GOD’S KIND OF MAN…


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!

SOMETHING BETTER THAN MONEY…


2 Timothy 2:15-19 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth. 16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and thus they upset the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness.” NASB

1 Corinthians 8:3 – “but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.”  NASB

It means something to be known.  We have all heard the saying, “It is not what you know, but who you know that counts.”  There is truth in that and that is not to diminish knowing but emphasizes the importance of being known.  Being known can save us from tremendous hassle, confusion, and difficulty.  It frequently opens doors that would otherwise be closed.  It affords privileges that would not be realized in virtually every sector of life and society. 

If the President of the United States, no matter who that president was, knew me it would open doors for me.  If the president were my father, the considerations would be even greater.  Being known is often more important than wealth, ability, or experience.  It is a prize to be desired.

The world strives for recognition, but the most important recognition is to be ‘known of God.’  The text that we used states that “the LORD knows them that are His.”  He knows us through our need of Him.  He knows us by the love we bear toward Him.  He knows us by the trust that we place in Him.  He knows us by the work we do for, with, and through Him. 

According to the Bible, there is a record in heaven of every detail of our lives and “God knows.”  That can be incredibly comforting or tormenting, but it is a fact that “God knows.”  It is my conviction that being known of God is more valuable than anything that we can have, experience, or possess. 

Being Know of God Affords Us His Protection.  I love the Psalms and in 34:7 we read, “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him and rescues them.”  2 Chronicles 16:9 assures us that, “the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the whole earth that He may show Himself strong to those whose heart is completely His.”  In Psalms 125:2 we hear the guarantee that God is protecting us unceasingly.  He is our fortress, our hiding place, our refuge as Psalms 91 declares.  He protects as a mother hen would her chicks and even more powerfully and diligently.

Being Know of God Affords Us Access to Heaven’s Resources.  He has invited us to enter the storehouse of heaven and receive whatever we need whenever we need it.  We have an open requisition with God.  We are sons and daughters, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus.  The Blessings of Abraham belong to us.  That’s His Promises.

Studying the Word of God brings light so that we can rightly handle it, discover the truths contained therein and enjoy the promises and provisions provided.  As we become one with the Word, we discover that God is faithful and the comfort we have in knowing that “God knows those that are His.”

But, for that to be of any value to me I must – Know God!  I must – Study His Word.  I must – Apply the Truths of that Word to my life.  As I become aware of and assured that God knows me as His child I can rest in His Provision, enjoy His Peace, and receive His Power in my life.  Being known of God is more valuable than anything we could possess. 

Too many make Christianity far more difficult that God intended.  If we can grasp the truth and receive the assurance that “God knows them that are His” we can follow the directive of Jesus and “Come to Him.”  We can “take His yoke upon us and rest.”  We can relax and not live fearful and fretful that we might mess up.  God is far more interested in providing for us than punishing us.

What do you need today?  The provision is in your relationship with Him. 

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

THIS IS MY GOD – Part Two…


Philippians 4:19 – “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  NASB

In the last devotional we consider the assurance found in this passage and today I would like for us to look at the Promise contained therein.  In order to reach the objective of discovering the full impact of this truth I suggest we consider the parallel and contrast contained therein.

Paul said to the Philippians, “You have supplied my need: God shall supply yours.”  He said, “You have supplied one of my needs: God will supply all of yours.”  He said, “You have supplied me out of your poverty:  God will supply you out of His riches.”  He said, “You sent your gift by Epaphroditus, a true servant of Jesus: God will supply all your need by Jesus Himself.”  That is incredible!  Who received the greater blessing? 

Jesus said, “If you give a cup of cold water in the name of an apostle you will not lose your reward.”  We must never forget the truth that our gift does not buy from or obligate God.  He obligates Himself.  The Promises of God are sure and certain.  The Promise is incredible – “All Your Needs Supplied.”  But that is not the end, those needs are supplied by Jesus Himself, the giver and sustainer of life.  Hallelujah!

I like building things and seeing them take shape and come together.  I ask that you consider the construction of this Promise.  Everything in it gathers around one verb, “supply” and amplifies it.  I suggest that there is a seven-fold perfection of supply seen here.  I hope that gets your attention.

The Source of the Supply is My God!  The Certainty of the Supply is Shall!  The Fulness of the Supply is Fulfill!  The Extent of the Supply is All Your Needs!  The Measure of the Supply is According to His Riches!  The Storehouse of the Supply is In Glory!  The Medium of the Supply is In Christ Jesus! 

God will never fail, and we have no reason to fear.  No Christian need to ever beg bread based on that Promise.  We are unkind to ourselves and dishonoring to God when we allow our fears to torment us.  That is not His Promise and He has not given the spirit of fear but the spirit of peace.

Let me give you a simple exercise and something to consider:

The Bank is My God.  The Check is Shall Supply.  The Amount is All Your Need.  The Capital is His Riches.  The Bank Address is In Glory.  The Signature is By Christ Jesus.  With all that, what remains for us to do?  Yes, there is something that we must do to receive this.  It is not automatic.  We must put our signature on the check and endorse it.  No check will receive payment until it is endorsed.  Therefore, sign it by faith and receive the supply.  It is God’s Promise to you!

I would like to dissect the word in the Promise “shall” but will do so in the next devotional and hope that it resonates and provides understanding, challenge, and benefit.  Until then, may the LORD be with you in all you do.

Have a great day in Jesus!

THIS IS MY GOD…


Philippians 4:19 – “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  NASB

I have said many times, “The Bible is an Amazing Book!”  That is an understatement and quite obvious, but some still seem to miss its importance and impact.  It has a word for every man and an answer for every situation.  God does not sit idle or remain silent in the face of man’s dilemma but speaks and acts!  He is not only Sovereign but Active!  That is Amazing and Powerful!

Charles Spurgeon, arguably one of the greatest preachers of any time said that he constantly feared lest amid preaching he would fall into preaching about the Gospel rather than preaching the Gospel.  That is arresting to this preacher.  His counter to that potential dilemma was, he would select a passage so familiar that there was virtually nothing new to say about it.  That compelled him to declare the Plain Truths of the Gospel without the slightest attempt at novelty or brilliance.  Just the Gospel and nothing more! 

The verse that I am using for this devotional is one of those passages. It is one of the best known and best-loved by believers everywhere.  It is quoted often to comfort and inspire the heart in troubled times and times of need.  It has blessed more hearts than can be counted.  It has been preached upon times without number.  Who shall say anything new about it?  Who needs to say anything new about it?  It speaks for itself and is incredibly powerful.

For me, this verse becomes fresh and new every time I read it.  It is Alive!  It is alive with Promise.  It is alive with Hope.  It is alive with Power.  It is alive with Potential.  “But my God shall…”  “But my God shall…”  Let that resonate and echo in your heart and mind.  He is my God.  He is your God.  He is Alive and Active!

I find it very interesting and intriguing to note the background of this passage.  Here the apostle Paul in a time of poverty, imprisonment, abandonment, and need had just received a love-gift from the little church in Philippi far away.  The gift may or may not have been much in terms of money, but the love behind it was priceless in the mind of the apostle.  It was here that he writes: “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Wow!  The one blessed becomes the blesser and releases this powerful word of blessing upon those who had blessed him.

The verse was written in response to the Philippian Church’s act of love and benevolence, but the verse is not simply an expression of goodwill.  It is more than a ‘thank you card.’  It has power beyond what is seen on the surface.

IT IS AN ASSURANCE…

This incredible prayer or blessing came from an inspired pen and is a God-given pledge to all of us of His Divine Sufficiency.  What a Promise!  What a Pledge!  What a source of Hope, Strength, Power, and Inspiration!  “But my God shall…”  The emphasis is on God and shall.

Sometimes impious men take the expression “My God” in a blasphemous oath.  But the believer can take these words on his/her lips and find the sweetness and strength of the Almighty, “My God!”   Listen to the sound of completeness in those two words, “My God!”  

It is Personal, He is My God!  In a general sense, He is God to every human being.  In Him, we live and move and have being.  It is to Him that we will all give account.  But in a personal sense, He is “My God!”  It reveals a Covenant Relationship.  The Eternal God has promised to provide for us.  The Eternal, uncreated God without beginning or end has promised to Care for us.  That is incredible!

It is in His Covenant that we find Grace and the Hope of Eternal Salvation through Jesus Christ.  Jesus said in John 10:29, “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them from My Father’s hand.”  Hallelujah!  He repeats that in a fashion in John 17. 

Therefore, it is by His Covenant that the Words of God through the prophet become applicable to God’s people.  He said, “I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”  What a Promise!  He is My God!  He has chosen to be My God!  If He is “My God” then how dare I say anything less than “He will supply all my need!” 

I want to pursue this further but will pause here for today and tomorrow consider the Incredible Promise of this declaration.  May the LORD be with you, guard and guide you as you embark on today’s leg of life’s journey. 

Be Blessed richly is my prayer and desire!

SOWING AND REAPING – Part Two…


Galatians 6:7-10 – “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.”  NASB

Continuing the thought of Sowing and Reaping. We mentioned in the last devotional the need to offer a Word of Warning and a Word of Encouragement.  Let’s get to those now.

A SOLEMN REMINDER – “Be not deceived God is not mocked.”  (v.7)

No one will ever harvest grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles.  No one will ever produce the fruit of the Spirit from the works of the flesh.  The flesh cannot produce the things of the Spirit of God.  In Matthew 7:17-18 – we read, “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” 

We are told that “by their fruits, men will know them.”  The warning is “Be Not Deceived.”  That is a stern, valid, and needed warning.  We are too easily deceived and too easily deceive ourselves.  We deceive ourselves through false expectations or unrealistic expectations.  We deceive ourselves through trusting appearance and being guided by our emotions or feelings rather than God’s Word and Promises.

We deceive ourselves when we convince ourselves that it does not matter what we sow if our intentions are good.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful for the farmer?  He could have good intentions and sow any kind of seed and expect to get whatever harvest he preferred and was the most profitable.  The flesh will never produce the fruit of the Spirit and bring victory.

God is not mocked and will not be silenced or put to shame by man’s indifference or unbelief regarding this eternal and unalterable law.  Spiritual things can never be produced by carnal things.  The unregenerate man cannot bring forth the fruits of the new creation.  The flesh and the Spirit are as different as life and death.  The person outside of Christ sows to the flesh and reaps the corruption of that life. The Child of God sows to the eternal things of God and reaps everlasting life – (v.8)

A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – “Be now weary in well doing for in due season we will reap if we faint not.” (v.9)

We all need encouragement especially in difficult and trying times of life.  In many areas of life, our harvest has not yet come but it is coming.  We cannot continue to sow wild oats and pray for crop failure and expect to be successful.  It is important that we continually sow to character and godliness so that the harvest will produce life-giving fruit and touch many lives.

Please stop trying to do enough, earn enough, merit enough and view your labors as your significance.  That will only discourage.  Rather than looking at what you do, consider why you do what you do and listen for His directive.  Being busy is not what is important but being obedient is.

 There is going to be a Harvest in our individual lives.  No, there will be multiple harvests throughout our lives, and we will Reap what we Sow.  We will Reap WHAT we sow.  We will reap LATER than we sow.  We will reap MORE than we sow, but we will reap, and we are sowing! 

The question is what kind of harvest do you want?  Then my advice is sow those seed and believe God for His harvest to produce the fruit of righteousness and life. 

May the Lord be with you and bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

SOWING AND REAPING…


Galatians 6:7-10 – “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.”  NASB

In the 5th Chapter, verses 17-25, there is a description of the ‘works of the flesh’ and the ‘fruit of the Spirit.’  The contrast is clearly between rottenness and perfect soundness.  It is a clear differentiation between the basest and the best.

The works of the flesh are separate individual acts whereas the fruit (not fruits) of the Spirit are all of one.  They are manifold in expression but of the same root and fruit.  The fruit is the outcome of the energy of the indwelling Spirit of God, and “against such, there is no law.”  That is important and powerful.

Here in our text, the apostle Paul brings us to the consideration of sowing to the flesh and to the Spirit and contrasts the two.  We see both the events and the results in a very powerful description.  In his discourse, we discover several very important truths.

THIS IS AN UNALTERABLE LAW.

Galatians 3:7 – “Whatsoever a man sows, this he will also reap.”  That never changes.  You get what you plant and not some modification or mutation of what you have planted.  The Seed is critical.  We will harvest or reap, not according to how much we know or even who we know, but according to what we sow.  That is unalterable!

We may have a large cache of seed in the barn of the mind, but unless that seed is planted in fertile soil there will be no benefit and no fruitful harvest.  The seeds of thought are sown in words and deeds.  The ‘Word of God’ is the incorruptible seed as confirmed in 1 Peter 1:23 and that seed will always bring forth ‘after its kind.’

The Soil is important because in life and in the Spirit, there are two types of soil.  The Flesh and the Spirit.  Sowing to the flesh is to sow rotten seed in poisonous soil.  Nothing but corruption can result from that activity.  When we sow to the flesh we sow to our carnal, self-pleasing, worldly lives and nothing productive can come from it.  There is nothing in that activity that honors God, so it will rot like a lifeless carcass producing rottenness, not life-giving fruit.

Conversely, to Sow to the Spirit is to sow to the revealed Will of God, that which is pleasing to Him.  It is then that the Fruit of the Spirit will begin to be manifested.  From that fruit people will be nourished and lives changed positively for good.

I feel the need to offer a word of Warning and a word of Encouragement but because of the brevity of time and space, I will hold those thoughts for the next devotional.  Until then, I encourage you to seek the mind of God and make Matthew 6:33 a key cornerstone in your life.  Seek Him FIRST and then everything else will fall into place with clarity and productivity.

God bless you as you continue your journey of Faith in Him!

HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE…


Galatians 3:29 – “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”  NASB

I suggest that you study Chapter 3:1 through 4:7 for the full impact of this truth.  As I begin this consideration, I re-read Galatians 3:13-14 – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us —  for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” —  14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  It helped me focus and directed my attention to the Powerful Truth and Promise recorded here in Galatians.

From the very beginning of time, God has been concerned about man, his prime creation.  Man was created in the image and likeness of God.  He was given dominion over the earth and all that was in it.  Man had very close fellowship with God, his creator in the Garden of Eden.  Man was created in a state of innocence, free from all sin and uncleanness.  He was pure and holy walking before God.  Tragically, man fell through disobedience and was driven from the Paradise on Earth.  The result was, all mankind was doomed for sin had entered and alienated man from God who knows no sin.  Paradise was lost because of sin.  That is tragic!

God could have just written man off at that point and we could have become an afterthought in His mind.  He could have ceased reaching out to man with the desire to cleanse, forgive, restore, and heal him, but He didn’t.           God saw the wickedness of man and spoke to Noah, the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, and declared that He was going to destroy the race because of iniquity.  God sought to preserve a line of humanity that would recognize Him and return to Him.  Tragically, man once again, after the flood began to wax wanton and drifted back into iniquity.  God could have tossed us on the trash heap of life, but He didn’t.  That is amazing!

God spoke to Abraham in the land of Ur of the Chaldees and instructed him to leave his home, his family, his friends, and all that he knew.  The directive was that God, the Creator of All Things would lead him to a land flowing with milk and honey and give Abram an inheritance.  Abram obeyed not knowing where he was going.  This was the reintroduction of faith to the race in a very powerful manner.  From that obedience comes the Covenant of Promise and that to which you and I are heirs. 

God Made the Promise (Covenant) to Abraham.  He promised to give to him and his descendants the Promised Land (Canaan).  In a very real sense, this was the Promise of Salvation that preceded the Law.  Abraham believed God and the Bible tells us he was justified by faith.  Abraham then acted upon his belief and obeyed the directive of the LORD.  The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:8-10 – “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” 

Jesus Confirmed the Covenant.  We read in Galatians 3:15-17 – “Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: The Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.” 

When a will is made, and the will-maker dies there can be no change in the terms of the will!  Jesus sealed the Covenant through His death on the Cross and brought it to full implementation in His Resurrection and Ascension to the Father.  God’s Promise can never be made null and void.  It has been forever confirmed.  That is cause for rejoicing!

We are Heirs According to the Promise.  We sing, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.”  That is a legitimate truth.  We are pilgrims sojourning in a strange land.  Our citizenship is of heaven, not just this earth.  We are, like the patriarchs of old, looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.  We are desirous of God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Here in Galatians, we are reminded that “If we are Christ’s…”  If we are THEN, the Promise is ours too!  If we are Abraham’s seed, by faith, then the Promises of Abraham are God’s Promises to you and me, those who believe!

God’s promise to Abraham was a Land of Promise.  He would make him a great nation.  He would bless him and bless those that blessed him and curse those that cursed him.  He would be the heir of the whole earth.  When I consider that the New Covenant is a Better Covenant established on better promises than the Old, I rejoice. 

In the old they were to be the head and not the tail.  They were to be above not beneath.  They were to be overcomers not overcome.  We are ‘more than conquerors’ through Jesus!  We are the Sons and Daughters of God and are no more servants but Sons and Daughters.  We are Heirs through Jesus to All the Promises of God!

It is time that we become what God says we are and realize that He has given us authority over the power of the enemy, and we are IN HIM and HE (Jesus) is IN US.  Rejoice in who and whose you are!

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