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Monday, July 30 2012

Verse of the Day

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. [Isaiah 40:5 – NKJV]

There is so much substance in Isaiah. What an amazing and fascinating book! In today’s passage, God’s prophet Isaiah tells the Israelites to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and that glory was revealed through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! Nothing more needs to be said. The mouth of the Lord has spoken it, and His Word is the Gospel truth!

Posted by: John AT 12:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, July 26 2012

Verse of the Day

[Hezekiah] brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. [2 Chronicles 29:4-5 – NIV]

After Israel split into two kingdoms, there were never any “good” kings in the northern kingdom (Israel) and only a handful in the southern kingdom (Judah). By good, I mean a king who walked in the ways of the Lord. Hezekiah was one of the few good kings of Judah. In today’s passage we see Hezekiah restoring temple worship, something that the Israelites had abandoned long ago. He started by commanding the Levites to consecrate themselves and the temple and to remove all defilement from the sanctuary itself. Well, this is an interesting bit of information as we learn more and more about God’s chosen people, but is it relevant in our lives today? You bet it is!

After Pentecost and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, our bodies became tabernacles or sanctuaries. We have God living in us. So it is incumbent upon us to keep our “tabernacles” holy. Just like the temple in Hezekiah’s day, we have to remove all defilement from our bodies to ensure that they are suitable dwelling places for the Lord. So, clean yourself up and make sure that you are an appropriate sanctuary for the Lord your God!

Posted by: John AT 03:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, July 24 2012

Verse of the Day

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. [Colossians 2:9-10 – NKJV]

Many devotionals have been written on Immanuel, God with us. The fact that God came to earth to live with us as a man is incredibly important, but that is not the point of today’s passage from scripture. Although He was a man, Jesus in His incarnation reflected the image of God the Father. While He walked the earth, He was God in human form. He was and is perfect. In much the same way, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are perfected by the righteousness of Christ that God imparts to us. We are brought into fullness by being positionally perfected in God’s sight. Only Jesus and His blood that was shed on the cross for us could accomplish this. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer! Thank you Jesus!

Posted by: John AT 04:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 23 2012

Verse of the Day

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. [Micah 6:8 – NIV]

What better way to begin each day than by praying Micah 6:8? It is after all, what the Lord requires of you—to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Just remember that starting off right is important, but it’s not enough. Patience and perseverance are the keys to consistently doing these things day in and day out. So, pray that you will do what your God requires of you today. You and your fellow travelers will be all the better for it!

Posted by: John AT 07:56 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, July 20 2012

 Verse of the Day

 

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. [Isaiah 11:6 – NIV]

  

It is befitting that today’s passage is brought to life in a clever Travelers Insurance TV commercial featuring wild animals hanging out at a watering hole in the African desert. They’re having a great time convening with one another—meerkats riding on floating alligators, baboons performing for hyenas, and lions mingling with zebras, all in complete harmony. The commercial is part of Travelers’ “Take the scary out of life” campaign and, when you think about it, what better describes the Second Coming? That’s because during the age of the New Heaven and the New Earth all sorts of amazing, wonderful things happen. But then, with Jesus our King leading us, how could we expect otherwise? Hallelujah to the King of kings! And He shall reign forever and ever!

 

Posted by: John AT 02:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, July 19 2012

Verse of the Day

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." [Psalm 73:25-26 – NIV]

Truer words have never been spoken. Our bodies are weak and our hearts fail. We are sinful and fall far short of the glory of God. He is all we have and all we need! It’s the old “but for” test. But for God, we would be lost, wretched sinners cast into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Give thanks to Jesus for His redeeming blood that covers our sins. Give Him praise today in all you do!

Posted by: John AT 01:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, July 18 2012

Verse of the Day

Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” “There is one in Endor,” they said. So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.” Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said… [1 Samuel 28:7-8, 11 – NIV]

You’re probably wondering about the title of this devotional. Is this about Halloween? Are we going to talk about putting on costumes? Is this trick or treat? Ghosts don’t really exist, do they? There’s no such thing as witches, mediums, and conjurers, is there? Well, yes there is, and it’s in the Bible. The next thing you’re going to ask is “you don’t really believe in these fictitious beings do you?” and the answer is “yes, I do.” Why, you ask? Because they are in God’s Word.

We are comfortable with TV shows like Casper the Friendly Ghost, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeanie. They are fun and harmless and make us laugh. And movies like Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy and Ghostbusters are fun, too. Even the scarier Frankenstein and Dracula make us have nightmares, but they really aren’t real. We’ve been told that all of this “horror” stuff is, well, just “pretend.” It dates back to pagan times when the spiritual realm and mythology were in vogue. But, how do we really know this? Do we believe in God’s Word or not?

In today’s passage, Saul sought out a medium to raise the spirit of Samuel. The medium succeeded in doing so, with disastrous results for Saul. You may doubt whether this happened, but I believe it did. But, what does God have to say? Does He ever discuss witches and mediums? Well, yes He does. In Isaiah 8:19, God says, “And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,' should not a people seek thier God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?”

My thoughts are that in the modern world we have become so far removed from nature that we just don’t see what’s really going on around us. We are a technological society; we don’t understand the things of nature that witches, mediums, and other spiritualists rely on. We honestly don’t see them. I’ve been told by many people who’ve grown up on farms that we really don’t have a clue about our world. I believe them. And more importantly, I believe the Bible. There really are witches, mediums, and ghosts. They do exist. Pray for protection!

Posted by: John AT 10:16 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, July 17 2012

Verse of the Day

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 9:6 – NKJV]

It’s not my favorite Christmas hymn, but “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming” is one that I really do enjoy. Truth be told, I love all Christmas music, hymns, carols; they’re all special. Singing praise about the birth of our Lord and Savior—what could be better? Anyway, back to “Rose.” The second verse begins with some of the most memorable and uplifting words in any Christmas hymn: “Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind.” The specific reference is the Immanuel prophesy in Isaiah 7:14-17. However, Isaiah goes on in today’s passage to proclaim Jesus’s birth.  He describes the names of Jesus as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. How can you not have faith in Jesus, who is our Everything? Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

From the “Back by Popular Demand” Collection.

Posted by: John AT 10:49 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, July 13 2012

Verse of the Day

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” [Isaiah 6:8 – NIV]

Volunteering is a good thing. Many of us contribute our time and talents to many worthy causes. If you are a volunteer for a group or organization you are probably familiar with the “80-20 rule.” That is, 20 percent of the members do the work and the other 80 percent belong. Actually, there is nothing really wrong with this. It is just the way things are meant to be. Some people lead and the others follow. If you are a member of the 20-percent crowd, how would you like it if the other 80 percent were involved in leadership? Just imagine meeting with several hundred people each with their own agenda instead of a cozy group of 10? And if you are a member of the 80-percent group there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Belonging is sufficient in and of itself.

But being called by God is different. For example, I know that I have been called by God to share His Word in the workplace. But this is not about me, it’s about you. Have you heard His “still, small voice?” Is He calling you? Is there something that He wants you to do for Him? Are you going to step up to the plate like Isaiah did? You can make a difference for Him. Just answer His call and make a difference in His Kingdom!

Posted by: John AT 11:31 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, July 12 2012

Verse of the Day

“If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” [John 14:7 – NIV]

What is the Father like? If you want to know Him intimately, learn His ways; get to know Jesus. Read about Jesus our Lord and Savior in the New Testament and you will see God. You will learn His likes and dislikes; how He treats His people; what’s really important to Him and what’s not; and on and on. You will also learn that God has emotions. He is not some cold, distant god; He is not an automaton. Our God has feelings. He loves and hates; He gets angry. After all, He is God and He has a right to. He is righteous and holy, but even thought He is set apart He has a real love for His children and wants to be with us.

You might be surprised to learn that God has a sense of humor. In fact, as you get to know Him better you will learn that you can really identify with God in many ways. Getting to know Him is like getting to know an earthly friend. So, start getting to know Him today! He wants to have a close, intimate relationship with you. Read His Word; it’s the best way to learn more about Him. If you know Jesus, you will know the Father!

Posted by: John AT 12:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, July 12 2012

Verse of the Day

“If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” [John 14:7 – NIV]

What is the Father like? If you want to know Him intimately, learn His ways; get to know Jesus. Read about Jesus our Lord and Savior in the New Testament and you will see God. You will learn His likes and dislikes; how He treats His people; what’s really important to Him and what’s not; and on and on. You will also learn that God has emotions. He is not some cold, distant god; He is not an automaton. Our God has feelings. He loves and hates; He gets angry. After all, He is God and He has a right to. He is righteous and holy, but even thought He is set apart He has a real love for His children and wants to be with us.

You might be surprised to learn that God has a sense of humor. In fact, as you get to know Him better you will learn that you can really identify with God in many ways. Getting to know Him is like getting to know an earthly friend. So, start getting to know Him today! He wants to have a close, intimate relationship with you. Read His Word; it’s the best way to learn more about Him. If you know Jesus, you will know the Father!

Posted by: John AT 12:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, July 11 2012

Verse of the Day

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. [Colossians 3:23-24 – NIV]

Are you having fun at work? Many people hate their job. Others, although they really enjoy what they do, go through periods of dissatisfaction. Sometimes work can be drudgery. Don’t forget that after the Fall, God made work more difficult for us. It’s not supposed to be easy and not supposed to be fun (by fun, I mean it’s not supposed to be a picnic). But, it is supposed to be satisfying and meaningful. So, if you hate your job or are just in a rut, read on.

The way to true job satisfaction is to ask the question “why are you working?” If your answer is “to make a lot of money” or “so I can make a name for myself,” then you are on the wrong track. Almost always, pride is at the center of destructive behavior. If we could only get ourselves out of the way we’d be a lot better off. The real answer to the question is that “we are working to honor and glorify God.” Once we focus on God at work and subjugate ourselves, we are filled with a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment.  So work as if you were working for the Lord today. You’ll be surprised at the fun you’ll have!

Posted by: John AT 10:14 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 09 2012

Verse of the Day

“There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. [Hosea 4:1-2 – NIV 1984]

I was visiting with my friend Mike one day when he decided to watch the local news at 5. This was definitely not a normal thing for us to do during a visit. I don’t watch local or national network news. My choices are somewhat different—mostly cable news and the print edition of The Wall Street Journal. So, I was shocked when we watched murder after murder, domestic violence, wrong-way collisions, and other depressing stories for the first five minutes of the program. I had to get home for dinner, and so hurriedly said goodbye and quickly left.

What a depressing thing the news is. But, it’s really just a depiction of our society. The world is full of godless people and this is, after all, what they do. In Romans, Paul tells us that we can expect this type of behavior from a world that has turned its back on God. Why should we be shocked? All the more reason for us to share His love with all we meet. Make a difference for Jesus today!

Posted by: John AT 09:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, July 06 2012

Verse of the Day

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. [Romans 1:28 – NIV]

Paul certainly hit the nail on the head in Romans. He really tells it like it is. The evil one may be able to portray the secular world as an attractive and desirable alternative to following God’s ways, but appealing to our base instincts really is self-defeating in the end. As we grow up, we are brainwashed into believing that the world has so much to offer us, but does it? On closer examination, it’s really an evil, vile, detestable place; dark and evil.

The tragedy is that as Paul says, the lost “know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” They really need to hear the Good News! Let’s make sure that we share Jesus with all we meet today!

Posted by: John AT 12:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, July 03 2012

Verse of the Day

But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” [Joshua 24:15 – NIV]

God called King David “a man after My own heart,” and although David’s son, Solomon, started off strong in his relationship with the Lord, he fizzled at the end. His downfall was attributable to the two things he railed against the most in Proverbs: women and money. Unlike his father, he had a divided heart. You might say that Solomon is a microcosm of Israel. The Israelites were like a yo-yo. They would stray from the Lord their God, but they would always return to Him (after He forgave them and invited them back into His presence). Even when they came back to God they continued to worship pagan gods and traditions. The Israelites had a divided heart toward the Lord.

You can’t serve God with a divided heart. He wants all of you or none at all. The words of Joshua are true today. They are words to live by. “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Who ya’ gonna’ serve?

Posted by: John AT 01:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 02 2012

Verse of the Day

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. [Isaiah 5:20 – NIV]

I am not a theologian, but it is my understanding that almost all of the signs, predictions, and prophesies about the end times were fulfilled shortly after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and that Believers ever since have lived in eager anticipation of the Second Coming. Our lifetime is no different. Several more milestones have occurred.

One of the signs that the end times are upon us is an ever-increasing tendency of the secular world to consider right as wrong and wrong as right. There has been an acceleration of this in recent years. The print and broadcast media, educators, politicians, in fact all of the elite are caught up in the remaking of society. They are abandoning God’s ways in favor of those of the evil one. Most are doing this unconsciously; they are simply being duped. Look around you. Have you ever seen a time when more things that are wrong are being portrayed as right and more things that are right being cast as wrong? Acceptable behaviors, beliefs, and lifestyles are changing right before our eyes.

As disturbing as this is, we know that we are witnesses to the fact that another sign of the end times is being fulfilled, and can take comfort in that. But we have to constantly be on guard that we don’t get brainwashed by all of the media hype. More so than ever before, Believers have to test everything they read and hear against the Word of God. Just because something is portrayed as “gospel” on the network news hour doesn’t mean that it comports with what is right in God’s eyes. Welcome to the end times!

Posted by: John AT 09:08 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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