Category Archives: Daily Bread

Eliminate And Remain – Remove The Leaven And Keep Your Eyes On Heaven

Standard
Eliminate And Remain – Remove The Leaven And Keep Your Eyes On Heaven

Each year, as the end of the year draws to an end, our thoughts generally go to two things. Thoughts of the past year and thoughts of the coming new year. It is very common to hear people, during this time, make New Year’s resolutions. Some resolutions are made by some people who never really intend to carry them out. Then there are those who make resolutions that are determined in their hearts to fulfill them. However, a vast majority of these people will never see their resolution fulfilled. Over time they loose sight of their goal and forget about the resolution they made. As they allow the cares of life to dominate their time, thoughts, and energy their resolutions are crowded out.

God, the creator of the entire universe, is a God of new beginnings. Salvation through Jesus Christ in a sense can be compared to a New Year’s resolution. There are those who pray the prayer of repentance who never intend to change or forsake their old way of life. Then there are those who pray the prayer of repentance that are determined in their hearts to change and forsake their old ways. However, some of these people will slip back to their old ways and their old lifestyles. Over time they loose sight of their relationship with God and forget the commitment they made to Him. As they allow the cares of life to dominate their time, thoughts, and energy they loose out with God.

Believers, those who have accepted Jesus and their Savior and Lord, must be careful not to allow the cares of life to cause them to loose sight of their goal. There are several definitions of the word goal that could apply to our spiritual life and walk.

The first one is target, somebody or something that is the focus or object of the behavior or actions of others. As a believer who is your focus and how do that focus effect your behavior or actions?

The second one is aim, something that someone wants to achieve. As a believer what do you want to achieve?

The third one is the end of a race. Every person has an end to their race, or life. As a believer what does the end of the race have in store for you?

In order for believers to grow in their relationship with God, fulfill the commitment they made at salvation, and to reach their goal they must do two very important things. They must remove the leaven and keep their eyes on heaven.

Throughout the Bible leaven is a symbol of sin or any evil influence that, if allowed to remain, can corrupt the individual or a body of believers. There are several references in the Bible to beware of leaven.

Matthew 16:5-12
‘Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”
But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Luke 12:1-3 NKJV
“In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”

Believers must take heed and guard against sin, corruption and evil influences. Sin has a tremendous impact, effect, power and influence on our lives and those around us. It must be purged from their lives. The believer cannot afford to tolerate sin in their lives. All sins, even small one, are dangerous because they grow and spread. Sin contaminates everything it comes in contact with. If we do not remove or get rid of sin and evil influences they will eventually cause us to miss the mark.

1 Corinthians 5:6-13 NKJV
“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

Galatians 5:7-9 NKJV
“You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Many people start off on their Christian journey with every intention of completing it however, they fail to keep a check on sin. Left unrestrained sin will cause believers to fall away from God and turn back.

1 Corinthians 9:24 NKJV
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.”

May each believer be resolved that they will remove the leaven from their lives so that they may gain the prize that is set before them.

Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

.

.

Dear Father,
You are the Creator of the entire universe and I thank-you that You are a God of new beginnings.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me not to slip back to my old ways or lifestyle. Over time may I not loose sight of my relationship with You and forget the commitment I made to You. Don’t allow the cares of life to dominate my time, thoughts, and energy. May I never loose sight of my eternal goal. I desire for You to be the focus of my life. Through the Holy Spirit’s help and direction may I remove the leaven from my life and keep my eyes on heaven. Help me to take heed and guard against sin, corruption and evil influences.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

Advertisements

The Beatitudes

Standard
The Beatitudes

A beatitude is a pronouncement of some blessing that we will receive when we follow Jesus’ example and allow God to shape our thoughts, words, and actions. It should bring joy to us when we know that God is pleased with us.

The world would have us to believe that we are blessed if we are happy and have a lot of things. But God says that we are blessed if we relinquish our pride, have a mindset characterized by meekness, and look to Him for spiritual significance. True blessings come from being like Jesus – gentle and humble.

Matthew 5:1-12 NKJV

“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.
Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

God will bless those who are poor in spirit.

When a person is poor they are lacking or in need. When we realize that we are poor in spirit and that we are dependent on God, His mighty power is available to us, and we find favor with Him! God desires that we realize that we are dependant upon Him

Matthew 5:3 NKJV

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

God will bless those who mourn.

When we mourn we feel or express sorrow or grief.

Isaiah 57:15 NKJV

“For thus says the High and Lofty One

Who inhabits eternity,

Whose name is Holy:

‘I dwell in the high and holy place,

With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,

To receive the spirit of the humble.

And to receive the heart of the contrite ones’ ”

Contrite means that we are broken in spirit by a sense of guilt. It also means showing deep regret and sorrow. When we are truly sorry that we have sinned against a holy God, God will receive us, comfort us, and forgive us. When we receive salvation the Holy Spirit (the comforter) comes to live in us. He will be our companion and help us in times of trials and troubles.

Matthew 5:4 NKJV

“Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.”

God will bless those who are meek.

When a person is meek they are not easily angered, are patient and are yielding. We must not get being meek mixed up with being weak. They are two totally different things. When we see ourselves the way that God sees us it will cause us to be meek. We will no longer focus on ourselves, instead we will focus on God and others. God will bless us when we put Him first.

Psalm 37:11 NKJV

“But the meek shall inherit the earth,

And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

Matthew 5:5 NKJV

“Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.”

God will bless those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Righteousness means always thinking and acting in a way that is just, right, and good. When we have a very strong desire (need) to live in such a way that pleases God and brings glory to Him we will be filled. When we are filled with God and the things of God there will not be room for anything else. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness we will want more of God. This desire will cause us to spend more time in prayer, reading the Bible and in worship.

2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

1 John 2:29 NKJV

“If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

When we receive Jesus as our Savior we receive His righteousness, and with it comes the power to live right (to think and act in a way that is just, right, and good).

Matthew 5:6 NKJV

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”

God will bless those who are merciful.

Mercy means not to punish someone when they deserve it. The dictionary describes mercy as more kindness than justice requires; kindness beyond what can be claimed or expected; kindly treatment; pity; something to be thankful for. Merciful means having, showing, or feeling mercy; full of compassion. When we forgive others and show them kindness when they don’t deserve it we are being merciful. God has been merciful to us by giving His Son, Jesus, to take our punishment for our sin. Because of the great mercy that was shown to us we must also be merciful to others, even when they disappoint us or hurt us.

2 Samuel 22:26 NKJV
“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;

With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless.”

A person that is merciful will also reach out to help others in need. When we show mercy to others we will be blessed with God and others being merciful to us.

Matthew 5:7 NKJV

“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.”

God will bless those who are pure in heart.

Pure means not mixed with anything else, genuine, perfectible clean, spotless, without defects, correct, with no evil, without sin, or, chaste (virtuous, decent, or modest). God wants us to be pure in heart. We cannot be pure in heart if we try to mix the things of God (and our relationship with Him) with evil or sinful things of the world. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord we become the temple of God. God will not share His house with evil, therefore we must be pure in heart. It is more important to be clean on the inside (pure heart) than it is to be clean on the outside.

Matthew 23:25-26 NKJV

“Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees, first cleanse the inside of the cup and the dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

People can only see us our outside, but God see us on the inside. Being clean inside where God sees and being clean outside where people see are both important to God. He wants us to take good care of ourselves, but being clean on the inside where only God sees is most important to Him. No matter how good we try to be on the outside, without God’s forgiveness we are still dirty and impure on the inside.

1 John 1:9-10 NKJV

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

The first thing we need to do to become pure at heart is to realize and admit that we are not. After we realize that we need to be pure at heart, all we have to do is ask God to forgive us ) and cleanse us.

Psalm 51:10 NKJV

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

The Bible tells us that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. God will give a pure heart if we ask Him to.

Matthew 5:8 NKJV

“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”

God will bless those who are peacemakers.

A peacemaker is a person who makes peace. The dictionary describes peace as freedom from strife of any kind; condition of quiet, calm, order, and security. Peace is also described as an agreement between contending parties.

John 14:27 NKJV

“Peace, I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

We have peace with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice. When we accept Jesus as our Savior we receive a special type of peace that only God can give and we become a child of God. We will put on a spirit of calmness and tranquility because Jesus’ peace removes dread and fear from our heart. As a child of God we can tell others how they can receive the same peace that we have. When we tell others that they can have peace with God through His Son, Jesus, we are being a peacemaker.

Psalm 34:14 NKJV

“Depart from evil and do good;

Seek peace and pursue it.”

Hebrews 12:14 NKJV

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

Not only does God desire for us to live at peace with Him, He desires for us to live at peace with others. When a person is at peace with God and other people it will bring blessings.

Matthew 5:9 NKJV

“Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God”

God will bless those who are persecuted falsely because of Him.

Persecuted means to suffer repeatedly because of what you believe or because of your principles. There are people all over the world that are caused to suffer repeatedly, harmed, oppressed, annoyed and harassed for righteousness sake. When people oppress a child of God because of the stand that they take for God, He will bless them.

1 Peter 2:21 NKJV

“For to this you were called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example , that you should follow His steps.”

When we begin to feel like we are persecuted for righteousness sake we must remember that it (the persecution) will not last forever. We must also remember to follow Jesus’ example of handling persecution.

Romans 8:18 NKJV

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present times are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

The persecution and troubles that we face here on earth are nothing compared to our time in eternity with God.

Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

 

To Him Who Overcomes- Overcoming Brings Rewards

Standard
To Him Who Overcomes- Overcoming Brings Rewards

 

 

 

To the person that overcomes God will give them special gifts and blessings. They can eat from the tree of life, they shall not be hurt by the second death, they will be given manna to eat and a white stone, they shall have power over the nations and be given the morning star, they shall have white garments and their name confessed before God, they will become a pillar in the temple of God , and they will sit on the throne with Jesus.

 

  1.  Eat From The Tree Of Life

 

Revelation 2: 7 NKJV    

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”

 

2. Not Hurt By The Second Death

 

Revelation 2: 11 NKJV    

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”

 

3. Manna And A White Stone

 

Revelation 2: 17 NKJV    

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

 4. Power Over The Nations And The Morning Star

 

Revelation 2:26-29 NKJV    

“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations “

‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;

They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’-

as I also have received from My Father, and I will give him the morning star.

‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ ”

 5. White Garments And Name Confessed Before God

 

Revelation 3:5-6 NKJV    

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess His name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

 

6. Become A Pillar In The Temple Of God

Revelation 3:12-13 NKJV    

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

 

Pillars are people of faith, power, strength and stability.

 

7.  Sit On Throne With Jesus

 

Revelation 3:21-22 NKJV    

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Aliens On Earth

Standard

daily bread - CopyJohn 15:19 NKJV

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

 

 

 

Christians are not of this world – they are aliens to this earth. Christians are not citizens of this world, their allegiance is owed to God, not the country in which they live, they belong to a different group (they are a peculiar people), and they are not in agreement with the world’s standards or morals.

I. As a Christian we are not citizens of this world.

Philippians 3:20 NKJV

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ ”

Our time on earth is only temporary. One day every person, regardless of if they are saved or not will go to the place they are a citizen of. Some will go to heaven and some will go to hell. It all depends on where their true citizenship is.

Ephesians 2:19 NKJV

“ Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God ”

Christians are not of this world although they are in the world. A Christian’s true citizenship is in heaven as a member of God’s family. Since a Christian’s is not a citizen of the world, the world has no legal rights over them.

II. As a Christian our allegiance is owed to God, not the country in which we live.

When we accept the gift of salvation and make Jesus the Lord of our lives, we make a vow of allegiance to God. Although the vow is not always spoken aloud we still make it and it is still legally binding.

When we become a citizen of heaven we owe our loyalty to God, and we have obligations to Him and His government that He has placed over us. We are required to be faithful to Him and to His causes.

Allegiance – the loyalty owed by a citizen to his country; obligation of a subject to his ruler or government; faithfulness to a person, cause, etc.; loyalty; fidelity.

Loyal – true and faithful to love, promise, duty, or other obligations ; faithful to one’s king, government, or country.

Obligation – duty under the law; promise; binding legal agreement; bond; contract.

I Kings 8:61 NKJV

“Let your heart therefore be loyal to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.”

Loyal is being true and faithful to love, to a promise, to a duty, or other obligation. It is also being faithful to those in authority over you. Citizens of heaven cannot be loyal to both God and the world. The world and God have opposing values, morals, and standards.

Matthew 6:24 NKJV

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Ruth is a good example of loyalty. Ruth was determined to remain loyal to Naomi no matter what. God blessed Ruth for her loyalty. Ruth found favor in the sight of man because of her love and sense of duty toward Naomi. Later, God provided a new husband (Boaz) for Ruth.

Another example of loyalty was Elisha. He would not abandon Elijah. Elisha made a promise that he would not leave Elijah’s side. Elisha was determined to keep his promise no matter what might happen. Elisha received a double potion of the anointing that was upon Elijah as a direct result of his loyalty to Elijah. Elisha was at Elijah’s side when God took Elijah to heaven.

If we remain faithful and loyal to God, we too will be rewarded.

III. As a Christian we belong to a different group (we are a peculiar people).

Christians are God’s own special people.

Peculiar – out of the ordinary; unusual; belonging to one person or thing and not to another; special; distinctive.

1 Peter 2:9 NKJV

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

IV. As a Christian we are not in agreement with the world’s standards or morals.

There is a difference between a Christian’s standards and morals than that of the world. A Christian must have good character and conduct and be virtuous. Not only will a Christian understand the difference between right and wrong, they will strive to do right even if it costs them something.

People with good moral conduct have a good influence on others. They behave as Christ in matters of right and wrong.

Moral – good in character or conduct; virtuous; capable of understanding right and wrong.

2 Corinthians 1:12

“Now, this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have not done so according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace”

Dear Father,

Knowing that I am not a citizen of this world, I do eagerly wait for Jesus, my Savior. I thank-you that I am a citizen of heaven and a member of God’s family. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to be loyal to You and fulfill my obligations. Let me be faithful to You and to Your causes. May I have good character and conduct in everything I do and say and let it be a good influence on others.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Wild About God

Standard

 

 

daily bread - CopyWhen we are WILD about God our lives will show it. Our words will be Wholesome, we will be people of Integrity, and we will be Loyal and Devoted to God.

I. Wholesome

The word wholesome suggests a person of morals. Moral means good in character or conduct; virtuous; capable of understanding right and wrong.

When we are wild about God it will show in our conduct. Our conduct should be holy. Our lives and everything about us should be totally dedicated to God. We are to separate ourselves from the sin of this world.

1 Peter 1:15-16 NKJV

“but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’ ”

Abigail is an example of a wholesome person. Her character and conduct were above reproach.

1 Samuel 25:3 NKJV

“The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings. He was of the house of Caleb.”

Nabal was a very rich man. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. His home and business were in a wilderness area. He was a target for thieves and bandits because of the location and because of his great wealth.

At the time of sheep shearing, David sent word to Nabal asking for a reward for the services that he had been given. David and his men had protected the flocks of Nabal as well as his possessions. Nabal would have plenty of money on hand from the sale of the wool to pay David and his men. David had left the amount of the reward due up to Nabal to decide since no certain price had been set.

When David’s men went to Nabal to ask for what they were due, Nabal acted like he didn’t know David and spoke of him in a mocking tone. Nabal even suggested that David was a runaway servant.

The behavior (conduct) of Nabal and his response to David’s men was very foolish and defiantly the wrong thing to do. One of Nabel’s workers went to Abigail and told her everything that had happened. Both, what David and his men had done for them and the way that her husband had treated David’s men. The servants were very angry at Nabal because his actions put their life in danger.

Abigail knew that her husband was wrong and that she would have to take matters into her own hands. She immediately knew that she need to try to make things right with David. She gathered up a lot of goods to give to David in hopes that he would accept it as compensation for what he and his men had done for Nabal. Abigail sent the provisions to David right away by some of their servants. After the servants had left with the things to give to David, Abigail followed after them.

When Abigail saw David she got off her donkey and fell on her face before him. Humbly Abigail began to plead for mercy and forgiveness for Nabal. Abigail understood that the right thing to do was to show David respect and honor. Her words to David showed him that she was a wholesome woman, full of truthfulness, and virtue and morals.

David called Abigail’s speech blessed because through it God had kept him from avenging himself with bloodshed. After receiving the provisions from Abigail, David told her to go in peace to her home because he had heeded her words and had respect for her.

When Abigail returned home Nabal was very drunk so she did not say anything to him about what she had done. The next morning, after Nabal had sobered up, Abigail told him about giving the provisions to David. When Abigail told him about all that had happened Nabal heart became as stone, and after ten days Nabal died. His death was the result of God’s judgment upon him.

II. Integrity

Daniel 6:1-4  NKJV

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.”

Integrity is being honest and just in all that you think, feel, and do. It also means sincerity; uprightness; wholeness; completeness; soundness.

When we are wild about God it will show in our integrity. Our integrity will be consistent in godly character no matter where they are, or who is around or not around. We will be honest and just in all that we think, feel, and do.

Proverbs 28:6 NKJV

“Better is the poor who walks in his integrity

Than one perverse in his ways though he be rich.”

Daniel is a example of a person with integrity. No matter where he was or who he was around, he was always the same. He always showed godly character and remained faithful to God.

As a teenager Daniel was taken to the ungodly kingdom of Babylon to become a slave. The king of Babylon wanted young men without physical defect, that were handsome, intelligent, educated, and quick to understand as his servants. Daniel met these qualifications so he was chosen to become one of the king’s servants.

Daniel 1:3,4 NKJV

“Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good -looking, gifted and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and who they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.”

Although Daniel was surrounded by ungodly people he made a decision to follow God and to remain faithful to God. God blessed Daniel for doing what was right by giving him knowledge, wisdom, and the ability to interpret dreams and visions. After a while Daniel was appointed as one of the governors in Babylon by king Nebuchadnezzar. The very night that Daniel was made a governor king Nebuchadnezzar was killed and Darius took his place as king. Daniel found favor in the new king’s sight because of his integrity, his attitude, and his ability to do his job well.

This made the other governors very angry and jealous. Together they sought a way to get rid of Daniel. All the other governors showered the king with lots of praise and adoration and worship. Then they talked the king into making a royal decree that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except the king, shall be cast into the den of lions. The proposed decree pleased the king so he signed it.

Daniel obeyed all the laws of the land, however the other governors knew that if the law of the land went against the law of the God that Daniel served he would obey his God. They also knew that Daniel prayed to his God on a regular basis, which would go against the new decree that the king had signed.

When Daniel heard about the decree that the other governors had talked the king into signing he went to his house. There he went to his upper room where he prayed and gave God thanks three times a day. Daniel opened his window toward Jerusalem, like always, and knelt down on his knees and prayed to God.

The men that had plotted against Daniel were watching from outside. They knew that Daniel would continue to pray to God and they wanted to catch him in the act so that they could tell the king. Directly upon seeing Daniel pray they reported it and the king. The king was greatly troubled because he did not want to have Daniel thrown into the lion’s den. He like Daniel, but because it was a royal decree, and could not be changed, he had to order Daniel thrown into the den of lines.

Daniel was brought to the lion’s den and before being thrown into it the king told Daniel that the God that he served would deliver him from the lions. After they threw Daniel in the den a large rock was placed over the top to seal it.

From the den the king went to his palace and spent the night alone, fasting and not sleeping. Early the next morning the king hurried to the den. Upon arriving at the den the king called out to Daniel. Daniel answered the king and told him that God had shut the mouths of the lions.

The king was very happy and he ordered Daniel to be brought up out of the pit. Then the king commanded that the men who had accused Daniel to be brought and thrown into the lion’s den and thrown in, along with their wives and their children.

Daniel’s life was a powerful witness to everyone around him. His integrity lead to the king recognizing that the God that Daniel served was the one true living God.

Daniel 6:26-27 NKJV

“I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.

For He is the living God,

And steadfast forever;

His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed,

And His dominion shall endure to the end.

He delivers and rescues,

And He works signs and wonders

In heaven and on earth,

Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

III. Loyal

Loyal is being true and faithful to love, to a promise, to a duty, or other obligation. It is also being faithful to those in authority over you. When we are wild about God it will show in our loyalty. We are to be true and faithful to God. In our Christian walk, faithfulness is staying true to God in our thoughts, words, and actions.

When there was a famine in the land, Elimelech took his wife, Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, to live in another country, where they would have food to eat. After a period of time Elimelech died and his two sons married Moabite women. The women’s names were Orpah and Ruth. After about ten years the two sons died. This left all three of the women widows.

One day, Naomi heard that the famine in Bethlehem was over. She decided to return to her homeland where she could be around relatives and friends. Naomi and her two daughter-in-laws, Orpah and Ruth, pack up and left for Bethlehem. While traveling Naomi stopped and told her daughter-in-laws to go back to their parent’s homes so that they might be able to find another husband and be happy again.

Naomi kissed both of them good-by but they told her that they would return with her to Bethlehem. Naomi told them that it made her very sad to leave them, but that there was no reason for them to go with her. She wanted them to be happy with their own families.

Orpah and Ruth began to cry. Orpah kissed Naomi good-by and she left. Ruth continued to cry and to cling to Naomi. She did not want to leave.

Ruth 1:16-17 NKJV

“But Ruth said:

‘Entreat me not to leave you,

Or to turn back from following after you;

For wherever you go, I will go;

And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;

Your people shall be my people,

And your God, my God.

Where you die, I will die,

And there will I be buried.

The Lord do so to me, and more also,

If anything but death parts you and me.’ ”

When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined in her heart to stay with her she stopped asking her to leave.

Ruth is a good example of loyalty. Ruth was determined to remain loyal to Naomi no matter what. God blessed Ruth for her loyalty. Ruth found favor in the sight of man because of her love and sense of duty toward Naomi. Later, God provided a new husband (Boaz) for Ruth.

Ruth 2:10-12 NKJV

“So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, ‘Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?’ And Boaz answered and said to her, ‘It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.’’

If we demonstrate our love for God by remaining loyal to Him we too will be rewarded. A crown is promised to all who are faithful. Just as Ruth firmly declared her choice to follow Naomi, we must firmly declare our choice to follow God.

James 1:12 NKJV

“Blessed is the man who endures temptations; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

IV. Devoted

Devotion means deep, steady affection; loyalty; faithfulness; the act of being devoted or devout.

Devote means set apart for some person or purpose; give up. It emphasizes giving up seriously to a single purpose, shutting out everything else.

When we are wild about God it will show in our devotion to Him. Devotion to God involves all aspects of our life, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing- in public or in private. God desires for us to be single-minded. If we are double-minded we will be unstable, even in our devotion to God.

James 1:8 NKJV

“He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

Anything can take our attention away from God, both good and bad things. Good activities, including church programs, schedules, and campaigns, as well as bad circumstances, such as worry, fear, sickness and tragedy, can distract us from God. Anything that we allow to crowd out our time with God separates us from intimacy with Him.

How we spend our time gives us a good idea of what things are the most important to us.

Matthew 6:19-21

“Lay not up for yourself treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

These verses tell us not to store up treasure on earth, but to store up treasure in heaven. It tells us that where our treasures are there our hearts will be also.

We must not let ourselves become distracted by things or people in our love and devotion to God.

Anna is an example of a person that was devoted to God and to ministering to Him. She was an elderly prophetess, maybe around 106 years old. She lived in Jerusalem. Anna was married for seven years when her husband died.

The Bible tells us that Anna stayed in the temple day and night worshipping God. She spent all her time praying and fasting. She spent her time ministering to God.

Luke 2:36-37 NKJV

“Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

Anna was in the temple when Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus to present to the Lord. When she saw Jesus, she immediately gave thanks to God. She physically saw what God had already shown her in the spirit.

The dictionary tells us that devotion means having a strong attachment or attraction to a person or cause. To be devoted is to be dedicated, to be completely applied to some activity, purpose, or person. To have devotion to someone or something means you won’t allow anything to distract you from doing what needs to be done.

Anna was devoted to worshiping God. She had a strong affection for God, and completely dedicated her whole life to ministering to Him through prayer and worship. She didn’t let anything distract her from her purpose. Her purpose was worshiping God and she knew it. Fulfilling her purpose brought great joy and blessings to her. God showed Anna His secret, who the Redeemer was, because of her intimate relationship with Him.

Luke 2:38 NKJV

“And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”

First and most importantly we should be devoted to God. Nothing should ever distract us. We should be devoted to knowing Him, obeying Him. and to living a life that is pleasing to Him. We should not be lukewarm concerning our devotion to God and to the things of God. To “know” someone describes an intimate relationship that includes our emotions, enthusiasm, eagerness, zeal, passion, love, desires, unity, agreement, and harmony.

Jeremiah 24:7 NKJV

“Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”

We must talk to God, learn about Him, and listen to Him. We must allow Him to pour His love into us and change us. When you love someone, you want to spend time with that person. Jesus loves us and wants to spend time with us. We are His bride. He enjoys our company! Jesus wants us to feel the same about Him. He wants us to love Him so much that we want to spend time with Him.

God demands obedience. We must be devoted to obeying God. Sincerity and obedience are prerequisites for worship that pleases God. He desires that everyone have an intimate relationship with Him, but you cannot if there is disobedience or sin in your life. To truly know God intimately you

must first make sure that there isn’t any unconfused sin standing between the two of you.

Psalm 51:10 NKJV

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

You cannot be devoted to obeying God unless you allow Him to take your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 11:19-21 NKJV

“’Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh,

that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.”

Each one of us should be devoted to living a life that is pleasing to God. A life that reflects Jesus Christ. When we spend time with God, He can change us. He makes us more like Him. When we draw close to Him, He comes into our lives, our thoughts and our hearts. The more time we spend in God’s presence, the more we will reflect Jesus. We should not be halfhearted in our love and devotion to God.

Revelation 3:16 NKJV

“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

God desires to shower us with His incredible love and to reveal Himself to us. God wants us to delight in Him, to be devoted to Him, and to desire to be in His presence.

Psalm 27:4 NKJV

“One thing I have desired of the Lord,

That will I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord

All the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the Lord,

And to inquire in His temple.”

Like Anna, during our times of intimacy with God, He will whisper secrets, mysteries and revelations into our ear. When we draw close to God, we begin to experience peace and joy that we can’t find anywhere else. When we fill ourselves up with God’s purpose, to worship Him, our souls will find a special delight.

Dear Father,

Help my life to show that I am truly “W.I.L.D.” about You. May my words be wholesome, let me be a person of integrity, and cause me to be loyal and devoted to You.

By the power of the Holy Spirit may my conduct be holy and my character and conduct be above reproach, even when I am surrounded by ungodly people.

Let my life be a powerful witness to everyone around me. May my integrity cause others to recognize that You are the one True God.

In my Christian walk may I show loyalty and faithfulness to You in my thoughts, words, and actions.

May my devotion to You show in all aspects of my life, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing- in public or in private.

Don’t allow me to become distracted by things or people in my love and devotion to You. Holy Spirit, cause me to be devoted to knowing God, obeying Him. and to living a life that is pleasing to Him. Don’t allow me to become lukewarm concerning my devotion to God and to the things of God.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

The Light Within Me

Standard
The Light Within Me

In Philippians 2:12-18, Paul exhorts the believers to continue to obey God and to totally submit to Him. He encourage the Christians to become pure and without fault in the midst of a “crooked and depraved generation” so that they would be able to “shine like stars”, to stand out and be able to share the Good News.

The Bible challenges us to live godly lives, even when we are going through suffering, trials, temptations, tests, or persecution. Circumstances must never effect or alter godly principles, morals, or convections.

Philippians 2:14-15

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

We are to “shine as lights” to two different groups of people, the lost and the saved.

Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

I. Light To The Lost

Light is a brightness that enables us to see. Light brings understanding or shows the way.

Matthew 5:14 NKJV

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Without light we have no way of seeing in the dark. Without the light of Jesus Christ the world has no way of “seeing” in this dark (sinful) world. We are to be the light of the world.

Philippians 2:14-15 NKJV

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

The light within us (the light of Christ) should penetrate the spiritual darkness around us. We do not have any light of our own. We are the reflective light of Jesus Christ. As we behold the glory of the Lord, we reflect it. We are the light of the world as long as we reflect Jesus Christ. We must make sure that nothing comes between us and the light of Jesus Christ.

 

II. Light To The Saved

Not only are we to be a light to the lost in a dark world, we are to be a light to those in the “house” also. In other words, we are to be a light to our fellow Christians.

Matthew 5:15 NKJV

“Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”

Light indicates deliverance from darkness. Each Christian has been delivered from spiritual darkness. Because of their deliverance from darkness each one has a testimony and they should be ready to give it. We should never hide what God has done for us.

Other Christians are encouraged by our testimonies. The Bible tells us that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Just because a person is a Christian it does not mean that they will not struggle with things. What God has delivered you from can help someone else that is faced with the same thing. Your deliverance can be light to someone else.

 

III. Inheritance and Responsibilities

Colossians 1:12 NKJV

“…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

With every inheritance comes responsibilities. Christians have a responsibility to be a light everywhere they go and in everything they do.

Matthew 5:16 NKJV

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Everything we do and say should point people to God. When people look at us they should not see us, instead they should see Jesus shinning through us. There are people watching each and everyone of us. May what they see be the “light” that they need to created a hunger for God and the things of God. As the heavenly bodies shine forth in brightness against the blackness of the night, so the lives of true Christians lighten the moral darkness of the world.

Dear Father,

I desire to obey You and to totally submit to You. Holy Spirit, help me to become pure and without fault in the midst of the crooked and depraved generation that I live in. Let me shine like the stars, let me stand out and be able to share the Good News with everyone I come in contact with. May the light of Christ within me penetrate the spiritual darkness. I don’t want anything to come between me and Jesus Christ. May I also be a light to other fellow Christians. I know that with an inheritance comes responsibilities. Let everything I do and say should point people to You, O Lord. When people look at me may they should not see me, instead may they see Jesus shinning through me. Cause what others see in me create a hunger for You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Spiritual Report Card

Standard

daily bread - CopyI Corinthians 11:31 NKJV

“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.”

For many in school, the thought of their report fills their minds with dread and anxiety. If you were allowed to fill out your own report card, what grades would it have had on it? Would you have graded honestly? Would you have judged yourself honestly? In school the teacher would grade us so that we would know where we stood according to what was expected of us. The grading (judging) helped us to improve, so that we would not fail at the end of the year.

If we grade (judge) ourselves in spiritual things God won’t have to at the end of our lives. By honestly judging ourselves we can improve so that we won’t be destroyed (condemned) at the end of this world.

I Corinthians 11:32 NKJV

“But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

At the end of the school year we either passed or failed. There were only two destinations for the next year. You were either accepted in the next grade or not. When we die we will either be accepted in to heaven or cast away into hell. We will either be blessed with spending eternity in the presence of God or be cursed with the torment of spending an eternity in the lake of fire, away from the presence of God.

In school our teacher told us one of two things. We either passed or failed. There were no “gray” areas. At the end of our life we will hear Jesus say one of two things. Either we are blessed or we are cursed. There will be no “gray” areas.

Matthew 25:34 NKJV

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Matthew 25:41 NKJV

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”

In school we had behavior that was acceptable and behavior that was unacceptable. In the world that we live in there is a lot of behavior that is acceptable in the eyes of man, but not to God. God expects us to behave according to His standards, not the world’s standards. We have been specifically instructed not to behave like the world.

Romans 12:2 NKJV

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

In school it was important to study the books that the teacher gave you. By studying the books you learned more. You also understood what the teacher expected out of you. By studying the Bible you will learn more and you will understand what God expects out of you. As you do the things that God expects out of you, you will begin to behave like Jesus and not like the world.

School was made up of several grades where you prepared for your future here in this life. We must also take steps to prepare for our eternity. Each one of us must be ready for our next life at all times.

Matthew 24:36-44 NKJV

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

We do not know when we will die or when Jesus will return. We must not allow ourselves to get busy with the things of the world.

Mark 4:18-19 NKJV

“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

In school our teachers examined us by giving us tests. We go through tests here on earth that will examine what is inside of us. God will allow tests to come into our lives. As we pass the tests that God allows, it will produce the fruit of the spirit in our lives. Our teachers in school expected us to grow in knowledge. God expects you to grow also.

The Bible tells us that Jesus grew in knowledge and wisdom. If you are a Christian, God expects you to grow spiritually and produce fruit.

Matthew 3:10 NKJV

“And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Your regular attendance at school had an effect on the progress you made. It even had an effect on wither you passed or failed. You were expected to be at school so that you could learn. God expects you to regularly gather with other believers, where ever that may be.

Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Our attendance at school had an effect on us, and our gathering with other believers will have an effect on us.

We must prepare ourselves for eternity in our next life. There are four steps to prepare ourselves for eternity in the presence of God.

 

The first step  – Admit that we personally have sinned against a holy God.

1 John 1:8 NKJV

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

The second step – Believe in Jesus and everything about Him. We must believe that He is the only way to God.

John 3:16 NKJV

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

The third step –  Confess our sins to God and ask Him to forgive us of our sins.

1 John 1:9 NKJV

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The fourth step-Turn away from our sins.

When we repent we recognize the wrong in what we have done and are sorry about it. The regret that we feel about our sin should lead us to change our ways or habits. We must cease to do what our sinful nature wants and do what God desires.

Isaiah 1:16 NKJV

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil”

When we are forgiven we must not turn back to our sins. The commitment that we make to Jesus when we accept Him as Lord of our life is serious. We must not allow the world to draw us away from God, making us unfit for His kingdom.

Luke 9:62 NKJV

“But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Once we have escaped the bondage of sin through salvation we must not allow ourselves to become entangled in sin again.

2 Peter 2:20-22 NKJV

“For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.  But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

If God were to give you a spiritual report card, how would you score?

How would you judge yourself spiritually?

Dear Father,

Help me to judge myself so that You won’t have to. By the power of the Holy Spirit help me to know where I need to improve. Help me to behave according to Your standards, not the world’s standards. As I study Your Word let me understand what You expect out of me, and cause me to behave like Jesus and not like the world. Thank-you for the opportunities that I have to gather with other believers – help me to never take this for granted.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.