the beginning and virtually any time we find “if” there is a potential problem because there is a condition attached to the promise.  Usually, it is an “if” followed by a “then”.  In those we find God telling us that “if” you will, “then” I will do this or that.  I ask you to join me in seeking to become the people who enjoy the fulfillment of the promise in this passage.

Imagine living in such a manner that whatever you wish for, hope for, long for, or ask God for is yours.  Of course, there must be a significant discussion because a blanket promise to give whatever we wish is easily problematic.  It goes without saying or should that if our requests or wishes are contrary to the heart and nature of God and violate the moral principles of the Bible, we dare not expect to receive those things from Him.  He will never violate His character or disregard His Word. 

Nevertheless, the promise is there and if it is there, it has potential.  God does not speak flippantly or make idle promises.  We could spend hours on just that thought and walk through a myriad of scripture verses detailing God’s attitude toward His Word.  That would be beneficial but due to time and space, we must resist the urge to do so. 

The Four Specific Statements or Parts of this Promise are Abiding in Him, His Words Abiding in us, The Desires of our hearts, and the Promise to Grant those Desires.  How many can say, “I get whatever I ask from God all the time?” 

I hope that no one said that, but some may, and I hope you are factually correct.  I will leave that assertion to you and God to sort out, but I confess that I am not there.  I have served God in ministry for 50 years now and I’m still striving to enter that state of relationship.  Maybe that makes me weak and speaks ill of me, but it is an honest confession and statement of reality.  Therefore, I continue to press toward the mark and seek the prize of this promise.


What does it mean to Abide in Christ?  When we turn to the Greek, we discover that the word “abide” is the Greek word ‘meno’ which simply means to stay in a given place, state, relation, or expectancy.  It conveys the idea of enduring, tarrying, standing, or living in that place or state. 

If Christ is ‘abiding’ in me then He is living in me constantly.  Once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior that is a factual reality.  He is ‘abiding’ in us but what about us ‘abiding’ in Him.  Before you split hairs doctrinally and take some sectarian argument as your foundation, I ask you to examine with me some considerations.

Are we always ‘abiding’ in Him?  Do we stay with Him and keep Him as the center of our universe and lives?  Are we living, daily, continually, in the state of Matthew 6:33 where we ‘seek Him first’?  He is in us but are we mentally, emotionally, and relationally abiding in Him all the time? 

We know that we can produce no fruit aside from the vine and He is the vine.  He cannot be a part-time LORD.  We cannot be divided in our devotion.  We cannot be double-minded holding to the flesh, the world, and God at the same time.  We are to ‘abide’ in Him.  He is our dwelling place.

Consider Psalm 91:9 – “Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place…”  In Psalms 90:1 – “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.”   In Acts 17:28 we discover, that “in Him, we live and move and exist.”  In Psalms 27:4 we read, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” 

I personally believe that abiding in Him is impossible aside from the infilling of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  He promises to fill us and once He has, how do we stay full?  Ephesians 5:17-20 gives understanding.  It is by verbalizing the Word of God especially the Psalms, singing hymns, spiritual songs, singing to Him, and expressing our gratitude.  We are exhorted in Philippians 4:8 to focus on His Truth and meditate on His truth, right things, and things that uplift.  It is not simply the power of positive thinking but thinking rightly and truly we become what we behold or what holds our hearts.

So, I ask, “Are we abiding in Him?”  That abiding is to be 24/7/365.  It is not living a compartmentalized life where we have a business life, a social life, a family life, a church life, and a devotional life.  It is being and functioning in Him, through Him, for Him, and doing all that we do as an act of worship unto Him.  It is being totally surrendered to Him at all times and in all things.  There is no vacation from Abiding!

If we don’t get the 1st part of the equation right, there is no 2nd, 3rd, or 4th.  I heard it said, and I agree “If God is 1st there is no 2nd because if He is 1st all else falls into place.”  I have barely scratched the surface and must deal beyond this long but brief devotional.  I hope you will stay with me as we examine this Promise, Challenge, Directive, and Command in the following devotionals.

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!


Hebrews 12:1-2 – “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  NASB

In the last devotional we discussed the challenge or instruction written in the Book of Hebrews to Christians who were struggling with their new life and dealing with its difficulties.  The challenge was, “Let Us Run.”  Today, I would like for us to consider How we are to Run that Race.

We are to Run Stripped of Every Handicap.  That sounds elementary and complex.  How and What is he talking about?  It is our objective to win the race or finish the course and therefore want nothing to hinder our speed or impede our journey, right? There are some things that must be done and things that must be considered.

If we expect to run this race successfully it is imperative that we Put Aside Sin, Every Sin.  I call to your remembrance the story of Samson.  He was a match for every difficulty and situation until he broke his vows and then he was like everybody else and easily defeated. 

Not only are we to put aside every Sin but every Weight.  What is the difference?  A weight is something that is not, in itself, sinful but if we allow it to continue will become sinful through wrong use.  I believe there is a biblical test for everything. 

One simple question that we should ask in every situation is, “Does this help or hinder me in running this Christian Race?”  I read an account was a crow was caught in a river by a young boy without any special equipment.  The crow had gotten its toe caught in a mussel shell that was lodged between some rocks and could not fly away.  The mussel shell or trap did not kill the crow.  It did not break his wings so that he could not fly but made his movement difficult if not impossible and allowed him to be captured.  Do not allow the weights of life to impede your progress, cast all your care on Jesus!

A third thing that we need to consider in this challenge is not only are we to run and remove all hindrances, but we are to run with Patience.  That is possibly the most difficult of all.  This Christian Life or Race is not a sprint it is a marathon.  Sadly, some lose patience because they face opposition.  Opposition is to be expected. The Bible warned that if we serve God, we will face persecution.  Most of us face little if any and nothing compared to what they faced in the days of the writing of the Bible.

Patience is urged because believers have no right to lose heart considering what Jesus did and is doing.  In a very real sense, suffering as a mark of sonship.  Not that we should seek suffering but if we suffer for our faith that is not a bad thing and God takes note of it in giving us strength and protection.

Finally, we are to Run Looking to Jesus.  The literal translation is that we are to run looking away from everything but Jesus.  I like that.  He is our Source.  He is our Example.  He is our Constant Help in the Time of Need.  We can make our lives count for Jesus if we will follow the prescription of the writer of Hebrews.

Remember, we have a Great Cloud of Witnesses.  We have Jesus as our Constant Source of Help, Supply, and Strength.  We have the Guidance and Provision of the Word, the Covenant, and the Promises of the Word of God to help us Stand and Grow in Grace.

May the LORD help you as you ‘strive’ to enter in and run this race with patience and unencumbered by weights and sins. 

Have a fantastic day in Him!


Hebrews 12:1-2 – “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  NASB

The writer, in this passage, was writing to a group of Jewish Christians. They were discovering that their new life was not a life of ease.  They have found this new way most difficult and filled with persecution and drama.  They have, apparently, grown discouraged, and some have begun to think that their conversion was a mistake.  It seems that some were wondering if possibly they should renounce their Christian faith as sheer futility and return to their old way of Judaism. 

This letter was a letter to encourage them.  Here the writer reminded them that God is LORD of All.  He reminded them that the death of Jesus was not in vain.  He urged them to hold fast to their profession of faith and warned against falling short of the Grace of God.  He then called to the witness stand those patriarchs from the previous chapter to testify of the value, strength, beauty, and power of faith.  His encouragement was, “Do not lose heart or courage!  Lay aside every weight and run with patience the race that is set before you.”  He gave them some helpful, insightful, and definitive instructions for living the Christian Life at any time and in any place. 

He began a treatise and discourse on How the Father through Jesus and the Holy Spirit could make their lives count.  Let’s consider some of his instructions.

His first directive was, “Let us Run.”  Simple right?  Hardly and just saying that is insufficient to convey the message.  His message revealed the truth that the Christian walk is a strenuous life. It is exacting and is certainly not a game.  He makes no appeal to cowardice or slothfulness and he avoids and evades no issue.  All is on the table in his discussion with these believers.

He warned them that being a Christian means there will be Conflict.  There will be both an inner and outer struggle.  Being a Christian means Growth and Maturity.  It requires daily involvement and investment.  It demands accountability for actions.  It requires obedience but God has provided both the armament and tools with which we can survive and thrive. 

He reminds them and us that we are in a war, but it is a spiritual war, not a flesh war.  Jesus said, in Matthew 7:14, “Straight is the gate and narrow the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.”  Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” 

Jesus said that we were to “strive to enter…”  That is an interesting choice of words.  The word strive conveys the idea of struggle and is a very muscular word, not a soft effeminate one. It is active not passive.  This Christian way is difficult but if we take His Yoke on us it becomes easy because we are going in His Strength and His Power, not ours. 

The directive or challenge is, “Let us Run!”  Let us give it all we have.  Let us be ready for the marathon rather than the sprint.  Let’s run with the finish line in mind, not the starting gate.  I want to address this a bit more so we will pick up here in the next devotional and consider How we are to Run this Race.   

May God bless you richly as you run today’s leg of your spiritual race.  Have a fantastic day!


Hebrews 9:27-28 – “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”  NASB

We have addressed being Unconcerned About Death, Life, and Eternity now let’s move on to a second classification being Uncertain about Death, Life, and Eternity.  In Mark 10:17 we read, “And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”   Sadly, far too many, and one would be too many, do not know the way to Eternal Life.

There are those who Hope but are not Sure.  1 John 2:3 declares, “And by this, we know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commandments.”  To the Uncertain I say, you can know about your eternity, God’s plan includes you.  It is a matter of Trust.  It is a matter of faith or believing what He has said and promised in His word.  I believe that we can Know that we are Saved and have the confidence of the writers of the New Testament and the Early Church.

Someone asked Martin Luther, “Do you feel that you have been forgiven?”  He said, “No, but I am sure there is a God in heaven.”  He said, “Feelings come, and feelings go, and feelings are frequently deceiving.  My warrant is the Word of God, naught else is worth believing.  Though all my heart should feel condemned for want of some sweet token, there is One greater than my heart Whose Word cannot be broken.  I’ll Trust in God’s unchanging Word till soul and body sever; for though all things shall pass away His Word shall stand forever!”   Hallelujah! 

Years ago, in a revival meeting, a penitent woman came forward seeking salvation. The evangelist quoted to her the assurance of Isaiah 53:6 and let her simply take God at His Word and instructed her to depend on Jesus for her salvation.  She went home rejoicing, but the next morning came downstairs with tears in her eyes.  Her son asked, “Mother what is troubling you?”  She said, “Last night I felt so saved, but not now, it all seems like a dream, I am afraid that I have been deceived.”  Her son said, “But mother, get your Bible and read Isaiah 53:6 again.”  She did, and read, “The LORD laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  Her son asked, “Is that verse still there?”  She said, “Yes, it is.”  He reminded her, “Then, according to God, your sins were laid on Jesus and you no longer have them.”  She saw the reality of that truth and set her heart to Trusting God not Feelings.

Another story that I will share is about a boy of about ten years of age being examined for membership in his church.  He told of his sense of guilt and was asked, “What did you do when you felt yourself a sinner?”  His eyes brightened and he said, “I went to Jesus and told Him how sinful I was and how sorry I was and asked Him to forgive me.”  One of his questioners asked, “And do you hope that Jesus heard you and forgave you?”  He said, “I don’t hope that He did I know that He did.”  

The oldest member of the panel peered over his glasses and said, “You to say that you KNOW that Jesus forgave you of your sins.”  The boy said, “Yes sir, I know.”  The man attempting to correct him said, “Don’t you mean you hope He has.”  The boy said, “No Sir!  I don’t hope He has, I KNOW He has!”  The man asked, “And just how do you Know?”  Every eye was on the lad and not a person spoke a word.  He looked at them with tears in his eyes and said, “I Know He has because He said He would!”  We need to Trust and Obey!

The Word of God gives instruction as to How to be Saved.  The Holy Spirit convicts of Sin and points to the Savior.  The Blood of Jesus is a cleansing agent as well as the full payment for our iniquity and sin.  And the clincher is, He Said He Would!

1 Corinthians 15:54 reminds us that “…death is swallowed up in victory…”  There may not be a tomorrow for me or you on this earth.  Today may be all we have in the flesh.  But, I have more than tomorrow on earth, I have the assurance in my soul and a Savior to which I can turn and hold.  My Anchor Holds because my anchor is Jesus!  Heaven awaits those who believe and have received His Pardon.

We can be Unconcerned in the sense that we do not fear death, or we can be unconcerned because we do not know the truth.  We can remove the Uncertainty thorough the Word and Promises of God.  Jesus said, “You shall know the Truth and the Truth will make you free!”  

May the blessings of the LORD be yours on this beautiful day!


Hebrews 9:27-28 – “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”  NASB

I have no desire to be morbid, but I want to discuss a subject that few relish talking about – Death!  That is a subject that carries a heavy weight of morbidity to most people.  Most leave it undiscussed and consider it an off-limits topic. It is not the normal table discussion at the evening meal or in a social gathering.  There have been very few times that I have had someone say, “Let’s talk about death.”  Most people fear death and somehow seem to believe that by not talking about it they can avoid it and that omission allows them to fare better day to day.

In this text, we are brought face to face with the sobering reality that life for everyone is, at best, temporary!  Job address it saying in 14:1, “Man that is born of woman is of few days…”  The brevity of life is all around is.  Death comes to one and all without respect to person, position, or anything else.  The sobering reality is Everyone Is Going to Die it is just a matter of how and when.

Because of that fact we need to take a sober look into the future beyond the grave and face reality and eternity.  How do we do that?  I want to offer you several possibilities and you determine, which one you are or which category you find yourself.  My purpose is to benefit not to bring morbidity or make your fear worse.

We can face death Unconcerned.  By that, I mean, some simply do not care.  They don’t care about life and have no thought of death.  Some of that is based on what they believe and some out of a misguided view of their own mortality. 

I have dealt with many who believe they have plenty of time.  I have even dealt with some who insist that a loving God would never send them to hell, so there is no reason for them to have any concern about how they live.  I have encountered those that believe there is nothing beyond this present life so why be concerned?  I even had a person tell me that Eternity is temporary so why worry about it at all?  Temporary Eternity is assuredly an oxymoron. Then there are those who believe that they are ‘good people’ and as good as the next fellow so they are okay.  In that they are Unconcerned.

There is great folly in being Unconcerned about Life, Death, and Eternity.  James 4:14 tells us, “Whereas you know now that shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.”  This life that we enjoy on planet earth is too brief for us to spend all our energy on it with no regard for eternity.  I remind you of the Illustration of Jesus in Luke 12:20 of the Rich Man and His bigger barns.  His plans were ended abruptly, and His eternity began immediately.  His focus was on the wrong things.

The Fruit of being Unconcerned is expressed in Proverbs 29:1 – “He that being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”  Being Unconcerned about your Eternity opens the door to eternal doom. 

To the Unconcerned, I say:  “Prove to me the surety of more time.  Prove to me the fallacy of heaven and hell.  Prove to me that no God exists and there is nothing beyond the grave.” Before you argue that I must prove to you the reality of those things I say the following:

If I am wrong about God, heaven, and hell, and there is truly nothing beyond the grave, I have lost nothing in living my life according to the principles of God’s Word.  I have a rich and rewarding life, wonderful friends, a loving and beautiful family, and the contentment and joy of doing good and what is morally right.  But, because I am right and there is a God, heaven, a hell, and eternity beyond the grave, you stand to lose everything eternally if you take the position of the Unconcerned.  There is too much at stake to be Unconcerned about Life, Death, and Eternity.

I want to address this further but will pause now and take this up in the next devotional.  May the rich and bountiful blessings of the Living Lord be yours on this and every day!


2 Timothy 4:7-8 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  NASB

Not only did Paul Fight as is revealed in his life and emphasized in his declaration, “I have fought a good fight,” but he also “Finished his course.”  It is one thing to begin good but in the final analysis, it is not how we begin but how we finish that matters most. 

Paul knew that if there was a Beginning there must be an End.  His starting point was not his training in Judaism but The Cross.  He understood the principle and truth of Grace that Salvation cannot be earned or bought it is a Gift of God.  Paul’s life was rooted and grounded in the Truth of a song that we used to sing in church.  Jesus’ Blood Can Make the Vilest Sinner Clean.  Hallelujah!

Paul understood something that we need to develop an understanding of and confidence in.  That to Run this Race we must be Equipped!  Some scoff at me when I tell them that it is imperative that they put on the whole armor of God daily.  But God has given that armament with purpose.  It wasn’t so Christians could do some little exercise at the beginning of their day.  It was for understanding, protection, and enablement that we could and would pull down strongholds. 

Athletes learn early in their quest to be the best that the right equipment is mandatory.  They also learn that proper training and exercise are essential.  A part that some miss is the importance of diet.  It is vital that we maintain a proper and healthy diet.  No, I’m not talking about natural food but spiritual food.  We are what we eat in a very real sense.  If I have a steady diet of the Word of God and drink of the Spirit of God, I will find that I am spiritually healthy.  If I miss meals and am helter-skelter in my approach to the things of God, I will be weak and easily defeated.  Being properly Equipped is Vital.

To Finish the Race or the Course it is vital that we have a vision of the Finish Line.  If we see the Finish, we will no longer fear death.  It is in viewing the Finish the Prize that we are striving for that we are encouraged and emboldened and given a reason to persevere.  When I consider or contrast Eternity with God to Eternity without Him, I am motivated to Fight the Good Fight and to Strive to Finish the Course.

Those two things, Fighting the Good Fight and Finishing the Course are incredibly important but do not overshadow the third part of the equation.  Paul said, “I have kept the faith.”  In all his trials, struggles, difficulties, and even defeats he never lost confidence in God. 

When doubt raised its ugly head, he resisted and encouraged himself in the LORD.  He had come to the place that he was content in anything and everything because things were not his source, and ease not his objective but God was.  He did not count his earthly life as the most important but his eternity and the eternity of others of paramount importance.  He truly saw death as a promotion and gain.  That takes all the sting out of death and removes its power to cause fear and torment in the heart and mind. 

He was not a bench warmer, he was a starter in the game of life!  He fully comprehended that his labor, his efforts, his investment in others were not in vain.  He believed, as should we, that God has a purpose and a plan for each of us.  He believed, as should we, that God’s Word never returns void but achieves its purpose.

Paul fully embraced the truth that there is Nothing Impossible with God!  In that confidence, he believed that because he was “in Christ” nothing was impossible to him either.  He never allowed himself to think otherwise and we would be behooved to do the same.  He addressed that confidence in 2 Timothy 1:12 saying, “…I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted Him until that day.”  That is the view of victory!

Paul affirmed in his life and acknowledged here that there was more to life awaiting him after his physical departure from earth.  He said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.”  (v.8).  John echoed that sentiment saying that “every man that has that hope in him purifies himself even as Jesus is pure.”

Someone said the church is looking for better methods, but God is looking for better people.  That is a powerful truth.  God is looking for Warriors, not Spectators.  He is looking for Finishers, not simply Starters.  He is looking for those who will Keep the Faith until the End.  Can He find what He is seeking in you and in me?

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!


2 Timothy 4:7-8 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  NASB

I sometimes have people challenge me saying, “Oh, brother don’t fight.”  Some believe that if we do the right things to appease and attract the world they will come to the LORD and accept us.  I am convinced that the only method that works is “The Word of God!”  It is the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God that brings conviction to hearts and the right instruction for life.  If we live Redeemed lives and they see the change in us, they will be moved and not by our trying to be like them.  The devil is not interested in coexistence only dominance and defeat.

I appreciate the apostle Paul and consider him one of the New Testament men that it could rightly be said, that he was a man after God’s own heart.  His declaration in this passage is definitive, “I have fought a good fight.”  That suggests several things that negate the idea that we are to be passivist in our Christianity. 

He Saw a Need to Fight!  He fought for Freedom and throughout human history men have given their lives for the cause of freedom.  America is no exception, we have our heroic patriots.  Paul fought for Survival and sought to prevent people from being destroyed by the devil.  He fought for Love.  We may see no reason for some fights but fighting for or out of love is an integral part of our Christian experience. 

He Saw Who He Was Fighting!  Too often we fight the wrong things, and in that process find ourselves fighting against the Spirit of God.  Napoleon called China a sleeping giant and the devil calls the church the same thing.  Paul was fighting against Sin. 

He waged war with Self, and it was a daily struggle.  He waged war with the devil, the accuser of the brethren, our adversary.  He knew why he was fighting and with whom he was fighting.  He recognized that the Christian’s War is not with men but with the powers of darkness.  It is not a natural but a spiritual war and therefore cannot be fought using natural means. 

He Knew How to Fight!  I am distressed from time to time with believers who do not know how to fight.  They have adopted such a passivist mentality that fighting is foreign to them and they continually get assaulted by the powers of darkness thinking it is normal.  They view their defeat as somehow spiritual and a sign of their piousness.

We have weapons of war that are mighty through God and it is imperative that we learn how to use them.  The most powerful weapon in our arsenal is “The Word of God!”  That Word is God’s liberating truth and is powerful enough to pull down strongholds and set captives free.  However, that Sword of the Word will never become effective if it is not seasoned with Prayer, led by the Spirit of God and wielded with purpose and confidence or faith. 

One more thing I want you to reflect on is the reality that Paul Fought he did not theorize but He Fought!  Sin was dirty and deadly in the view of the apostle and he considered the devil his mortal enemy not simply some nuisance.  He knew no compromise and practiced what he preached.  He was instant in season and out of season.  He stayed on the firing line of the battlefront.  He was always conscious of and studied the schemes and devices of the devil that he might better overcome and teach others the art of overcoming.  He knew that sin and the devil take no holidays, so he was invested in his commitment to Christ 24/7/365.

I want to address a couple more things but will pause here and pick this up again in the next devotional but until then I pray that the LORD will challenge you to become a Fighter for His Kingdom and Purposes.

May this day be filled with His wonder and you find perfect peace in all that you do.  Have a blessed day!