Category Archives: SHORT DEVOTIONALS

CONVICTION

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CONVICTION

Could it be that churches and believers have left the Holy Spirit out of their lives and churches by being more concerned in pleasing man than in pleasing God?
Within the churches have they been more interested in making friends (social clubs) than making disciples?
Have churches quenched and grieved the Spirit for so long that they don’t even realize it?

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin. He desires to minister in our churches but we must allow Him to. We can grieve and quench the Holy Spirit by refusing to follow His leading – by disobeying Him. Another way to grieve and quench the Holy Spirit is by planning and scheduling Him completely out of the service. When people enter into our churches they need to have an encounter with God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, not an encounter with man.

There is something very wrong when backslidden and unsaved people feel very comfortable sitting in churches listening to sermons and not feeling the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. They come, they listen and they leave unchanged. Will God hold us accountable for this?

Ezekiel 3:18-21 NKJV
“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.
Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.”

If the church really believed that they are God’s watchman in this world would they do whatever it takes to welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit to dwell in their midst? It is the Holy Spirit that convicts a person of sin, wrong and bad habits. Without His presence in our midst we are hopelessly lost.

Everyone needs the Holy Spirit …
We need His convicting power and presence in our churches.
We need His convicting power and presence in our individual lives.
The backslidden and the prodigals need His convicting power.
Those that have never accepted salvation need His convicting power in their lives.

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PRIDE – A HINDRANCE TO REVIVAL

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Pride is a great hindrance to revival because it keeps people from seeking God. It can keep the unsaved from coming to Christ for salvation, it can keep the sick from coming to God for healing, it can keep the bound from coming to God for freedom……

Pride is an infectious and dangerous attitude that has crept into many churches today. It effects the decisions a person (leaders, members and attendees) make therefore, it can infect and effect an entire church.

Mark 7:20-23 NKJV
“And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Pride comes from inside a person – from their heart. Within the body of Christ, pride manifests itself in various ways. Some are: division, critical spirits, gossip, mockery, self-satisfaction, quarrels, compliancy, and condemnation of other believers who do not believe as they do.

In some churches the leaders are so blinded by their pride that they think they have no need of God. While they may not express that attitude with their lips, they do with their actions. Everything they do is about their will, their plans, and their dreams, not God’s. They are so consumed with themselves that their thoughts and desires are far from God.

Psalm 10:4 NKJV
“The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

What is pride?
Pride can be defined as:
excessive confidence or glorification in one’s self, possessions
giving ourselves the credit for something that God has accomplished.
taking the glory that belongs to God.
self-worship.
the opposite of humility.
an attempt to replace God.
a form of self-righteousness.

 

What does God think about pride?
God is very clear in His Word that pride is a sin. Pride is a sin and sin cannot enter into the presence of God, both here and in heaven.

Proverbs 8:13 NKJV
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.”

Psalm 10:3-4 NKJV
“For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

Proverbs 16:5 NKJV
“Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”

Proverbs 16:18 NKJV
“Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”

 

What are the consequences of pride?
Destruction ( in the church and in individual lives)
A spiritual fall
Oppression
Not allowed in the presence of God.
Disregard, disrespect and disobedience to God.
It places stumbling blocks in front of people.
It keeps people from accepting Jesus Christ as Savior.
It will send a person to hell.

 

Guard against pride.

Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”

 

Everyone must guard their heart against pride because pride will…
* keep someone from helping others because they think the other person doesn’t deserve help.
* keep someone from asking God ( or others) for forgiveness because they don’t feel that they were wrong.
* cause a person to boast or brag about what they have or what they have done.
* cause a person to take the credit ( or glory) for something that God has done.
* cause a person to think more of themselves than they should.
* will cause a person to become their own god. They begin to replace God with themselves.
* cause a person to do what they want (their own will) instead of what God wants.
* keep a person from rejoicing with others over blessings / promotions because they will feel like they deserved it more.
* keep a person from seeking God for answers, wisdom or knowledge because they think they have all the answers.
* keep a person from studying God’s Word because they think they know it all already.

 

 

 

Glorious Bride

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Glorious Bride

Why did Jesus say “Go and sin no more”?

Maybe it was because He is coming back for a bride that has made herself ready for Him – a spotless bride with out stains or blemishes.

Many times when people Ephesians 5:22-23 they usually do so trying to prove a point about a woman submitting to her husband. However, they miss the point that God was trying to convey. Jesus is the Bridegroom (husband) and true believers are the bride (wife).

The bride (church) and groom (Jesus) are to become one – when you see the church you should see Christ.

True believers are to submit to Jesus.
The church (the bride) is subject to Christ.
The bride (the true believers) are not to be a harlot or adulteress.
The bride (the true believers) must give themselves fully to the Lord.
The bride is to sanctify and cleanse herself with the washing of water by the word.
The bride are members of Jesus’ body, of His flesh and of His bones.
The bride is to leave her past when she is joined to Christ.
The bride (church) should respect Christ.
The bride is to love her groom.
The bride is to be a glorious church.
The bride is to be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
The bride is to be holy and without blemish.

Jesus is the head of the wife (head of the church).
Jesus is the bride’s Savior.
Jesus loves the church (bride) and gave Himself for her.
Jesus gave everything He had, even His very life.

Ephesians 5:22-33 NKJV
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

ANIMOSITY IN THE BODY

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ANIMOSITY IN THE BODY

Animosity is a strong feeling of dislike, ill will, resentment, or an antagonistic attitude. Within the world and within the body of Christ, animosity runs rampant. Some causes of animosity between believers are differences in beliefs, personality clashes, conflicts, pride and contention. Whatever the cause, it does not come from God and we must guard against it.

When it comes to disagreeing with others in the true body of Christ, we should be able to do it without feelings of animosity. You can disagree with a person without having feelings of dislike or ill will toward them. You can disagree with a person and still love them. When it comes to what we believe we must focus on what God says in His Word. There will be times that you will have to agree to disagree and get on with your life and what God has called you to do.

There were times that the disciples disagreed with each other, but they never had animosity toward each other.

Example – Dispute Over Doctrine
Peter and Paul had a dispute over circumcision. Paul felt that Peter’s behavior and actions did not line up with his words concerning what he said about circumcision. Basically, Paul thought Peter was a hypocrite and that his actions could divide the church. Since Peter had a great spear of influence, Paul felt it necessary to address the issue with Peter.

Galatians 2:11-14 NKJV
“Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?”

We must remember that Peter and Paul were both handpicked by God to spread the gospel. They had different callings therefore they did not see everything the same way. Even after their disagreement they both continued to serve God and they both had fruitful ministries. They did not have animosity toward each other even though they disagreed with each other.

Example: Dispute Over People
Paul and Barnabas disagreed over John Mark. Paul was adamant concerning John Mark not going with them on their journey. When Paul, Barnabas and John Mark had been in Pamphylia, John Mark had deserted them. The contention between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark was great. Instead of making this an issue within the church they parted ways and worked separately. Each one continued to serve the Lord and be faithful to Him.

Acts 15:30-41 NKJV
“So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words. And after they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles. However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there. Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. “

There are times that believers will not agree on details or aspects of ministry. When this happens it is sometimes better to go your separate ways. We must note that Barnabas did not use his position, he was a representative at the Jerusalem council, to speak against Paul or to try to alienate Paul from ministry. They simply went their separate ways and continued in ministry. To often today when people disagree in ministry one of them will use their position or power to alienate the other from ministry or to force them out of ministry. The “if you disagree with me you are out” mentality (also know as the “My way or the highway” attitude) has no place in the body of Christ.

Luke 9:49-50 NKJV
“Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”

In the above passage Jesus is responding to a statement made by John. John though just because they did not know the man and he was not part of their group that he should not be ministering. This attitude is still in the world today.

Sometimes when a person goes their separate way and continues to minister they are thought of as being out of God’s will. Even though someone may not be in your circle it does not mean that they should be stopped or that God can’t or won’t use them for advancing His kingdom.

Jesus did not say the man John objected to was in sin, or a false teacher or anything like that. Therefore, we can assume that John based his objection to the man solely on the fact that he was not part of their group. The same still goes on in the church at large today.

Acts 5:38-39 NKJV
“And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it–lest you even be found to fight against God.”

The counsel that Gamaliel gave the Jewish Sanhedrin lines up with the teachings of Jesus, regardless of the motive in his heart (Gamaliel) when he said it. We must guard against allowing animosity in our heart because in the end we could be fighting against God, which is a very scary thought.

God’s Will And The Harvest

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God’s Will And The Harvest

Our food is not simply knowing the will of God, but doing His will. Too often we stop short of doing God’s will. God offers (provides) each one of us opportunities to do the will of God, but it up to us to make the most of every opportunity given to us. We too (the body of Christ), must not quit until the job is finished. There are too many souls that need to be reached for Christ. We must not revert back into the four walls of the church and only think about ourselves. Gathering in God’s harvest is not always pleasant, convenient, enjoyable or easy for us. We must continue laboring in the harvest field until God’s storehouse is full or until He calls us home.

John 4:27-38 NKJV
“And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, ‘What do You seek?’ or, ‘Why are You talking with her?’ The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, ‘Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ? Then they want out of the city and came to Him.
In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’ But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat of which you do not know.’ Therefore the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true. ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

May the body of Christ wake up and see that now is the time of harvest. As the church prays to the Lord of the Harvest for laborers, may she realize that she is the laborer that He has sent into the harvest field.

Matthew 9:37-38 NKJV
“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Sacrifice To Gather The Crops

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Sacrifice To Gather The Crops

It will take a sacrifice of your time to gather the harvest into the storehouse. Just as you have to give up your time, your schedule, and your plans, so must the body of Christ if they want to be part of the end time harvest. Conditions will not always be pleasant, convenient, enjoyable or easy. But, we must keep on until the job is finished.

Proverbs 10:5 NKJV
“He who gathers in summer is a wise son;
He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.”

Dear Father,
Open our eyes to the harvest field around us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, empower us to gather the harvest into the storehouse. Don’t allow us to stop because conditions aren’t pleasant, convenient, enjoyable or easy. May we keep on until the job is finished. Wake us up and may we not cause You shame.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

Self-Examination

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Self-Examination

Believers should regularly have a time for serious introspection. Self-examination should be part of our life. We are instructed to judge ourselves, and there are benefits to examining our own feelings, thoughts, and motives. If we judge ourselves, God will not have to.

1 Corinthians 11:31 NKJV
“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

A believer should always be reviewing their actions to see if they are in right standing with God.

Galatians 6:4 NKJV
“But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another”

2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves…”

Many times we may not be able to see our own faults and weakness, so we must rely on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to show us. As we read God’s Word it gives us a clear reflection of ourselves.

James 1:22-25 NKJV
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”